HomeRenter : Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the idea behind HomeRenter?
At HomeRenter we're on a mission to create an efficient, well-managed and transparent lettings community that helps landlords and tenants to connect online assisted by our 24/7 Community team, using the latest technology to simplify communication, lower costs and make the whole process a little fairer and less complicated on either side.
How does it work?
HomeRenter provides a platform for landlords and tenants to connect and complete the entire lettings process online assisted by our 24/7 Community team, . A landlord can upload their property to the HomeRenter site for verification in a matter of minutes - less time than it takes for most to walk to their local estate agent. The properties enjoy an ‘annual listing’ on the site allowing for ease of future and ongoing tenancies. Not only will properties be promoted to HomeRenter’s tenant community, but landlords can choose for their property listing to be published on the major property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla. Once a tenant finds a property that they like they can message the landlord using our in-built chat function.
What are the benefits for landlords?
We don’t want to be guilty of blowing our own trumpet but we can see a few; 24/7 expert Community manager support; nationwide exposure; substantially lower monthly costs; simple to use; high quality PDF marketing piece for each property; permanent annual listings; easy to update; ability to meet with prospective tenants; cuts out the middleman; access to our growing community of trusted HomeViewer key-holders; links to trusted service providers; ability to automate your admin; free standardised lease.
What are the benefits for tenants?
At HomeRenter we want to create a rental experience that works for both parties, so for our tenants we offer the following benefits; 24/7 expert Community manager support; a policy of charging no admin fees, which can be a saving in excess of £300 in some circumstances; cut out the middleman and allow you to liaise one-to-one with the landlord from whom you’ll be renting your home; ability to jump to the head of a queue and reserve your chosen property by paying a holding deposit; free lease contract; ability to view future listings before they go live and plan ahead.
What do I get for my £49.99 HomeRenter annual subscription?
At HomeRenter we charge our landlords a small annual subscription fee, currently £49.99 discounted from £99.99, per property listed that includes: online property advertising for new tenants across major portals; a HomeRenter To Let board and a downloadable PDF brochure for their property particulars; access to our growing community of trusted HomeViewers; use of our HomeReferencer DIY referencing checklist; plus the tools to agree and digitally sign a lease agreement.
What other services do you offer?
We will shortly be offering a range of supplementary landlord services which will include: renewal of key property certificates such as Gas Safety and EPC; professional photography and floorplan generation from our network of nationwide providers; standalone To Let boards; third party referencing including credit ratings; and tenancy inventory check-ins.
These additional services are available to buy from the Pricing section on the Landlord page for registered customers.
As a landlord, how do I upload and publish a property?
Throughout the site you will be prompted to Add a Property. Once signed in (as a landlord) you will be taken to your ‘My Properties’ dashboard. From here, you can click on ‘Add a Property’ from where you can create and publish a listing in 5 easy steps. You can upload your chosen photos, describe the best features your property has to offer and include the price, available date and postcode. If you need a moment to think, you can save your progress and return to complete it at any time. Once you are ready to publish your property, it will be sent to the HomeRenter team to verify the proof of ownership. Once verified, you will be notified and your listing will go live. We help you do it once and do it right.
Which external portals does HomeRenter use to promote my property?
At HomeRenter we promote our landlords’ subscribed property listings across Zoopla, PrimeLocation, Rightmove and the property sections of over a hundred local news websites belonging to our partner Trinity Mirror which include websites such the Manchester Evening News, Liverpool Echo and Bristol Post.
Will my HomeRenter listing automatically upload on the major portals when it’s time to advertise?
On HomeRenter we give landlords the option to control exactly when they promote their listings across our network of portal partners. Upon subscribing a property to a paidfor annual listing with HomeRenter we provide landlords the choice to either immediately push their listing live across external portals or ‘bank’ their portal promotion to utilise nearer the point of renewal. In the ‘My Properties’ dashboard in the ‘Published’ section you’ll find a simple Advertising status panel from which you can toggle on your portal promotion. Likewise, from the ‘On the Portals’ section you can use the same panel to toggle ‘off’ your listing from external websites.
