Online letting agent LetMe has launched a new service, offering to list properties for free on Rightmove and to pay landlords 12 months of rent upfront.
They also provide a guarantee that the property is left in good condition at the end of the tenancy.
Bournemouth-based LetMe say that their aim is to “revolutionise the lettings industry by reducing the risk, hassle and cost of renting your property”, but some experts have advised caution.
Alan Ward, chairman of the Residential Landlords Association, said “Landlords need to keep their wits about them and read the contracts carefully.”
How LetMe works for landlords
LetMe offers to list your rental property ‘for free’ on sites like Rightmove, Zoopla and Gumtree.
You’re responsible for setting the rental price and adding the property details, as the company say “we’ve found landlords are happy to do much of the work themselves”.
But LetMe then finds and verifies the tenants and provides a full management service, and guarantees the condition of the property when the tenancy ends.
Landlords are charged 10 per cent of annual rent for the service, but this cost is spread out over the year rather than paid upfront.
How LetMe works for tenants
LetMe are trying to change the way that the market works for tenants, too, with the option to avoid shelling out for agency fees and deposits upfront.
Instead, a tenant with an excellent credit history and/or a guarantor can spread the cost out, paying an additional 10 per cent on top of rent each month.
Too good to be true?
Rental industry experts have advised landlords to tread carefully and to make sure that they’ve read all the small print.
There’s also some concern that receiving rent as a lump sum payment rather than in monthly instalments could make managing cash flow more difficult for landlords, especially when regular mortgage payments need to be made.
But arguably the letting agent industry is one that’s ripe for disruption, and LetMe’s credibility is boosted by being part of the Richmond Group, a company that starts and funds businesses in education, housing and financial services, with net assets of over £180m.
It remains to be seen how landlords take to the letting agent - could LetMe soon be seen as one of the best property websites for landlords?
What do you think of LetMe’s service? Is it a move in the right direction for the letting agent industry? Tell us in the comments.