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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Upad closure: rival agencies offer help to stranded customers

Several lettings agencies have stepped up to offer help to stranded customers of the collapsed online service Upad.

A notice on Upad’s website over the weekend revealed that it had closed after more than 10 years; the decision to close the agency was taken by founder James Davis who had major heart surgery last year and chose to shut down the operation rather than sell it.

The notice said that Upad landlords who not found a tenant since October 1 would be refunded “in due course” but that those who signed up before this month would not.

Tenants and landlords were told that deposits were protected by the Tenancy Deposit Service and that rents already collected would be paid to landlords, without a specific timeframe.

Now other agencies have stepped up.

Leicester lettings agency Harry Albert Property came to Twitter to say: “We did say we'd blow them out of the water...  Ah well, for #landlords with #Property in Leicester affected by the demise of #Upad, we're offering two months FREE management. Just call.”

Vijay Vashistha, co-founder of national online service - 99homes - told Letting Agent Today over the weekend: “We are really sorry to hear that uPad not trading anymore. Sad news for the staff and of course for the customers who will be wondering what's going on. At 99home, we will do what we can to help all of these customers and ensure they get service continuation. 99home is happy to list Upad current customer's property for free. Terms apply.”

Another online platform - Howsy - put a notice on its website on Saturday evening. It read: We’re sorry to hear that Upad has closed its virtual doors. We can imagine how stressful this must be for everyone involved. Whether you are still looking for a tenant, in the process of getting someone in or already have a renter in place, then we can help. Whatever stage you are at, we can help make sure your property investment continues to deliver for you.” 

Letting Agent Today broke the Upad story on Saturday - you can see the original story plus Upad’s advice to clients here.

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    Will landlords use online letting agents for full management type services , when local agents with offices are at more or less the same commission ? Upad outside of London was in some cases more expensive than your local small agent. ( perhaps they had investors to try and satisfy )

    All the other online agents are all trying to promote some sort of full management services, but looking at how many properties they are advertising, it looks like they are not doing that well.

    Then of course there is the market disrupted OPEN RENT who somehow has survived offering only an online let only service ...but as every other agent knows on comparable Rightmove and Zoopla pricing their model just does not seem to stack up...so how are they different from the rest ?

    Upselling ? techie ? ...umm still not enough to explain away in my opinion.

    Do high street letting agents also need to fear OPEN RENT who now state they have fast approaching 2 million registered clients ?

    Are small independent agents all turkeys waiting for Christmas ? whilst the bigger agents expand on preferential terms through their negotiating power. Perhaps all the smaller agents should club together to see what terms they could negotiate ?




    Paul Barrett

    Why don't smaller LA join together in a sort of Co OP to negotiate better deals with the likes of RM and Zoopla!?

     
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    I've used OpenRent a few times. They do offer add ons such as drawing up the tenancy agreement and referencing (though it's still down to the customer to find their own tenant).

    As an experienced landlord and someone who works in the PRS, I prefer to do my own referencing and paperwork to set up the tenancy; all I want is affordable advertising on the property portals and an applicant referral service.

    IMHO I don't understand why Upad didn't operate a similar business model, with different levels of service starting with basic advertising, as I believe while most customers liked them, they still felt they were too expensive.

     
  • Paul Barrett

    One day as more LL turn to self-management the major web portals will consider that they could allow private LL to advertise directly with them.
    LA will be reducing as the PRS declines as LL sell up along with the effects of the Tenant Fee Act.
    I'd gladly pay RM £20 to advertise my property until let.
    Lots of 20 quids soon add up from 2 million odd LL!!
    There would still be LA income as there would still be many LL using LA.
    But for many LL given the option they would prefer to advertise directly with the major web portals.
    I don't believe it would impact on fee income from LA.
    There are still many LL that prefer to leave a LA to manage things.

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