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Ultimate Guide to Renting a Property using OpenRent

As a tenant, finding a suitable flat to rent in the UK is not easy. In fact, finding the perfect flat or house can be exhausting. On average, it takes 20 days to find a home to rent in the UK during the first seven months of the year. This is according to a survey done by Hamptons International.

Landlords don’t have it easy either. They have a flat to rent but don’t know that platforms exist to connect them with potential tenants. Thanks to OpenRent, tenants and landlords can find what they need.

What is OpenRent?

OpenRent is an online platform that provides agent and property management services. Founded in 2012, the company offers a safer, cheaper, and faster way of renting or letting your home. Darius and Adam Hyslop, both Oxford graduates, founded the UK based start-up company. They did so after experiencing difficulties as tenants and landlords in the UK.

The platform allows landlords to list their properties. Advertising is 100% free, and there are no renewal or hidden fees. In fact, landlords and agents do not need a credit card to get started.

For tenants, OpenRent is a rich source for UK based rental properties. With a few keystrokes, tenants can find their dream home in seconds. There are no admin fees and dead listings. OpenRent takes down listings of properties already rented out. This eliminates ghost adverts.

How Does OpenRent Work?

Want to advertise your rental property on OpenRent? It’s easy. Visit the OpenRent website and click ‘Get Started Now’ The site will redirect you to a new webpage. Scroll towards the bottom of the page and select a plan.

There are three packages available.

  • Free
  • Ultimate Advertising – £29
  • Advertising + Rent Now – £49

When you select the free plan, OpenRent will list your ad on its platform, but when you choose one of the paid plans, your advert will be on…

  • Rightmove
  • Zoopla and partner portals

As a tenant, you can find your dream home with ease. Visit OpenRent website, enter a location where you would like to live, and click ‘Search’ OpenRent will display available properties with pictures and details upfront. The site has thousands of properties all over the UK.

If unable to find a suitable property, you can filter the search results. You can filter by…

  • Distance
  • Rental fee
  • Property type
  • Number of bathrooms
  • Furnished options and others

If you find a property you love, click ‘Message Landlord’ OpenRent will send a message to the landlord. You can start chatting with the landlord and ask questions about the property. You can also request a date and time to view the property.

OpenRent will mask your identity and details online as you arrange for viewing. If viewing goes well, and you like the property, click “Rent Now.” This action will reserve the property. You can pay a refundable holding deposit equivalent to one week’s rent to OpenRent, not the landlord.

If you go ahead with tenancy, the deposit will go towards your first month’s rent. Tenants can pay online by card, not cash deposits. Once you sign the tenancy agreement and pay move-in money, you’ll receive the keys to your dream house.

How Do You Book Viewings With Landlords at OpenRent?

It’s straightforward to book a viewing with a landlord on OpenRent. Search for a property, then click ‘View Details’ Take a few minutes to read the property details. If they match what you’re looking for, click ‘Request Viewing’.

If you’ve not signed up yet, the site will redirect you to a signup page. You can sign up with your Gmail, Outlook, or Yahoo Mail. Alternatively, you can sign in or register with your email address. It takes less than 2 seconds, and it’s free.

You can message the landlord to learn more about the property and request a viewing date and time.

How Is Letting From OpenRent Different Than Going Through an Estate Agent?

Letting via OpenRent is different than through an estate agent. With OpenRent, you can browse through thousands of listings in the UK for free. But with an estate agent, you may have access to a few listings in your preferred location.

OpenRent allows you to message the landlord directly from the comfort of your home. You can ask questions about the property and book a viewing. The site also has pictures of the property, which gives you a glimpse of what you’ll be renting. You can do this and more on OpenRent for free, but you may have to pay fees up to 20% of your monthly rent for services rendered with an estate agent.

When a landlord advertises on OpenRent, the listing is also posted on…

  • RightMove
  • Zoopla
  • PrimeLocation.com and partner sites

This provides more exposure allowing you to connect with the best quality tenants. It gets even better. You can do this and more by paying £29 or £49. When you advertise with estate agents, your exposure is limited. As such, you may end up getting a tenant you did not prefer.

Does OpenRent Do Credit Checks?

In the UK, over 92% of landlords reference their tenants. At OpenRent, you can get an in-depth overview of tenants plus their guarantors. This comprehensive overview allows you to look at their financial status, risk assessment, and credit score.

To get started with tenant referencing, all you need is the tenant’s name, email address, and phone number. Getting this information is easy with OpenRent. All you need to do is select one of the following tenant referencing packages:

  • Speedy Reference
  • Comprehensive Reference

Both plans go for a £20 one-off payment per tenant. Once you select a plan, OpenRent will obtain a tenant’s credit score from a suite of credit agencies, including Experian. They’ll also perform fraud checks, outstanding debt searches, and affordability rating.

OpenRent will also obtain previous landlord references and perform employment checks.

Can I Still Rent if I Fail a Credit Check?

Failing a credit check does not necessarily mean that you cannot rent a home. While most landlords use OpenRent for tenant referencing, they may also rely on other platforms or services. As such, they may accept a tenant’s application despite the outcome of OpenRent referencing. So, even if you don’t pass the OpenRent tenant referencing, you could still rent a property.

If you fail your credit check, the best way to rent a property is to provide a UK based guarantor. He or she will agree to pay rent should you fail to do so in the future. Besides a guarantor, you can pay rent for the let period upfront. This removes the risk of not paying rent in the future.

What Services Do OpenRent Offer (Other Than Letting)?

There are several services that OpenRent offers besides letting and tenant referencing. Here is a list of OpenRent services.

  • Gas Safety
  • Electrical Safety
  • Photos and Floor plans
  • Building Insurance
  • Energy Performance Certificates
  • Rent Insurance
  • Legal Support
  • Accompanied Viewings

These services help to ensure that properties meet all legal obligations.

Final Thoughts

Setting up your advert on OpenRent takes less than 5 minutes. If your advert meets Zoopla and Rightmove guidelines, it will be live in 3 to 6 hours. Once your advert goes live, you should expect to receive multiple requests. Unlike estate agents who take up to 20 days on average to find tenants, OpenRent landlords take 5 days.

If you fail to receive any requests on the same day, OpenRent can help you optimize your advert. They can provide professional photography and use a property valuation tool to check rental prices in your location. This will get you potential tenants in a day or less.

If you’re looking for an affordable platform to find homes to rent in the UK or list your UK property, we recommend OpenRent.