OpenRent Review 2018 – Is The Free Trial Legit?

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You’ve probably recently stumbled upon the name OpenRent, the ridiculously cheap online letting agent that sounds too good to be true.

So now you’re fumbling around the internet, doing the research, trying to work out how it all works, and whether OpenRent is a viable option to help you find your next tenants.

You’ve come to the right place.

But first, before getting into the meat and potatoes…

OpenRent Letting Agents

Ok, so…

The purpose of this blog post is to provide some much-needed clarity to ease the minds of landlords that find themselves grossly suspicious of OpenRent’s free trial offer, which claims to advertise your rental property on Rightmove and Zoopla…. for FREE.

Yup, free FREE!

No doubt, the suspicion is thoroughly justified, because when something sounds too good to be true – especially when dealing with letting agents- it usually is, and it often results in paying through the ass because the small-print was… err.. too small, and hidden away in a dark corner somewhere.

I’ve used OpenRent to find tenants a few times, so let me give you the lowdown.

Is OpenRent a scam, is there a catch?

The million dollar question…

Is OpenRent a scam? The short answer: NO.

Is the free trial actually “free”… no strings attached… no dodgy small-print… no credit card details required? Yup, that’s correct.

So I could end up marketing my property on the biggest property portals in the UK (e.g. Rightmove, Zoopla and Gumtree etc.) and consequently find tenants without spending a penny, all through OpenRent’s free trial offer? Exactly.

I can’t really be clearer; OpenRent’s free trial is genuinely legit, and there are no obligations to continue using their services after the trial. If you wish to continue using their services after the free trial, you’ll need to pay a very reasonable £29 for a further three months worth of advertising on Rightmove and the alike.

So if that’s what you wanted to hear, then go ahead and use their free trial. There’s nothing to fear.

However, if you need more of an explanation and you’re interested in some more details, follow me…

How was my experience with OpenRent? Did I find tenants for free?

I most recently used OpenRent earlier this year, and I took advantage of their free trial.

With in no time at all I had registered myself as a landlord, submitted my property details via their online control panel and found my property listed on both Rightmove and Zoopla. I did NOT have to enter any credit card details.

With in a couple of days I had received a dozen or so enquiries in the form of emails and voice-messages, which was amazing. I must add, the property I listed is located in a highly sought after area, and demand outstrips the supply 10-fold.

In theory, I could have probably found tenants for free during the 5 day trial period. However, I happily ended up paying the £29 for an extra 3 months service, and I’ll explain way…

I like to give all suitable applicants the opportunity to view the property, so that way I have a greater pool of tenants to choose from. Plus, it’s incredible how disappointing some applicants end up being, despite how good they appear on paper. So even though I had whittled the shortlist down to about 5 or 6, there was still no guarantee that any of them would tickle my pickle.

The viewings spanned over a week, which meant I wouldn’t get to meet everyone during the trial period, and the golden rule is to never stop the hunt until contracts have been signed and a deposit has been received. I would NEVER recommend putting the breaks on marketing until tenants have been absolutely confirmed, simply because deals breaking and situations changing is overwhelmingly common.

I suspect that while many landlords do find tenants during the 5 day trial, I also believe many end up paying the upgrade fee; it’s unlikely most landlords will receive enquiries, take viewings and sign contracts with in 5 days! In that case, most sensible landlords will pay the measly £29 upgrade fee to prolong the Rightmove & Zoopla listings.

In conclusion, I used OpenRent’s free trial and received a buttload of enquiries, but ended up upgrading because I wanted to continue receiving enquiries in case any a deal didn’t materialise. However, I did end up signing an awesome tenant that applied during the trial period, and the deal was complete with in 2 weeks, all for £29.

Honestly, total bargain.

Quick tip/note for using OpenRent

Not only during my recent experience, but also previous times, I found myself inundated with enquiries, but I did notice the quality in enquiries drastically varied- some were frustratingly poor, while others were decent! Consequently, I found myself wasting a lot of time with the chaff.

OpenRent pushes their stock onto Gumtree, so I suspect many of the poor quality enquiries stem from there (Gumtree is notorious for generating less than desirable applications, although a great platform for lead generation, no doubt). Fortunately, OpenRent have an “Advanced tenant screening” option, and once that’s enabled, applicants are required to answer more questions before applying. Naturally, it slows down the enquiries, but I find the quality massively improves.

So if you find yourself in a similar situation- being drowned by garbage- perhaps try enabling the feature!

The most popular UK online letting agent?

OpenRent appeared on my radar back in 2011, when they first entered the market with their very shocking low cost of £20, which included your property being marketed on Rightmove– by far the cheapest offering on the market, and a real threat to their competitors, who were mostly shifting similar packages at around the £50 mark.

Personally, I thought there was a catch or a devastating miscalculation. It just seemed too good to be true.

I speculated that they would topple over like most other agents that tried to grab the market share quickly and aggressively with unsustainable offers, and/or they had scaled back on good and vital customer services to cover their running costs. Either way, the setup looked destined for failure.

5 or so years later… to my surprise (and perhaps to the amazement of other online agents), OpenRent are now arguably the most popular UK online letting agent (they’re currently advertising over 2,500 properties on Rightmove), and they’ve left behind a strong trail of positive reviews and are still offering mind-blowing rates that continue to blow the competition out of the water.

I’m not usually one to mince my words or hype bullshit, and you can read many of my other blog posts to certify that claim. So believe me when I say, OpenRent are the real deal, and I haven’t heard a bad word about them from anyone, especially other landlords.

How OpenRent works & their current FREE trial explained

Most of you should already know how online agents work. If not, you can find out the details over here for a complete guide on online letting agents.

