Reference failures

I’ve had at had two of my 3bed houses on OR since Jan. I had 80-odd apps and have now filled them BUT about 70-odd were completely unsuitable and I paid for credit searches on half a dozen couples who all failed. Jeez, is it just me? I’ve been in this game 20+yrs and expect all the usual shenanigans & obviously I’ve got my full accreditation status so all my processes are tight. Yes I ask applicants if they have any adverse credit and yes scrutinise affordability. I really feel there has been massive deterioration in applicants with regard to their financial discipline and honesty. It beggars belief, they think they can lie. One application had 5x CCJ’s, joint income of £32,000 and £407pcm for BMW finance, £300 pcm on take aways plus credit cards. When I Q them they said there’s only a few CCJ’S what’s my issue? They offered me 6m rent in advance. I told them to use the money to pay the poor people they’d got CCJ’S with & they said I was condescending. Seriously, no morality, no discipline and no manners. Oh and don’t get me started on applications from people with dogs when my advert said no dogs. I’ve also seen a massive increase in applicants arguing via text or OR portal when they get turned down. Its like they decide they want my house and it’s their right to have it, how dare I turn them down. I’ve just noticed a massive shift in behaviour - have any of you? Anyhoo, I’m still in the game, still remaining in the game and still making money. Just wondered if you’ve noticed too???


you are absolutely right a lot of them are LIARS. At least you have avoided them . If they lie once thats ernough for me… on the portal you can simply reject them and as long as they dont have your number you will not hear frm them again


I couldn’t have explained it any better. I have recently joined Open Rent as agents have been a let down with their paperwork - errors constantly so I decided I may as well do it myself.
I have wasted so much money on referencing despite Q and A prior to going onto referencing them.
Apart from the referencing cost the one thing I really find difficult to comprehend is that my property is taken off the market whilst referencing is ongoing.
I have now had one property empty for 2 months due to the liars and time taken with referencing. I really do think that open rent should still keep it listed so viewings can take place whilst referencing is under way. After all I’m paying for the referencing and unless the tenant rejects me they get their holding deposit back.
I have now insisted on ID 3 month bank statements utility bill and wage slips all within the last 3 months before I’ll go ahead with referencing. Also worth asking if they are on the electoral role as if not they can’t be credit checked! Learning curve for me
2. They have them to hand so it reduces time scales when rent guard request them
3. Cuts down time wasters. I too had a mother question why I had kept her daughters deposit when in fact her daughter rejected me saying she had found something better! Despite having paid out £60 on referencing them which I still hadn’t had all the reports back at that point. I then spent an hour going back and forth replying to her rants. I won’t again waste my time.


Tracy9 i reference NOT thru openrent thus the property stays advertised all the time, the one good thing is that all your referencing costs are tax deductable Dont give out your phone number Too soon and then use that Reject button ! I never take a holding deposit I want to keep my options open right to the last minute


Hi Tracey, the Tenant Fees Act 2019 means it is now unlawful to take multiple holding deposits for a property. We take the property down after a HD is paid because the property is considered as let subject to referencing, and we cannot accept any further HDs because otherwise we (and you) would be breaking the law. Furthermore, the TFA guidance demands that properties are no longer advertised once a HD has been taken.

One workaround would be to reference tenants without taking a HD from them, but many landlords would not be happy to do this.

Hope that clears up our motives on this issue!


Hello Sam
So for instance if I reference outside open rent (say still with Rent Guard) can I still opt back in to create the AST and still also have the rent guarantee insurance if the referencing is successful?
Also if a tenant presses the rent now button and you don’t want to take a holding deposit so it my property isn’t de listed wouldn’t rejecting the tenant cause them to look elsewhere.

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Ps. It’s the 10th today when my tenants should have been moving in. Obviously they have no intention of with no tent paid and balance deposit. Can I now go for abandonment and get the holding deposit returned to me?

I have had similar experience recently with failed reference checks. I‌n my case, people didn’t have enough income to cover the rent (based on the RentGuard criterion of an income 30 times the monthly rent) which to some renters seems strict. Some of them seem to earn enough money (e.g. construction workers) but didn’t have the paperwork to prove it. Had I not found someone whom I knew enough to trust as a tenant, my property would probably have been left empty for much longer. I did do a credit/reference check against that person as well, and like other people, it came back negative because of a CCJ. I eventually decided to disregard that credit check as I‌ knew him well enough to know that he would pay the rent.


Hi Tracey, Rentguard’s RGI policy will be available to you if your tenancy meets the criteria, outlined above. You can contact Rentguard directly for more details.

You can message any tenant who requests to place a holding deposit via your enquiries management page on the OpenRent site. If you reject their holding deposit, e.g. because you’d like to reference them or to conduct a viewing first, then you can explain this via a message.


