An online agency says it has attracted ”many hundreds” of landlords by giving 12 months’ rent up-front.
LetMe also offers a guarantee on the condition of the property in return for a maximum 10 per cent fee.
LetMe’s website carries the familiar pledge to “revolutionise the lettings industry” but in this case says it achieves that by reducing risk and costs for landlords.
“We put the emphasis on the landlords as they know their local market conditions and what they want” explains Jonny Walthall, LetMe’s business development manager.
“Originally we had local experts on the ground rather like Purplebricks but we’ve found landlords are happy to do much of the work themselves. They’re experts at what they do, so they set the market rent and upload details and so on” he says.
“But we provide practical back-up. We manage all aspects of finding and verifying the tenants, we manage the property on an ongoing basis, and guarantee its condition on return to the landlord” says Walthall.
The agency’s website explains that there are two ways landlords can use the service.
Firstly, “we pay you 12 months rent on the day the tenant moves in” thus claiming there are no risks of void periods or rent arrears. “We also give you a condition guarantee over your property for the 12 months. We fully manage the tenant for the duration, meaning you can relax and forget about your investment” it claims. This is in return for 10 per cent of the rental income.
Secondly, it says it offers unrestricted free access to Rightmove and Zoopla through the LetMe site. “We will also reference check tenants for free. When tenants inquire about your property we will contact you to arrange viewings. As long as the tenant meets our criteria we will be able to offer you our 12 months rent upfront product” says the website.
The tenant pays nothing to move in - no referencing fees, no agency fees, no deposit and no rent up-front. To sign up for the move-in-for-free package a tenant must either have great credit history, or provide a guarantor.
The agency is operated by The Richmond Group; this company’s website lists its other activities including Amigo - “an alternative to payday loans” - and Memini, which is described as “aiming to make it possible to learn a language from scratch in a month whilst building a platform that can be used to teach thousands of skills.”
Walthall says LetMe draws on The Richmond Group’s loan management experience to mould the kind of packages it offers to landlords.
The agency has been operating for almost 18 months - initially in Bournemouth, where The Richmond Group is based, but more recently with landlord clients across the country. It is embarking on more PR and marketing activities after the summer.