If you’re a landlord, property manager, or letting agent in the UK, you’ve heard of OpenRent but aren’t sure exactly what it is, how to use it, or if it’s the right platform for you. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about this site which is designed to help private landlords secure tenants and earn a steady income.
OpenRent was launched in May of 2012 and quickly gained recognition as one of the biggest and most successful letting agents in the UK.
As of this writing, OpenRent has secured over 150,000 tenancies and helped over 70,000 landlords. The platform has over 4.2 million active users.
OpenRent’s mission is to make renting safer, cheaper, and fairer for all those involved. Open Rent prides itself in letting more properties than any other company in the UK.
Landlords can use the platform to advertise their property on some of the most reputable and well-known property portals in the UK including Zoopla and Rightmove. They can also reference tenants, purchase safety certificates, and more.
But OpenRent isn’t just for landlords. Tenants looking for a trusted landlord, quality property, and fair pricing can also use this platform to search for the most in-demand and recently posted rentals. Here, tenants can sort through relevant listings, schedule viewings, and make an offer.
OpenRent is a member of the Property Ombudsman for Lettings, which means your money and best interests are protected. The easy-to-use platform and dedication to customer service and satisfaction are just a few reasons OpenRent is one of the most popular and successful platforms for both landlords and tenants in the UK.
OpenRent for Landlords
Whether you’re a seasoned landlord or are just breaking into the world of property management, your main goal is to secure a reliable tenant quickly and start collecting rent. But this is often easier said than done.
That’s where platforms like OpenRent come into play and work to simplify the letting process.
Most landlords use OpenRent to advertise their properties. Once you create your first listing, the platform will review and publish it on the most popular property portals in the UK including Zoopla, Rightmove, and Primelocation.
On average, listing your property on OpenRent will result in an offer within 3 days. OpenRent offers several packages to choose from including a base package that’s free, an ultimate package for £29, or the advertising + rent now package which is £49 (more on these in a minute).
But OpenRent offers a lot more services than just listing your property. OpenRent can help with everything from tenancy creation to inventory checks, insurance, photography, safety certificates, and more.
Need help finding and referencing quality tenants? OpenRent offers individual referencing services for £20 or you can purchase it as part of the Rent Now package. Landlords can order referencing services and get updated via email on which tenants make the cut and which prove to be less than ideal.
You’ll need to pay for each reference check up front, regardless of the outcome.
Gas Safety Certificate
If the rental property you own has any gas appliances or a gas boiler, you’re legally required to provide an annual safety certificate.
OpenRent works with a group of Gas SAFE registered engineers who can not only certify your boiler and appliances but also service them.
This ensures that they’re in safe, working order for your new tenants. This service will cost you £45.
Energy Performance Certificate
Another important certificate every landlord needs is one for energy performance. That means you need to obtain an EPC (energy performance certificate) prior to tenants moving in.
In some areas, this is required before you even advertise the property. OpenRent can provide an EPC that’s good for 10 years for just £69.
Electric Safety Certificate
For the same low price of £69, OpenRent will ensure that all wiring, electrical fittings, and appliances at your rental property are in safe working order.
OpenRent offers PAT testing and EICR (fixed wiring) testing as well.
These are all safety checks landlords are required by law to perform before accepting tenants.
Are you looking to let a fully furnished property? If so, you’ll want to perform an inventory check both before the tenants move in and after the tenancy is up to ensure there is no damage.
While an inventory check and report isn’t a requirement, it’s in the best interest of both the landlord and tenant to protect your rights and money.
OpenRent will create an inventory report and have it signed by all parties for £85. This service also includes checking tenants in on moving day.
Photos and Floor Plans
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. That’s why the photos you place in your property advertisement are so important. They’re the first thing a possible tenant will see and could make or break the deal. It’s recommended landlords use a professional photographer when taking pictures of their rental property and OpenRent offers these services for £79.
Instead of investing in expensive photography equipment that you’ll never use again (or don’t know how to use), let OpenRent send a professional to your property. Not only will they take high-quality photos but they’ll edit them to guarantee it shows your listing in the best possible light.
Another daunting part of property management is conducting viewings with potential tenants. This can be difficult for multiple reasons. For starters, if you don’t live close to your rental property, traveling for frequent showings can be costly, time-consuming, and tedious.
It’s also hard for some landlords to hear prospective tenants talk negatively about their property or ask endless questions. Sometimes, it’s best to let a third party conduct viewings. OpenRent can be this person for you and offers 24/7 accompanied viewing services for £36.
OpenRent also deals with important landlord insurance for both your building and its contents. Building insurance protects your property and contents from theft, attempted theft, water leakage, and natural disasters including fire, explosion, lightning, earthquake, storm, or flood.
This type of insurance will also cover you in the event that tenants leave your property uninhabitable and provide public liabilities cover. Landlords can request a quote for coverage through OpenRent.
OpenRent for Tenants
OpenRent isn’t just for landlords and property owners. This platform offers plenty of other services for tenants needing a safe, clean, reliable place to live. If you’re a renter, here’s what OpenRent can do for you.
No Admin Fees
OpenRent doesn’t charge an administration fee for you to search listed properties. Using the platform’s search tool, you’ll only see properties that are currently available and meet your criteria.
Speaking of criteria, you can filter the search results to only show properties that fit your needs and budget. For example, you can check off boxes for rentals that allow pets, are for students or have a certain number of bedrooms.
When you view a match, you’ll see the property’s pictures, floor plans, and details from the start. OpenRent lists thousands of available properties all over the UK at any given time.
You’ll never be disappointed by viewing a property that’s no longer available because the minute it’s taken, OpenRent removes the listing. If you enquire about a property that’s taken shortly after, you’ll receive an email notifying you right away so you can continue your search.
