Friday 22 January 2016 3.41pm
Yes, in ldw's example that is clearly a socially rented property, therefore it should not be advertised or let. That's the point. It's a quick, easy, and streamlined search that gives away little personal info (unlike the land registry search that you espouse).
If you are signing up to give someone £1,000+ a month for rent then as a very minimum you want to know their name, address for service and their bona fides. I would venture to suggest that the only way of satisfying oneself in these situations is to conduct an HMLR search. This stupid site does not say definitively what the ownership position is. All that has been done is Southwark has made a quick buck by flogging tenants' details.
I'm not sure who these businesses are that want to "target occupants either because they are or are not tenants", or what advantage it would give them to have that info anyway (and, as you have stated, it's already available if they really wanted it). Maybe for estate agents or mortgage brokers if they want to send advertising to leaseholders? Probably easier to just send to everyone in the block than to have someone conduct a search for each property.
You're talking the likes of expensive doorstep lenders targeting potential customers (or indeed any other business targeting a particular demographic of customer). Yes, it might be easier to send everyone in a block a letter if an HMLR search was needed to establish ownership, but not with this new system.