Guide to buying and renting property with open banking

14 May 2024

Buying and renting a home in the UK can be complex, time-consuming and frustrating – requiring lots of paperwork at different stages of the process before the home-owner or renter can cross the threshold.

A shortage of housing stock and increases in interest rates and rental costs, combined with arduous processes to verify income, can make securing a place to live a serious challenge. There’s a high failure rate too, with around 30% of house sales falling through each year.

However, open banking technology – where individuals consent to share their bank account data with trusted third parties – is already helping to tackle some of the challenges faced by sellers, buyers, landlords, tenants, lenders, and estate agents.

Open banking also offers a secure way to send and receive the large sums required for deposits and exchange.

Our latest guide sets out how open banking can help home-buyers and renters with every step, and explores further ways we can make the process truly digital.  You can read the guide here.

Saving for a deposit

Money management apps can help people build a regular savings habit, enabling them to quickly and easily move money from their current account to higher interest-bearing accounts as they save for a deposit. There is also an open banking-based savings app designed for first-time buyers, which lets buyers open a Lifetime ISA, build their deposit with government incentives and benefit from tax allowances.  

Applying for a mortgage

For most buyers, the paper trail starts with securing a mortgage, and verifying their ability to repay it. This can involve collating several months’ worth of pay slips, bank statements, and bills, as well as proof of identity and address. The application process alone takes an average of four to six weeks.

However, an increasing number of lenders now use open banking connections to validate a borrower’s income, eliminating the need to provide paperwork and reducing the time it takes to complete the verification process from days or weeks, to even minutes.

In some cases, these connections allow buyers to provide additional evidence of a solid financial track record – such as regular council tax payments – to factor into mortgage applications. This can mean more personalised mortgage offers.


The increased cost of buying a home has created a highly competitive market for rental properties, with landlords and letting agents often requiring rigorous vetting and up to six months’ worth of rent in advance, on top of a deposit.

This works disproportionately against some sections of the population, particularly the 5 million people in the UK who have a ‘thin’ credit file.

Tenant vetting

Open banking can help with tenant vetting, and affordability checks. Prospective tenants need to provide evidence of their ability to pay their rent (an affordability check), usually by providing six months’ worth of their most recent bank statements and payslips. This is time-consuming for all parties, can take several days, and is a significant administration overhead for landlords and letting agents. However, open banking offers a speedy and cost-effective alternative that can benefit all parties.

Renters can choose to authorise access to their financial data via open banking connections, with some apps enabling the quick categorisation of transactions, giving agents and landlords an up-to-date and detailed snapshot of all their incomings and outgoings. This speeds up the vetting process – checks can sometimes be completed in a single day, helping them to secure their accommodation.

It can also increase the likelihood of approval for some tenants, particularly those who might be excluded by traditional checks, because they can include evidence of income and additional repayments, for example from savings, international sources and subscription services, which can help tenants build their profile and increase their likelihood of acceptance.

There are several platforms that use open banking data to offer one-stop tenant vetting and on-boarding services, pre-qualification and automated document signing.

Initiatives such as the Open Property Data Association also aim to digitise key steps in the home-buying process. The organisation recently released its latest property data standards to make free and shareable data tools available across the property industry.

In the not-too-distant future, home-buying in the UK could follow the Australian market, and be a digital experience from start-to-finish.