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upad CEO highlights anti-competitive issues arising from industry debate

upad (www.upad.co.uk), the new free online rental service that launched in October 2008, is causing a stir with high street estate agents .

A selection of agents have lobbied big portals to refuse listings from upad, and this has escalated into a bigger debate over whether portals should list private lettings at all .

James Davis, founder and CEO of upad, commented: “In today’s world it should be about choice – for landlords and renters alike. If portals turn away listings sites, this will surely result in the death of the industry. This debate has escalated at a time when the property rentals market has the potential for massive growth.

“The property sector needs to adapt and move with the times, and to begin emulating some of the successes of industries such as travel and recruitment – both of which have made the highly beneficial transition from offline to online”.

The Rugg Review , published last month, argues for a policy approach for devising ‘initiatives to ‘grow’ the business of letting, encouraging smaller, good landlords’. It also highlights that a sizeable proportion of the market does not go through estate agents .

Under the banner 'reinventing renting', upad was created to fill a gap in the property rental market. Currently, 83 percent of UK internet users are unhappy with their property search experience (FindsYou.com 2008 research) and 39 percent of renters state that out-of-date information has been the biggest problem when looking for a new pad (rentright.co.uk 2007 survey).

Using upad's state-of-the-art technology, renters can, for the first time, search properties by key criteria such as availability of parking, outside space, broadband connectivity, a security alarm or even laundry facilities. By returning only relevant and available properties, upad takes the hassle out of looking for somewhere to live because users can see comprehensive details before committing time and energy to viewings.

upad has the largest selection of rental properties available in London (over 80,000), and plans to roll the service out to other major UK cities during 2009.

James Davis added: “We are trying to ‘professionalise’ the property rentals sector. Far from working against estate agents, we would like them to take an active part in our campaign.

“I strongly believe that in view of the issues highlighted, the industry should look into self-regulation. With this transition, relevant parties will feel empowered and the industry can also make the progress required.”

-Ends-

Notes to editors:

upad (www.upad.co.uk) is a new online service that connects renters to landlords to help them find their ideal property quickly and easily. Launched in October 2008 under the banner 'reinventing renting', the company's innovative approach is aimed at filling a gap in the property rental market.

upad's website deploys bespoke state-of-the-art technology to overcome issues identified by renters such as out-of-date information and poor online experiences. In particular upad enables online searches that are interactive and intuitive to produce relevant properties.

With over 80,000 rental properties available in London, upad will continue to add to this portfolio in order to offer the largest choice of homes to rent in the capital. The service will be rolled out across other major UK cities in the next few months.

Free to renters, upad costs landlords £59 per listing (with an initial half-price introductory offer for properties registered before 31st December 2008).

For further information and interviews, please contact:

Katrina Suppiah/Kate Alexander, Publicité
Tel: + 44 (0)20 8543 6582/+44 (0)20 8543 8481/+44 (0)7809 028711
Email: k.suppiah@publicite.co.uk/k.alexander@publicite.co.uk

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