How many properties can I subscribe to HomeRenter?
There’s no limit to the number of properties you can upload either on a paying subscription or free trial and the My Properties dashboard makes it easy to keep track of your portfolio in one single space.
Is there a volume discount for portfolio landlords?
Right now, in our beta phase, we’re not offering the ability for multi-property price discount on the site...but if you’re looking to place over 20 properties onto a subscription or your name’s Robbie Fowler, please get in touch here: email@example.com
Conducting Viewings as a Landlord
Are there any dos and don’ts for conducting viewings as a landlord?
In our experience our community of renters markedly prefer meeting their future landlord before agreeing a tenancy and would rather interact with the owner rather than an agent intermediary. Therefore, if you have the time available we recommend hosting viewings as both a great way to meet and vet your prospective tenants in person and to provide the inside track on your property and the area.
These are our golden rules for hosting viewings yourself:-
Conducting Viewings as a Tenant
Are there any dos and don’ts for conducting viewings as a tenant?
In our experience our community of renters are always keen to meet their landlord face-to-face before committing to a property and the viewings can be a good opportunity to to do this - as typically HomeRenter landlords will host some viewings themselves. That said, with HomeRenter we also offer a freelance key-holder option for our owners so you’re equally like to be met by a HomeViewer working on behalf of the landlord.
Whoever’s conducting the viewing, please take all normal safety precautions;
What is the HomeRenter holding deposit?
On HomeRenter to reserve a property with a holding deposit we automatically take 10% of the quoted monthly rental figure. This is then held by HomeRenter Ltd in an escrow account on your landlord's behalf. Once the deposit has been taken, as a tenant, you have a 72 hour period of exclusivity within which to agree the length of the tenancy and finalise the lease document. Once the lease is e-signed the HomeRenter team release the monies to the landlord whom we typically advise offsets this figure in turn from your deposit proper.
Why 72 hours?
This timeframe is based on our experience of taking a rental property from being under offer to let. The aim is to provide sufficient time for the tenant parties to generate whatever referencing details are required in good order but, equally, to focus both parties on closing down the process and getting to an official lease.
Why do prospective tenants have to pay a holding deposit on HomeRenter?
The holding deposit is payment made with the intention of holding or reserving the tenancy application to show that the tenant is genuine and serious about renting the property. A holding deposit is currently required as a safeguard for both parties as a downpayment on the security deposit required for any property. It’s not unusual for a landlord to receive a lot of interest from several potential tenants, and a good way to ensure that fairness is observed is for a small holding deposit to be paid in advance of the main deposit that can be held whilst the contract is completed. We also find it helps accelerate the search process for our tenants by enabling you to get ahead of the competition and place your property under offer.
Who keeps the holding deposit?
HomeRenter Ltd holds your holding deposit in escrow until such time that we see both parties have successfully e-signed the lease agreement, in which case we transfer the monies to your new landlord whom we we typically advise off-sets this figure in turn from your deposit proper.
What are the benefits to me as a tenant in paying a holding deposit?
Once the holding deposit has been paid for the following 72 hours the property listing is removed from the major advertising portals and appears as ‘under offer’ on our own site. By paying the holding deposit you have effectively “reserved” the property for 72 hours in which to agree the details of the tenancy and e-sign the lease. For the duration of these 3 days we won’t allow another prospective tenant to either enquire about the property or request to pay a holding deposit.
Can I skip this process?
Are there circumstances in which tenant and landlord can skip the holding deposit stage - if, for example, the landlord has shown the tenants the property and both parties agree to pay a security deposit on the spot. Right now we haven’t made this stage skippable as we see real merits for landlords and tenants to show proof of interest and accelerate closure but we’ll keep this under review and we’re also on hunt for our users’ feedback here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Does payment of the holding deposit automatically entitle me to secure the tenancy?
No, once HomeRenter has received the holding deposit, it’s ultimately at the landlord’s discretion as to whether they accept the tenant’s application, including but not limited to requiring satisfactory referencing or meeting the candidate tenant in person.
