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 107659 tenancies, and helped over 51691 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?
If you're looking for more information on rent now, our tenancy creation service, take a look on our Rent Now Information page.
What charges are there for Landlords?
Your first listing is free and includes listing on portals including Rightmove, Zoopla and Gumtree, and access to all our Rent Now features for only £49. Our usual price is an upfront fee of £29 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.
What is Rent Now?
Beyond advertising, OpenRent ensures tenancies are safe and the platform eases the rest of the tenant-find process. We call this Rent Now, and you have access to it as soon as you list with us.
Our Rent Now service makes creating your new tenancy a breeze. We take care of referencing, contracts and deposit handling all via our secure online platform, and we'll send you an email and SMS whenever your input is required.
To get started, tenants just need to click the green Rent Now button on your property listing page and pay a £200 holding deposit - we then send you an SMS and Email, and you can accept any application to get started, or reject if you would prefer to keep looking for other tenants.
Once an application is accepted, you can ask us to obtain references or go straight to contract signing. If you opt for references (over 90% of our landlords do), we'll get the tenants fully checked for you - you can decide if you are happy or not with the references that come back. If successful, we then help get the contracts signed, holding deposit registered, and your tenancy set up.
Rent Now costs landlords just £49, and advertising (usually £29) is thrown in free if you pay for everything upfront. The only fees to tenants are £20 per reference conducted, if requested by the landlord.
Why use Rent Now?
Peace of mind: You can relax knowing everything is taken care of. OpenRent has let more properties than any other agency in the UK since 2015, so you're in safe hands.
Legal Security: Our advice, ever evolving AST, and deposit protection guarantee mean you aren't left with a large legal bill for not complying with the latest in tenancy law.
Speed and flexibility: Our team chase all parties at each step, and the whole process can be managed online 24/7. Holding deposit placement to key handover can now happen in hours, not days.
Tenants feel safer: They will be handing money over to the UK's largest agent and a platform that has set up thousands of tenancies, and can pay by card or bank transfer.
A professional service: Make it clear you are a professional landlord with the support of the largest agency in the UK, and stand out from other landlords.
You remain in control. We will provide you with the full reference reports (if requested), you can configure the contract as you please, and you always have the final say on any tenants.
As a landlord, you can relax knowing everything is taken care of. OpenRent will inform you of anything you need to do each step of the way. We not only make sure you are legally compliant, provide industry best in class referencing and contracts, but make most of the work involved in setting up a tenancy disappear.
Everything can be done online 24/7, in a seamless and speedy fashion from the comfort of your home.
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 do you offer to 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 can remove 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 receive a fair amount of your deposit back.
Although we can 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.
If using Rent Now, OpenRent will register the deposit with the DPS on your behalf. All we require is that you register with them (for free) and we will ask for your user ID when required. You can register any time here.
Can I see a copy of the OpenRent tenancy agreement / contract?
This page introduces our AST: OpenRent Tenancy Agreement.
When using Rent Now, why do you hold onto the Rent for 7-14 days before releasing it to the landlord?
The 7-14 day waiting period is one of our lines of defence against rogue landlords. As we don't always visit the property ourselves, we have to be reasonably sure the property is available, under ownership of the OpenRent landlord, and has been moved into before transferring the tenant's money. This is a requirement to ensure tenants using Rent Now are protected. In an ideal world, where everyone was honest, we could obviously remove this from our system. As a company, we gain nothing by holding onto this money, it is simply an administrative cost and burden.
We can't be more precise on when the rent money will be received by yourself due to bank functioning times, and the practicality of sending the money, but you will be notified as soon as it leaves our account.
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 this guidance from GOV.UK for more detail.
Having said that - our contract is available for download as well, so you can ask your tenants/landlord to sign it personally (as well as online) if you prefer.
Are you a member of any letting agent associations?
Yes, we are a proud member of The Property Ombudsman.
We are also a registered agent in Wales.
What happens to my tenancy / contract if you stop trading?
Firstly, we've been trading since September 2011 - so we've already been around for over 5.3 years, and don't intend to go anywhere!
However, we understand it makes sense to be cautious, and have developed our system to mean your tenancy will continue regardless of whether we do.
- Our contract is between the landlord and the tenant. All of OpenRent's obligations with respect to the AST cease once the rent payment has been transferred.
- Our contract automatically turns into a periodic tenancy, meaning the AST is still valid and enforceable as long as the tenants remain in the property.
- Your deposit will be held and managed by the DPS - learn more here: Deposit Protection. This is a government approved agency that will ensure the deposit is secure for the duration of the tenancy.
- As with any agent, high street or online, the ultimate responsibility for the tenancy always lies with the landlord.
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 are a company / housing association that owns the properties you are letting, we can help too.
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.
Why didn't I have to set a password?
On OpenRent, we have the option to log-in using the faster, and more secure method of clicking on your email provider.
This means you do not actually require a password - you can log into the site by clicking the same button, anytime and from anywhere. The way it works is that we communicate with your email provider, check you are logged in there, and they provide a "token" to verify you.