Now, let’s take a closer look at OpenRent’s offerings…

OpenRent Packages & Prices

OpenRent Packages & Prices

‘OpenRent Only’ package- IGNORE IT!
I would personally ignore the “FREE” package- even as enticing as “always free” sounds- because that package only markets your property on their internal website (i.e. not on Rightmove or Zoopla). That’s a garbage service as far as I’m concerned, and it’s no surprise it’s free (but I get why it’s there). I’ve already emphasised the importance of marketing vacant BTL properties on Rightmove– and there is no substitute for it.

If you want the best chance of filling your vacant BTL property and finding tenants quickly- get your property on Rightmove. That’s it.

The most popular ‘Ultimate Advertising’ FREE Trial package
This is the package I get questioned about the most, because it comes with a free trial, yet it remarkably comes with all of the below…

OpenRent FREE Package

OpenRent FREE Package

But let explain and clarify for your own peace of mind…

  • The trial is for 5 days. Their service and everything listed above is free with in those 5 days.
  • After the free trial you do NOT have to pay anything unless you wish to continue using their service (more explained below).
  • The free trial is only available to “first time” users. If you have already taken advantage of their services, you will be subject to their £29 fee, which includes the exact same offering as the free trial, but for 3 months (still extremely reasonable).
  • Your vacant property WILL get listed on Rightmove, Zoopla & Gumtree (usually with in 24 hours), and believe me when I say that 5 days is generally MORE than enough time to generate a buttload of enquiries… unless you’re trying to shift a piece-of-shit death-trap in the middle of nowhere, that is. But ultimately, you could end up finding tenants without spending a penny during the free trial.
  • You’re NOT tied into any contracts, so you won’t be held accountable to pay any fees during the free trial.
  • There are NO hidden or extra fees, like extortionate tenancy renewal fees, check-in fees etc!
  • You don’t need to enter any credit card or payment details (it’s always sketchy and nerve wracking when free trials require payment details)!

What if I don’t find tenants in 5 days and want to market my property for longer? Ok, good question. Of course, there’s a chance you may not find the perfect tenants with in 5 days.

In this case, you have the option of paying £29 (that includes VAT) to extend their service for an extra 3 months. That’s still currently cheaper than any other online agent offering a similar package. This is the time when you will be required to enter your credit card details.

Advertising & Rent now package, the £49 package
If you want more of a premium service, this is the one for you- it includes all the extras listed in the diagram above. All pretty useful stuff, which takes care of more of the administrative responsibilities (e.g. securing the tenancy deposit). And again, the price really is very reasonable.

I must emphasise though, this package is NOT part of the “Free trial” offering, but you will have the option to “upgrade” to the premium package after the free trial if you wish to extend the service. It’s your call.

How are they able to offer such low prices & still survive?

During the extremely rare cases where an unbelievable offer proves to be true and pure, I need to understand why, don’t you? I literally need to, otherwise I’ll forever be looking for that trip-wire and unlikely to convert into a customer. The looming concern of being caught out by the small-print would definitely wreak havoc.

So to relieve myself from concern, and perhaps yours too, I’ve spoken directly to one of the co-founders to gain a better understanding of what the hell is going on, and how they’re able to make their business model financially viable under the circumstances. Having heard their side, I’m now informed enough to explain it to you, so you can join the dots for yourself.

They’re able to offer FREE trials and the cheapest rates thereafter (to my knowledge), while not compromising on customer service, because of three main reasons…

  • 1) In-house technical skills – one of the biggest costs of starting and running any online service/website is developing and maintaining the technical infrastructure. Fortunately, one of the founding-members of OpenRent is a technical genius, so the only real start-up cost of developing the website was his time (which I’m not devaluing, but there was no hard cash required). So straight away a large portion of that cost was eradicated. That said, they have massively evolved since their start-up days, so they do now have a team of technical-monkeys steering the ship, not just one socially inept geek.

    From what I know, most online letting agent founders aren’t website developers, they’re letting agents and/or landlords, so they have to take a HUGE hit on development costs.

  • 2) Automation – I guess this is an extension of the above factor, and achieved because of the technical abilities they have at their disposal.

    While they do have full-time phone support available and real people replying to emails, their system is extremely automated, meaning less human interference is required, which means less employed manpower.

    Now, don’t misconstrue that as a negative, because it’s not. All I’m saying is that they have automated their system so well that there’s very little reason for anyone to pick up the phone and ask for support, because their automated system takes care of most of the operational procedures, and keeps landlords fully in the loop with live status updates.

  • 3) Upselling other products – they make a large chunk of change from upselling other products beyond their bread and butter “Tenant find service“, such as drawing up contacts, EPC’s and Gas Safety Checks.

    To be honest, most other online agents businesses do the same. They probably wouldn’t survive without the upsells.

  • 4) Great service – they’re so sure their service is spectacular that they’re confident you’ll return to use their service over and over, only you won’t mind paying their regular fees you’ll be subject to next time. Basically, they’ll profit from repeat business.

That all makes sense.

This sounds like a sales pitch!

Believe me, it’s not.

As said, I’m not here to sell anything, and I don’t hype bullshit.

Most online letting agents approach me with an enticing sales pitch, because they want to be added to my list of online letting agents table. I refuse 98% of them (that’s why my list is very limited), even when they try to twist my arm with financial compensation. Unless I understand, use and/or believe they are providing a valuable service to landlords, I’m not interested. That’s the bottom line.

So, go ahead and try OpenRent’s FREE trial if you were unsure, they’re legit.

I’m not actually sure how long the free trial will be available for, but next time you need to find tenants it’s well worth seeing if the offer is still available.

Tenant Referencing…

Don’t forget!

Seriously, do not forget!

Regardless of who or what service you use to find tenants, ensure you ALWAYS do thorough tenant referencing. Referencing is the one area where I recommend every landlord to be most diligent, because allowing poor tenants to slip through the net can be one of most excruciatingly painful experiences.

