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What is pre-referencing and why it will make your life easier?

How many times has a potential tenant failed referencing?

Too many times is probably your answer. This frustrating scenario ultimately arises because tenant referencing is left to the final stages of the negotiation process. By introducing referencing to the start of the process, also known as ‘pre-referencing’, the landlord or their letting agent can simplify the referencing process, saving time and money.

Pre-referencing is a system that allows landlords to see the tenant’s references and credit before embarking on the rental process, normally via a rental passport. Rental passports include a credit check, affordability statement, address checks, income information and employment information, and can also include digital ID. The tenant owns this history for the entirety of their renting lives and can use it every time they move.


A rental passport is shared with landlords by the tenant ahead of viewings, allowing the landlord to see the tenant’s verified identity and affordability upfront. This not only allows the lettings agent to match properties with a tenant’s affordability, but also ensures that landlords and lettings agents are meeting a vetted, qualified lead.

The process of acquiring a rental passport is very simple; a tenant inputs their employment and residence details, and a soft credit check is then run on that individual. Some tenant passports go even further by pairing a selfie with a passport to verify the tenant is who they say they are, and can also validate, through ‘open banking’ access,both their salary and previous regular rent payments.  The tenant has then holds this data, ready to share, in their own personal and fully portable digital rental passport.

The benefits of pre-referencing to landlords stem from the fact that the referencing stages are at the start of the process, which instantly saves you time and money, no longer paying out for a reference that comes back as unsuitable. By predetermining the suitability of a potential tenant, you are able to maximise lead generation and save on administration and viewing costs.

The growth of online banking access also heralds the potential for fast and effective pre-referencing. The tenant can add in additional information to their profilesuch as income to be able to determine their affordability range and so allowing you to know if the tenant is suitable for the property. Being able to know whether a potential renter will be right for that property or notcan save a huge amount of time.

The pre-referencing that integrates digital ID into their passports also offer an element of personal safety to users, with the ability to verify those coming to view a propertyand so ensuring the safety of you or your letting agent showing the rental property. In these instances, safety is at the heart of the rental passport concept, and the work of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust to publicise their Safe as Houses Campaign which seeks to safeguard and protect letting agents, landlords and tenants alike helps promote this.

The detailed history that the rental passport and pre-referencing system offers makes it easier for you to make a decision on whether the tenants are appropriate for the property. Should their profileshow a poor rental history, and/or a poor credit record, you will be able to choose another more suitable tenant. Equally, should they have a poor credit history but there being extenuating circumstances,you will be able to make the judgement call on whether you think they have the potential to be a good tenant.

Pre-referencing and the rental passport systems are revolutionising the way landlords deal with finding new tenants. It is important that tenants are open about their rental history with their landlords, as this data can be verified using a rental passporting system,with pre-referencing limiting the time taken to find a home and move in, as well as concerns around not finding the right tenant for the right property.

Georgina Pierson, COO and co-founder of good2rent rental passport.

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Poll: Do you think rental passports are a good idea?


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    Can't understand why anyone thinks this is a bad idea, provided the info is genuine and verifiable. Now that the SNP "government" has taken away landlord's right to determine the length of the lease, some proof of stable rental history would be very useful information in Scotland especially.


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