Letting Agents use social media to reference Tenants

31/01/2017

Many Tenants might be shocked to learn that it is becoming more common for agencies to vet the social media profiles of rental applicants as part of the referencing process.

The growing sphere of social media platforms are making it increasingly easy for Letting Agents to assess prospective Tenants and gain an insight into the type of Tenant that they will be. Potentially troublesome are being rejected by Letting Agencies more frequently due to social media vetting. The effective vetting procedure is set to be used more commonly and will allow agencies to choose between prospective Tenants in the increasingly competitive lettings market.


Rob Hill, Director of GLP, Tenants claiming to be looking for a flat to live in but then using it for short-term lets creates problems for agencies. "If a flat costs, say, £500 a week, they could make another £500 a week on top of that using Airbnb," he commented. "That is our main concern, but we are also looking out for people advertising for flatmates because we want everyone who lives in a property to have a contract."


Checking social media, said Hill, also allows Agents to "build up a picture" of what a prospective tenant is like as a person. "We want to know they are likely to look after the property," he said. "If you see lots of house party pictures where things are smashed and ruined it is something you might want to show to the Landlord."


"Inappropriate behaviour" can also monitored that would include excessive swearing and images of nudity, because of concerns the Tenants might upset neighbours. Many Letting Agents use the vetting of social media accounts alongside their references and employment statements to assess the Tenants, as finding high quality Tenants becomes more and more essential.


Tracey Cumming, Head of Lettings at Jackson-Stops & Staff confirmed that the company also investigates Tenants' online presence, verifying that employment details are correct and scrutinising social media accounts as "another layer of referencing."


As well as looking out for outright lies and evidence of criminal activities, endless drunken photographs might be a cause for concern. "It would raise a question about their abilities to look after a property," she stated. "We would wonder if they were going to have lots of parties and cause damage to the property."


Managing Director of Let Leeds, Luke Gidney explains that "checking social media profiles will become a much more prominent part of the referencing process for Letting Agents to vet potential Tenants. Tenants should expect their social media profiles to be checked, however I do feel it's really important that Agents make Tenants aware of this process and that Tenants consent to Agents checking their social media profiles as part of the referencing process."


Ensuring that properties are let to the best standard of Tenant is a key focus for Letting Agents, so it is no wonder that they are utilising Facebook and social media platforms to undertake more thorough referencing.

Let Leeds has a range of rental properties available and would gain consent from prospective Tenants in advance of using social media as part of the referencing procedure. To view our available properties click here or call our Professional Team on 0113 322 9242.


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