Your thoughts…

So, out of genuine curiosity, have you used OpenRent? If so, please provide your feedback below. Similarly, if you’re thinking about using them, or have any questions regarding their service.

Also, please let me know how you get on if you decide to use them.

56 Comments- Join The Conversation...

Showing 6 - 56 comments (out of 56)
1 out of 5 rating2 out of 5 rating3 out of 5 rating4 out of 5 rating1 out of 5 rating27 customers have rated their OpenRent experience.4.3 out of 5 Stars.Leave your Comment / Review
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Malcolm Smith 21st September, 2015 @ 07:21

I have used OpenRent many times. I pay the £29 fee which gets my advert on Rightmove and Zoopla. What this review doesn't mention is that your advert will also go on Gumtree and gets a free "bump" every day. There is also a feature on OpenRent called "Rent Now". If a tenant likes a property they can go on the site press this button and after paying a holding deposit they can reserve the flat. The landlord still has the option of declining the tenant if the references don't work out. However, this is a great way of sorting out serious tenants from those who are not really interested. The website is also easy to use and it takes about 24 hours for them to get your ads on the sites.

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Mark Hodge 21st September, 2015 @ 07:34
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Wow, I used these guys to rent my house. RESULT. Inundated with would be tenants. Had prospects queueing like jumbo jets waiting to land at Heathrow. Not only did that property get snapped up within 5 days, but as we are now moving abroad ( 3 months later) I rang a couple who were disappointed to lose out on the property and asked if they wanted to rent the house we were living in. " we can't come round till after work this afternoon" I'll wait said I. They loved it more than the first house. Signed a two year agreement, the length of our contract abroad. BINGO, two houses rented for one free advert. Would recommend, use again, pay good money to use their service.

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Stefan 21st September, 2015 @ 08:03
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I used open rent a few months ago - EXCELLENT
The signup process was mega slick, the system to track and contact potential clients was excellent. I used the free trial, however I was then happy to pay to use their service for doing the contract, referencing etc. All in all I had maybe a dozen leads in the space of a week and rented the flat to someone for the princely sum of about £50 quid.

The flat was managed by a "Full service letting agent" who is getting the sack this month. They had been taking their 10%+VAT for the past 5 years for the guy who was in the above flat. When he moved out I went round and had a look.

It was a total shit hole, the skirting boards needed cleaning with a CHISEL. Sinks filthy, carpets filthy. I asked the letting agent to do an inspection, I didnt let them know I had been round.

I'll copy below their response below. Does this deserve 5 year of fees costing about £3200?

"...The property does need a full clean, however we feel that as the tenant was living there for 5 years and no interim cleaning was needed between tenancies for this period, no charge should be made from the tenants deposit...."

They are getting the sack for another property we have this month.

I will DEFINITELY use Open rent again.

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Robert Moseley 21st September, 2015 @ 08:14
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Used Open Rent 3 times, each time an excellent service and inundated with potential tenants, used the £20 reference search, very good service. Personally I won`t go any where else, as a private landlord Open Rent saves ££££`s

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mike 21st September, 2015 @ 08:23
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I've used OpenRent. Very happy. Used them to let my flat in London. It's my first BTL flat and I was planning to use an agent, but paying 10%+ for next to nothing was way too much. OpenRent were fantastic. When I had questions they emailed back quickly. Real people not some standard offshore template letter. Excellent.

One thing you don't mention above is the big advantage to the tenants. My tenants would have been charged hundreds of pounds for references, signing on fee, inventory etc if I'd used an agent. Instead they paid zilch apart from a small referencing fee (£20?). At renewal, same thing. Zero fees. So I have happy tenants who give me no hassle at all.

This sounds like I'm on commission now.

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Sharon 21st September, 2015 @ 09:51
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Used them a few times now and have found their website easy to use, and very effective at generating enquiries.

Will definetly use them again when I need new tenants.

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Eric Dickinson 21st September, 2015 @ 10:35

Nicely done. I'll be giving them a test run at some point soon. Many thanks

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 21st September, 2015 @ 11:10

Folks, thanks for all the feedback, really useful and reassuring. I'm sure it will help other landlords make their decision.

I've made some small adjustments to the post based on the feedback, so now it includes more relevant and useful information.

So once again, many thanks.

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Adam 21st September, 2015 @ 11:12
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I used OpenRent for my first ever rental, after getting quotes from high street agents i was staggered by the saving. i researched other online services but this one convinced me. i used them to arrange my landlord has cert and boiler service and was really impressed as it was half the price i had found elsewhere. I used their rent now product any my tenant even said how brilliant it was doing it all online. They were quick to respond to questions and i found their customer service to be one of the best i have used. I will be using them again.

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The Landlord 21st September, 2015 @ 11:17

Good point, which perhaps I didn't talk enough about. Their extra add-ons they provide (e.g. gas safe checks, EPC's) are very reasonable priced as well.

Gas Safety Checks starting from £45... that's pretty sweet!

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Sanjay 21st September, 2015 @ 12:14
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I used Openrent a few months ago to let my flat. It was the cheapest online agents around, so was a bit skeptical ... but it was amazing!!

I took out their £49 service, which included their tenants reference checking / credit rating, online tenancy agreement and deposit holding scheme. I didn't use their inventory service as it was too expensive so I found an template online and did this myself. I used for the EPC, gas and electricity safety checks.

Within 3 days of listing my property I had already received 12 enquiries from good quality tenants and very few timewasters. After about 30 enquiries and 12 interviews and viewings it only took 3 weeks to let my property to a lovely family who are intending to stay long term and even decorated my flat for free.

I love OpenRent and would definitely recommend them and use them again in future.

