It is reported that more than ￡63 million is lost every year to fake landlord scams in the UK. While following the government’s directions and guidelines before renting a property are helpful, they do not eliminate your chances of being scammed by a fake landlord.
A London-based startup RentProfile is tackling the problem head-on through its website, where it lists verified renters and landlords as well as offering tenant referencing and other checks for rental agencies. The service looks to create a more trustworthy rental landscape by authenticating tenants, landlords and rental agencies.
Launched in 2016, the proptech startup is a one-of-a-kind innovation in the realm of real-estate. After experiencing a fake landlord scam firsthand, founder David Munday and his brother Paul Munday were inspired to create a reliable method for performing landlord credit checks.
In 2015 alone, over 3000 cases of rental fraud were reported to the ActionFraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime.
Landlords, tenants and agencies create separate user profiles on the website to avail its services. While tenants and landlords can sign up for free, agencies are charged for utilizing the platform as rental agencies typically require tenant referencing and further verifications such as a CCJ check. RentProfile has since evolved into a one-stop destination for all rental needs, including tenant checks, tenant referencing, and landlord credit checks.
RentProfile also lets you report a rental fraud or a bad experience from an individual or an agency listed on the platform and uses such information in the future.
Tenants and landlords authenticate their profiles using a self-background check. Whenever a tenant comes across a landlord and wants to do a quick landlord credit or authenticity check, they can simply search for their details on the landlord directory. Similarly, landlords can request for a ‘Tenant Check Report’ that gathers personal details and data from various sources, like CCJ searches.
RentProfile has been recognized and lauded by the UK Government for its exceptional efforts in reducing the number of rental frauds. It’s one of the few proptech startups operating out of the UK and claims to be the first platform to provide online landlord background checks.
No doubt, its growth and success signals the need for the evolution of rental and property, an industry notoriously behind the curve when it comes to tech. Even in the UK, a market where it is markedly underrepresented, Proptech is reportedly worth £6 billion, and already accounts for around 10% of all global proptech investment. Evidently, it’s a lucrative field that, given the current momentum, will continue to expand over the coming years.