The founder of online agency Rentify has made a vicious verbal attack on high street letting agents, their quality of service and even what they wear and how the look.
George Spencer - whose Rentify lettings platform claims to have dealt with 175,000 landlords over the past three years - says in the latest edition of Wired: "Your blood boils that these people [letting agents] have been allowed to get away with it for so long. I feel like we should've done this years ago. I can't believe that nobody has."
He says that as a tenant he has had a “terrible experience” with agents in the past, “being shown properties that I just wasn't interested in, being driven around in a crap Mini, incredibly stifled smalltalk with somebody who is basically a complete mouth-breather - it was not at all a premium experience and I knew the landlord was paying a premium."
He says many letting agents have "very specifically gelled hair, a big watch and a pink tie" - although the magazine notes that Spencer himself was wearing a grey hoodie and eating a cookie in the “inauspicious surroundings” of Rentify’s offices in a “scruffy building” near the Barbican in London.
Spencer claims that the cost of acquiring a new landlord client for Rentify is only £4 because of the low cost nature of the website and long-term economies of the technology, whereas a new landlord client for a high street agent may cost £200.
"That means the prices are high and the service is incredibly poor because they have to try and rinse through as many landlords as they can. We provide a technology solution for landlords - but we hate calling it a technology solution. We're essentially an estate agent" he says.
"We sign up about 10,000 landlords a month on to our platform. The average estate agency with a four [or] five man multi-disciplinary office -- like the one across the road from here -- they're going to sign up 500 to 600 a year."
Rentify currently has over 50 staff and Spencer says in the Wired article that he wants rapid growth in the coming months.
"We want to be way bigger than we are now. At the moment we're acquiring 10,000 landlords a month, we want to be significantly larger than that. We want to roll out nationwide so that we'll be able to serve our landlords better in areas like Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield where there's a high volume of rental properties."