Frequently Asked Questions Got a different question? You can also Email us!
What is OpenRent all about?
OpenRent harnesses technology to make renting a property more convenient, safer and cheaper than ever before. We don't believe any other site out there does this in a meaningful way.
Since launching in May 2012, we have secured over 4730 tenancies, and helped over 3638 landlords. We're the fastest growing tenant-find service in the UK. We're also a member of the Property Ombudsman for Lettings, so you know you're in safe hands!
How does it work?
What charges are there for Landlords?
Your first listing is free and includes listing on portals including Rightmove, Zoopla and Gumtree, and all our Rent Now features. Our usual price is an upfront fee of £20 per property - but you can always earn more free listings by introducing friends to OpenRent!
And that's it. No admin fees, no contract signing fees, no hidden charges.
What charges are there for Tenants?
£20 per reference conducted, and not all Landlords insist on referencing.
And that's it. No admin fees, no contract signing fees, no hidden charges.
Why can't I charge my own "admin" fees?
OpenRent are here to ease the administrative burden and reduce costs. All of our services are included within the £20 listing fee, and hence, we ask that landlords do not charge tenants any admin fees directly.
By doing this, we can advertise all of our properties as having no admin fees, and make sure we attract you the most tenants!
Note: If you conduct referencing yourself, you can not charge tenants more than £20 for this service. This will be classed as an admin fee, as all our properties are advertised stating a maximum £20 fee for referencing.
Why do you list properties on Rightmove, Zoopla, and other major portals?
We partner with the most popular property sites in the UK which receive literally millions of property searches per month, giving you the best possible chance of finding your ideal tenant. Only registered agents can list so you won't be able to do this directly as a landlord.
Why do you list on Gumtree?
Whilst it is free to list on Gumtree already for private landlords, our landlords have been asking for it. Hence, we now have a deal in place and will automatically re-list OpenRent properties twice a day, making sure your listing is always visible.
OpenRent landlords can now make use of our enquiry system and phone masking service and tenants will be directed to your OpenRent page meaning you can easily take advantage of our Rent Now features without any extra explaining.
Do I have to use your AST / Deposit Handling / Referencing services?
Absolutely not - you can use as many or as few of our services as you like! If you'd just like us to introduce you to new tenants that's fine - although all our other services are free with any listing, and we only charge tenants £20 each for a comprehensive reference.
How long will it take to make my advert?
If you've already got photos of your property it will take less than 5 minutes. The current record stands at 81.2 seconds.
My property isn't available yet. Should I still list?
We certainly won't stop you! There is no limit to how early you can list a property with us as long as you let us know when it is available.
What you should bear in mind is that your best exposure on property portals will be when you first list - this is because your property will appear as new, and all tenants with search alerts will be notified only once (when you first list). Hence, we recommend listing a week or so before viewings are possible, and 2-4 weeks before the property will become vacant.
How long will my advert remain online?
We will keep promoting your property until we find you tenants or you tell us to take the listing down.
How do I arrange viewings with tenants?
Calls and emails which come via Rightmove from interested tenants are handled by us and we will arrange viewings for you. Enquiries which come via OpenRent will be sent directly to you, our systems will mask your phone number and email address for a much greater level of privacy.
What is commute time search?
Tell us the postcode of your office / uni and how long you are prepared to travel to get there - we show you every property in our database within a max commute time of it by train, tube and walking times.
How does commute time search work?
We have a basement full of elves with a map of London and a massive book of train timetables.
Why do tenants have to place a holding deposit?
Placing a £200 holding deposit tells us tenants are serious about renting a property. It allows us to begin the Rent Now process so we can stop promoting the property to other tenants and start arranging referencing and contracts.
As the name suggests, this is a deposit and is not a charge or fee. If you want to know what exactly happens with the £200, scroll here.
Who keeps the holding deposit?
Firstly, the holding deposit is used to cover referencing costs (£20 per reference), if references are deemed necessary by the landlord.
