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Saturday, June 11, 2016

Tenant referencing of the future

Could this be the referencing of the future?

The world for renting and letting is migrating online.  We already allow you to manage your property portfolio with our free Property Management Software.

Now, I've come across a new way of referencing your tenants. By delving into their social media accounts it enables landlords to see what sort of people their prospective tenants are.  I

Is this morally wrong, or just using the latest technology to ensure landlords stay one step a head of scamming tenants?

How does the new tenant referencing system work?

The new company, Tenant Assured, looks at a potential tenant's Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin profiles and using analytical software will look at public and private messages to try and get a unique insight into an individuals attitudes and life events, including looking at whether the prospective tenant has any financial stresses.

Apparently the analytic software looks at:
  • Bayesian belief systems
  • Psycholinguistics
  • Natural language processing
  • Machine learning
This so, Tenant Assured maintains it will give landlords a better understanding of what makes a prospective tenant tick and whether they really are going to stop paying your rent or do a runner.

Property Hawks View

Hey, here at Property Hawk, we are always open to new ideas.  I say give it a go.  We have already seen the power of the likes of landlords using Facebook to catch out rogue tenants.  What I would also  do is combine these latest techniques with traditional tenant referencing and also our tips of vetting tenants. It's now even possible to reference your tenants for FREE.

If you put this together with ensuring that if there is any doubt in the tenants ability to pay rent on a regular basis that there is a guarantor in place then you should have a very high chance of getting a good honest tenant that pays rent on time and a strongly performing tenancy.

Letting Referencing -  get started

6 comments:

jl said...

Hi, I'm a landlord. You ask if it pushes on morals. Yes, it does. Linking social to ability to pay (enough services are doing already) may be useful, on broad statistical basis. I.e credit checking (not so good) or like if really good ( in the future) like a vaccine program. Still only good at scale. But morally, your on a slippery slope and using some pretty crude tools right now. O founded a fintech business, with software automation algorithms... But I'm not talking about me. I'm talking about Maslows Pyramid and the role of a landlord. Have heart, be human and don't be afraid to give someone a break... From the algorithm :)

Anonymous said...

@jl,

I am a landlord too and I do not think it is immoral. What is wrong with making a well researched decision when looking at a potential tenant.

Lets say a prospective tenant is looking to rent a property from a landlord. He turns up looking a bit worse for the wear and maybe he comes across as a bit shady. Lets say he even speaks terrible English and swears a lot. All that may lead a landlord to make the decision to not let to him (regardless of whether it is right or not, human nature is hard to go against). Now, lets say that the same landlord uses this service and all of a sudden, he can see that this guy has a steady income and is a family man who takes pride in providing for his family.

A lot of hard working, decent folk are prejudiced against in this manner every day and a service like this may actually end up helping a lot of people.

PS, I had a heart (still do), was human (still am) and gave a guy a chance. Said guy ended up not freeloading off me for 5 months and when he was eventually evicted, ended up damaging the property.

Anonymous said...

As a landlord, I agree with this, if used as a tool as not as definitive decision maker. The more information we have at our finger tips, the better decisions we can make. The system uses only stuff you can get at via any public forum, yourself, it's just a time saver and more logical in its processing of that information. a LOT of HR companies have been doing this for years, so what is different.

If I had had this information prior to my last rental, and now being aware of some of the items my tenant had posted, I would have not released the property to them. A reference can be easily created with very little effort, so what is that actually wort when it comes to vetting, in my mind not a lot, as it could just as easily be a friend of friend who's written it!

Personally, I would use this as one of the tools when vetting a future tenant, but not the only tool...

Mandy said...

I don't have a problem with someone reading my public online posts and publications as I believe that anything we do or say within a public domain is just that - public, and those that do commit indiscretions on public forums should know better, or soon will. For example, what is to stop a future employer reading a badly spelled, factually incorrect post that could even contain some questionable opinion (such as racist comments)?

However, I do have a problem with someone reading private posts and I would question how they would gain access; are they forcing people to "friend" them on FaceBook, for example, or are we talking about running a cross search algorithm to identify word patterns used under pseudonyms?

The first would amount to harassment, IMO though the second I believe is a somewhat greyer area, depending on the nature of the information sought. For example, the need for financial information is already thoroughly covered by traditional credit referencing and checking bank statements; data relating to medical or relationship issues is definitely private, leaving only comments in support of illegal or immoral activities that I can see a case for revealing.

keith sparkes said...

This is misleading. Facebook do not allow access to private posts. It's against their rules.

Ali said...

I am a landlord and full time IT pro of 30 years. Computer software suppliers always overstate the capability of their technologies. Current software simply isn't clever enough to guess whether or not a tenant is good or bad based upon the sort of self-promotional drivel people typically post on social media. Even if it could I personally would consider it a morally abhorrent practice that leads to a slippery slope that would ultimately be negative to us all. If you think there is nothing wrong with it then consider how you would feel when your home/life/car insurer unfairly reaches an unfavorable conclusion based upon an incorrect analysis based upon an algorithm? If you are considering investing in this high tech snake oil then you deserve to lose your money.