OpenRent are one of the few online letting agents that actually push their selling points to both landlords and tenants.
That’s because they realise that only if they keep tenants happy, can they keep landlords happy – and vice versa.
OpenRent offer some of the lowest fees on the market including a limited, but completely free of charge service. They boast well over 2 million registered users and an average of just 6 days to let a property. That’s all pretty impressive stuff.
What They Offer:
When we conducted our OpenRent review, we found that they offered the following:
- Advertising on major portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla
- A 24/7 support phone line
- Choice of 3 packages depending on how much help you need
- A range of fairly priced add-on services
- A secure tenancy creation package
- 100% free advertising on their own website
When we say they have very cost-effective pricing we mean it. You can advertise your property on Rightmove and Zoopla for just £29 including VAT. However, other than their ‘Viewing and Enquiry Organiser’ you’ll need to most of the admin work yourself, or pay extra for their help.
If you’re looking for a more complete service, the Rent Now package combines advertising with the secure tenancy creation service so the all-important paperwork is taken care of.
There’s also a Rent Collection Service available with this package.
That means OpenRent aren’t too dissimilar to other letting agents and you actually have a lot of flexibility to build the package and service that you need. That allows you to take care of the matters you’re confident enough to do yourself.
How It Works
You’ll need to keep in mind that OpenRent is essentially a DIY service. They just give you the ability to get on sites like Rightmove and Zoopla (which you can only do as a registered letting agent). However, they have added several other services for those that prefer a more complete package.
You will, however, be expected to write your own property description. The OpenRent team will check it to ensure it meets the requirements of the portals such as Rightmove. You will also need to provide your own property photographs, though they do offer professional photographs and a floor plans as an optional extra for an additional fee.
Once you have your advert in order, the OpenRent team will get your listing live for you. This often happens within 3-6 hours so it’s pretty fast.
You’ll then get notifications from interested tenants but you’ll need to host viewings yourself unless you pay extra for the accompanied viewings add-on.
Once you’ve found the right tenant, you can go ahead and do all the important legal paperwork. However, if you don’t fancy doing this yourself, you can once again add tenant referencing and inventory check-ins for an additional fee. If you take the top ‘Rent Now’ package this will be included along with all the other legal and financial stuff you’ll need to arrange.
Advantages of OpenRent
Here are some of the key advantages we’ve identified for OpenRent.
Option for 100% Free Advertising
While you can upgrade for adverts on Zoopla and Rightmove, if you want to keep your costs low, you can opt for the OpenRent only package. This offers free advertising on OpenRent.
Free Trial Available
If you opt for the £29 package, you can enjoy a free trial. This offers five days of advertising without an obligation to pay for any more.
Reasonably Priced Add Ons
OpenRent also offers reasonably priced additional services. Unlike many service providers, this company does not try to lure clients in with cheap packages and costly add ons. This allows you to create your ideal package without breaking the bank.
OpenRent has a customer support helpline available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Disadvantages of OpenRent
And, of course, there are always some things not so good. Here’s what to be aware of with OpenRent:
No Ongoing, Fully Managed Service Option
While OpenRent may be excellent at finding tenants, there is no option for a hands on letting management solution.
Reference Screening is Limited
Some users have reported that the reference screening of potential tenants is limited. Contractors may be rejected without bank statements or wage slips being verified.
Draft Contract Issues
There is no option to save draft contracts without the risk of them being sent to a tenant. This can cause confusion if you need to make amendments to the standard contracts.
OpenRent was established in 2012 by two Oxford graduates. Adam Hyslop and Darius Bradbury created the company when they became disillusioned with the services both tenants and landlords typically received within the UK property market.
The OpenRent mission statement was straightforward “be open, honest and user friendly”. The overall aim of the company was to provide its users with as much information as possible. The OpenRent team combines customer service and technology to ensure a better experience, whether you’re a landlord or a tenant.
Within two years, OpenRent received investment from Northern & Shell.
This additional funding has allowed the company to go from strength to strength. By 2015, OpenRent was considered one of the largest players within this segment, accumulating 2,500 listings each month.
Today, OpenRent provides solutions for those who are happy to handle ongoing property management, but need help finding tenants. The company offers highly cost effective packages with reasonably priced add ons, so you can tailor your ideal advertising package.
The website is easy to use, and the company has a good approach to customer support. This is showcased by its “Excellent” TrustPilot rating. This highlights that OpenRent is an online service that landlords genuinely appreciate, and since tenants are not charged admin fees, they are more likely to stay in your property, saving you further hassle in the long term.
How Do They Use PropTech?
Despite being an online letting agent, OpenRent don’t do anything particularly hi-tech that really sets them apart from a traditional agent. The biggest difference is just the amount of things that happen online. Your listing is created and managed through their platform and you can also deal with enquiries through the platform too.
On the whole, customers seem pretty positive about OpenRent. Their Google reviews and customer reviews on other sites mostly praise the service that they’ve received. However, you should keep in mind many of these reviews are from tenants rather than landlords. Of the negative reviews, the level of customer support is occasionally called into question.