HomeLet, the UK’s largest tenant referencing and specialist lettings insurance company, is proudly announcing the launch of VISTA, a ground-breaking tenant referencing service designed to provide true, accurate affordability assessment of applicants, and mitigate fraud risk.

Based on a wide range of datasets, HomeLet will streamline much of its processes, with 70% of tenant reference applications being completed in real-time and 30% on the same day. The solution will also quickly identify any applications which may need further investigation.

In the last year alone, fraud within the lettings industry has surged by more than a third, the company’s data reveals. The increase in fraudulent activity is not solely attributable to an increase in criminal behaviour. Market conditions have pushed more individuals towards deceptive practices to secure rental housing.

From counterfeit credit files to advanced document manipulation, tenancy fraud has become more strategic, complex, and targeted. HomeLet receives more than 200 fraudulent tenancy applications every day.

By deploying solutions in partnership with Experian, HomeLet is leading the fight against this rise in fraud.

Increasing rents and rental property shortages, combined with the cost-of-living-crisis and inflation means understanding affordability has never been more important for landlords, tenants and letting agents.

VISTA will deliver a clearer, accurate picture of a tenant’s affordability, in rapid time.

This means applicants will receive the outcome of their application quickly, so they are in the best position to secure the property they want, whilst ensuring they let a property which is suitable and appropriate for their current financial circumstances. Giving peace of mind to tenants, landlords and letting agents.

On the launch, Andy Halstead, CEO of HomeLet and Let Alliance, said:

“Through VISTA, we are about to revolutionise tenant referencing services in the UK. Our advanced referencing process surpasses all existing solutions, providing the highest protection for our agents and landlords in the face of the housing market crisis and rising fraudulent references. The VISTA journey for tenant applicants is simple, and the outcomes for Letting Agents are instant, accurate, and give our customers a competitive edge. For the first time in the UK, tenant applicants will go through an affordability assessment that is based on much more than earnings alone”

VISTA is the result of an investment of over £3 million and three years of research and development combined with over 30 years of specialist industry expertise and proprietary data. The solution harnesses the power of data, technology, and human expertise to deliver a fully optimised tenant referencing solution, offering the highest level of protection for letting agents and landlords.

Scott Hardiman, Managing Director, Decisioning, Experian UK&I, said:

“We are delighted to be working with a forward-thinking leader such as HomeLet. The solution brings Experian’s advanced analytics, data and deployment software to the letting sector, to enable more faster, fairer and more accurate decisions for customers.

“Increasingly automation plays a critical role in helping businesses achieve their aims and we’re proud that our services can support them in doing so.”

Key features of VISTA include:
● A ground-breaking scorecard that evaluates an applicant’s suitability, considering factors such as credit commitments, credit agreements, and overall indebtedness. This ensures a fairer assessment, avoiding unnecessary penalties for those who have rectified their payments after bankruptcy or County Court Judgements (CCJs)
● A future focused affordability calculation using ongoing credit commitment data
● Enhanced verification of applicants’ identification and addresses, with rigorous checks to confirm multiple data sources
● An accurate fraud detection system that identifies inconsistencies in applicant data, raising alerts for further examination by our expert team
● A dedicated and expert team committed to reviewing any alerts or anomalies and ensure the smoothest process possible, creating a solution that has the perfect blend of data, technology, and people.