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  • Buy-to-Let

    Frustrations with OpenRent. Who else?

    Thought I'd share my recent experience of using OpenRent.

    I've been using them for all my advertising and referencing for almost 2 years now and have generally been happy with how the system works.... up until now

    I'm about to let a 2 bed flat to 2 individuals and wanted to use them to reference both the tenants. However, one of the tenants doesn't have a UK contact number - he is French and still has his French mobile number. Unfortunately, OpenRent won't allow you to reference an individual without a valid UK number, so I decided to contact them to see what I could do.

    My situation is time sensitive as the tenant wants to move in next Monday, and so it's now that I realise how important it is to actually speak to someone, and not just a forwarding service!

    I called them around 11am on Saturday and left a message. I then tweeted them. I then called again at 3pm.

    Finally got an answer back last night at 9pm - a day and a half after my question! It was a 2 line response - essentially saying that they need a UK number, but as a workaround, I could "inputting a string of zeros in the number field"

    So, I'm looking for suggestions and recommendations for referencing agencies who are not restrictive on the applicant having a non UK contact number. Based on my recent experience with them (and the fact they don't allow non UK numbers) its unlikely that I'll use OpenRent again (which is a shame)

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    I’ve currently got my first ad with Openrent, have gone for the initial free trial with the add on of extra for Rightmove. I

    It has generated a good number of enquiries, but in the large part these seem to be from applicants with skeletons in their cupboards and keen to avoid  letting agents and the initial questions that entails.

    I’m quite happy to do my initial screening via the Openrent messaging system. Yes there are those that apply with one line , no name, or any detail, “ like your flat, am on benefit, can move in soon” style message. 

    Plus in the first few days several messages that had very similar surnames. Then you get those that feel that references ,credit checks and guarantors are unnecessary as they’ll “always pay their rent”.

    I’ve filtered out the complete no hopers and done a few viewings but its been obvious in all but one case that there are evasive answers to questions , I always end the viewing asking them to have a think and then get back to me and if they want the flat we can then get on with referencing, as yet only the the one exception has got back to me and that was to say that unfortunately they didn't think they could afford the flat in the long term.

    So for me Openrent itself works fine but seems to attract applicants that are not of the best calibre. That said the area is hardly top drawer and I reference and credit check properly.
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    That is exactly what I found about Openrent. I think it's because they also advertise on Gumtree.

    I asked them to remove the advert on Gumtree and got far fewer inquiries.


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    Interesting point, thanks. Must admit gumtree is not something on my radar, i’ll bear in mind not having future listings on it.
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    Hi Adam. The devil is always in the details ... and you pay for what you get. We call and speak to applicants with any mobile number/country and time permitting.

    The only niggle we have is around employers that only have a UK mobile number (because they could just be your best mate!), then everything else needs to check out for them to pass referencing. We work with a referencing specialist, doing quality checks etc, putting you the landlord first.

    If you would like me to manage for you, email me at james@upad.co.uk. 

    All the best,

    James

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    Sorry to tag onto this thread, but does anyone know if Openrent give the tenants the 'how to rent' guide as part of the rent now process?

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    Yes they do. At least did so about a year ago. Just checked my emails and OpenRent had emailed ‘How to rent’ guide to my tenants together with their deposit protection documentation. As a landlord I was copied in to the email too.  So you are kept in the loop too.
    Hope this helps.
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    Well, I have used Upad for around 8 years and always found them superb.  I have 18 properties now, so we use them on average about twice a year.

    I just use their basic service in which, like you, I do all the screening and reference checking. Like you, I absolutely do NOT want someone interfering in the process.

    I would hate being unable to call the agent. Personally cannot stand it when companies go "fully online" and don't have a call centre that works or answers the phone within 5 minutes - British Airways are a good example of this. Gone from Worlds Favourite Airline to Worlds Worst!

    Upad have always had a phone number which is answered by a human being and they get any issues sorted fast. They get my advert on the main portals within 3 hours and the enquiries are emailed and texted to me within minutes.

    Disclaimer - I have become a friend of James Davis, the UPAD CEO, over years from speaking at landlord and property investor trade shows, but there is no marker in which I get special treatment at all.

    Sure, they may be a bit more expensive that Open Rent (last time they were charging about £80 for the basic service), but the service has always been excellent, so it is worth it.

    Here is my process that takes over once I've got the enquiry in....
    https://www.lettingfocus.com/blogs/2019/...ferencing/

    David Lawrenson
    https://www.LettingFocus.com
    Independent Advice and Consulting for Landlords
    Author of "Successful Property Letting - How to Make Money in Buy to Let"

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