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Julie 21st September, 2015 @ 12:25
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I used them in July and found my tenant within a few days. They were very professional and helpful and I loved the automated IT setup that they have in place. You receive the requests instantly, preventing you from losing possible tenants. This is a massive advantage over some other online agents, who batch the enquiries and by the time you respond, the tenants have moved on. I will definitely use them for my next let.

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Rayhan Rafiq Omar 22nd September, 2015 @ 09:11

Isn't it incredible that there is not a single negative comment here? I guess that in itself is a strong sign of quality.

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The Landlord 22nd September, 2015 @ 10:15

Sanjay, Julie, thanks for the feedback!

Very incredible, especially since people are usually more eager to leave feedback when they have something to complain about. The fact no one has (so far), is a very positive sign.

But as said in the post, I've only ever heard good things about OpenRent, although as with all service based companies, I'm sure there are a few dissatisfied customers lurking (rightly or wrongly so).

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Tesa 22nd September, 2015 @ 10:37

Thanks Landlord. I was one of the cynics that thought there was a catch. Free lunches scare me by instinct :-)

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Owen Temple 30th September, 2015 @ 22:54
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I used Openrent as a first-time and less than enthusiastic landlord. I can't fault them. I used the £49 service including referencing and documentation and consider it fantastic value. Something doesn't have to be free to be great! So pleased with it I recommended Openrent to my son who had exactly the same experience.
Oh yes, and we've got tenants we're very happy with - which is important when they are your neighbours as well!

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john 16th February, 2016 @ 23:58

Posted info Sunday this evening Tuesday so far swamped with emails voice messages texts over the moon with incredible speed of results I went for full package vetting ast ect awesome value for money and as mentioned good value for tenants a win win for all a real game changer. goodbye pricey letting agents hello open rent the future of letting:-)

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Jeremy 23rd May, 2016 @ 21:49
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I have used Openrent twice and both times I was very impressed with the quality of service. I have found excellent tenants on both occasions from a considerable choice. Curiously, I was recommended to use them by a letting agent salesman, after I had had a particularly bad experience with tenants introduced by their agency and very good advice it has proved to be.

Interestingly when I was letting second occasion,one of the numbers listed as interested in my property was that of a letting agency as they called me to ask whether I wanted any help marketing the property: I explained to him that I would not want to pay his organisation 1 months rent plus VAT to find cr*p tenants when I could find my own for far less. He muttered something about I must have had a bad experience with letting agencies and went away. I will definitely use them again.

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Szilard 12th October, 2016 @ 15:06

Its amazing that there's no negative reviews.well i have one.was looking for a house,but every time that i found one and made enquiries i just never got any reply this is so useless that's not even funny

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 12th October, 2016 @ 15:19

Ahh, that must be frustrating. But I'm assuming that actually has nothing to do with OpenRent's service in itself- it's down to the landlord's to respond to the enquiries.

OpenRent will pass on the enquiries, but they can't force the landlord to respond to your enquiries.

Also worth noting, you're coming at the service from a tenant's point of view, not the landlord (the people using and paying for the service).

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Mike 9th November, 2016 @ 08:28
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Openrent are fantastic. Simple business model that works perfectly. The fees are fair and the customer service is excellent. No team of cheap offshore people sending stock replies. I've sent emails a few times and always got a prompt and helpful response from someone that knows the business. So important.
What has kept me loyal is that they are fair and don't screw you on upsells and extras. I use their referencing and inventory service, but they have no problem at all with you using your own. Good company. Openrent if you are reading this, great job and don't change a thing. You deserve to do well.

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Martin 16th December, 2016 @ 21:09
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First Time landlord stumbled upon Open Rent, After Deciding was not going to pay silly amounts of money for a Poor Service from Estate Agent with No Come Back or support if any thing went wrong !

Used Open Rent FULL services and found there advice very helpful
A few daft people did manage to get though there very efficient filtering system
but I politely said No Way, D.H.S, H.B, AND ONE idiot asking as he had got his girl friend pregnant could he have greatly reduced rent ?
Sure you can imagine what politely said !!
THEY ALWAYS get back to you in 24 hrs, How many Company's Do This ???

Referencing service excellent, and fast they check every thing
WILL definitely USE THEM AGAIN !!

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Alan 11th April, 2017 @ 09:32
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I am currently using openrent to find a tenant. Their system is well automated and logical once you have used it a few times. One thing that isn't clear to start with is that general inquiries that come from some sites include very little information, and i had at least one without a name which can be a tad disconcerting.

So while I can see Szilard point of view i can also understand any landlords reluctance to contact applicants that provide little information.

From the landlords perspective the way to avoid this is to switch on the advanced tenant screening option. This may mean fewer inquiries but those you get should be better quality and meet your advertised expectation.

In regard to response level so far i have had 6 inquiries in 4 days with 2 viewings booked. This is better than i expected. I also used their inventory service / condition report which runs to 37 pages on an unfurnished 2 bed property so quite detailed.

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Sally 24th April, 2017 @ 14:14
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I've used Open rent to let two properties. I cannot rate them highly enough. In fact it does not make sense to use another agency! Both of my properties are in excellent condition so I know that there will be minimal issues for the tenant (if any) so there is no point in me paying someone to "manage" them when in effect there is nothing to manage. I opt for the tenant referencing for peace of mind have rented my properties for full market value. One I rented for £200 per month more than what brick and mortar letting agents were telling me it was worth. They need to cover their costs and want a quick profit, I want and need to earn a living. In both properties the tenants have no been in situ for 3 years. I do have one other property that I gave to one of the largest letting agents in the city - the hassle I'm having is phenomenal. They personally vouched for the tenant (who sneakily moved in her dog) and gave me a contract which means there is no break clause for me at all. The tenant removed new carpets and bathroom, painted a new mahogany fireplace, and tore out the doors - all to suit her taste, not because they were at at fault. The agent are defending the tenant stating the house was in disrepair (it wasn't.) To add salt to the wound I reduced the rent by £600 per annum because I was told that the tenant was virtually homeless after a messy divorce. I've been suckered by a high street agent and I will NEVER use one again. In the meantime Openrent have been awesome. No problems with the tenants. When I've been unsure about anything I've sent them an email and received prompt responses. I just can't fault them! Once I'm out of this current letting agent contract this property too is going on Openrent - I can't wait!

