Estate agents playing dirty games


Just had an enquiry about a viewing. After leaving their work contact number this turns out to be a local estate agent posing as a potential independent renter. Pure stupidity has exposed them. I’m not sure what they would gain, but I’m guessing they’re trying to time waste and instal a lack of confidence in OpenRent for landlords. Who can I make a complaint to? And how can I warn others of these silly tricks. Has anyone else experienced a similar situation?


The traditional approach is to use their own internal complaints procedure before you do anything else.
Look at their website to see what they claim to be members of.
Report it to their ‘professional’ body, possibly:

  • NRLA, to be formed later this year from the merger of the National Landlords Association (NLA – and Residential Landlords Association (RLA –,
  • UK Association of Letting Agents (
  • or similar*, e.g
    If no luck, do a web search for landlord associations and see what comes up to see if they are a member of one of them.

Also inform OpenRent by email in case they don’t see your message, as this forum is a service they offer but not necessary watch, even if my experience indicates otherwise.

  • all of the following are involved in establishing rules for landlord licensing if you are willing to check them out in case they are registered with any of them:
    Association of Residential Letting Agents
    Association of Residential Managing Agents
    British Property Federation
    Chartered Institute of Housing
    Institute of Residential Property Management
    National Approved Letting Scheme
    National Landlords Association
    National Association of Estate Agents
    Residential Landlords Association
    Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
    The UK Association of Letting Agents
    Ombudsman Services: Property
    Property Redress Scheme
    The Property Ombudsman
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Have you considered that they may actually be looking to rent? Unlikely as I had a lot of agents trying to arrange a viewing so they could meet and try and sell their services but you never know.


I have this whenever I advertise, but usually more overtly. This lessened when fees for tenants were removed, but I would guess that they may be trying to find properties for their clients and want to charge you their fees for finding you a tenant. Such a nerve.

they know their jobs are under threat from online only agents and have started to reduce their fees


Hi FI8,

Thanks for telling us about this. The only people that should be sending you messages are genuine tenants.

Please could you go to the message the agent sent you via the OpenRent site, and press the ‘report’ button? We’ll then be able to investigate their account.

You may also wish to make a formal complaint with the agent for breaching the Property Ombudsman code:


You could then escalate this complaint to the Property Ombusman itself, who would be able to take action against the agent.

That’s a lot of work, though! It is a shame that it’s such a longwinded process to actually enforce regulation on these kind of letting agents :frowning:


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While you might be right in what your suggesting a potentially more worrying trend is rent to rent. Here the agent could put in whoever they wished and make a tidy profit on the back of your investment. This might sound far fetched, but it does happen and can go against your mortgage and insurance. The only way to protect yourself from this is by properly vetting tenants and to follow this up with regular inspections.

They should definitely be investigated.



Thanks for the info Sam, really helpful! Now that we have a let agreed, I can no longer see my old messages and make a complaint. Is there a way around this?

Best case scenario is they are just checking out the competition, looking at the quality of your property then seeing how quickly you rent it out at the rent you are asking, as a guide to what they can set rent at for a similar property.

Hi, if you email with any details, we’ll be able to investigate.

You will have been sent an email with the original enquiry and message, too, which may help.


Isn’t it normal practice for EA’s to disguise themselves as potential tenants requesting a viewing? Every time I advertise properties via open rent I get no shows for the scheduled appointment but miraculously letters in the post from EA’s with all the correct contact details advertising their services. This is despite saying no EA’s in the adverts.

Just comes with the territory just like expecting 70% of enquiries to be time wasters.

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