Over 4.4 million private homes were rented in the UK in 2021 alone, with most landlords owning between 1 and 4 properties. Letting your property can be a very lucrative way to make a living or bring in supplemental income.
It also takes more time, work, and industry knowledge than most people realize. This is one reason many property owners in the UK hire a letting agent to help simplify the process.
But with thousands of agents to choose from, all claiming to be the best, how do you decide who to trust your property and money with?
In an effort to flip the traditional property market on its head, Howsy, the online letting agent, strives to re-invent the rental process and offer a unique experience that traditional letting agents simply don’t.
However with other online lettings such as Purplebricks and OpenRent, it’s no easy task.
Howsy also takes the process of matching renters with the perfect home very seriously by considering their budget, location, and individual needs.
Before you commit to using Howsy, keep reading. Here we’ll take an in-depth look at this letting agent comparison site so you can make the most informed decision about your future.
Let’s start by getting to know the company. Howsy’s mission is to make renting better for everyone, including both landlords and tenants. First launched in March of 2016, Howsy was formerly known as No Agent.
Since its inception, the company has been breaking records by being the first national agency to not charge renters any fees. By December of that same year, No Agent had over 200 investors show their support by raising £350,000 in just 48 hours.
In October 2017 the rest of the world took notice when Forbes magazine named No Agent “Emerging PropTech Startup You Need to Watch”.
At the time, Howsy (No Agent) adopted a mission to create an intuitive, simple, and affordable experience for both landlords and tenants, founded on innovative ideas and technology.
Using a mix of technology and experience, Howsy prides itself on having a deep understanding of what landlords and renters need. Agents handle everything from emergency maintenance calls to rent collection and even the less-than-pleasant process of evictions.
Howsy aims to prove that you can still get high-quality services for an affordable price.
It was in September of 2018 that No Agent rebranded itself and launched as Howsy, offering deposit-free rental services for tenants and guaranteed rent and other protection for landlords. In 2019, Howsy acquired Urban.co.uk.
By September of this year, Howsy’s team expanded to more than 50 industry experts. In January of 2020, the company went on to acquire Upad.co.uk.
By May of that same year, the Howsy team expanded to 85 employees and officially helped landlords manage over 8,000 properties. The Howsy marketplace officially launched in November of 2020.
One month later, the company was honored with 2 separate awards – Online Business of the Year (at the Growing Business Awards) and Best Letting Agency (at the Property Reporter Awards).
Fast forward to the present day and Howsy has since acquired another company (The Happy Tenant Company) and continues to serve thousands of local and national residents looking for a place to call home.
Howsy’s approach involves asking plenty of telling questions in an effort to improve the experience on both sides of the rental process.
Howsy for Landlords
Let’s start by taking a closer look at what services Howsy offers for landlords and property owners.
What Makes Howsy Different?
Unlike other letting agencies and property management companies that charge between 8% and 20% of your monthly rental value, Howsy offers packages and services for landlords that have clear pricing and no hidden fees.
All plans are competitively priced and the monthly fees are fixed, so you can plan and budget more easily with no unexpected surprises.
Property owners can choose from several basic plans, adding additional services if and when they’re needed.
This helps keep costs down and prevents landlords from paying for a slue of services they don’t really need.
Three Plans to Choose From
Howsy offers three basic plans that increase in price as you add on more services. These are:
- Renter Find
- Fully Managed
For many landlords, finding and referencing tenants is one of the most stressful parts of the rental process.
Howsy simplifies this by offering a renter find and screening feature for a one-off fee of £149. These services are available to landlords who also take advantage of either the fully managed or protect plan.
Howsy’s renter find option includes the following services:
- Marketing and advertising on the most popular property portals including Rightmove, Zoopla, Gumtree, Facebook, and more
- Your property is automatically matched with a database of pre-qualified renters.
- Schedule viewings and negotiate offers
- Performing tenant referencing including screenings, credit checks, and identify verification (including guarantors)
- Legal experts who create tailored tenancy agreements and collect all the necessary signatures
- Tenant guarantee protection. Howsy covers the cost of eviction, including lawyer, court, and bailiff fees plus the cost of a locksmith, if needed.
