OpenRent Community

Landlord request referencing info before viewing

Hi there,

Is it normal or has it happened to anybody that, before even allowing the viewing, the landlord asks you (via your private email) for all the personal information that would be requested at the referencing stage instead?

Meaning that they send you an email with a pre-screening form with all questions related to your previous and current address and occupation, way before you get to view the apartment (so this is collected from anybody who’s interested in the apartment and not just the tenant starting the tenancy agreement). It looks that you get screened out if you don’t fill that in.


I’m csure this is done by some LLs with many applications.

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Thanks for the input Per.

I am not fully convinced by the rationale behind it - beyond just a mere screening out the ones that don’t fill it in. Those won’t get the viewing, fine.
However, why collect privately all the personal data of anyone who wants to view the apartment when only one will start the tenancy? And most importantly, what do you with the data of everyone else? I mean, you just need to trust the landlord that they will be responsible with them? Also, I wonder why going through OpenRent if you dismiss their process.

Anyway, the landlord has been contacted so she may get a chance to clarify these doubts.

Screening questions should reduce time wasted for both landlords and tenants on viewings where the tenant has no chance of getting the property. It shouldn’t really be personal, ie it’s fine to ask do you earn more than x where x is tge minimum amount that meets landlords affordability criteria but I don’t think it is right to ask exactly what you earn at pre viewing stage.

Landlords are supposed to be signed up for data protection at ICO, although I’m sure most aren’t.

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I think it’s a matter of someone who has taken it a bit too far, for sure. Personally, if I were to rent, I wouldn’t want to supply that information prior to viewing and deciding the property is for me so definitely understand your concern.

Sure, it could possibly be a fraud so be vigilant. But equally, and LL could easily do this to enable the process to move quickly. Also, many LLs on here do their own referencing as the OR system/reliability is not always the best

The landlord must give you a copy of their GDPR privacy notice before asking for information and this should spell out how the data will be handled and protected. I would agree that pre-screening is essential to ensure that neither the applicant nor the landlords time is wasted, but pre-viewing questions should be kept to a minimum in my view. I would normally ask a few questions and leave the rest for the viewing itself to determine:

  • who would be living at the property
  • are they renting at the moment
  • why they’re moving
  • the source of their income
  • can they afford the property
  • right to rent
  • when they want to move and how long for
  • do they have any pets
  • do they smoke
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