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Newspaper-backed online site aims to bypass lettings agencies

A new online service backed by newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror says it wants to enable tenants to bypass lettings agents.

HomeRenter offers what it describes as an Airbnb-style online marketplace which encourages landlords and tenants to communicate directly and agree rent and duration of tenancy.

The site wants landlords to join it for an annual listing fee of £99.99 - a launch deal of £49.99 has also been offered.

The fee includes tenant referencing, 24-hour telephone support, keyholding and an outsourced viewing/keyholding service, but additional charges are made for marketing such as photography and floor plans, as well as gas safety certificates, EPCs and a To Let Board.

HomeRenter is in talks with institutions to augment the funding from Trinity Mirror; the site is also quoted as saying it will seek new investment early next year.

The site's mission statement is as follows: 

"At HomeRenter we believe the traditional lettings model is broken and unfair to tenants and landlords alike. We believe tenants are sick and tired of property searches that feel like wild goose chases and culminate in rip-off ‘admin’ fees. 

"We believe landlords are getting poor value and service from existing agents, not to mention a tough ride from the press and Government. What’s more, contrary to received opinion, we believe the rental market works best when you remove the middleman and allow property owners and renters to connect via a managed community and operate in harmony.

"The vision, therefore, behind HomeRenter is to create an AirBnB-style marketplace for private rentals in the UK that delivers superior value to both landlords and tenants whilst putting right several of the imperfections of the current category."

You can see the site here.

Poll: Should agents be worried by websites like this?

PLACE YOUR VOTE BELOW

  • Don Holmes

    How hipacritical a statement. We have over the last 25 years until recently used Trinity Mirror group papers to advitise our available properties. They didn't raise any of these concerns every single month they sent their invoice.

    Michael Lee

    Totally agree!! Page a week was costing us locally £12,000 a year at one stage!!

     
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    you can say that again

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    We see many private landlords who come to us with tales of woe because they have dealt with the tenant directly.

    Letting Agents aren't just there to advertise your property, we also advise on a regular basis, we do all the donkey work arranging maintenance and most importantly we weed out all the bad tenants. We do such a good fact that bad tenants know that they can't get a property through us any more and resort to contacting unsuspecting landlords directly. Online sites like this will only exacerbate the problem for landlords

    Michael Lee

    100% with you on that Gordon

     
  • Kristjan Byfield

    What all of these sites don't understand is how costly and difficult it is to secure a Landlord. They build a business model on the basis of 'if we let 1m properties we can be rich'. However that scale is virtually impossible unless they go about acquiring lettings businesses but that makes no sense given their business model. The more of these that launch the tougher they make their own environment given there's no much of a market to share around. If I was an agent advertising with TM I would be cancelling any and all advertising with immediate effect.

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    There is nothing in life that someone can’t do cheaper and make worse but it’s a sad fact that the public seem to be loving it lately!

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    Plenty of Fraudsters going on here then . Shall i start the whole thing off? Luxury flat Kensington. Nice photos, £200 pw. Please just send the money to the following account...

    As they seem to have 10 flats in the whole of London. Not quite looking over our shoulders just yet.

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    I have a great local agent and will stay with him.
    I trust him,have met him many times,he has never let me down.
    He finds the tenants,does references,all checks,all photos,reports,condition checks in and out.
    All meter readings etc.
    I will probably pay more now fees are banned,but what the hell,he is good!
    I will just add the costs to the rent (thankyou government) for Landlord bashing !!!

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