Book a Viewing or Connect with a Landlord
Once you settle on a specific property you want, you can schedule a viewing or contact the landlord. Press the “book viewing” button and then send a message directly to the landlord or property manager.
At this point, you can ask them specific questions and book a viewing time that works for both of you. OpenRent also protects your identity and will hide your personal information and details while you organize the viewing.
On this platform, there’s no middleman which cuts down on confusion and missed opportunities, putting you in direct contact with the landlord immediately so you get first dibs on your favorite properties.
View the Property
Regardless of how good the pictures of a listing are, there’s nothing quite like seeing it in person. After making arrangements with the landlord through OpenRent’s chat feature, it’s time to view the property for yourself.
Meet the landlord on the agreed-upon day and time and take your time looking both inside and outside of the property. The landlord will be there the entire time to answer all of your questions.
After all, no one knows the property better than the owner. Viewings are done without a letting agent present so you don’t have to work about someone breathing down your neck or applying unwanted pressure.
After the viewing is over you can continue to contact the landlord through OpenRent’s messaging feature to ask any follow-up questions or confirm other important details.
Click the “Rent Now” Button
Following the viewing, you’ll know whether or not this is the right property for you. If it’s not, continue searching the thousands of other suitable listings on OpenRent. But if it is, get ready to click that “Rent Now” button and reserve your next home!
At this point, you’ll be asked to pay a refundable holding deposit equal to one week’s rent directly to OpenRent, not the landlord.
If the tenancy moves forward as planned, the holding deposit is applied to the first month’s rent. OpenRent protects tenants’ money as explained in the website’s terms and conditions. OpenRent allows for easy payments online using a credit card.
Referencing, Contracts, and Deposits
Now comes time for the paperwork and particulars – all of which OpenRent will organize and arrange for you. If the landlord chooses to reference you, OpenRent will keep you in the loop every step of the way.
Tenants can view the referencing process and progress on their personal dashboard. Referencing is done at the expense of the landlord, not you.
You can conveniently pay your tenancy deposit online once the landlord accepts your offer. OpenRent will then register you and issue you a contract that both parties can conveniently sign online.
Free Concierge and Bill Setup
OpenRent offers tenants access to personal home concierge service. OpenRent will handle everything from setting up council tax, energy, and broadband along with other services to help the moving process go as smoothly as possible.
When you and the landlord agree on a moving date, simply contact the booking team and they’ll help get everything in order.
At this point, the only thing left to do is move into your new place. As previously mentioned, if all goes according to plan, OpenRent will automatically apply your holding deposit toward the first month’s rent.
Once you’ve signed the tenancy agreement and paid any other move-in expenses, both you and the landlord can rest assured that you’ve entered into a safe and secure agreement.
Tenants can access all of their documents at any time on the website’s dashboard. This includes all contracts, deposits, references, and other important paperwork.
A Closer Look at OpenRent Fees and Packages
There are three basic packages available for landlords on OpenRent. As the price increases, so do the services you’ll receive. Of course their fees are lower than what letting agents charge, but landlords will need to conduct more activities themselves.
Here’s a quick breakdown for your reference.
This is the most basic package available and is free of charge. If you’re a landlord who only wants your property advertised on OpenRent, this can be done for free for 3 months. In addition, your viewings and inquiries will be organized on the website’s dashboard for easy access and review. Users can upgrade this package at any time.
Ultimate Advertising (Portal Advertising)
The next package will cost you £29 and includes advertising on major property portals including Zoopla and Rightmove, as well as on OpenRent. This price includes 3 months of advertising on these portals plus over 100 other partner sites. It also includes a viewing and inquiry organizer to ensure you never miss an offer.
Rent Now + Ultimate Advertising
OpenRent’s most popular package and the best deal is the Rent Now + Ultimate Advertising package which costs £49 for 3 months.
With this ultimate package, landlords receive all the above mentioned services including advertising on the most popular portals and inquiry management, plus professional tenancy creation and other add-ons – a comprehensive package to help a landlord get their let agreed
Tenancy creation services include:
- Contract drafting and digital signing
- Deposit registration
- Initial rent collection
Landlords can choose other extras like referencing and rent collection as well.
Now that you have a clear understanding of the services available on OpenRent for both landlords and tenants, let’s take a look at what real customers have to say about the reliability and legitimacy of this property platform.
If you’re looking at online letting agents generally, our online letting agent fees & ratings guide will be of help.
OpenRent received 4.2 stars out of 5 on Trust Pilot with most customers reporting a great experience. This is slightly lower than one of the founding online letting agent Purplebricks who scores 4.4.
OpenRent has over 2,400 reviews, 85% are excellent with only 9% of reviewers claiming they had a bad experience with the property platform.
Many of the positive reviews if OpenRent highlighted the same positive features, including:
- Fast results (most landlords claimed they found tenants within a few days of listing their property with OpenRent)
- Great pricing for the services offered
- Flexibility in negotiating rent and rates
As with any online agent, OpenRent has collected its fair share of negative reviews as well. It’s interesting to note that many of these are reported by tenants rather than landlords. Some common complaints include:
- Holding deposit and refund issues
- Landlords removing listings and then reposting them for a higher price
- Lack of interest from prospective tenants (long vacancies)
- Poor communication and customer service
OpenRent responds to all negative reviews promptly and thoroughly, offering an explanation for most customer complaints.
OpenRent for Landlords and Tenants
When it comes to letting property in the UK, OpenRent is one of the largest and most widely recognized online property platforms.
Whether you’re looking for a property to rent or want to become a landlord, OpenRent has a variety of services and packages for you to choose from with a track record of proven success.