The remaining amount is placed towards the full deposit amount upon successful contract signing.
If the tenants fail referencing and can't secure appropriate guarantors, or the landlord isn't happy with these tenants, the remaining amount is returned to the tenants. If the tenants decide they no longer want the property, the remaining deposit is returned to the landlord.
Why should I take a deposit?
Most landlords ask tenants to pay a deposit before they move in. They may be entitled to keep all or part of it if tenants:
- leave the property owing rent
- damage the property
- do not pay their bills
There is more information for landlords on Directgov.
Why do you process deposits?
We do this to protect tenants and landlords, as well as ease the pain for both parties.
Landlords must comply with frequently changing laws on handling deposits. If deposits are filed incorrectly, filed late or not filed at all then landlords can face hefty fines of up to 3 times the deposit amount. OpenRent removes both the risk and the hassle.
For tenants, it means you only need to trust OpenRent, and not every private landlord out there. We make sure the deposit is protected, and send you through the details. At the end of the tenancy, you then know you will recieve a fair amount of your deposit back.
Although we process deposits, OpenRent doesn't hold the money; it is transferred immediately to the the DPS.
What's the DPS?
The DPS is a government approved custodial scheme for tenancy deposit protection. You can find more information about them here.
It is a requirement for all properties in the UK to have the deposit protected by a government approved deposit protection scheme, you can find more details about government guidelines here.
Can I see a copy of the OpenRent tenancy agreement?
This blog post introduces our ASTs and explains the differences between the two.
Can I customise the tenancy agreement or add my own clauses?
The main terms in your AST are set by the details you provide when you create your listing - price, deposit, contract length, etc. The move-in date is agreed once a tenant clicks "Rent Now". If tenants have already clicked Rent Now and you need to change any of these details, you should contact the team on email@example.com.
We don't allow users to customise the individual clauses of our contract or add their own. Our policy is to provide an AST that is broad reaching and which reflects industry best practice in terms of protecting the interests of both parties. In the past landlords have signed additional paper agreements with tenants which go beyond the terms of the contract we provide them, so this is an option if you still want to use our contract. Of course you can still establish a tenancy with your own contract by dealing with your tenants privately and not using the Rent Now process.
How can I trust a digital signature?
Digital signatures are becoming commonplace with online and remote transactions in the UK. They not only make the process faster and easier, but they are legally binding and admissible in court - this was established by the Electronic Communications Act 2000 and subsequent EU Directives. See page 3 of this DTI/BIS guidance for a bit more detail.
Having said that - our contract is available for download as well, so you can ask your tenants/landlord to sign it personally if you prefer.
Who do you use to reference tenants?
Our tenant referencing is performed via our partners Veri-Check and Best Insurance, both systems offer credit scores (from Equifax) and fully comprehensive background checks on tenants. This includes, but is not limited to, Linked address, identity & fraud information, CCJ's, Decrees and our court information, Affordibility ratings, Previous landlord and employer references.
Do you offer Rent Guarantee Insurance?
We certainly do. Rent guarantee insurance is offered upon tenants successfully passing tenant referencing. We do require all parties on the AST to be referenced for RGI to be available.
Prices range from £50-55 for 6 months, and £80-89 for 12 months, which covers you against non-payment of rents and legal expenses you may incur with this tenancy.
Are you a member of any letting agent associations?
I'm a rogue landlord thinking of using your site to scam tenants!
Thanks for letting us know!
But seriously, we have several lines of defence to combat rogue landlords, and we make sure no landlords have received any of the tenant's money until they are moved in. We handle the deposit and the first month's rent for this very reason!
I am a letting agent - can you find me tenants too?
Sorry, we can only accept listings from private landlords. Although if you offer property management services, are committed to great service and offer competitive rates, get in touch - you might be interested in partnering with us.
How do I pay you?
We use Worldpay who are one of the biggest card processors in Europe. We don't store any of your financial information on our site.