I recently purchased ‘Ultimate Advertising’ for an advert. To my surprise, I have found my advert has been removed from being listed after a potential tenant placed a holding deposit on my property.
After investigation, I find this ‘Rent Now’ service is part of your top package (£49) - I did not buy this package. I bought the £29 package. I can only assume it was added as a ‘free trial’. Well, receiving this holding deposit is the first time I am even aware I have this on my advert. Now, visibility of my advert is at the whim of god knows who.
I cannot find anywhere to disable this UNWANTED ‘feature’ short of paying another £29 to relist the advert. Which I shall not do.
I am astonished and angry.
I would like the ‘Rent Now’ feature removed from my adverts asap or direction on how to do so. Currently, calling your helpline results in a promise I’ll be called back. Judging by the dismissive tone of the person on the other end, this is a promise I don’t really have much faith in being fufilled.
Hi Ziggy, thanks for your post.
Sorry to hear there has been some confusion here, I can see my colleague has already been in touch confirming that Rent Now is an optional feature. There is no obligation to use any of our services, and you are of course welcome to handle referencing, contracts, deposit protection and rent collection yourself.
A Rent Now button is present on all OpenRent listing pages, however tenants are instructed that they need permission of the Landlord to use that feature so we are sorry if this wasn’t the case in this instance.
If a holding deposit is placed that is unexpected or unwanted, you can instantly reject the tenant and refund their money using the link from our notification email or SMS.
Please feel free to let us know if you have any further questions about using any of our services.
I purchased the £29 Ultimate Advertising package. At no point did I see ‘Rent Now’ mentioned - either as an optional feature or otherwise. All I wanted was adverts put on the portals.
My annoyance (not confusion) comes from the fact that unbeknownst to me you provided a service I did not want nor ask for and as a result my advert can be removed from searches without my permission. Being able to refund the holding deposit is not a satisfactory solution.
Upon further investigation (to which I might add - your FAQ pages are not helpful, not having a direct phone line and having to deal with an intermediary call centre that cannot directly answer questions is not helpful, being told there is no way to connect me to you or pass on a phone number is not helpful) I find this Rent Now service as part of your £49 package. Not the package I ordered according to my payment history. In addition to this, I find it is impossible to disable the Rent Now service once the advert has been placed.
You say there is no obligation to use this service - I was not given the choice.
This is not the level of service I have come to expect from yourselves. I have used Openrent a few times in the past and have never had any issues. I am very disappointed.
I do not expect any sort of resolution to arise from this. All I can do is fruitlessly voice my frustration and be extremely careful if purchasing another advert in the future.
FYI - the first time I called the number provided I was told by the woman answering that I would receive a phone call back. It was only after I called again and spoke to a different person I was informed there is no facility for this. If I had not called again I would be waiting for a phone call that would never happen due to this misinformation. Act on this how you will.
This is exactly what has happened to me. Without my permission a prospective tenant has initiated the ‘rent now’ process locking out all other possible interested tenants. Confusion all round as I have had discussions with all interested parties and nothing is sorted out. Why is it possible for a tenant to start a process I dont wish to use?
To reverse the process I know have to ‘reject’ the tenant to return the deposit I never asked for! But I dont want to reject the tenant, I just dont want to use the ‘rent now’ process. This is incredibly confusing for all and will possibly loose me this potential letting and other leads while the property is not advertised.
If landlords have not selected to use the ‘rent now’ service. it should not be an option for tenants to select it.
Hi both, thanks for your replies.
Thanks for flagging that our phone service gave the wrong information, we will resolve this immediately and we do apologise for any inconvenience this caused. I can see you were both contacted by email regarding this situation, to which we never had a reply. You can also find guidance on our Help Centre here:
We do provide the same answer on the phone as we do in writing and on the website, and our Help Centre does provide instant answers to your questions - it definitely isn’t our intention to keep you waiting for a phone call to resolve your query.
We do completely understand your frustration when an applicant places a holding deposit and initiates the Rent Now process when that wasn’t your intention. We appreciate your feedback regarding the holding deposit option and it is something we are actively reviewing and changing currently, so your comments have been noted as part of this process.
Thanks again for your feedback and letting us know your concerns, it will help us create a better service for you and other landlords and applicants in future.
I have the same issue. I have in fact agreed a rental and sent the prospective tenant instructions to pay the holding deposit plus referencing fee to me. Instead they have paid it by clicking “Rent Now”, which is not what I wanted.
I have a few issues with this:
- Now I have to reject them and explain carefully that I am not rejecting them as tenants, just the process. This looks very unprofessional.
- I am not happy with taking the referencing cost out of the holding deposit. This is a deposit to protect me, the referencing cost is extra.
- I don’t want to use OpenRent’s AST - I have my own based on the NLA AST and a few customisations.
- I don’t want tenants to have the power to take my advert off line - this is for me to control.
So please, give me an option to remove the “Rent Now” button from my advert.
This feature needs to be looked at again. The fact it states “under offer” it stops other potential tenants from getting in touch and this is a problem to me at least. You are almost pushed to take that offer and that should not be the case.
We’ve made some product changes since this thread was first made for the reasons you mention.
Now, when a tenant places a holding deposit, your property’s advertising isn’t at all interrupted.
