The popularity of property auctions in the UK has increased enormously in recent years, supported by popular TV shows such as Homes Under the hammer and a sharp rise in the number of regional and national property auction firms popping up.
A wide range of people are now acquiring all sorts of properties at auctions, from bargain hunters to private investors, as buy-to-let consolidates itself as the investment of choice, partly due to the dismal returns savers are currently receiving from banks and building societies.
With great rental returns achievable and vast opportunities to potentially purchase property at below market values, at a time when residential property prices in some parts of the country are at or near an all-time high, make auctions an obvious place to buy property.
But while auctions are a popular place to buy and sell property, there is no equivalent service offered to those looking to rent property in this country. But that is about to change.
A new rental auction, which offers tenants the opportunity to bid for rental properties online, is set to launch later this month.
LetsBid4Lets.com, which claims to offer the first bidding software for the UK letting industry, says that with some £3bn worth of property sold at auction last year, it wants to offer tenants the opportunity to bid for rental properties online.
A similar service for landlords, Rentberry, which launched in the U.S. last year, now lists around 100,000 properties on its site and claims it has more than 50,000 users.
LetsBid4Lets says it will provide letting agents with software that enables them to list a landlord’s rental property in an auction format and subsequently allowing tenants to bid for it.
If a tenant wins the bid, it is their house for the agreed rental period.
According to the website's press statement, all tenants that use the LetsBid4Lets will be pre-referenced by FCC Paragon before bidding.
The new business claims to be in the process of securing 'significant funding' and says it will not charge 'extortionate monthly fees' or tie agents into long contracts.
“Letting property via auction is something that hasn’t yet happened, but at Letsbid4lets we feel it’s the next logical step in the evolution of auctions and property rentals, with letting agents, landlords and tenants alike all set to benefit,” said Spencer Rose, the website's founder and chief executive.