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Mass 30th May, 2017 @ 21:52
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They are very inaccurate in processing applications
And it's not important for openrent to reach real informations about thier customers and so they don't spend more than 5 days for referencing a tenant and try to fail the referencing by sending wrong informations to landlords and rejecting the tenants application by response from landlords to tenants and taking only and only all these wrong things they do for getting £20/tenant not more than 5 days spend period for each application and repeating again for the same tenant.
But thier big fault of openrent is distributing of false informations from one sector of public to other sector of public . Which is very dangerous for society. They hide informations which send from tenants to landlords and vice versa . Because the informations is not true and only cause the rejection of applications in a timely manner routine not more than 5 days.
and so more income from the same tenant and repealing this loop again and again.
Thanks for reading

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Nicola 17th October, 2017 @ 09:58
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Amazing, found tenants with in the 5 day free period so didn't pay a penny! Very happy with tenants.

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Timmy 25th October, 2017 @ 02:02
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The best service experience I ever had, thanks to Openrent.

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Lewis 8th January, 2018 @ 15:32

I'm sure everything in this article is true, but it feels a little dishonest that you don't mention that you are an affiliate of OpenRent. Why not just say?

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The Landlord 8th January, 2018 @ 17:15

Because, from what I remember, I wrote this article before I was even an affiliate. I've written reviews about services I'm not affiliated with at all...

But more importantly, affiliation/money is never my incentive for writing reviews, hence why I refuse 99% of offers. I could be a lot richer.

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Peter 10th April, 2018 @ 10:50
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I have used Open Rent previously lured by their low prices. All is well as long as you don't need to speak to someone about a query with the account.
I recently had to call them and had just a dreadful woman on the phone who didn't have a clue about any of the issues and constantly had to refer to someone else - ultimately it transpires they track your IP address without your knowledge and she told me she couldn't deal with me until I had sent a copy of my passport to them to prove who I was!! Beware!

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Indie 16th June, 2018 @ 18:12

Do they require proof of property ownership and my ID?
Thank you :-)

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The Landlord 17th June, 2018 @ 09:22


From what I remember, they don't require proof of ownership, but do require ID.

Shady questions, are you a tenant that sublets? :)

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Indie 17th June, 2018 @ 09:37

Wow, no!!!! You've got a very suspicious mind! I'm just a landlord who has not used them before and am naturally wary of giving such potentially risky info to a company I don't know.
I have looked at several online companies and one of them said Rightmove won't list without proof of property ownership.

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The Landlord 17th June, 2018 @ 18:06

I was just being facetious :)

But yeah, that's right, Rightmove won't list without ID, so all online agents that advertise on Rightmove should require ID.

In any case, OpenRent is a fine choice! I'd be interested to who you end up choosing and how the experience is, so please keep me informed.

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Fergus 19th October, 2018 @ 23:45
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Having been invited by Openrent to try their free offer, I constructed my advert and was then told that I wasn't eligible for the offer after all, because my wife had used them previously (separate company).
After all that effort, I decided to pay the £29 anyway, in the hope they would be as effective as my previous 'online marketing agent'. Day one, the all important Rightmove advert appeared after a few hours, but then glitches started occurring and my cover photos disappeared from the Rightmove and Zoopla portals. Numerous editing attempts couldn't restore the pictures and I discovered that remedial action from the Openrent team was not so forthcoming - hence I am posting here.
So much for the technical supergurus!

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Malcolm Smith 20th October, 2018 @ 09:30
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My partner has used Open Rent recently and has had a good experience. He paid the £29 and the advert rent online with Zoopla straight away. Rightmove takes longer because they insist on seeing proof of ownership of the property being rented. It seems like a cheap deal to me when you look at other competitors who charge £199 for a similar service.

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Abdul 9th November, 2018 @ 17:10
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OpenRent may have some limited use as an advertising platform, but as a letting agency it's a joke.

As to its "legal services"....Legal for Landlords?? You're having a giraffe! Do you think they're solicitors?

RentGuard for RGI? Try Direct Line for a better cheaper version.

And what happens if the tenant reports a maintenance-type problem to OpenRent (as they do, all the time, to proper agents)? Oh dear!

etc etc etc

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The Landlord 10th November, 2018 @ 09:01

You've clearly gone in blindly and not even understood the service OpenRent provide. They don't offer a fully managed service for landlords, so why would tenants report "maintenance-type problems to OpenRent"?

Of course, you might be able to find RGI cheaper somewhere else, but so what? That isn't even their core service.

Their core service is to advertise rentals for landlords (that want to manage their own property), and you'll be pushed to find any other online agent that advertises on Rightmove/Zoopla for less.

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Abdul 10th November, 2018 @ 14:09

In that case why do they push themselves as a LETTING AGENCY?

They are what you say - an advertising platform for rented properties who offer no competition to proper letting agents because they offer none of the services proper letting agencies offer.

I have used them. Amongst the myriad of useless and unvetted responses the platform generated I actually did select one who quickly turned into one of, if not THE, worst tenants I've had in 42 years of letting.

Can I also say that many of their adverts flout legislation. I believe in the past they've already been pulled up for failing to display EPCs on ads and currently are skating on very thin ice by failing to display landlord registration numbers on ads. And don't think the unregistered rogues (including some very unsavoury characters) aren't aware that these idiots will happily advertise the properties they are prohibited from letting. Of course, OpenRent couldn't care less who they're advertising for. After all they never so much as meet them, do they?

