Estate agent Hunters will start advertising properties available for “super-short term” lets through the likes of Airbnb, Booking.com and Expedia, after striking up a partnership with an online platform.
The move follows a successful pilot in Manchester with the “super-short term” rental specialist Lavanda, backed by Purplebricks co-founder Kenny Bruce, former Countrywide boss and Rightmove founder Harry Hill, and ex-Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy.
Hunters said it was now rolling the partnership out on a national scale using the Lavanda AGENT service that allows landlords and vendors the chance to maximise income by arranging short-term lets to vacant properties awaiting sale or long-term rental agreement.
And in case you were wondering, “super-short term” means anything upwards of a two-night stay to 90 days, although Hunters said there was no real maximum stay outside of London. The average stay is five nights.
Lavanda will also offer Hunters’ customers full furnishing services, professional vetting, hotel-style housekeeping, meet and greets, and a 24/7 concierge service.
Those who sign up to the letting service are referred to as “guests” and are not tenants in the context of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) but take out a licence to stay, which is managed by the platforms they book through.
Guests pay up front, without a right to stay beyond the agreed times.
Hunters declined to reveal how it will make its money from the new service, other than to say that it has entered a “commercial arrangement between Hunters, Lavanda and the landlords/vendors”.
Glynis Frew, chief executive of Hunters Property, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Lavanda and pioneering an innovative new service for customers that unlocks major value for our vendors and landlords. Today the service is live in Manchester and we are planning to roll it out to major cities nationwide over the course of the next 12 months.”
Guy Westlake, CEO and co-founder of Lavanda, said: “We know through our track record of success that this works for landlords. In addition, much to the frustration of vendors, the recent slow sales market has led to swathes of prime property sitting empty. This has not only resulted in vendors suffering a significant loss of income, but not facilitating a quick sale can also damage the agent’s reputation with their client.
“Lavanda AGENT solves this specific pain point, powering growth and profitability in our partners, whilst enabling them to delight their customers with a new, value-added service offering.”
Under the Manchester pilot, Hunters and Lavanda are offering a range of studio apartments available from £750pcm in the city centre.
Hunters, which opened its first office in York in 1992 and its first franchising branch in 2006, has a total of 200 branches nationwide.