Unlocking the future of tenant referencing: HomeLet's VISTA set to revolutionise the UK letting agency industry

Today, we’re excited to announce that we will soon be launching ‘VISTA’ – an innovative, fast, and accurate tenant referencing service that eliminates fraud by using leading fraud detection technology and providing a true affordability assessment of applicants. 

VISTA uses the same data as banks, credit card companies and mortgage companies with 70% of reference applications being completed in real-time.

A result of a strategic partnership with data analytics specialist, Experian, VISTA revolutionises tenant referencing by harnessing 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.

In the last year, fraud within the lettings industry has surged by a third. From counterfeit credit files to advanced document manipulation, tenancy fraud has become more strategic, complex, and targeted. 

The surge in fraudulent activity is not solely attributable to an increase in criminal behaviour. Present market conditions have pushed an escalating number of individuals towards resorting to potentially deceptive practices to secure housing for their families and outmanoeuvre the intensifying competition and high demands for available properties.

The severe shortage of available properties and the mounting demand have prompted more people to seek alternative means of obtaining a tenancy in a desirable property.

VISTA is coming to market following three years of research and development and an investment of over £3 million.

On the news, our CEO, Andy Halstead, has said:

“The next two years look to be very difficult for many tenants - rents are at record highs and the cost of living is making life almost impossible for so many. In parallel, fraudulent activity is surging.

A world class referencing and assessment service, that guarantees the rental income for letting agents and their landlords is essential. The ‘old’ way of completing references is simply not good enough for today's and tomorrow’s market.

Our customers have spoken, and we have listened and acted. Our new advanced referencing process VISTA surpasses all referencing solutions today. The result of three years of research and development and an investment of over £3 million, VISTA will provide the highest protection for our agents and landlords in the face of the housing market crisis and rising fraudulent references.’

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 CCJs

- Enhanced verification of applicants' identification and addresses, with rigorous checks to confirm multiple data sources

- An accurate detection system that identifies inconsistencies in applicant data, raising alerts for further examination by our expert team

- A comprehensive income and affordability assessment to verify employment information directly with the applicant's payroll service provider

- A dedicated and expert team committed to reviewing any alerts or anomalies, and ensure the smoothest process possible

A defining moment for HomeLet customers

Our commitment to staying ahead of the ever-evolving lettings industry and the growing vulnerability to tenancy fraud has led to the creation of VISTA.

VISTA, developed in collaboration with Experian, promises to be the ultimate defence against tenancy fraud, safeguarding agents, and their clients from the damaging impact of these crimes.

We take pride in being the sole UK business with exclusive and extensive access to deeper, cleaner, and more analysed credit history data through CAIS (Credit Account Information Sharing), enabling the verification of income as seen within the bank account, which is used to complete affordability assessments. 

Our own proprietary data from over 30 years in the industry and Experian's expertise and insights, means a score can be built for the future based on our vast knowledge of almost one million people referenced every year providing unique data and insight into tenant behaviour and performance.

With VISTA, the process is expedited from days to minutes, resulting in a significant increase in fraud prevention and real-time affordability checks. 

The VISTA difference

VISTA is set to revolutionise tenant referencing with unparalleled data insights. It goes beyond industry norms by providing a comprehensive picture of applicants, including their credit commitments and essential expenditures. All of this comes as part of the standard referencing process, offering agents and landlords increased protection and the ability to verify an applicant's income and affordability, enabling more informed decisions.