Openrent Packages: Thoughts On Openrent's Referencing, Deposit Protection, Legals etc

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    Openrent Packages: Thoughts On Openrent's Referencing, Deposit Protection, Legals etc

    I've decided to advertise on Openrent but wondering which of their packages to go for.

    The Rent Now + Ultimate Advertising seems like a good package but as I've never used them before I'll like to know other's experiences. Reviews appear mostly very good but I'm aware some sites cull bad reviews.

    Is there flexibility editing Openrent's rental agreement? Are their referencing checks thorough? Do they provide choice re rental deposit?

    I plan to ring them to get a further feel for their services but this site has a wealth of experience and would be grateful to learn from here too.

    Thanks.

    #2
    I've used OpenRent twice now (same house) and can't praise them highly enough. I used their £49 package but haven't tried to tinker with the standard rental agreement (so I can't comment on that).

    You fill out a template for the listing and upload your photos, then you pay and submit and the template is loaded onto Rightmove & Zoopla. It's a lot more of a DIY process, but I preferred that after dealing with incompetent and apathetic letting agents (I'm sure not all are, before I get a backlash). As I completed each stage of the process for the first time I would think, "Wow, that was a lot easier than I thought it would be".

    There's a sample tenant reference available on the website - doesn't seem to be any better or worse than the letting agents' referencing to me. It's £20 per tenant, and you'll also need to pay £20 to check out a potential guarantor, if one is needed.

    Both times, the first viewer signed up for the house, but it is a really nice house (in my opinion). I like speaking to the viewers to arrange the viewings, then meeting them as they view. You get a proper idea of who they are - and what they would be like as a tenant.

    It takes about a week for the first month's rent to hit your bank account. I think they wait to make sure it's not a bogus listing.

    The only downside for me was thinking back about the thousands of pounds I'd wasted on letting agency fees

    If you try it once, I don't think you'll go back.

    Comment


      #3
      I use the advertise only at £29 and it gets your advert on Rightmove (with the correct paperwork) and Zoopla. I've used them several times and been very happy with this level of service and would recommend them.

      Comment


        #4
        I use them for advertising and it's a good and cheap way to get on the main sites. The only thing I dislike is that it has to go on gumtree. My gumtree city is a distance away so it generates lots of calls from folk too far away to want it. You can now do some screening by sending some automated questions when they enquire which means you can reject unsuitable ones immediately.
        If you use rent now you can add things to the AST but not remove or change what's there. This is the reason I didn't use it.
        I've just used their referencing and doubt I'll use it again. Applicant has a job offer from a local school, all they saw was a copy of the letter but didn't contact the school to see if she'd accepted it. She's spent 5 years overseas but the only address they had was the current one. While I didn't expect any references from abroad I did think they should have known about it.
        To get on rightmove you need proof of ownership. I sent a photo of the LR document.
        The biggest plus IMO is that I'm the one who choses the tenant not the LA, you can find out a lot chatting while their viewing.

        Comment


          #5
          I've used them twice to market our BTL, and used the 29.99 package that gets you on Right Move etc.
          It was more work but i tailored the government's own model AST agreement. Whilst it was free to do that it cost me a few evenings of effort.
          I did use the open rent referencing. But I also followed up a couple of references myself.
          I would use it again in the same way.


          for me the main advantage is that my business model is to find a tenant, most likely to stay the longest time, and least likely to default.
          the letting agents business model is to give out a 6 month agreement to the first person that will pass referencing, and hope that after 6 months they'll leave and then the landlord can be had for more marketing. I think its called churn.

          I know exactly how many people were interested (30 in a month) and what proportion I would be happy to rent to (5 of the 7 that wanted it out of 12 that i arranged viewing for)

          Comment


            #6
            I have been lucky to have had good experiences with letting agents, but will be letting myself this time simply because the charges for let-only are so high now in London, ranging anywhere from 12%-20% and I'd rather keep that money in my contingency fund. Will use Openrent, as I currently use their referencing service.

            Just wondering, does anyone have an "initial vetting" questionnaire they might share or direct me to? I am developing one but I imagine I will forget to ask certain things.
            assume everything I write is preceded by IMHO...

            Comment


              #7
              I don't have a specific one - I have some basic questions. I might need to add extra questions depending on the tenant.

              Do you have pet(s)?
              Do you intend to have pet(s) in the future?
              Do you smoke?
              Do you have any ccjs or any pending?
              Who else will be living in the house?

              My tenants tend to be local so I go and have a look at where they live now.
              I look at their profile on facebook.
              I google them (because one tenant, years ago, had been involved in a huge drugs haul. It was all over the news. You'd never have guessed it to look at him).
              I let them chat on about their present property and listen out for mould complaints, neighbour disputes, complaints about landlords etc.

              I'd be interested to see what others ask.

              Comment


                #8
                Am I allowed to ask if they were furloughed or asked for a rent reduction?
                assume everything I write is preceded by IMHO...

                Comment


                  #9
                  These comments are very helpful thank you. Also, re initial vetting questions do you state those in the reply before arranging viewing?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Berlingogirl,

                    I ask who would be living at the property. I prefer a couple to a single person (usually means two incomes, and more likelihood of rent getting paid). Also, if they have a young child or baby, it could indicate a bit of stability, and that there is less chance of it turning into a 'party house' at the weekend and annoying all the neighbours. These are generalizations, of course.

                    Ask which area they are moving from, how long they've been at that property (if renting), and why they are looking to move. The last tenants I found on OpenRent lived a few hundred yards away, had been there 6 years, and were only moving because the landlord was selling - big ticks right there.

                    Ask what they do for a living, and how much they earn. They might be trying to view something unaffordable.

                    Social media is a good one, photos give a good idea of personality and lifestyle - and can also show the condition of where they currently live.

                    Follow your gut instinct - if it tells you something doesn't seem right, it's probably spot on.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Delectable1 View Post
                      These comments are very helpful thank you. Also, re initial vetting questions do you state those in the reply before arranging viewing?
                      Don't text - phone them. The way they talk and the words they use can give you a good idea of what they're like.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I ask for name & address, who will live at the property including pets (ad allows well behaved pets), their employment and occupation, why they looking to move and if they are familiar with the area (to weed out the gumtree applicants who have no idea where the property is). Openrent already asks for some info including salary, if they smoke, housing benefit.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Thank you. What's Openrent's deposit protection like re check out?

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I only use Openrent for advertising. Their 'Rent Now' button is a bit of a pain tbh as they take a deposit from the tenant which they have to refund when you explain that you don't make offers without knowing something about the applicant! I'm a member of the NRLA and prefer to use their model documents and this would be an alternative approach to consider.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I use them for advertising and it works well. I'm in London. I tend to get a relatively low number of high quality applicants. Before OpenRent I used to use Upad for advertising but I could not see any real difference between Upad's £129 sevice and OR's £29 service. At the end of the day the listings look and search the same on Rightmove etc...

                              I have tried using them for things like EPCs and gas certificates but their service has been consistently rubbish, as well as unapologetic. Won't bother with that again in the near future.
                              Assume I know nothing.

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