Humberts has launched the UK’s first switchable online-only and traditional managed lettings service for landlords.
The announcement comes five months after the company said it would be relaunching its lettings operation headed up by high-profile industry executive Suzanne Diamond (pictured, below).
The new online offering is called Humberts Lettings Direct and will charge landlords £199 plus VAT for advertising on Rightmove and OTM as well as deposit and first-month rent collection, referencing, contract management and legal protection insurance.
Humberts says the £199 will then be deducted from any fees charged should a landlord then switch to the traditional approach.
But rather than the company build its own technology, 175-year-old Humberts is partnering with proptech start-up Propoly.
Propoly started up three years ago as Nanoget before changing name and joining angel investment firm Pi Labs, initially presenting itself as an alternative to lettings agents for landlords and tenants.
The company’s board includes non-executive director Margaret Longden (pictured, right), who is Countrywide’s Retail Programme Director and who, from 2010 onwards, helped expand the PLC’s lettings business. Also, Countrywide holds 366,034 Series A shares in Propoly.
White label technology
Humberts is using a white-labelled version of Propoly’s technology, which is essentially a messaging platform which enables landlords and agents to talk to each other.
The proptech firm also says it hopes to sign up more “traditional high street agents as customers” and that its objective is to become the “biggest and best place to visit for rental properties nationwide,” says Ed Ghazal, Co-Founder of Propoly (pictured, left).
“By partnering with Humberts we aim to prove that both online and traditional lettings agency can work seamlessly and effectively alongside each other offering Landlords the ultimate choice.”
Propoly is the latest of the proptech ‘disrupters’ to partner with agents after initially portraying themselves as an alternative to them.
In March this year its CFO told a tech blog that: “At the top end, yeah, agents are good at what they do, because they get the customer to pay more, so sellers obviously like that,” something Humberts would agree with.
In partnership with Propoly, Humberts is to offer landlords the option to either rent their properties solely online and organise their own viewings using the Propoly tech, or use Humberts’ traditional agency percentage-based managed service.
Landlords will be able to switch their properties between the two different kinds of service at any time, although only if they are in an area covered by one of Humberts’ lettings branches.
Humberts’ Managing Director Ian Westerling (pictured, below) claims this kind of dual, switchable service is an industry first.
“We saw a real gap in the market for this flexible, dual lettings model – savvy landlords looking to save money may wish to try the online lettings route but would prefer a strong, heritage brand and industry knowledge behind them,” he says.
“The option to switch over at any time…is attractive as it gives Landlords ultimate peace of mind. We have been extremely impressed with Propoly’s forward thinking business model and for us it’s the perfect partnership.”