The reluctance of property portals to feature private listings is putting tenants at risk of fraud, The House Shop claims.
The property listings site, which has a mix of private and agent listings, warns that with no private landlords listing on the big portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla, tenants are often forced into searching classified ad sites and social media groups, which have become notorious for their abundance of fake listings and potential scams.
Potential fraudulent activities include fake landlords claiming to own properties and stealing deposits.
The House Shop – which said most its listings are from agents, with 15-20% coming from private stock – is calling on Rightmove and Zoopla to meet the demands of modern renters, after analysis among more than 2,000 adults by the website found 34% want to see properties direct from private landlords featured on portals.
Nick Marr, co-founder of The House Shop, said: “Modern renters want to see all their options in one place. Until recently, there has been a pretty clear divide between the private and professional property markets in the UK – with agent-only portals showcasing just traditional estate agents, and classified ad sites or DIY listing platforms hosting purely private property ads.
“We are the only platform to offer tenants an ‘Amazon-style’ marketplace, and now we’re seeing tens of thousands of renters searching The House Shop each day.
“It’s clear that the traditional old-school way of finding a new home is not what modern tenants want.
“Research we conducted last year showed that the majority of UK tenants actually prefer to deal directly with the landlord, but they still want to see listings from traditional letting agents to ensure they find the best possible property.”