RICS calls for national renter database – shame they’re 7 years behind the rest of us!
In the wake of the impending ban on letting agents’ fees, the RICS has called on the Government for the creation of an online database where all tenants’ references and payment histories could be viewed online.
The database proposal is in a RICS policy paper ahead of the publication of the delayed Housing White Paper, now expected in late January.
Asked about data privacy issues, the RICS said the proposed database would be voluntary. It could only be accessed to search a specific tenant with that tenant’s permission, while tenants would only volunteer information in the first place.
Jeremy Blackburn, head of policy for RICS, said the proposed system could benefit those with poor credit ratings by giving landlords additional information such as previous rent payment history and would also create an alternative to them having to pay for referencing once agents’ charges to tenants are banned.
Blackburn said: “The introduction of a rental database will provide a credible alternative to the tenant-funded credit checks that the Government is proposing to scrap, putting more vulnerable members of society on a more level pegging with more affluent peers by reducing the likelihood of discrimination.”
Asked for further clarification on how this would work, specifically regarding data protection, Blackburn told EYE: “Data protection would be expected to be configured under the Data Protection Act, as with any other publicly or privately held database.
“Tenants would voluntarily put forward their information, which would be held centrally and accessed by landlords with the tenant’s permission.
“This builds on the original concept of the tenant’s passport. It also de-risks the landlord and tenant relationship at a time when, through the letting agent fees ban, the cost of carrying out checks on new tenancies has become a political football that will come to rest somewhere between tenants paying higher rents and landlords paying higher fees to letting agents.”
Back in April the AIIC also spoke out about the need for a rogue tenants list to be included in The Housing and Planning Bill.
At Tenant Referencing UK this is exactly what we have been doing for the past 7 years.
It is now a fact that those who join our network and “Lifestyle Reference” their applicants through the UK’s original and only Tenant Histories truly can reduce rent arrears and property damages; saving our 157,000+ subscribers hundreds of thousands of pounds in the process, as well as their precious time and their sanity!
Databases containing tenants rent defaults are obvious advantageous to landlords – but what database can store whether your applicant tenant is a drug dealer or an illegal immigrant? None, and for the simple reason that this does not comply with The Data Protection Act 1998. The Tenant Referencing UK database is the only one of its kind that can tell you these types of things without breaking data protection rules – simply because we put landlords and letting agents in touch with one another to find out what their applicant tenant is really like.
It’s a real shame that reporters these days don’t put any effort into their article research, and highly worrying that ‘big players’ in the industry such as the RICS and the AIIC are 7 years behind the times on such important issues.
These comments left on the Property Industry Eye article say it all really…!!:
Furthermore, what with housing legislation changing on an almost hourly basis – e.g. Right to Rent Immigration Checks, Lettings fees set to be banned in England and Wales, Section 24, etc – calls have been made for a new way of producing references for tenants, which could also benefit landlords and letting agents.
So we took this into consideration and have launched The Referencing Passport for Tenants this month. This eliminates referencing costs completely for landlords and letting agents and keeps costs as low as possible for tenants, speeds up the lettings process and allows renters with ‘bad credit’ to build a good ‘tenant history’ for themselves.
The Ark Passport also allows tenants in social housing to transition into the private rented sector with ease, reducing the likelihood of discrimination, supporting good tenants even though they may have a poor credit history alongside a purpose built Rent Guarantee and Legal Expenses Insurance Policy that accepts that tenants may have CCJ’s.
Keep up-to-date with all the latest legislation, news and landlord offers and discounts by joining Tenant Referencing UK today.