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New lettings website aims to replace agents and fees

Wednesday 08 November 2017

A new online property lettings website aims to dispense with the role of traditional letting agents and the fees which they levy on tenants.

HomeRenter’s Airbnb-style online marketplace allows tenants to sidestep fees which go towards the cost of conducting viewings, verifying references and drawing up contracts. 

The business plans to tap into the estimated 2 million landlords who own fewer than three properties by charging them an annual membership to showcase properties.

Based in London, it aims to create a community where both landlords and tenants communicate with each other directly about both properties to rent, and property management.

The company says that landlords, once they are registered on the site, create listings on its platform that are then uploaded to Zoopla and Rightmove.

Tenants and landlords then use HomeRenter’s website to liaise on viewing times, conduct referencing and sign a rental contract.

Its CEO – former Sunday Times and Trinity Mirror executive - Will Handley said: “HomeRenter was born out of our belief and experience that landlords and tenants alike are increasingly fed up with the way the lettings market operates.  

“And although a better lettings market is something the government has said it will take action on, including the fees ban, we believe our platform already delivers a radically different and better way to rent and let properties.”

If successful, the site could challenge traditional estate agents who are struggling in the face of Brexit uncertainty and rising competition from online rivals.

Experts say a growing number of people are attracted by the cut-price fees of online estate agents in Britain, which means that a number of sites, including Gumtree and Spareroom, already allow people to find rooms to rent without an agent.

Landlords pay a yearly subscription which includes tenant referencing, 24-hour telephone support, keyholding and an outsourced viewing/keyholding service.

Alex Huntley, Head of Operations at Simple Landlords Insurance added: “Technology is clearly going to change how the lettings and property industry works - and it will be fascinating to see how HomeRenter works in London.”

So is the role of the letting agent finished? Take a look at our Lettings agents for and against article here. 

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