Fully Managed Services
Whether you’re brand new to the rental process, an accidental landlord, or own multiple properties, Howsy offers fully managed services to help ease the burden.
For £89 per month inside of London and £59 per month for areas located outside the city, you get a hassle-free rental experience.
Here’s what’s included:
- Personal account manager with 50 years of combined experience
- Money management (rent collection via direct debit)
- Maintenance and repairs (agents will use your contractors or collect competitive quotes from national partners)
- Two photographic inspections every year to provide evidence your property is safe and well-maintained. Assistance with possible evictions and hiring a locksmith, if needed.
The monthly prices for these services include all VAT fees. If you decide to pay for the entire year up front, you’ll receive 2 free months. You can add the renter find and screening services to this plan for £149 or use Howsy’s Rent it Faster (pay later) feature for £595.
Rent it Faster Pay Later is another Howsy package you can choose if you want to invest extra time and attention in your marketing efforts. While this plan is one of Howsy’s more expensive options, you don’t pay until they find you a suitable tenant. This package includes:
- Renter find and screening
- Accompanied viewings
- High-quality photos of your property
- Inventory checks and check-in services
Purchasing this package will save you 20% compared to purchasing each service separately.
For extra peace of mind, landlords can invest in Howsy’s most comprehensive package, the Protect Plan. By choosing this plan you get all of the same services offered by the fully managed package, plus guaranteed rent. Howsy will also cover the initial cost of any emergency repairs, including on all major appliances.
In terms of guaranteed rent, if a tenant refuses to pay within 5 business days, Howsy will pay you the full rental amount.
Howsy will continue to reimburse you for up to 6 months, with the first 3 months being 100% of the rent and the second 3 months being 50%. During this time, Howsy will handle the eviction process and associated costs (up to £50,000 in legal fees). Rent reimbursement is capped at £3,000 per month.
Appliance repairs and replacement can get pretty costly. Howdy offers protection on two appliances of your choice, including both brown and white goods. Expenses up to £750 per claim are covered under the company’s group insurance policy (not to exceed £3,000 per year).
This includes accidental damage, mechanical breakdowns, call-out fees, parts, and labor. Howsy uses the Whitegoods Trade Association Engineer Network to find reliable and experienced contractors for the job. A 45-day initial exclusion period also applies.
In life, emergencies and accidents happen. These unplanned and unexpected events can put a major dent in your profit and cause you unwanted stress. Howsy offers peace of mind by handling every issue as quickly as possible. Here are some details about Howsy’s emergency protection services.
- Covers up to £1,000 in expenses per claim
- Uses a nationwide network of skilled contractors
- Covers water damage, leaks, flooding, and all other plumbing or drainage system issues
- Covers the complete failure of the electrical and heating systems
- Repair or replace the internal gas supply after a gas leak
- If an emergency renders the property unsafe, the cost of alternative accommodations for tenants is covered
- Extermination services (hornets, wasps, mice, rats, squirrels)
- Repair or replacement of the roof due to natural disasters or other weather conditions
- Damage or failure to the property’s locks that make the property unsafe
- 30-day exclusion period
At Howsy, you only pay for what you need, which is one reason Howsy also offers a variety of extras and additional services for a flat fee. These include:
- Property viewings
- Virtual tours
- Professional videos and photographs
- Premium listings
- Rent it faster (pay later)
- To let board
- Rent collection
- Guaranteed rent
- Check-in and check-out reports
- Zero deposit scheme
- Routine inspections
- Repair management
- Key safes
- Appliance, home emergency, and boiler cover
- Legionella risk assessment
Legal and Compliance
- Deposit protection
- Gas safety certificates
- Energy certificates
- Electrical certificates
- Eviction cover
- Legal helpline
Howsy also offers 24/7 support, agent switch service, and a smart dashboard that both tenants and landlords can access.
