I have advertised on Open rent for the first time.
Viewings booked for January 2021.
Too many applications (over 100)
Open rent mark property as let and inform those who had booked a viewing in January that the property is no longer available.
So much interest yet viewings cancelled.
What have I done wrong?
I have advertised on Open rent for the first time.
Same here. Had a testy email from OpenRent yesterday:
‘In an effort to ensure all our properties are live, fully detailed, and leads are responded to thoroughly, we will automatically delist your property once you’ve had over 100 viewing requests. This ensures we deliver value for money to all of our landlords, whilst ensuring tenants have a good experience when using our site.’
It’s not clear to me how delisting my ad ensures value for money for other landlords. And potential tenants are having a good experience: eighty have enquired within a week about a detailed ad, and I’ve been responding thoroughly and organised two days of viewings to accommodate them, with a video option for those who ask for one.
I think the issue is most enquiries come from people on DSS and my rent is close to the council maximum, so they are making speculative enquiries - but surely allowing them to do that is the whole point of online listings?
Good-value properties in London with garden access are going to attract a disproportionate amount of interest. Instead of the threat of delisting, and the odd suggestion that I duplicate the listing if I need to, it would be good to have a prompt as to whether the ad should still be live. If I reject enough people to keep live enquiries under 100, that suggests the ad is working as intended.
Would appreciate someone from OpenRent responding to this thread and showing their working.
I think your suggestion not to include rejected applications would sort the problem.
Hope someone from Open Rent will respond as this is the only problem I have with Open Rent but it would make me think twice about using them again if they don’t find a solution
I’ve not used OpenRent before but I’m curious how it works on a practical level .How do you deal with so many applications when deciding which ones can do a viewing and then then which ones to spend £20 doing a reference and if it’s two adults that’s a £40 reference fee that could be money down the drain very easily. Does OpenRent give them your phone number or e mail to contact you or do they give you their phone number or e mail and only you contact can them ? If it’s the former you could have 100 different people ringng you up day and night trying to convince you they will be perfect tenants ( most of them lying ) and 90 of them be totally unsuitable. What is the best way of screening the applicants ?
Do NOT give phone number. ASk questions first and delete those whose answer you dont like. Its common sense and very easy
Do you mean that OpenRent give you their phone number and then you ring them up using 141 to withhold your own number ? Then you ask them usual questions about employment situation,reason for moving , any CCJs children ,pets etc !
No talk thru email. Do NOT speak to anyone till you have the short list… so you can ask questions via email and they reply thru openrent but when you delete them , they cannot get thru to you
Ok thanks for the feedback it’s been very useful
How do other landlords word their adverts to deter unsuitable applicants, without breaking the law, e.g. very low income applicants?
I don’t like restricting applicants but need to for fear of exceeding the 100 maximum
I will not deter anyone by words on paper and by speech, keep your thoughts to yourself , then you cannot be accused of discrimination
I completely agree with you on the need to avoid any suggestion of discrimination on any grounds. However, the problem I had was over 100 applications to view before I held the first viewing. Therefore Open Rent marked the advert as let which put off people turning up for the first viewing. Hence the need to reduce the number of people asking for a viewing.
you have done well to get 100 applicants , surely a few must be suitable/ I have never had such volume
I thought I’d done well getting 28 applicants!
Selected 9 for viewing. Selected one family who have now moved in. The majority had insufficient income from either employment or benefits to afford the rent so were rejected - time wasters really
we all get loads of time wasters , about 75% have no chance. They need to step back and look objectively at their circumstances. We need much more social housing
We need Open Rent to remove their 100 limit
Lessons I’ve learned this time around.
Set a higher rent - then reduce it as necessary. You get a huge number of enquiries in the first few days - far more than with SpareRoom or Facebook - but 9 out of 10 will be unsuitable. That brings us to lesson 2.
Add an automated response BEFORE making the ad live. Hardly any tenants fill out their own profiles with their salary, occupation, preferred move-in date, etc. An automated response saying ‘Hello, I’ve had a lot of enquiries so please confirm you’re happy to view on x move in on y and can pay z’ saves asking those questions manually - and also makes it clear that speculative applications are unlikely to be successful.
There are a lot of people on DSS at the moment and I put in my ad that I was happy to accept them as long as they arranged with the council to pay me directly. I probably wouldn’t do this again as it’s illegal to reject DSS off the bat anyway.
Get current tenants to conduct viewings, scheduled in 15-minute slots over two days. Mine showed nearly 40 people around, which saved me a lot of hassle - luckily they are well-disposed towards their landlord. Listing a video on YouTube is also good in the current climate but I only showed mine to enquirers who ask for it rather than listing it upfront, as again the tenants filmed it and it wasn’t done on a sunny day, etc.
In the end I got 97 enquiries, three of whom paid a holding deposit. There were only a couple of enquirers with a combined salary greater than 30x monthly rent (i.e. > £40k a year), but with 97 enquiries I didn’t want to risk waiting for them to decide. Those who paid the holding deposit would have failed referencing and had no suitable guarantors, so in the end I decided to let the place to a couple who were willing to pay in six-month blocks. The man is working at least.
Re DSS. The council will never straight off pay direct to a landlord. and guarantee always to do so
The council will no longer pay housing benefit directly to landlords apart from in exceptional circumstances. I always chose this option in the past to give house owner peace of mine but can no longer do so.
Re people in receipt of housing benefit - we are a very varied group. I am a 64 year old retired female civil servant, long term tenant of 10+ years in current and previous house, excellent references, can provide a guarantor (two even!), non-smoker. I do have pets, I do receive housing benefit but in all other respects I am an excellent tenant. I have savings to cover housing benefit claim delay, I’ve never been in debt of any kind and consider myself a highly responsible and honest person. I only go for long-term rentals, which would surely be of be of benefit to some landlords.
Why then should I be discriminated against?
If only they were all like you. The council don t want to pay direct as they do not want any risk. They want the landlord to be the risk taker. They do not want to be a guarantor , they want the landlord to take the risk. Notice that housing associations do not have to adhere to the same rules as private landlords . N B they are owed millions in rent. Their directors are very well paid!