A new lettings platform which puts landlords and tenants directly in touch with each other has been backed by newspaper group Trinity Mirror.
HomeRenter launched yesterday, describing itself as a platform or marketplace.
Although not an agent, landlords will be able to promote their properties on Rightmove and Zoopla.
Landlords will pay HomeRenter from just under £50 per year per property.
HomeRenter says it aims to create an Airbnb-style marketplace for the UK’s private rental sector “without the traditional estate agent fees”.
It says: “Landlords and tenants are able to collaborate via the platform, which also offers landlords the ability to manage their entire portfolio remotely.”
For tenants, the site allows them to create a permanent profile where they can manage their tenant history, conduct a rental search and view landlord ratings.
The site allows tenants to search for future rentals and put a holding deposit on properties for up to 72 hours. HomeRenter says it charges no admin fees.
Viewings are conducted by key-holders known as HomeViewers.
HomeRenter was co-founded by Sean Quinn and Jim Thomas, of developers Q Developments.
They are joined by Will Handley, a private landlord, who was previously managing director of Trinity Mirror’s new businesses division, and who is HomeRenter’s chief executive.
He said: “We believe the rental market works best when you remove the middle man and allow property owners and renters to connect in person.
“This is why we created HomeRenter and why we’ve set ourselves the aim of creating a fairer, more equitable online marketplace for UK’s private landlords and renters.”
HomeRenter currently has total backing of £780,000 and will be seeking new funds early next year.
Yesterday afternoon a spokesperson for HomeRenter specifically, and adamantly, confirmed to EYE that the firm is not an agent.
We asked both Rightmove and Zoopla for comment.
A spokesperson for Rightmove told us: “All prospective customers go through a strict vetting process to ensure that they offer an agency service in keeping with UK industry legislation and Rightmove’s terms and conditions.
“As part of this vetting process they must provide evidence that they handle all email and phone enquiries that they receive from prospective tenants via Rightmove.”