UPAD tells landlords to get rid of agents

An email flyer sent out to private landlords entitled ‘How to lose your agent in 73 seconds’ has sparked anger in the industry.



The email was sent on behalf of uPad, which advertises on Rightmove and other agency-only portals.



One critic, who was sent the email apparently by mistake, said: “How can Rightmove allow an account to an ‘agent’ whose marketing tactic is to appeal to private landlords with offers of ‘how to lose your agent in 73 seconds’?”

 

He said it would be ‘bizarre’ if Rightmove were to continue its account.



uPad launched some three years ago as an online service for landlords which cut out estate agents. It did not initially call itself an agent, but now belongs to ARLA, whilst continuing to charge landlords well under most agency rates.  Founder James Davis said: “Rightmove are aware of what we do. We are an agent, and everything that an agent does we do, albeit that we clearly have a different business model from traditional agents.”



A spokesman for Rightmove said: “We don’t comment on individual advertisers, but as with all advertisers on Rightmove, uPad will have gone through a formal vetting procedure and has to meet the criteria we set to advertise on our site.



“The criteria include full compliance with relevant consumer protection legislation. Rightmove does not allow private sellers or private landlords to advertise directly on the site: all sellers and landlords who want their properties to appear on site have to use a sales or lettings agent.



“We are aware that some agents operate under a fee-based model rather than a service-based model. However, by law we would be unable to discriminate one practice over the other by factoring an agent’s fees into our vetting procedure.”



A Zoopla spokesperson said: “We only accept properties marketed by an agent or developer. This means that a property would require an appraisal, marketing and negotiating terms from the agent. We are not aware of landlords advertising through third party sites, however if any advertiser is not behaving as such, we will investigate and act accordingly.”



Private sellers and landlords only have to look online to see how they can list their properties on the agency-only from about £39 for rental properties and from around £300 for sales properties.



Consumers can do so by using ‘online agents’ listed by the Landlord Property Investment website, that gives private sellers and agents detailed information as to how escape ‘extortionate’ agents’ fees but still list their properties on agency portals.



The site advises: “The ‘online estate agents’ will market your property-for-sale on the biggest UK property portals, such as Rightmove, Property Finder etc. If you want to sell your house privately with the best possible chance of succeeding, then you need to list your house for sale on the biggest UK property portals, especially Rightmove.”



The site, which lists uPad amongst those that can enable landlords to list their properties, says: “I’ve personally used several of the sites listed below, and they’ve always managed to find me tenants quickly and efficiently, saving me thousands on letting agent fees over the years.”

 

 

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