Case study

Landlord checks by RentProfile help prevent rental fraud

How RentProfile uses Land Registry data to help prevent and detect rental fraud.

Rentprofile logo

RentProfile was launched in October 2016 by brothers David and Paul Munday, after David fell victim to a bogus landlord while studying at university. The service helps to protect would-be tenants from fraudsters posing as landlords to steal their deposit and initial rent payment.

How RentProfile uses Land Registry data

RentProfile uses Land Registry’s online services to look up and validate the property ownership of landlords in England and Wales. By using Business e-services and Business Gateway, RentProfile has real-time access to Land Registry property records, rather than manually requesting information.

Business Gateway has been immensely useful in helping us reduce the processing time of validating landlords, due to the ability to automate the process,

says Paul Munday, Co-founder of RentProfile.

Matching the owner’s name suits our business, as we have the details of the person claiming to be the owner already and so a standard ownership report is not always necessary.

We were able to integrate our systems with Land Registry within a few days, and where the documentation wasn’t clear found a good level of support from the Land Registry technical team.

We continue to work with Land Registry, who support our efforts, to better understand how we can use their information to further help landlords and tenants rent with confidence.

How RentProfile serves tenants

Prospective tenants can search and verify landlord details for free on the RentProfile website, such as property ownership or the last digits of a landlord’s bank account. If a landlord is not listed, the searcher can invite the landlord to sign up, or request a landlord background check report for a small fee.

RentProfile’s landlord verification includes identity, rental property ownership, history of housing prosecutions and reports from other renters.

This site brings together huge amounts of data in one place and will help renters to build up a better picture of who owns our homes.

Betsy Dillner, Director of Generation Rent

How RentProfile serves landlords

Genuine landlords can sign up to create a profile on the RentProfile website, which is then added to a directory and searchable by renters.

Landlords who sign up benefit from being alerted if somebody attempts to impersonate them or if a property is being advertised without their permission. They can use a unique reference or add a link to their profile on any other websites.

The RentProfile team hope to integrate their checking technology within listing sites and do more to support social landlords.

Rental scams by non-landlords have been a problem in the sector for a long time, impacting not just tenants but landlords as well. We support RentProfile’s work which has the potential to change the industry for the better.

Andrew Goodacre, Chief Executive Officer of the Residential Landlords Association

About rental fraud

In 2015, Action Fraud received 3,193 reports of rental fraud, an increase of 44% on the year before. The Local Government Association has suggested this represents just 5% of victims because most cases are not reported, due to embarrassment. With a deposit and rent averaging £1,000, it means £63 million is lost each year to fake landlord scams.

RentProfile received a UK government grant from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, in 2015, to recognise its work in tackling this social problem.

Published 12 January 2017