They're also getting a growing notoriety for suppressing negative criticism and bad reviews about themselves. Have a look at their Trustpilot site. That's a joke, mate.

Time they were stopped from calling themselves "letting agents". I mean, seriously - a letting agent who's never set foot in the properties they act as agents for??

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The Landlord 10th November, 2018 @ 20:43


In that case why do they push themselves as a LETTING AGENCY?

Because they offer letting services.

I have used them. Amongst the myriad of useless and unvetted responses the platform generated I actually did select one who quickly turned into one of, if not THE, worst tenants I've had in 42 years of letting.

That's not really OpenRent's fault. You ultimately chose the tenants.

Their job is to generate leads, which they did.

Almost all vacancies get applicants from lousy tenants, and for all self-managing landlords, it's OUR job to reference thoroughly to minimise risks.

After all they never so much as meet them, do they?

Which is the SAME as all online letting agents that offer an advertising service, not just OpenRent.

Time they were stopped from calling themselves "letting agents"

Most online letting agents don't offer managed services.

I think the fundamental problem is that you've made it a definition that ALL letting agents MUST offer fully managed services.

Evidently, the online agent model is NOT for you.

It seems like you didn't do any research on how online agents work (which is your fault), because almost all the issues you raise has nothing to do with OpenRent specifically, your actual gripe seems to be with the actual online agency model. I say that because if you had known how online letting agents work BEFORE you used them, you wouldn't be saying what you're saying right now.

You chose a "advertise only" package, and now you're complaining because you ended up choosing a bad tenant. Additionally, you're moaning about the definition of an online letting agency.

At some point, you need to take responsibility and stop blaming everyone else. Sorry, but you're being silly.

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abdul 11th November, 2018 @ 02:17

Sidestepping the ad homs and other deflections, what you seem to be saying is that OpenRent are as useful acting as letting agents who don't manage property as online hairdressers are who don't actually cut any hair.

"it's letting agency, Jim, but not as we know it"

So OpenRent is a letting agency which doesn't actually physically visit the properties it acts as agent for. Or have any direct contact with the landlords for whom it manages. It doesn't inspect property, so it knows nothing about its condition, the condition of the buildings they are in, or the surrounding areas. And it's happy to send its tenant clients to properties and landlords it knows nothing about. Equally, it's happy to refer anyone to these landlords without a thought as to their suitability. I might be missing something here, but isn't all this opening the door to a vast amount of time wasting? Isn't one of the central arts of tenant/property finding to match suitable tenants to suitable properties? But of course how do you do that if you don't know anything about either the tenants or the properties?

It seems the rest of it is about being a letting agent for properties the landlords manage themselves. And (lol) in your opinion I'm just too silly to see that this is how 'online letting agency' works and to see how much better it is than the management service non-online letting agents offer!!

Like barbers cut hair, letting agents manage property. It's what they do. Online shmonline. Managing property - all aspects of property - is what letting agents do.

Like I said, "It's letting agency Jim, but not as we know it". (or what could be described as Scotch Mist).

What OpenRent does is tenant finding. Plus, of course, "upselling" a range of pretty poor ancillary services for those too lazy to be able to either research where/who supplies these services best in their local area or too stupid to ask google for suggestions too.

So let's focus on what appears to be the only aspect of letting that they actually don't get the owner to do themselves. Advertising property to let on internet letting portals.

This is their sole useful function to the professional landlord who can get every other aspect of letting done better and cheaper by a proper letting agent.

But when you look at their ads, as you avoided commenting on, many of them don't contain compliant data such as landlords' registration numbers.

Are you comfortable with that?

Y'see one of the most basic functions of landlord registration is to refuse registration to people deemed unfit to be landlords. That includes individuals who have been convicted of offences such as crimes of violence, drugs and fraud. So when your 18 year old daughter is off to uni in some far off town and is looking for a flat there she knows when she sees a landlord registration number that her potential landlord has passed some basic local authority "fit and proper" suitability checks.

Are you really happy to be flying a flag for clowns whose ads don't comply with that basic legal requirement?

And do you think the scum who have been refused or removed from registration aren't aware that certain clowns don't care about the legal requirement to post the landlord registration number in all or any adverts for residential lets??

For fucks sake. They don't inspect properties. They don't inspect tenancies. They don't maintain properties. They haven't a clue who their landlords are. And in fact they don't manage properties AT ALL. All they do is advertise properties and they don't even do that compliantly!!!

O but forgive me. I just don't understaaaaand! This is the new and improved version of letting agency business!! Better than that old highstreet version!!

Y'know I get the feeling you've not been a landlord very long, and certainly not of a portfolio of any size. And with some certainty you've never owned or operated a letting agency either. Because you'd be something of a jackass to have a lengthy property experience and still see OpenRent as anything much more than a game.

Will it last? Hmmmm. A look at its filing history seems to show that the only cash it has is from investors (whose judgement re. online 'wonders' is notoriously poor) and that's after several years of operation. I wouldn't hold out much hope for it.

And if I were you I'd get hold of a copy of an old story to read and think about. It's called "The Emperor's New Clothes".

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The Landlord 11th November, 2018 @ 11:46


Again, you CHOSE to use the online letting agency model, yet you're complaining about the model. The jokes on you.

OpenRent didn't just suddenly stop providing inspections, or suddenly stop providing a fully managed service when you used their service, they have NEVER provided those services. And now you're complaining they don't provide those services, and all your efforts are being wasted on the semantics behind the meaning of "Online letting agency". Jesus Christ, you're a moron of epic proportions.

Did you actually use OpenRent thinking you were going to get a fully managed service? Yes or no? If yes, why? If no, then WTF are you complaining about? Again, you fail to understand your issue is with the online agency model, NOT with OpenRent specifically.

