OpenRent Community

Compulsory tenant screening

A couple of months ago I successfully let my first house through Openrent. No problems at all. About 20 enquiries turned into a 2-year tenancy in less than 2 weeks from placing the advert. About 3 weeks ago I advertised a second property. A steady stream of enquiries came through (not as quixckly as before, but it was holiday time.) Against my wishes, Openrent recently turned on tenant screening. Since then enquiries have almost completely dried up. I’ve asked to have it turned off, but I was told that’s impossible. I asked some of my relatives to test the system, because I couldn’t believe that nobody was interested in my house. they reported that the system was clunky and off-putting. For example, my daughter (who works in the IT sector so is not easilt put off by web forms) said:

" I selected the option to send you a message, it then only let me submit a form requesting a viewing. It did have a free form text box for a message too, but it’s a bit misleading. Also it only allows you to send a message once in relation to a given property, so it doesn’t allow people to ask you a question, and then follow up by requesting a viewing afterwards.

If I was a potential tenant, I’d be put off by the fact you have to send a message through rightmove first (which apparently disappears into the ether and doesn’t get read by anyone), and then you have to go to Open rent, create an account, and then submit another form. It all seems a bit complicated and unclear about what you’re doing and whether anyone is actually going to get your message. I suspect that’s all out of your control, but that’s my usability feedback anyway!"

My other daughter reported, “It’s quite an excessive sign up process an also seems to be impossible to answer anything other than “yes” to all the screening questions.” She failed to get through to me, presumably becasue she couldn’t work out how to say that she was a non-smoker.

I’m very concerned that all my potential tenants are being screened out, either because they give up when they find the process so onerous or because they can’t work the system to fill in the screening form correctly.

Neither of my daughters were able to send me a message without requesting a viewing, which I think is unhelpful and not what I’ve seen previously with other tenants (before the screening was turned on).

Does anyone out there have any experience of successfully obtainingg tenant enquiries once the screening “option” has been switched on?

1 Like

I have just had openrent say they would screen tenants for me .Do you smoke do you have pets etc I also would rather do this myself. ASK MY QUESTIONS AND SORT IT MYSELF. As it happens I have almost sorted a tenant . i have put 4 places thru openrent with my mate but if this happens again I will be very unhappy and go back to putting up my own board. without openrent, Incidently when I asked the applicant the same questions as openrent I GOT NO ANSWER. so i deleted them

I twice thought I had a tenant, but one failed on referenceing and one pulled out part way through the referencing procedure. The reason why I have “a large number of enquiries” is purely because these two false starts meant that I was advertising for more than 2 weeks. I do not consider that 30 enquiries over acuple of weeks is a large number. Moreover, all the people who got through prior to the compulsory screening satisfied the screening criteria, so I’m convinced the reason I’m no longer getting enquiries is because the system has become so intrusive and onerous.

1 Like

previously I have had about 30 or so enquiries for each of the properties but when I ask the vital question , Are you in work? I get no reply. so after10 hours I reject them . Now I want to do that, not have someone do it for me . 70% of those 30 are chancers. The applicants can just as easy lie to openrent. in order to get thru to me. But I want to know where they work before a viewing ( no dss for me)

After a sleepless night worrying about the reputational damage that this is doing to me, and with no more enquiries coming through, I’ve taken down my listing. I can’t afford to look like the landlord who never replies to enquiries. 4 of my family members have now attempted to get through the system and only one has successfully requested a viewing. They are all tech savvy individuals so it beggars belief that it has defeated them. It’s clear that the form is very difficult to use on some platforms.

1 Like

I dont blame you. No doubt openrent will reply on Monday. Is it back to an agent for you? I had some to let boards made a while ago with my phone number on .Double sided cost £15 Cheap. Estate agents size. Easy to put up yourself

I’ve already got “To Let” boards and I’ve just created a Facebook Page. I’ve never used an agent and don’t want to start now.

1 Like

good for you. I am no good on the computer and dont know how to do a facebook page.! Let us all know how you get on. Wish you success.

Well, Openrent did eventually reply to my reply to their inadequate response. They didn’t address any of my concerns and simply re-iteraed that once the screening has been turned on it is impossible to turn it off. Clearly the IT system is driving Openrent and not the other way round!

Here’s the reply in full:

Hi Judy,

Thank you for your further reply. Unfortunately we’re not able to turn off the screening once it’s been turning on automatically; the screening is designed to be helpful and in the interests of all parties, and if you’re concerned that some tenants may be being put off by the screening system, simply relax the criteria on your listing edit page:

We do everything we can to find you suitable tenants as soon as possible. This is in everyone’s interest and we have a number of systems to ensure we are meeting this objective, including monitoring the response to each advert and offering our help and advice when it may be needed. One such system is that when a landlord receives 30 confirmed tenant viewing requests and has not yet let the property, we may choose to activate tenant vetting if the landlord has not done so already.

This is because such a large number of unsuitable applicants is in nobody’s interest - since by definition a large number of tenants have spent their time enquiring after a property they can’t move into, and the landlord has similarly spent a lot of their own time on a large number of interactions (some of which will have been full viewings) which have not resulted in their own property being let. As such we are compelled to act in the interest of everybody involved; if we do not act then the most likely outcome is we will send a further series of unsuitable applicants and double the amount of time and effort wasted by landlord and tenants alike. We instead make a proactive effort to improve the quality of leads going forward.

Beyond this, we’d be keen to solve any underlying issues: for example, if you are concerned about the number of tenant leads decreasing, we are very happy to help advise on ways to improve this.
If we can clarify the position further, please let us know.

Kind regards,

Beth

The OpenRent Team
phone: 020 3322 2733
email: [info@openrent.co.uk]
Ask our Landlord & Tenant Forum
Feedback: How do you feel about the service you received?

It’s basically the same as they said previously. My problem is that I now have evidence that the screening process is so difficult for tenants to use that even those who satisfy the criteria and very much want to view the house are unable to answer the questions correctly and arrange a viewing. They also aren’t managing to ask questions without registering and going thrugh the screening.

However, looking on the bright side, I think that I know how to circumvent this problem for future listings: simply never used the “confirm viewing” button to book viewings. Then the number of “confirmed viewings” (which aren’t really confirmed, since the tenant is not required to confirm that they are coming) will stay at zero and the compulsory screening won’t kick in.

I’m still waiting for a response to my request to be told how to make a formal complaint and some acknowledgement that they are in breach of contract.

interesting the point about after it reaches30 we turn it on. 75% of my requests for viewings didnt comply with “no pets… no smokers… must be in work… give your name” chancers I call them… about 20 of them took no notice of my requirements That pushed me above the 30. How do you stop chancers they can easily lie to openrent system to get thru to me. I like openrent but I dont like their prearranged questions