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Nik said: Posted on: 12/02/2019 22:40

The upcoming fee ban puts even greater risk and expense on landlords who are already suffering under a barrage of attacks from national government policy. I in part agree with the fee ban, given the criminally high fees charged by many letting services. However that does not mean passing on actual costs to potential tenants is wrong.

Asking an Applicant to pay the £22 cost of reference check, as well as a security deposit to ensure if they then pass said check. That they proceed with the lease is not unreasonable. As a landlord for a couple of decades, both in the UK and Canada I know that when I paid this cost without taking any upfront money quite often the potential tenant has found somewhere else before the checks are complete. Even if I charge just the £22 cost of referencing, this is not enough to discourage them from walking away. When this happens repeatedly, the costs and delayed rental can add up to thousands of pounds.

Given the unlikeliness of the government amending its no fee ban. I once again ask these questions of the RLA

  1. Is the RLA going to offer a service to tenants to be pre-referenced checked, before approaching a landlord?

Advantages being:
No delay for tenant or landlord in renting immediately.
Landlords will have less ability to discriminate against potential tenants. As the criteria of renting is met before applying.
One cost is charged to the tenant rather than repeatedly to multiple landlords if tenant does not meet criteria to rent over and over again.
  1. If the RLA are not planning to offer this service, why not?
  2. Given the fee ban can we require a tenant get themselves referenced through the RLA or other such service before considering them.
  3. If neither of these is possible can we ask for a holding deposit so that while waiting for references the potential tenant is deterred from going else where?

This would be returned if they fail reference checks.
Taken of the first months rent and deposit if passed.
However if passed this would establish a contract to continue, therefore deposit would be not returned if the applicant pulls out after being accepted.
This of course would not stop tenants from applying to multiple landlord, if they know in advance they will fail references checks. But the up front cost would hopefully deter this.

If an applicant/s simply refuses to complete the from for reference checks then after two days the deposit is returned and the RLA allows the landlord to move the £22 cost to the next applicant.

I have asked these questions of the RLA several times without getting satisfactory answers. Please answer these three questions or offer alternative ways of protecting ourselves from these risks.

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