I Like This OpenRent Feature

I rather like the feature on online letting agent’s OpenRent system where their system is able to screen out all the applicants who have not read your conditions properly.

So with OpenRent you have a “pre-screening” option where you can state things like No Pets, No DSS, Not Suitable for Students, Min Income Required from Applicants, Min Tenancy Length and whether the Property is Unfurnished or Furnished and finally the “Property is Only Available from X Date”.

So, when someone enquires, they are presented with these bits of information and they have to confirm they do not have pets, are not in receipt of benefits, are not students etc. And that they only want the property from the date it is available and that their income is sufficient – in fact, they have to state what their income is.

It is up to you whether you enable this pre-screening feature.

I find it is good as it really cuts out the huge number of enquiries that used to come through from people who had simply not read the advert properly – where these things are stated anyway. So, if you put the screening feature on, you get far more decent enquiries and less timewasters.

I took some persuading initially of its merits, but I have decided I really like this screening feature now.

OpenRent also now have an additional “auto-reply “optional feature where landlords can send the applicants an auto-message, which you can tailor as you see fit.

I now use this too. So anyone asking about my property will get another auto message from me in the form of a welcome note telling them how keen we are to show them the property, but also stating my additional requirements: I need to run a credit check, will need to see proof of ID, proof of address and proof of income from at least 3 months’ worth of bank statements, plus right to work in the UK.

This further cuts down the timewasters and is another useful tool.

I recommend you switch both features to “on”.

I am not sure if other online letting agents have such pre-screening and auto reply features, but I find it is good. Let me know if you know how other online agents work to reduce timewaster enquiries.

Also, it would also be interesting to know how many landlords are like me – simply using OpenRent as a tool to get on Rightmove – and doing everything else from there themselves – checking out tenants, reference and ID checking, checking affordability, handling viewings and all the other myriad stuff a full letting agent would do and needs to give a new tenant – from gas and electric certs to deposit certs – up to and including handing the new tenants the keys.

Naturally, OpenRent try hard to upsell the whole range of services that a full service letting agent would provide to a landlord, of course. I wonder how many landlords avail themselves of some or all of these other services – and which ones.

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