No one ever said online agencies are for everyone, and no one said they're better than high-street agencies. They're different models, suited for different types of landlords. Online agents clearly aren't for a landlord like you. Get over it.

The fact that you're implying I have little experience after the shambolic shit-show you're displaying is laughable. You seem have zero common sense. Even if I have a tiny portfolio and little experience, what difference does that make?

I'm still not the fool that either used a service with ZERO understanding and then complain about it, or lack the balls to admit that I picked a terrible tenant.

Either way, grow up, man.

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mike 11th November, 2018 @ 12:23
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Abdul - We get that you don't like OpenRent but your arguments against them show you don't understand their service offering at all.

I've used OpenRent for 3 years now on my two properties. They are a fantastic service for those of us that don't want to throw away 10-15% of our rent with a managed letting agent. The reviews of them here and on TrustPilot show that lots of people agree (unless you believe we're all stooges being paid to review!)

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Abdul 11th November, 2018 @ 14:26

@ The Landlord. Do I detect through the increasingly angry ad homs and deflections some acceptance that OpenRent really aren't letting agents and really are merely a property advertising portal? Or do you think that Rightmove and Zoopla are letting agents too?

Where's your reply re. the omission of landlord registration numbers?

Or your opinion of this?

Or your comment on this?

Or your answer to this?

Okay, I get it. You're an OpenRent affiliate or partner or whatever and you've naively jumped into an Emperor's New Clothes scenario and when it's exposed for the scotch mist it is then you're naturally a bit upset.

There's a massive housing shortage in the uk. Yet the only "letting service" your 'partners' provide - albeit neither particularly well nor even in compliance with regulation - is the easiest one for landlords to do themselves, ie find a tenant in the middle of a crisis level housing shortage.

Mate, man up, and give your head a wobble. And if you're going to go the self-managed route then just learn to do the marketing bit yourself too.

Had you any insight into where the letting industry is headed you would realise that - exactly like the financial services industry - it won't be long before it is impossible to self manage like a one man band.

Up the road in Jockland a vast amount of legislation is already in place which before long you can be certain will also be in England and Wales.

As relates to letting agents, it's already been made clear that so-called 'online letting agents' will be obliged to adhere to the same regulations and rules and laws as on street agents. That includes adherence to stuff that is impossible for 'online agents' such as complying with The Repairing Standard.

Trying the old "O we're ONLINE letting agents we don't DO maintenance you don't understaaaaand" rubbish isn't going to work. You wanna be an agent? Then you'll damn well adhere to the requirements and obligations on maintenance or you'll be de-registered and barred. The interests of both tenants and landlords will be obligatory for letting agents to prioritise and yes, it'll be goodbye to all rogues and cowboys and smoke-and-mirror charlatans too.

Once upon a time there used to be a myriad of one-man band financial advisors. However the weight of regulation and compliance administration made it impossible for them to continue. In exactly the same way the one man band self-managing landlord will be gone. Because regulation is soon going to require enforcement. And it is not going to be as feasible to regulate and inspect and enforce millions of individual landlords as it will be to regulate a far far smaller number of managing agents acting for those millions of individuals. So that is where it's being guided to go.

The net effect in Jockland is already being felt. Slumlording is virtually eliminated and now rogue and cowboy agencies are being forced out too. And whilst this certainly does come at a price, it's a cost that most people believe
is well worth it.

So mate, look up north and look at your future. No more poorly maintained dungeons operated by tyrants or cowboy ripoff managers. And regulation-with-teeth to enforce decent standards. And yes it might impact on profitability. But - as many have found out with OpenRent - buy cheap and you'll buy twice.

@Mike. I don't 'like' or 'dislike' OpenRent, but I do kind of dislike a business pretending to be some kind of letting agent which doesn't actually manage property at all.

I certainly do understand their "service offering". They offer online property advertising for self-managing landlords including enabling access to far bigger property advertisers who are "trade only" which is far and away their biggest selling point.

However one thing I definitely don't like is the suppression of negative comment. That Trustpilot site you refer to has become a bit of a joke. Surely you know that. Trustpilot's "core service" is to provide a promotional tool to businesses prepared to pay for the service. That "service" includes manufactured ways to block, suppress and remove poor and negative 'reviews'. This is in answer to the people - the many people - who will only look at the negative reviews to get an accurate picture of what's really on offer.

Funnily enough I recently had a conversation with the owner of a letting agency who had been the victim of a 'revenge-negative'. He contacted Google to complain about it, accompanying the complaint with proof that the revenge-negative was nonsense. He was advised that it could not be removed and that the best thing he could do would be to swamp the review section with positives!! He further discovered that there are companies who offer a set charge for 50 positive reviews!!

As even our OpenRent fanboy host here concedes, it is far less common for people to post unsolicited positive comments than negative comments. And the strangest thing is that Trustpilot's negatives are not only almost always challenged and blocked/removed but then coincidentally followed by a flood of very very similar sounding positives, none of which anyone finds "useful".

If you drill into online opinions on OpenRent as a matter of diligence you can come across quite a bit of comment which hasn't been suppressed. And an interesting picture emerges. Try it.

And of course ask yourself this - is OpenRent or is OpenRent not trying to portray itself as some kind of improved alternative to the traditional property managing letting agent? But if they're not actually doing any tenancy or property management (and that ranges far far beyond just mere maintenance management) how is that providing an alternative?

Have to say it all gets a bit too Matthew 15:14 on this particular site. But at least our host hasn't started suppressing negative commentary which doesn't agree with his. Yet.

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The Landlord 11th November, 2018 @ 14:53

... and yet, you still used OpenRent. Genius.

You're just spouting out nonsense and pulling the conversion in several different directions, which is tiresome and boring. Anyways, agree to disagree.

