Humberts has launched an online-only lettings option for landlords with a PropTech firm which has previously operated a service described as ‘cutting out letting agents.’
Humberts Lettings Direct launches its new service today and is working with PropTech company Propoly. In February this company was reported to have won £600,000 investment from Countrywide: a pitch to further potential investors on its behalf by Angel Investment Network claimed that Propoly cut out letting agents.
Humberts Lettings Direct costs landlords £199 plus VAT and, controversially, includes marketing the property on OnTheMarket - even though this portal has operated a long-standing policy of not allowing online-only listings.
HLD will also list its online-only properties on Rightmove and on Propoly’s own website.
HLD’s service also includes preparation of a tenancy agreement, registering a deposit, tenant reference, legal protection insurance and access to another online portal which Humberts’ launch statement describes as being “an online portal for landlord/tenant interactions.”
The agency says: “If at any stage a landlord wishes to move over to the traditional Humberts Lettings department (that is, they need extremely detailed advice or they wish to have a full valuation, viewings, negotiation service and continued management) Humberts will charge in the traditional way but will deduct from the fee the £199 already received.”
This follows a similar model to that operated in the sales field for some time by some Countrywide branches.
HLD and the agency’s traditional lettings department are being headed up by Suzanne Diamond, who previously led a 21-branch lettings operation at Curchods.
“Humberts Lettings Direct department will be run from a central location with an experienced manager and team – landlords using this small fixed fee service will have access to experienced professionals via phone or email to ensure a good level of support” she says.
“The Humberts traditional lettings service is available from all of our 23 sales branches across the UK and will launch with no tenant administration fees. The two departments will have separate but complementary branding.”
In recent months Humberts has attempted to shed its rural-centric traditional image.
In the spring it announced the opening of a central London office and earlier this summer revealed it had attracted “significant investment from a Gulf consortium” to “strengthen the brand via traditional expansion and investment in technology.”