Landlords using the website for advertising only

I have found it very hard to find an actual OpenRent listing that uses OpenRent.

There is an epidemic of landlords who advertise on OpenRent, but rather than closing the deal on OpenRent, suddenly transfer you to their own chosen system, where you are expected to hand over personal details to a company you have never heard of.

Is it just me, or does this not destroy the purpose of OpenRent. I use the website because I trust it’s system. It should be possible for me to filter out these “fake listings”, as I want to use the website as the advertising suggests it should be. Without this, the website is useless.

Do landlords not sign up to a code of conduct, or something that legally forces them to use website as described?

Hi @Nigel1 -

This is a great question. Whilst most of our landlords do use the OpenRent system to set up their tenancies, there are some who decide not to, some new landlords who potentially haven’t decided how exactly they want to set up their tenancies yet, and some who can’t use our tenancy creation system (in Scotland for example).

However, we try to be as transparent about this as possible, and you’ll notice on some adverts there is a green “Verified” tag under the landlord’s name. This is to show they use OpenRent to configure their tenancy, and gives you the additional layer of security.

This isn’t yet a feature of search, as it’s still being rolled out, but thanks for the feedback and we hope to add this soon to help tenants in your position.

Thanks! Daz.

It’s just you. The majority of experienced landlords do all the letting and management themselves. This is partly a cost saving issue, but mostly that we don’t trust anyone else to do it properly. If you rule out such listings you may be depriving yourself of some of the best landlords around.

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Hi @David122 - Thanks for your comment.

The majority of experienced landlords do all the letting and management themselves

This is nearly true in the wider market (50% of landlords don’t use an agent at all), depending on what data you look at, but less so on OpenRent specifically.

This is partly a cost saving issue, but mostly that we don’t trust anyone else to do it properly.

We understand cost is a big factor, especially on the high street. But that’s why we’ve tried extremely hard at OpenRent to keep the cost of tenancy creation (and advertising) to the absolute minimum. For £49 you can advertise your property and set up the tenancy with us (and get access to a whole lot more).

In terms of “doing it properly”, this is a very valid concern. Housing law (and the law more widely that landlords must consider) is extremely complex. It’s also frequently changing. At OpenRent we set up tens of thousands of tenancies each year we see many more edge cases than a single landlord could. We’re acutely aware of law changes, as well as landlord/tenant expectations. This ensures our process, contract, and everything that goes with it is bulletproof.

If you rule out such listings you may be depriving yourself of some of the best landlords around.

Maybe. But it’s understandable why a tenant wouldn’t want to send thousands of £ to a stranger without doing some due diligence. I appreciate some landlords are up front with this (telling tenants to check land registry, providing ID documentation, etc), but it’s hard for a tenant to know exactly where the risks lie.

OpenRent solves this problem with Rent Now, and both landlords and tenants benefit. At least, that’s both the feedback we see and is clear from the # of landlords and tenants setting up tenancies with us!

If you’ve not tried it yet, give it a go… Ultimately the landlord remains in control, and you can always cancel if you don’t like it!


Yes, I have no personal experience of the Rent Now service and so can’t comment on it specifically.

I would also agree that tenants should do due diligence before handing over cash. I would not advise a prospective tenant to make any payment until they have seen proof of ownership or consent to sublet.

There are certainly ways that tenants can protect themselves with independent landlords and they should.

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Actually, I specifically have issues being a “square peg in a round hole”. Being an orphan is makes it incredibly hard to rent. Actually, its kind of surprising that no one warns you about this. “I’m sorry for your loss, and by the way, you will always struggle to rent a house from now on, because all ‘proper’ landlords want you to give all your personal information to a complete stranger, including the address of your parents”.
When I found OpenRent it was like a God-send. I’m sure no-one actually goes out of thier way to discriminate against orphans, but it is a fact of life.

The frustration of finding that OpenRent is just like all the rest, was a bit crushing. I like OpenRent’s system, because it does not require you to have parents. Most do.

Hi Nigel1. Sorry you’ve had this experience, but I have to say that I don’t know any landlord that discriminates against orphans. My application form, in common with many other landlords asks for next of kin information, but this can be anybody and its not compulsory. It’s just someone to contact if anything happens to you.

You should also be aware that most experienced landlords will ask their agent to pass on to them the information they collect about the tenant and may ask the tenant directly for further information. I have no idea what Openrent’s policy is on this. Some agents try to hide behind GDPR/data protection, but this doesn’t apply.

I agree with your point though, that the amount of personal information that prospective tenants are asked to handover these days is extremely intrusive. I can assure you that no professional landlord enjoys having to do this, but the risks to landlords are now so great that they must do it to protect themselves. Making a simple mistake can cost a landlord thousands of pounds and they may lose their livelihood.

I wish you good luck with your future renting.

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David122Hullo. I have never had a tenant ask me to prove I own a place . If they did ask I can show them the doccuments. They may have checked with Land registry without me knowing. Thats ok it only cost s a few quid

Hi Colin3. Yes, I would bet that is the experience of most landlords. I thinks that’s partly why it has been so easy for scammers to enter the market with fake listings asking for deposits. I note that whilst Rightmove asks for proof of ownership before listing a property for rent, Zoopla still does not. I dont recall being asked this by Openrent either, although they may have changed their policies now.

My own view is that landlords should never ask for money from a tenant until they have proven that they own the property or have the right to let it, and that tenants should never hand over money without seeing that proof. It’s not difficult for us to integrate that into our letting process.

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I know that it’s been a while, and the topic changed slightly, but I thought I’d give an update:

I’ve stopped looking for houses right now, @Daz 's hint, was a good one, but I’ve not found any listing with the “verified” badge. A search option would be good, as I believe I’ve seen it in the past, but not for so long, I’m not even sure I’m looking in the right place.

Interestingly, it has been pointed out to me, that insisting on contact details for parents should already be illegal, due to the fact that whilst discrimination against orphans is not unlawful, discrimination based on age is. It is obvious that the older you are, the less likely you are to have living parents. Therefore this is indirect discrimination based on a protected characteristic and therefore unlawful.

Next time it happens, I might try becoming litigious. Interesting, given the years of discrimination I feel I have faced, rather than dreading my next referencing, I’m feeling a lot more relaxed about it now. The law is a really good thing. I suspect more people should try using it.