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Phone App Helps Landlords To Screen Tenants

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A new iPhone app has been launched aimed at helping buy-to-let landlords find out if their prospective tenants are on a blacklist for property damage or unpaid rent.

Lettings specialist Legal 4 Landlords has created the UK's first app for landlords and lettings agents to access up-to-date information on tenants. The app holds a tenant risk list, a nationwide database of more than 4,000 tenants that Legal 4 Landlords has ever dealt with.

By entering the prospective tenant's name and address, the Legal 4 Landlords app will inform landlords of any misdemeanors linked with the tenant.

Sim Sekhon, a director at Legal 4 Landlords, said: "We're approached on a daily basis by landlords wanting to do a quick background check on a prospective tenant. These checks can take time, so we thought it made perfect sense to develop an app which will do this in seconds.

"Unpaid rent in the UK currently amounts to £276m, so landlords need to know if they can trust the tenant they are about to take on."

The Legal 4 Landlords app also advises landlords on evictions, tenant referencing, rent recovery and tracing missing tenants.The free app is on iTunes.

Is this legal?

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Is this legal?

The tenant would have to agree to be placed on the list. If the tenant did not agree and was on the list it would be illegal.

There was a similar list run by the construction industry regarding 'troublesome' construction workers, that was illegal, and from recollection resulted in some very large fines.

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So all tenants refuse and boycott the list. A list with just a few hundred names is useless and will die out.

True. However, there's nothing to stop landlords refusing to provide a tenancy agreement unless the tenant agrees to have their names put on the list if there is a breach of the agreement.

The tenant is free to walk away - and the landlord would have to accept a longer void.

It's exactly the same with insurance and the like. If you get your insurance policy terminated for some reason, the insurer will put your name on a shared database. If you subsequently take out a new policy without mentioning this, the new insurer can find out that you were lieing within seconds (e.g. after you make a claim). Perfectly legal providing you agree to it - hence in the small print of an insurance contract, there will be a phrase like 'We may share information about you and your policy with other companies for reasons of customer service and fraud prevention'.

Edited by ChumpusRex

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Sorry but this can only work if the landlords are also on it.

Otherwise is just assymetric avenue for blackmail and pressure on tenants to allow charges on deposit for made up damages, not to complain about issues with the house etc.

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most landlords will be too stupid to use an app, let alone type in the correct name and details.

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True. However, there's nothing to stop landlords refusing to provide a tenancy agreement unless the tenant agrees to have their names put on the list if there is a breach of the agreement.

The tenant is free to walk away - and the landlord would have to accept a longer void.

It's exactly the same with insurance and the like. If you get your insurance policy terminated for some reason, the insurer will put your name on a shared database. If you subsequently take out a new policy without mentioning this, the new insurer can find out that you were lieing within seconds (e.g. after you make a claim). Perfectly legal providing you agree to it - hence in the small print of an insurance contract, there will be a phrase like 'We may share information about you and your policy with other companies for reasons of customer service and fraud prevention'.

That is how I understand the law.

If enough landlords were to share data, you would expect there to be severe pressure on the 'other' landlords, because they would be getting all of the bad tenants. Eventually bad tenants would find that they had nowhere to stay, and would be forced on to the streets. Fair enough if they are the sort of tenant who never intended to pay or trashed the property for fun. Of course a vindictive landlord might chose to say bad things about a good tenant, and that could cause all sorts of problems. Its almost as if you need the entry in such a database to be entered by a trusted third party. That would be a lot easier if all payments were electronic, so you could see promptness of payment, but there would be no alternative to a subjective check of the property when it was left.

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Like a property Equifax or Experian with the Landlords in the powerful position that the banks hold?

I have had a couple of peices of fantasy data added to my credit file which proved to be a nightmare to remove. The banks hold all the cards as the CRA's only remove incorrect data at the sayso of the banks.

eek. I can only imagine the trouble this wil cause tenants. :o

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A website backed by a simple database would serve the same purpose. In fact, that's probably the basis for it.

Calling it an app serves to limit its audience to a bunch of credulous fools ...

[no, that's not necessarily a description of every iphone user. But it takes in the set of iphone users who pick some app over the simple web browser]

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The tenant would have to agree to be placed on the list. If the tenant did not agree and was on the list it would be illegal.

There was a similar list run by the construction industry regarding 'troublesome' construction workers, that was illegal, and from recollection resulted in some very large fines.

That's not true as far as I understand the DPA. The requirement is that the company holding the data must be registered with the ICO and that, as part of that registration, individuals on that database have the right to request copies of whatever is held on there about them and, in the case of factual errors, have it corrected. Also, the data may not be disclosed to a third party without the person's consent (which was the issue with the construction workers DB IIRC). Insisting that a tenant consented to be checked via this system would be no different from insisting that they allow a credit check to be run. It sucks, but it doesn't sound illegal to me.

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That is how I understand the law.

If enough landlords were to share data, you would expect there to be severe pressure on the 'other' landlords, because they would be getting all of the bad tenants. Eventually bad tenants would find that they had nowhere to stay, and would be forced on to the streets. Fair enough if they are the sort of tenant who never intended to pay or trashed the property for fun. Of course a vindictive landlord might chose to say bad things about a good tenant, and that could cause all sorts of problems. Its almost as if you need the entry in such a database to be entered by a trusted third party. That would be a lot easier if all payments were electronic, so you could see promptness of payment, but there would be no alternative to a subjective check of the property when it was left.

the landlords will have to check the other 500 databases available for this "service" too.

You can be sued to the bankruptcy court if your reference is preventing someones human rights....these databases will go the way of all such schemes...in the recycle bin of history.

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This would only work if all lettings agents agreed to add it to their terms in their contract... from my experience of LAs they couldn't organise a piss up in a brewery.

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  • 312 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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