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Abdul 11th November, 2018 @ 15:50

Yes I did use them. In 2014. I told a co-director of my letting agency that I was going to try them to see if they could be useful to us to market for tenants. He wasn't keen, reminding me of our LettingWeb and CityLets experiences. So I decided I'd use one of my own properties as a 'guinea pig'....

From memory there was no direct contact, all communication being via email. But plenty of that. Bit time consuming and content-lite but communication nonetheless. And so the process began.

Reasonably quickly, tenant responses started coming in. (in fact, I think I've still got them stored in an email inbox).
Good start! I began to process them it emerged that they were of the most hopeless quality or wholly inappropriate. Then there were the ones who ceased communications after their initial approach. In fact, as the volume increased it began to become a bit surprising that these responses/enquiries were so unilaterally and comprehensively useless.

Surely the law of averages meant that at least ONE of these responses would be sensibly appropriate as a viewer?

Eventually one did turn up and was given the tenancy.

It is often difficult to detect mental problems, especially problems involving personality disorder (as many a divorcee will confirm). And whilst it would be incredibly useful, there is no realistic way to take reference on a prospective tenant's mental health even although it can and frequently does severely impact on how a tenancy is conducted.

Dislodging this tenant with sensitivity and consideration took immense effort on the part of our agency. Suffice it to say that whilst it was not really the poor creature's "fault", it was a nightmare tenancy even though it lasted for a relatively short time. It ran normally for a month. Semi-normally for a second month. And thereafter collapsed into chaos for a few weeks until it was ended.

My co-director merely said "told you" and I said "yes you did, so that's another waste of time tried tested and binned" and I was glad I'd used one of my properties rather than a client's for this woeful and lesson-learning experience.

OpenRent were approached during the chaotic period, but did nothing to assist other than distance themselves from any responsibility for the tenant and referring to their "partner" Legal for Landlords which appears to be a legal firm dealing with the letting industry but (as I knew from their previous disastrous efforts in my area from which they subsequently withdrew years ago) is actually a firm OpenRent act as paid introducers for and whose business is to give IANAL advice and also to further refer people to proper solicitors from whom they no doubt receive further referral fees. With a loon ball embedded in my flat with all the consequent impact on the property, the neighbours and the local authorities, offering me into a referral mug-chain of 3rd rate advice wasn't really over helpful.

OpenRent seemed keen that I give their service a further go. But there didn't seem any reason why any subsequent trial wouldn't turn out the same. So it was politely declined.

Beginning in 1976, I have owned up to 200 properties over the years. At the time I tried OpenRent I owned about 100 and owned a letting agency that managed about 1000. Now I'm retired and operate two portfolios totalling 75. I have not managed them hands-on for years and they are fully managed and managed very well by an agent. Once - not that long ago - there were very few letting agents. Now they are everywhere. Many of them are poor and many more are mediocre. Far away the best ones are the ones which have grown from the management of an individual's portfolio. But most of these aren't interested in managing for anyone other than other property professionals.

The other agencies are really just business plans put into effect. Sometimes they work very well for some properties and some owners and some tenants. But more often they don't. However as 3rd party letting agency businesses they are often more profitable than the big-portfolio based agencies, often because they are planned to profit from income streams far beyond their rent-based letting commission.

To me, OpenRent are not a proper professional letting agency. If the letting agency which manages my properties ever packed up or booted me out I would sell my properties rather than use OpenRent as my agent.

If I was to write that review on TrustPilot it would be immediately suppressed blocked and removed.

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The Landlord 11th November, 2018 @ 17:09

I stopped reading after "Yes I did use them. In 2014."

So, you used them in 2014 and then decided to have a mental masturbation and share your experience almost 5 years later.

There's barely any logic, if any, in the comments you have left, that's why I've pretty much concluded with the fact that you're just trolling.

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abdul 11th November, 2018 @ 18:24

And of course when the ad homs give way to the old "He's a trooooolll" gambit, it's really game over, isn't it?

Pity. I was looking forward to your justification of the lack of landlord registration numbers on the ads, and the suppression of negative reviews.......

......not to mention an explanation of how an online property advertising agency is some kind of superior alternative to a full management letting agency service for landlords?

Your replies spout forth lots of unpleasant and abusive invective, but fall a bit short of answers. Bit of an empty box, really.

Not surprising the site's a bit of a dead zone.

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Indie 11th November, 2018 @ 19:00
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Hey kids, stop bickering or Santa won't come!

As an update, I posted in June with a query and did choose to go with Openrent. Some aspects were a bit confusing but I figured them out in the end.

Most applicants were genuine and I decided on some excellent tenants.

All I wanted was a tenant find service so advertising on Rightmove was essential.

I saved a lot of money by not going with my previous high street letting agent so very happy with the service.

By the way, I found the thread on Openrent's Referencing interesting and a bit concerning. Thanks to those who posted. If I need referencing in the future I'll look into it further.

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abdul 11th November, 2018 @ 19:27

Just out of interest, do either you or the tenant consider OpenRent to be "our letting agent", or do you think of them as a tenant/property finding service with no responsibility for anything beyond the successful marketing of the property?

And if I could ask one other thing....given you're presumably self-managing all the other aspects of your letting concern, why do you need to use a 3rd party to market it when you need to find a tenant?

Admittedly some properties are tricky to get let (and I'm told OpenRent marketing doesn't make them especially easier) but most aren't and can be marketed for next to nothing particularly to the local market which is where most tenants come from.

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Eric Dickinson 12th November, 2018 @ 11:17
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I have used Openrent, Upad and Easy property and they have all generated enquiries for me that led to tenants. They saved me a fortune. They are all pretty much the same and they are all online letting agents which offer tenant finding services plus various other services so I'm not sure what the issue is here. Openrent isn't the only online letting agent that offers tenant-find services, there are dozens of them these days.


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