A Sheffield-based letting agent and prop-tech entrepreneur claims that traditional tenant referencing is dead, as it uses old and slow systems, has little technology support and is grossly overpriced.

For years, letting agents have had to use traditional referencing suppliers, who provide an expensive, out-dated service. They are mostly owned by large insurance companies, who use referencing simply as a lead generator to sell insurance products. Due to this, they operate on a call centre, tick-box process and if the tenant doesn’t fit the insurance criteria, they fail.

Old school referencing has been unable to cater for the changing economy and employment trends.  More and more UK workers are now part of the gig economy – contract, temporary and freelancers. Recent stats from The Office of National Statistics, show the level of self-employment in the UK rose from 3.3 million in 2001, to 4.8 million in 2017.

Neither have these legacy reference checks been able to accommodate the growing numbers of international students coming to study in the UK. Again, stats reveal a rise of 5%* more international enrolments compared with a year ago. (*Source: International Student Statistics 2018, Study in the UK).

Simon Tillyer, Director of SheffLets and Vouch commented: “With traditional paper-based referencing, a host of potential tenants have failed the out-dated checks, set up by large insurance firms.  Many of these providers are resistant to change and have been slow to adopt emerging technologies. Furthermore, they don’t have the technology to support Right to Rent.  As a letting agent I know these systems do not work in the real world – there is no common sense approach and they fail to help agents and their landlords. To put it bluntly, their products are not fit for purpose.

“Agents have been paying upwards of £25 for a reference, which is grossly overpriced when you compare it with tech-driven references. The only reason tenant referencing has always been this expensive is because the insurance companies could get away with it.  Agents have always had tenant fees to supplement the cost, but that is all about to change. Agents can’t continue to pay the bill when there is no money coming in to cover it.

“We have developed a leading-edge, tenant referencing app to offer agents a fully automated, web-based system delivering significant cost savings, via a comprehensive, time-saving solution. Technology and applicants perform the tasks, meaning that agents simply monitor progress. Vouch creates efficiency in the tenant application process and improves business-wide productivity and profitability.

“In addition, Vouch can also help agents supplement their revenue by providing them with commission on a range of media and utility packages, which can be offered to all tenants signing new leases.  We designed Vouch to simplify the tenant application process and help agents and landlords save money and benefit from a passive income stream.”

Vouch uses the latest technology to deliver a cost-saving solution and give agents control and flexibility they actually need. With the tenant fees ban just around the corner, Vouch also offers a range of services to help bring significant income back into the business.

Vouch costs just £5 per full reference, no set up costs, no contract, no risk. Vouch is approved and accredited by ARLA

For more information, please visit or call 0330 333 7272.

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