Howsy for Renters
Howsy cares as much about tenants as it does landlords and works to create a positive experience for both parties. Some of the main benefits of Howsy for renters include:
- Zero deposit options
- Zero fees
- Online bookings for viewings
- Access to the Smart Dashboard
- 24/7 customer support
Howsy Club and Forever Free
The Howsy Club feature was designed to help tenants find their dream home and move in without the need for a large cash deposit. Instead, tenants pay a small monthly fee for this luxury.
Renters can also join Howsy’s Forever Free plan which requires zero fees. Instead, you pay a 5-week deposit and one month’s rent upfront.
Howsy has subscription services for tenants ranging from cleaning services to furniture deliveries and even flowers! Through the convenient app, renters can try as many subscription services as they want to help simplify the move-in process.
Howsy landlords monitor the property using cutting-edge technology. That means if something breaks or is in need of repair, there’s no need to call. The app will automatically alert the landlord and they can send a maintenance team or other professional to address the issue without you having to do a thing.
The convenient virtual viewings option means never traveling to view a property again. View potential properties, in detail, from the app and see if they’re a good fit. If so, you can request an in-person showing. If not, you can move on and continue your search without being put out or inconvenienced.
The only way to get a clear picture of how Howsy works and if its claims are true is to see what current and previous customers have to say about their experience with the agency.
Out of nearly 2,800 reviews on Trustpilot, Howsy has a 4.6 out of 5 stars and is rated as excellent. 83% of customers gave Trustpilot a 5-star rating, which includes both landlords and tenants.
One tenant cited how simple the tenancy renewal process was thanks to a qualified and hands-on property manager. Many customers appreciated the quick, helpful, and professional responses they received, creating a positive and stress-free experience.
Tenants report that booking a viewing and getting a response from Howsy’s 24/7 customer service representatives helped simplify the rental process.
Not all clients that used Howsy were pleased with their experience. 10% of reviewers gave Howsy a rating of “bad”.
Common issues included viewings canceled last minute, lack of communication, and poor property management.
Several tenants claim it took up to 6 months for Howsy to perform major repairs to things such as their dishwasher and other appliances.
While some negative reviews claim that Howsy used to be a reputable and reliable company, they feel that the company’s customer service has “gone downhill” in recent years.
Some customers claim these changes occurred after Howsy acquired other property management companies including the Happy Tenant Company.
Consider Howsy for Your Next Rental Experience
Whether you’re a landlord in need of property management services or help to find and vet tenants, or you’re a tenant in search of your next dream home, Howsy has services that can help.
Howsy has expanded over the last 5 years to acquire several other companies, adding new and convenient services along the way.
As some of the company’s negative reviews reflect, change isn’t always good. Howsy also focuses heavily on technology and virtual tools.
While this is convenient for tech-savvy customers, it can be difficult for others to navigate the app and website.
Overall, Howsy acts as a one-stop-shopping experience for both landlords and tenants if you know how to use the resources and find a plan that fits your budget.
What is Howsy?
Howsy is an online letting agency and property management company. The company’s slogan is, “Make renting better for everyone.” Howsy offers numerous resources for landlords including individual services or fully-managed services. Renters can also use the platform to search for properties with zero deposit down and no fees.
How much does Howsy charge?
The price you pay for Howsy’s services depends on how involved you plan to be. Fully managed services which include rent collection, maintenance and repairs, and tenant referencing will cost you £89 per month inside of London and £59 per month outside the city. These prices include VAT fees. Renter find and screen services are £149. If you opt for the Rent it Faster (pay later) option, you can expect to pay £595. These services are all included in Howsy’s three packages – Renter Find, Howsy Fully Managed, and Howsy Protect.
How does Howsy work?
Setting up an account on Howsy is free. Once you do, you can take the next steps to creating your custom dashboard. Simply enter your first and last name, email address, and phone number and create a password. Once your account is set up, you can use the dashboard to request a valuation, upload properties, and request more support and services.
Is Howsy trustworthy?
Howsy has a rating of “excellent” on Trustpilot with 83% of their ratings being 5-stars. Clients claim the website has excellent customer service and is run efficiently. The company’s team of property managers is described as polite, courteous, and prompt.