Happy to clear a few things about referencing, benefits and guarantors.
It’s not OpenRent’s policy for anyone to require a guarantor. The link you share is a blog post that explains how referencing works. Referencing is just a service that landlords can buy to find out more about their tenants. Many landlords choose to reference tenants. Some do not. It is the landlord’s choice. OpenRent doesn’t perform referencing and is not a referencing company. Landlords may reference tenants through our referencing partners, Rent Guard, or through a referencing company of their own choosing.
If a tenant fails referencing, however, a landlord will not usually be able take out a Rent Guarantee Insurance policy unless the tenant can provide a guarantor who passes referencing. Many tenants are able to provide such a guarantor. But many landlords will not start a tenancy unless it can be insured. It is important to note, however, that there is nothing (either legally or to do with OpenRent policy) stopping landlords from going ahead with the tenancy just because the tenant failed referencing.
It is certainly true that tenants who claim benefits face a harder time finding a home than people paid via PAYE or with an established self-employed income. One of the reasons for this is that referencing companies don’t often accept benefit payments as income. We have campaigned and continue to work to try and change this, so that landlords may be able to take out an insurance product when letting to benefit claimants without guarantors.
Although some landlords may see stigma with tenants who claim benefits, it is our experience that most landlords simply feel unable to face the risk of an uninsured tenancy, and many are put off by terms in their mortgage or insurance that require them not to let to tenants who claim benefits. Even despite the great work many campaigners have done to challenge these terms and conditions, many large lenders and insurers still have policies with this wording. Landlords are not able, in general, to challenge a large corporation on these items.
An example I posted on the Community recently was Churchill insurance, one of the largest brands in the UK, who still have wording on their website that tells landlords they won’t insure them if their tenants claim benefits.
I hope this has been useful and I wish you the best with finding a property to rent.