This is not only safer, it's much easier. You can see more information here: Account Chooser Information
If you ever did want to set your password for any reason, you can do so here: Reset Password
Why do I need a UK number to advertise or book viewings?
OpenRent does require a verified UK phone number to register for adding new properties, to arrange a viewing, or to place a holding deposit. Everything else can be accessed without verifying a number.
Landlords need a UK-based number since they need to be situated in the UK in order to show tenants around the property and manage the property once a tenant is found. If you are a landlord abroad, and have someone doing viewings for you in the UK, you can supply their number.
Tenants need a UK-based number to book a viewing online, as tenants must be in the UK to conduct a viewing. However, you are free to ask the landlord any questions without verifying your number.
This requirement also helps us reduce spam, for landlords and tenants alike. And nobody likes spam.
Landlord Specific Questions
Why can't I charge my own "admin" fees?
OpenRent are here to ease the administrative burden and reduce costs. All of our services (advertising and tenancy creation) are included within the £49 Rent Now fee.
By explicitly banning admin fees on all our properties, we can advertise them all as having no admin fees, and make sure we attract you the most tenants! Our average let time of under a week is a direct result of this.
An Admin fee is defined as a one-off fee for viewing the property, applying for the property, or setting up the tenancy. This does not include bills, council tax, or up to £20 to cover the cost of referencing (to stop tenants applying knowing they will fail) - of course you are welcome to include the cost of all of these in the rent too if preferred. Furthermore, explicitly listing every fee which could be charged if we didn't have a ban, as required by advertising standards (and thus every high street agency), serves as nothing but a deterrent to your future tenants.
We understand why admin fees started appearing in the rental market, and are not expecting anyone to do work for free. However, admin fees themselves are confusing to tenants, and make comparing properties almost impossible. They also put tenants off thinking they are dealing with a high street agency, rather than a private landlord (who generally don't charge such fees).
Before we existed, landlords were forced to pay £1000+ to a high street letting agent, and the agent would then also charge the tenants for the one-off admin involved in setting up the tenancy (£500 average in London). These fees were often hidden, and unexpectedly large. They often prey on the fact that tenants are already committed to the property, before being revealed. Admin fees are associated with this set-up, of high street agent double charging, which is no longer a factor with OpenRent. Most landlords are completely unaware of their existence!
We understand there is more work beyond our £49 fee, namely conducting the viewings. However, this, and anything else considered a reasonable fee (gas certificates, electrical certificates, inventory fee, contract signing fee, check-in fee, check-out fee, etc...) are, in effect, one off costs which can be included in the rental amount.
The landlord is in full control of how much rent to charge, and the rent should incorporate the costs of setting up the tenancy.
Many of our landlords that used to charge an admin fee find that by using OpenRent they save a significant amount versus using a high street letting agent to find tenants and create the tenancy. By saving on fees in this way they then find they can do without charging tenants anything for admin at all, and still end up comfortably ahead in the deal!
Ultimately though, this policy means more tenants searching for your property, and more demand means properties being let quicker than ever.
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 provided with all listings and priced extremely competitively. You are welcome to just request referencing on its own too.
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 advertise your property until let, but please note we do have a fair usage policy. See our pricing page for more information.
How do I arrange viewings with tenants?
Calls and emails which come via Rightmove, Zoopla, or any other portal from interested tenants are handled by us. If the tenant would like a viewing we will ask you to contact them directly to arrange that, if they have any questions we will pass those on too - but using our masked email service as described below.
To help arrange viewings, once you've spoken to the tenant you can inform us of the viewing date / time - and we'll not only inform the tenant, but remind them 2 hours before the viewing (to make sure they show up!). This also helps with re-arranging times, and cancellations.
Questions which come via OpenRent will be sent directly to you, our systems will mask your email address for a much greater level of privacy. You can reply directly to these emails, and OpenRent will pass your responses on to the tenant without revealing your private information (unless you explicitly want to of course!).
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
We advice against adding custom clauses, or using the custom clause section to overrule any clauses in our standard contract - however, we realise sometimes landlords want this flexibility, and therefore we have enabled the adding of custom clauses. Note that OpenRent will not look over clauses added, or ensure they are legally sound, so use at your own risk! Our general 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. As such, we don't feel custom clauses should be required.
If you did want to add custom clauses, heeding the warning above, you can do so at any point during the contract signing phase of Rent Now - this function is available under the "Advanced Contract Settings".
Who do you use to reference tenants?
Our tenant referencing is performed via specialised dedicated referencing partners, all partner systems systems offer credit scores (using a combination of Equifax and Experian data) and fully comprehensive background checks on tenants.
This includes, but is not limited to, employer references, linked addresses, identity & fraud information, CCJ's, decrees and court information, affordability ratings, and previous landlord references.
Who pays for referencing?
Tenant references are paid for in two different ways - depending on if the landlord is using Rent Now to set up the tenancy, or plan to set up the tenancy themselves.
