HomeSportsFormula 1Landlords vetting abuses on renters reveals high crisis on the UK rental...

Landlords vetting abuses on renters reveals high crisis on the UK rental market

Will the real estate market become even more selective with landlords and letting agents’ new application methods?
Carlson Solicitors

Whether you are a letting agency or a private landlord, finding and picking the right tenant for your property can be hectic.

But the responsibility for extra fees and costs, if anything goes wrong, is even more accentuated when you are a private landlord. Furthermore, the mental weight carried in case of emergency, last-minute repair, application or eviction is much higher.

Indeed within an inflation-driven context, with prices and mortgages rising, landlords want to make sure they are signing up for sustainable and serious candidates with the least risks associated.

However, the recent methods used by some landlords and letting agencies have been considered more than suspicious with discriminatory features.

Renters are being asked for personal statements, photos and in some cases their CVs or even Linkedin profiles. Campaigners have stated that within the worst market conditions known to this day regarding real estate, landlords and agents are increasing discrimination potential and overall access to potential renters.

Recent renters’ testimonies given to the Observer have revealed that future tenants are being asked to give elaborate personal statements with information as detailed as the university or college they have attended.

Applicants who have attended Oxbridge or one of the Russell Group universities are automatically favoured along with the ones earning high salaries which is seen as a great bonus.

Moreover, landlords and letting agencies are adopting strategies such as mass viewings, which push tenants to bid against other potential candidates with offers way over the average market price and pay several months ahead to be seen as safe and motivated applicants.

This technique enables landlords and real estate agencies to create competition and tension to multiply their options, unfairly playing with the current UK inflation context which creates a desperate situation for applicants looking for a new home urgently.

Landlords and letting agents are also not giving any further information about energy costs or incoming extra fees that might occur.

Recently an employee of the real estate agency Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward has asked a group of potential tenants to send a picture of themselves attached to a short cover letter to potentially rent a property in north London.

The same agent has been asked by the Observer why there was a need for a photo, they answered saying it was “to help landlords form a connection with a potential tenant”. They then added that otherwise, it would just be “names on paper”.

However, Carol Pawsey, KFH Group’s Lettings Director, pointed out the fact that it was not “uncommon” for a landlord or letting agent to ask for a short profile summary to help landlords decide on the better candidates and expand their options.

Nevertheless, she added that no letting agents were in a position to ask for a photo of the tenant and that such a request was not part of the company’s policy. She carried on saying that this policy will be reminded to all branches of the company and that asking for a photo was not relevant at all.

On the other hand, Dan Wilson Craw, who is the Casting Director at Generation Rent, has criticised the use and demand of personal biography, describing it as “very intrusive” and the request of photos as “a recipe for discrimination” as landlords and letting agents will select the most conventionally attractive candidate in their eyes lacking objectivity and professionalism.

He is also calling for greater and more transparent regulation checks of the renting process as the rules and regulations established on the amount of information allowed to be used by a landlord remain “very opaque”.

This statement is confirmed by Jahmaya Burke, an associate at the commercial law firm KaurMaxwell, who also believes it is not exceptional for landlords and agencies to ask for proof of funds, references or other identification information.

However, the line is drawn when recent reports expose those practices inciting discrimination and meddling with the General Data Protection Regulation, as the tenants’ personal data retained could be abusively used and increase malpractices.

TV star and founder of Landlord Action, Paul Shamplina, who has also been defending and helping landlords facing issues with their tenants for over 25 years, has reacted to the recent vetting phenomenon.

In a recent appearance on the set of GB News, he expressed his view on the situation defending landlords also facing challenges in a tough economic environment regarding the rental market.

He said: “It’s the toughest it’s ever been in the rental market with demand up to 50 per cent, supply diminishing by 35 per cent and landlords leaving the sector.” This depicts a challenging reality for landlords and letting agents who have to make appropriate yet tough choices.

Shamplina added: “It can take up to 12 months to evict a tenant at the moment.” Thus landlords want to stay away from any similar situation and avoid any money or energy waste.

Nevertheless, the question remains, does a tough rental market environment truly justify tough processing application methods, risking the personal integrity of potential tenants facing the possibility of having their data exposed?

Stay Connected
Must Read
You might also like


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here