As modern tenants increasingly demand all-in-one solutions for property searches, established players in the online property space like Rightmove and Zoopla are missing out on tenants.
Research by YouGov, commissioned by property marketplace The House Shop, found their refusal to allow private landlords to list directly could mean they are missing out on the one in three Brits who want to see properties direct from private landlords when searching online.
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.”
“Tenants are actively changing their search patterns to track down the private landlords that they can’t find on the big portals and we have put ourselves in the right place, at the right time to capitalise on this demand.”
One impact of the increased demand for private landlord properties has been the significant rise of online rental fraud in recent years.
With no private landlords listing on the big portals, tenants search classified ad sites and social media groups, which can contain fake listings and lead to potential scams.
Marr added: “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.”
To combat these scams, The House Shop partnered with Lang Registry last year to launch an ownership verification check for all private property listings on the site.
Marr said: “By addressing tenants’ security concerns and adopting an inclusive approach to property rentals, we’ve been able to offer renters a better experience, on a safer platform, with more choice than ever before.”
The main goal for scammers and fake landlords is to convince tenants to hand over an up-front deposit to secure a property that does not exist or they do not own.
The House Shop has launched a mandatory declaration for all landlords advertising on the website, ensuring they promise not to receive up-front payments without viewing the property first.