Using Rent Now:
To use Rent Now a landlord just needs to direct their tenants to their listing page on OpenRent. From there, the tenants can click on the green "Rent Now" button and you'll be able to proceed to request referencing immediately. The tenants will pay £20 per reference you request. There is no charge to the landlord per reference.
On a standalone basis:
If the landlord doesn't wish to use Rent Now, they can order references separately. This gives landlords access to the same comprehensive referencing OpenRent uses within Rent Now - however landlords must pay up front, this is priced the same at £20 per reference requested. You can initiate ordering of references by following the link below.
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.
Our policies have no excess, and only cost £55 for 6 months, and £89 for 12 months, which covers you against non-payment of rents and legal expenses you may incur with this tenancy. A tiny cost for the peace of mind it provides with new tenants.
Do you offer Gas Safety Certificates (CP12), and Electrical Safety Certificates (PAT Testing)?
We certainly do. We've partnered with industry leading Gas and Electric experts who provide discounts for our high volumes, meaning not only can we provide the highest quality products on the market, but at extremely low prices.
A Gas Safety Certificate starts at £45, with a full boiler service, and PAT testing available as extras.
Do you offer inventory or check-in / check-out services?
We certainly do!
DIY Inventory Template: for landlords wanting to save costs, and keen to do the inventory themselves we have a downloadable template (also in .doc format) to get you started. We would always recommend an independant professional where possible in the event the inventory is required in a deposit dispute - but want to make sure landlords in the worst case have some kind of inventory in place!
Professional Service: We've partnered with some of the best inventory clerks nationwide to provide you with discounts for our high volumes, meaning once again our prices are extremely low and our service levels extremely high!
An inventory, also known as schedule of condition report, starts at £85, with a check-in service available for only an additional £40.
Rather just get on with it? Go ahead and book below:
How does searching work, or, can I change my property title?
We are often asked - can my property title be changed to include a different place name? Or why doesn't my property appear for the search term X. Here I will attempt to explain the difference in search across the portals.
OpenRent, Rightmove, Zoopla and pretty much every portal:
On most portals, a search works by the user entering a location. This is then translated into a search area, if your property is within this area, then your property will appear. Hence, the most important aspect of making sure your advert appears for appropriate searches, is to check it's location on the map is correct. This applies to both OpenRent, and your listings on the other portals (Rightmove / Zoopla). If the location on the map is correct, then tenants will be able to find it, regardless of the title.
Please Note that it may take up to 1 hour to appear in some OpenRent searches after listing (due to caching), and 3-6 hours before appearing on Rightmove, Zoopla and Portals other than Gumtree.
Gumtree is the main source of confusion for our landlords, fundamentally because it's search is not designed for property, but for all types of classified ads.
When we send Gumtree your property address, they categorise that into one of the areas you see on the list to the left of the search. This is a set of regions such as "London Bridge", "London", "Derby", etc. The more densely populated, the finer grained the region.
What can happen is that we send them the correct address, but the closest "region" is named differently. Hence, when a user searches (using the search boxes), your property will not appear. We do our best to combat this by including the important details of your address in the title. How many bedrooms (spelt two ways to overcome their broken search), street name, town name, and first part of the post code. Any of these entered into the first search box "Find A..", will work. For the "In" search box, it must include the region your ad has been classified in, or the first part of the post code.
We send Gumtree (like with any other portal) your full address. Whilst I've tried to explain their system, the problems people have is essentially a failure of the Gumtree search, which of all the systems is by far the most confusing (and non-user friendly).
Without wanting to be too disparaging about the Gumtree search - the point is that we have thought long and hard about making sure we find you the most number of tenants, you're in good in hands, and OpenRent processes thousands of leads from Gumtree weekly.
Please Note that it may take up to 36 hours to appear on Gumtree searches after listing - Gumtree only allow us to send properties and updates once a day and this is out of our control.
My mortgage lender is requesting that you complete a Letting Certificate. Can you help?
We have a set of questions and answers designed specifically for Mortgage Lenders which should address the points they need to clarify. The landlord should combine this with documental proof and send it to the lender - this should be sufficient to constitute a Letting Certificate, but as processes can change we advise that you first check with your lender that this approach is sufficient to complete their letting certificate requirements.
Unfortunately we can't complete Letting Certificates directly since they ask us to certify aspects of the tenancy outside our control.
Tenant Specific Questions
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.
Landlord has asked for me to pay a Holding Deposit outside of the OpenRent System, I am feeling cautious
You are right to approach the situation with caution: you should take a receipt for the Holding Deposit and ask the Landlord to confirm in writing what terms the Holding Deposit will be governed by.
You will also want to be sure of their identity for instance by asking to see some proof of ID.
Please note that even if you follow these guidelines we cannot guarantee the safety of tenant money unless our Rent Now process is used. With that said, some landlords do prefer to create tenancies themselves and this needn't necessarily be a cause for concern.
Please feel free to tell the landlord that you would be more comfortable if we were to arrange the tenancy on their behalf using the Rent Now process, but bear in mind they might not be willing to change their mind on this.