A new Airbnb-style online marketplace called HomeRenter has launched that competes directly with traditional high street and online letting agents with a ‘third way’ business model.
Based in London, it claims to be taking an unusual approach to lettings by creating a community where both landlords and tenants talk to each other directly about both properties to rent, and property management.
The company says that landlords, once they are registered on the site, create listings on its platform that are then uploaded to Zoopla and Rightmove.
Tenants and landlords then use HomeRenter’s website to liaise on viewing times, conduct referencing and sign a rental contract.
One unique feature of the site for landlords is that it saves their listings as online adverts which anyone looking for property to rent can register to receive alerts for when the existing tenants move out – effectively ‘bagging’ properties in advance.
Unique charging fee
The site’s charging fee is also a first for the UK. Landlords pay a yearly subscription which at the moment is £49.99 and includes tenant referencing, 24-hour telephone support, keyholding and an outsourced viewing/keyholding service.
HomeRenter says the low price is an introductory offer and after the site has launched fully it will charge £99 a year for its annual subscription. It charges extra for photography and floor plans, gas safety certificates, EPCs and a To Let Board.
The company, which has been incubated by London property developer Q Developments, has three founders including its CEO – former Sunday Times and Trinity Mirror executive Will Handley – plus established property entrepreneurs Sean Quinn and Jim Thomas of Q Developments.
“HomeRenter was born out of our belief and experience that landlords and tenants alike are increasingly fed up with the way the lettings market operates,” says Will Handley (pictured above and left).
“And although a better lettings market is something the government has said it will take action on, including the fees ban, we believe our platform already delivers a radically different and better way to rent and let properties,” says Will Handley.