Georgina Pierson, COO and co-founder of good2rent – the UK’s number one rental passport
How many times has a potential tenant failed referencing? For many estate agents the answer is probably ‘too many times.’ This often happens because the referencing part of the negotiation process happens too late on. By moving the referencing to the beginning of the process, also known as pre-referencing, the letting agent can simplify the referencing process, saving time and money.
Pre-referencing is a system which allows agents and landlords to see a tenant’s references and credit rating before embarking on the rental process. This is normally done through a rental passport system which is a sharable and verifiable referencing system which tracks the tenant’s payments, references and identification. This history is owned by the tenant for the entirety of their renting lives and they can use it every time they move.
As the tenant has all this information in one place, it means they can share their passport with the agent ahead of the viewing, allowing the agent to verify the tenants ID and establish whether or not they can afford the property. By having this information at the start, agents can ensure that all their appointments are vetted, qualified leads.
Setting up a rental passport is very simple, with the tenant verifying themselves by matching a selfie with a photo ID. They can then upload their employment, residence and affordability. Some passports go even further by validating their salary and previous rent payments through Open Banking access. Once that is complete, agents just need to enter their potential tenants’ email, and immediately they will have a full reference sitting in their inbox.
What benefits does pre-referencing offer agents?
By having the referencing stages at the start of the process, agents will save both time and money, as they will be able to maximise lead generation and save on relisting and viewing costs. The use of online banking also helps make the process more effective, as the additional information the tenant can provide allows agents to instantly know what properties are within the tenant’s price range.
Pre-referencing that integrates digital ID into their passports can also add a further level of security for those showing the property. Safety is very much built into the rental passport concept and the work of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust to publicise their Safe as Houses Campaign which seeks to safeguard and protect letting agents, landlords and tenants alike is something that good2rent are involved in.
The detailed history the rental passport and pre-referencing gives agents is a great tool to determine whether or not the tenants are appropriate for the property. Should their history show a poor rental history, and/or a poor credit record, the landlords or lettings agent will be able to make an informed decision either way. This open communication between the tenant and the agent will help strengthen the relationship between the two and ensures the time and angst of filling a property becomes a thing of the past.
Georgina Pierson is an entrepreneur and technology strategist; her background is in marketing with 20 years’ experience working across a huge variety of brands. She began her career as an advertising graduate at Saatchi & Saatchi before expanding to marketing at Time Inc.