This situation is the result of government interference in the market, making it illegal to pass on the cost of referencing to the tenant. A better solution would have been to make it illegal for an agent or landlord to charge more than they have paid for the reference checks, i.e. pass on the cost but nothing more. Under the new rules tenants have nothing to lose by trying it on. Some will even do it just to be vindictive and waste your money. I always state in the advert that I will be carrying out reference checks, and I state the salary requirement. My initial response to any enquiry is a message via OR reiterating that fact, reiterating the other rules e.g. no pets, and pointing out that I have a legal requirement to obtain proof of the person’s right to remain in the UK. Over half the time I don’t hear any more from the applicant. It still never takes me more than a week to find a suitable tenant (last advert only had to do one viewing - the guy earns about twice the minimum for passing the reference check).


If it’s any consolation we have been listing since Nov and the house is in Trust for our 10 yr old which means we need to be a bit stricter due to Trustee law.
We must’ve had 70+ queries and there is a sticking point on honesty and up frontness of prospective tenants.
As we also have an ad on SpareRoom we were wondering if that might be compromising us getting genuine queries as there have been 80% hoaxes. Refs are asked for as well as statements before viewing. Credit checks would be after viewing but we spent allot on adverts for SpareRoom. ANother tricky challenge for us is that we want top relocate up North to the house next summer or by 2022 so if we’re up front about a short term tennancy most families are put off and they don’t like fully furnished in the main, nor a lack of central heating (it’s got gas heating)…

Ask for a screenshot of the free clearscore number, if they have nothing to hide will provide it. I’ve found a few with bad credit that way before paying for referencing. Dont forget if they provide misleading information you can keep the holding deposit.


I have a similar problem but not to that depth. I think the simplest way would be for a tenant to apply and pay for their own credit reference check when they are ready to rent a property and it should be available online for all to see (similar to EPC certificate), however to protect their security, there should be a code given to the them and they can then share this code with their prospective landlords.
Given the climate that the politicians have created that all landlords are bad unless proven otherwise, we are fighting against the tide.

I have lost a lot of money in loss of rent, damage, abandonment, court fees, and many other. It could amount to £10,000s but there is no one to listen to landlords cases.


Can you? I had failed credit check tenants, checked by Openrent credit reference with two CCJs. I rejected their application citing bad credit record but Openrent returned their holding deposit and I lost one week whilst the credit check was ongoing.
I don’t think landlord is entitled to holding deposit if the credit reference check fails but I would like to be proven otherwise.

If they lie as you say such as no cc jays when in reality they do then you hold the holding deposit and keep it I have a more therefore you would not of paid for the credit check because the holding deposit would’ve paid for that so that’s not a problem and you think you have a tight ship but how do you know that until it’s tested and the story you give clearly emphasises that it has been tested and weaknesses clearly have been found so you would need to make improvements and the quickest easiest thing You can do to improve is make your own pre-tenancy application form and get all your questions on there ask for a signature and answers

Hi - last time I used Openrent for letting, I asked all the pre-screening questions I could before allowing them to view, and also did a letter prior to taking holding deposit which the prospective tenant had to sign. In it, I included OR’s terms which state:

12.8. If the landlord decides not to enter into a tenancy agreement relating to the Property via the Rent Now process, then subject to the requirements of any relevant legislation, the Holding Deposit will be returned to the tenant unless one or more of the following applies:
12.8.1. The tenant notified the landlord or OpenRent in writing, after the landlord chose to proceed following the Offer, that the tenant had decided not to continue their application to rent the property.
12.8.2. The tenant provided materially false or misleading information to the landlord, or OpenRent. Since information provided to OpenRent’s referencing partners will be shared with both OpenRent and the landlord, the tenant acknowledges that materially false information provided to OpenRent’s referencing partners will be grounds for their Holding Deposit not to be returned.

So that covers if they lie - you can keep the holding deposit to cover the cost of the credit check. The fact they had to sign something too also helps weed out the liars.


Sue, I enjoy the way you write and felt your pain on every line! I think you must be in a major city, London perhaps? I have a few properties (flats) in a Kentish coastal town. I don’t know if this makes a difference? Not that we don’t have our fair share of ne’er-do-wells here. Or maybe I’ve just been incredibly lucky? I’m in the process of conveyancing another flat and feel sick to my stomach that this trend you speak of may have reached my sleepy neck of the woods by the time I’m tenant-finding once more. As for a solution - well, i doubt there is one.

Last time I looked for a tenant through Facebook! I felt a bit scared doing it that way. When it came to referencing I used RentGuard, but even as a many-times returning customer, they charged me significantly more by doing this outside of OpenRent. The inventory cost me more also. In the end, I only saved £70, so it probably wasn’t worth doing it solo!

I would not try to find a TENANT on facebook I would use Openrent. Facebook is good for THINGS .Openrent may not be perfect, but what organisation is?

Well, maybe so, but the last lot of tenants I got via FB are proving to be fantastic, so it is not all doom and gloom, but certainly more risky. I do very careful interviews on a one-to-one personal basis, so one has to use one’s judgement.


I’ve had 70 replies to my ad. Learned so much like people happy to allow reference checks then announce they’ve found another house . Two couples of mixed race - not wanting female partners on the tenancy and one guy called me racist for insisting I wouldn’t proceed unless both on agreements. Then there’s the ones who are financially not coping with their current rent and want to take on more … they generally come back with demands of why not being considered or slating me