British property portal Rightmove has announced a new product designed to help lettings agents who can't convince their landlord clients to pay for full rental insurance.
The new product, named Agent Revenue Protection, is available for rents costing up to £100,000 per year and lets agents recover 15% of their fee if a tenant does not pay rent while protecting landlords from having to pay eviction costs. Agent Revenue Protection covers rents until the property is vacant, includes a mediation service and does not have excess.
The new offering comes as a direct result of feedback from UK lettings agents who, in consultation with the portal, cited the need to protect their earnings in cases where their landlord clients wouldn't spring for rental insurance. According to advocacy group Landlord Action, the cost of evicting a tenant runs to £1,500 on average but full rental insurance can be prohibitively expensive for many small landlords.
“We’ve spoken to hundreds of agents,” said Andy Wynne-Jones, Rightmove’s head of insurance, in a statement. “They know landlords can face tenant arrears and potential evictions, but individual landlords may not think rent guarantee is necessary if they haven’t experienced issues like this themselves.
“This product fixes that. From the agent’s perspective, their management fee income is covered, so their revenue is protected.
“There’s definitely a place in the market for full rent guarantee cover and since launching our market-leading indefinite rent guarantee policy last year, take-up has been strong. But this new service offers agents more choice and gives them greater control to protect their income without necessarily having to involve the landlord.”
Unlike its closest competitor Zoopla, Rightmove does not operate in many adjacent markets. The one market that the British market leader has put time and money into establishing itself in however is rentals. In 2019 Rightmove paid £19 million for tenant referencing platform Van Mildert and the company has since gone on to bring its services in house and add tools for landlords under the Rightmove Rental Services product umbrella.