In the event my tenancy application is unsuccessful, when will I get my holding deposit back?
In circumstances where the tenant(s) made a genuine offer to rent the property and responded promptly with all and any answers required by the landlord in response to our HomeReferencer questions, the deposit is refundable. In these instances the deposit is refunded at the point the lease agreement is cancelled.
Are there any circumstances in which my deposit is non-refundable?
In the event that a tenant simply cancels or abandons their application to rent a property because of change of heart or fails to supply referencing responses in good time (i.e. within 72 hours) the holding deposit will not be returned to the tenant. As such and for the avoidance of doubt, the payment of the holding deposit is at the tenant’s own risk.
I have a question related to the holding deposit that’s not treated here!
Please feel free to contact the HomeRenter team at any time 24/7 on email@example.com .
The HomeRenter Lease Agreement
What’s the HomeReferencer checklist?
On the HomeRenter platform for added peace of mind we’ve built in a form of basic DIY referencing into our lease agreement process. We call this our HomeReferencer checklist; basically, the essential questions we recommend our landlords to ask of their prospective tenants before e-signing the lease. In essence, this checklist is borne out of our experience of evaluating tenant applications and covers: proof of ID, current landlord, employer and gross salary.
To be clear, the HomeReferencer check-list doesn’t include any form of third party credit check and won’t remove the need for some landlords to source some form of third party referencing. However, if you’re letting a property to two lawyers (as the HomeRenter team once did) you may decide that the HomeReferencer check-list suffices and saves all parties some time, money and effort!
Does HomeRenter provide options for third party referencing?
Yes, we’ve partnered with our friends at Rentguard to offer two forms of third party referencing.
The £15 Credit Check is turned around in one hour and includes: County Court Judgment (CCJ) search; Bankruptcy & IVA data search; Linked address checks; Electoral roll presence; Existing credit agreements; Credit Score; and Easy to read comprehensive report delivered online or sent by email.
We also offer a more comprehensive £25 Full Profile check which additionally includes: Written verification of employment/income; Previous letting reference or home ownership check; Residency confirmation; and Affordability calculation. This package is typically turned around within 72 hours. As such, many of our landlords tend to use our own HomeReferencer checklist topped up with a £15 credit check.
To pay for additional referencing on your prospective tenants, pls visit our full Pricing menu.
What are Deposit Protection Schemes?
Tenancy Deposit protection was identified as a way to raise standards in the letting industry and ensure tenants are treated fairly at the end of the tenancy. The TDP was introduced in April 2007 as part of the Housing Act 2004 for all assured shorthold tenancies in England and Wales where a deposit was taken. From April 2012, any deposit received must be protected within 30 calendar days of receiving it.
Is e-signing safe and binding?
Yes. You can sign with confidence when creating a tenancy with HomeRenter. Much like any handwritten signature, an e signature holds the same legal standing. In fact, electronic signing is easier and more convenient for the business world, and makes creating a tenancy quicker for you. You will need to re-input your password at the critical juncture and, as such, always have control of signing contracts.
Do I have to use the HomeRenter standard lease agreement ?
The HomeRenter founders have clocked up over 30 years of experiences in London and UK property as both landlords and tenants. We’ve drawn on this experience to create a fair, standardised lease and made it as simple to use as possible for both parties. As a complementary tool across our website we’d love our community to make use of the template, but obviously you’re free to generate your own agreement. If you’ve got specific feedback on our template, to share your thoughts please feel free to email us; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I adjust the HomeRenter AST?
The lease will be tailored to suit you. It automatically pre-populates key fields with the data we know about you and your tenant(s). You then have the option of setting key details such as agreed rent, date of payment, length of tenancy, number of tenants and specifying any additional clauses, such as use of communal spaces or parking bays. The fundamental legalities of the lease, however, will remain constant to ensure both parties are covered.
Signing-up as a HomeViewer
Who can sign-up as a HomeViewer?
