Referencing Fails

New to open rent. Can anyone advise if we can recoup the cost of tenant referencing. We just ran referencing on potential new tenants and both tenants and guarantor failed the referencing checks.
It seems quite unfair that we put trust in potential tenants due to the information they put up on openrent only for us to learn they actually can’t afford the property and we have lost 2 weeks of advertising. Not impressed.
Many thanks

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If they have clearly lied you should be able to reclaim the costs but realistically they would have needed to provide the lies in writing for you to be able to prove it.

Just because a tenant fails referencing doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t let to them. It’s your decision, not openrents. I’ve put 5 tenants through open rents referencing and 4 failed but all have been great tenants over several years with no missed payments at all. I’ve had a guarantor fail who owns his own house and has sufficient cash to buy my rental with cash so it is important to understand the limitations of the referencing, although clearly if they have lied you should avoid.

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I don’t know what Open Rent ask for these days but you could ask to see payslips and a few months worth of bank statements and make up your own mind as Richard said.
There are landlords on here who ask pre-screening questions to try avoid the situation you have just experienced.


Did you take a holding deposit? Otherwise are you proposing to sue them? I wouldnt recommend the latter in this case.

Hi, thank you for the reply. Have you requested bank statements before from prospective tenants? I am assuming that would need to provide the same information to the company carrying out the reference checks?

I don’t know how many months bank statements a referencing company asks for?

You as a landlord can ask for how ever many month’s worth you want.

I would not be ‘assuming’ anything. I would be asking, looking and checking at whatever information I could in addition to whoever you choose to hand it over to.

(I don’t know what reference company is used but Rent Guard has terrible reviews.)

Colin3 has posted on here within the last few days on a different thread some pre-screening questions. Obviously tenants can still lie but all the more evidence I would have thought to enable you to retain the holding deposit as some small amount of compensation.


I dont think rentguard ask for any bank statements. It is just a blunt calculation they do based on income and they completely disregard some income. Some people are good at living on a budget and some are rubbish at it. Bank statements give a better indication of affordability. I dont ask for bank statements as standard but do if there are concerns on affordability. Some tenants wont want to show them and then you can just walk away if you have concerns.

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Yes we did have a holding deposit but that is returned once you refuse the tenancy due to all parties failing the referencing. I would expect to be compensated for the cost of the referencing checks in a situation as this. As a landlord you proceed with the tenant in good faith you shouldn’t have to incur costs unnecessarily as they should be quite aware they cannot afford the property.

Thanks Richard, good advice. Going forward I think if anything similar happens (hopefully it doesn’t) we will then ask to see bank statements and take a view then. On reflection this particular tenants basic pay wasn’t enough to afford the property and support a young family, as the wage he had stated included commission and unfortunately he is in a sector that has been heavily hit by COVID and whilst I sympathise I am a small private landlord and can’t take the risk.

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Thanks Mr T, good advice to bear in mind going forward (hopefully this doesn’t happen again).

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The holding deposit is the only practical way of getting compensation, since the tenant is unlikely to volunteer to pay you for it. You can deduct the cost from the holding deposit if you have evidence that the tenant either deliberately lied or witheld information that led you to undertake the reference. Otherwise you have no basis to deduct. The prospective tenant can’t be expected to know what their credit score is.


Thanks David, don’t agree re credit score as it is very easy to obtain this information. It is all good learning. Appreciate the feedback have more knowledge now about doing these things minus an agent.

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What I meant was you couldn’t rely on it for legal purposes


So much is skewed towards tenants, it is all quite wrong. Great to be able to speak to other landlords and share knowledge.

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soon you wont be able to, this is being closed by Openrent

@Colin3 I’d missed that. They’re closing the forum? That’s a real shame. Why?

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Hi Mr T
I hope you are well I have an issue regarding referencing and guarantor.t

I’m retired and using the same letting agent as my daughter they have refused my app because I’m not earning 3x5 times the rent I’m retired and solvent an acceptable as a guarantor but not a tenancy is
The ref agent said it wouldn’t be a problem so why do the letting agent choose to put this in their rules
I have asked her to speak to the landlord I would do it myself if I had his details as is he not the only one who could override their decision oh they take pets and charge a ,£25 monthly fee isn’t there always something

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Sorry I meant would the landlord be able to override their decision.
Thanks Alayne

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Tony. I am not sure how I found it … But notice no one had said its wrong… My immediate thought for the reason was that they make no money out of it and its too troublesome to monitor

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Hi Alayne,

You are right there’s always something and sorry for your latest troubles.

I don’t really know what to suggest as these agents have their rules and won’t budge.

I think I remember you saying you were moving from one part of Yorkshire to another?

You could try writing to the landlord at the address of the property but obviously he might not go there. Or contacting the neighbours they might have his phone number.

As a long distance landlord I spoke with as many neighbours as I could and asked if they would take my number in case of a problem.

Have the agency looked at bank statements etc. or they just passed it over to the referencing agency?

Sorry I cannot think of anything else.

Let us know if you find a way to get it sorted. Think others have had a similar experiences.