We’ll only take your property offline once you accept a holding deposit:
Naturally, I understand that landlords may want to reference more than one group of tenants at a time, so we also provide the option for you to order standalone referencing:
Usually, landlords will go for standalone referencing while also managing ongoing enquiries on their listing.
In the event a satisfactory reference comes your way, you can just point them to click the Rent Now button to get things moving!
Let me know if anything’s unclear.
That works… Thank you
Sorry…I still find this whole process confusing
Is it possible to disable the ‘rent now’ function prior to listing the advert?
If applicant selects ‘rent now’ but landlord neither accepts or rejects can others still apply?
Does this system allow the landlord to ‘pre-screen’ applicants via phone, then at viewings determine who’d they like to formally apply & reference?
It’s not clear if the website will ‘interfere’ with the natural progression of events?
No worries! I’ll answer your questions in turn.
You can’t remove the Rent Now button, though tenants are explicitly told to only initiate this process once agreed with the landlord.
Holding deposits need to be accepted/rejected within 4 days, even if you’re unsure if you want to proceed or not, your listing remains advertised throughout. You won’t be able to proceed with two tenants at once. It’s always best to make prospective tenants aware of any such delays in making a decision on the holding deposit.
Any other questions, let me know.
Thanks George but to clarify a point :
- If I do nothing after 4 days will Open Rent automatically reject the holding deposit?
If so, is this done with any explanatory message to applicant? and,
Is 4 days arbitrary, can this be extended?
Like those before me I have now fallen foul of this RENT NOW feature. This is causing me a problem with the propestive tenant having sent a holding deposit via your website. This has now locked me into the RENT NOW service. I do not wish to use this service and I do not wish to inconvenience my tenant with refunds and cancelled deposits.
This system seems to be very poorly considered. I do not wish to loose my new tenant who has now placed the deposit on your platform.
- The RENT NOW product has never been made available to me so I have not been able to opt out
- You are saying that the landlord is at the mercy of tenant explaining the RENT NOW concept to the landlord during the process of holding deposit submission ??? and therefore signing the landlord up to services costing £49? This is insane!!
- The new tenant needs to be presented with the option that landlord expects, having either opted in or out of RENT NOW
I would like Open Rent to now transfer my tenants holding deposit to my account so I can proceed as normal.
I agree with most of the previous comments re the Rent Now button on the Ultimate Advertising package. While I agree it’s an improvement that a prospective tenant using this no longer takes down an ad, I would like to add some additional points:
Not only I was not advised on signing up for Ultimate Advertising that this includes the non negotiable Rent Now button, but I would say that as agents, Open Rent should ensure they fully disclose this fact and ensure that landlords understand that by signing up for Ultimate Advertising, they are consenting to having this button, giving a prospective tenant the opportunity to place a holding deposit. I may be wrong, but I cannot see this anywhere in your terms and conditions.
Following on from this, Open Rent are the agents, acting for the principal, the landlord, and therefore have a duty of care to ensure they do not do anything that may be contrary to the landlord’s interests. I would argue that by not fully disclosing this feature when the landlord signs up, and making it clear what it entails, Open Rent is placing landlords in a difficult position. I personally don’t take holding deposits as IMHO there is too much that can go wrong.
As others have remarked above, rejecting the unwanted holding deposit nearly always forces the landlord to reject an applicant who has placed this and even if the application does move forward, damage has been done to the landlord/tenant relationship.
Last but not least, I can’t find anywhere on your site where a tenant is warned they must have the landlord’s permission to leave a holding deposit. I tested this by initiating Rent Now from my ad as a separate user - I got all the way to screen with the payment button.
The tenant is asked to tick a check box which states “I understand this payment is a request to put down a holding deposit. The landlord must agree to your application before there is an agreement in place” - I would interpret “application” as the tenancy application, not the holding deposit request and I would also interpret “agreement” as meaning the tenancy agreement - again, not very clear.
I can see nowhere on the 2 pages that form that action that makes it very clear to the tenant that they need to have the landlord’s prior agreement to place a holding deposit.
Hi Mandy, thanks for your comments here.
I understand that Harry from our customer service and product development team has been in touch with you addressing many of these points.
I’ll just recap some of his reply here so that other users with similar questions can find the answers.
The main point in reply to your post is that we took on similar feedback around 18 months ago, and tenants are no longer able to place a holding deposit without the landlord’s consent. If they request to place a deposit using the Rent Now button, the landlord can quickly reject the offer, and the advert remains live on all sites and portals throughout.
The Rent Now button is on all the ads on our site because a really significant portion of our customers prefer to use our Rent Now service only after using one of our advertising packages. That is, they don’t want to pay for Rent Now until they’ve definitely found a tenant who wants to place a holding deposit.
We also firmly believe that Rent Now is the fastest, safest, and most sensible way to create a tenancy. Where Rent Now is used, OpenRent is able to ensure the safety of the tenant’s funds are guaranteed, and the vast majority of the landlord’s legal obligations are handled correctly.
That’s not to say that we force it on users. The button is present on all listings, but the landlord is under no obligation to use the service. As I mentioned before: the tenant requests to begin the process - the landlord is then able to decide whether they wish to or not. If you’d prefer to continue with the tenant without using OpenRent to create the tenancy, you absolutely can (and always have been able to, as you know).
I do appreciate your feedback and comments. It’s only with detailed feedback like this that we can continue to improve OpenRent for everyone.