Picking up casual work as a HomeViewer key-holder is an opportunity to anybody provided you have the right to work in the UK, a decent knowledge of property in your local area and your own public liability insurance.
How easy is it to sign up as a HomeViewer?
We’ve tried to make it as painless as possible to sign-up as a HomeViewer on HomeRenter. We’ll ask you to share some basic personal information to populate your listing including some preferences such as area of operations and price range. Next, we’ll ask you to complete a short questionnaire to assess your aptitude for the role and share some proofs of identity, address and insurance. With that in hand the HomeRenter team will aim to push your listing live within 24 hours so you can get earning.
How much can I earn as a HomeViewer?
We recommend you set your hourly rate between £35 - £40 and viewing rate between £20 - £25. We have found on average viewings take between 20 - 35 minutes depending on the property size and level of interest from would-be tenant. Our marketplace data shows you can maximise your earnings when you set a price that reflects your relevant experience.
Conducting Viewings as a HomeViewer
Are there any dos and don’ts for conducting viewings as a HomeViewer?
These are our golden rules for hosting viewings as a HomeRenter HomeViewer when working on behalf of a private landlord:-
Booking a HomeViewer
How do I book a HomeViewer?
Simply navigate to the HomeViewer tab within your dashboard and enter your search criteria, for example, looking for a key-holder in Kensington. Hit ‘Search’ and we’ll show you all the potential HomeViewers we have on our books. From here you’ll be able to read a little bit about them and check out their general availability. Once you’ve found the HomeViewer you want to commission, simply engage by chat to establish the timing and quote for the assignment. As soon as you’ve agreed a mutually agreeable price, you can the make a payment by pressing ‘Book’ below their avatar. HomeRenter holds the funds until such time that the landlord can confirm the viewings were hosted satisfactorily.
How do I get paid as a HomeViewer?
To enable landlords to book remote key-holding via our HomeViewer community, we operate a peer to peer payment system. Once you’ve agreed a task price we enable landlords to enter the specified amount in the booking process. HomeRenter then holds these monies until such time that the landlord confirms via follow-up email that the booked HomeViewings have been satisfactorily conducted.
Signing-up as a Service Provider
We’ve tried to make it as painless as possible to sign-up as a Service Provider on HomeRenter. We’ll ask you to share some basic information about your company to populate your listing including company name, address, telephone and email. Currently, our trusted trades database is powered by the Scoot directory, so your listing will be visible not only to HomeRenter’s community of landlords and tenants but also discoverable in search across hundreds of national and local partner sites.
Booking a Service Provider
To book a service provider via HomeRenter, simply search for the trade you require in your area, for example, electrician in Ealing, and contact your preferred supplier directly via phone or email. As it stands, it’s not possible to engage our rated tradespeople directly via the HomeRenter chat messenger - but watch this space as that may change over time.
Referring a Service Provider
At HomeRenter we’re always looking to build our community of trusted tradespeople and we’ve made it easy for landlords and tenants to recommend and rate their little black books of preferred contacts. Simply click on the ‘Recommend a service provider’ tab and complete the short form with your contact’s business name, mobile and profession. Lastly leave a short review of their services and they could be eligible for a free digital health check worth over £50 courtesy of our directory partners at Scoot and Web.com
Is my personal data safe on HomeRenter?
Absolutely. We use the very latest SSL encryption and token-based authentication processing after each and every login.
Are you a member of any agent associations?
Yes, HomeRenter is an accredited member of The Property Ombudsman which is a free, impartial and independent service for the resolution of unresolved disputes between consumers and property agents. HomeRenter is also currently a registered member of the ICO (Information Commissionaires Office).
How is payment handled by HomeRenter?
At HomeRenter we charge our landlords per property listed a small annual subscription fee that includes online property advertising for new tenants, a physical PDF brochure and To Let board, access to our growing community of trusted HomeViewers, plus the tools to agree and digitally sign a lease agreement. This payment is managed by SagePay.
How secure is that?
Very secure. Sage Pay is a safe, globally recognised payment partner.