Zoopla added ‘auto-renew’ clause in its contracts during Covid crisis

EYE has heard from the managing director of an estate agency business that has a branch in its small group that is suffering from an acute lack of sales stock. With an inevitable fall in pipeline the firm is faced with having to manage its costs, and it recently turned to Zoopla to discuss the options for lessening their portal expenditure.

It will be remembered that in April 2020, when the Covid crisis took off , Zoopla initially offered its agency customers a free three month period of use, later extended to five months. This was subject to the customer signing up to a contract period of between 12 and 36 months, with normal payments being made after the free period expired.

Andy Marshall, Zoopla’s chief commercial officer said at the time: “In offering five months free portal usage to our agent partners, we hope to alleviate some of the financial pressures that many are facing.

“We are committed to supporting agents and helping their businesses to keep functioning in partnership with us at this difficult time.

“Ultimately, we aim to help set agents up for success and to thrive once we emerge from the impact of coronavirus.”

So our reader was fully expecting that Zoopla would offer a sympathetic ear to their current plight. But they were sadly disappointed as the portal informed them their contract must run for its full twelve months owing to an auto-renew clause in the contract that the agent says they were not aware of at the time of signing.

It transpires that in signing up to the free period last year they were also signing up to a clause that instigated a ’12 month auto renew’ of the contract and introduced a limited time-window for subsequent cancellation. Miss that window and the contract runs another 12 months before Notice can be given.

As our reader says: “Obviously you should always read the small print…but I think they have taken advantage by adding this clause in when we were all running around like headless chickens when the offer was made. I am sure I am not the only person to miss this.”

The agent contacted EYE to, “make agents aware in case, like me, they are trying to figure out how to navigate the stormy times ahead.”

A spokesperson for Zoopla told us:

“Auto-renewals with the ability to cancel after an initial term are common practice for many subscription services. The terms for auto-renewed contracts were clear when our customers re-signed with us and are now standard across all contracts.”

For context they also pointed out that:

  • The terms for 2020 plans were updated from rolling contracts to auto-renewed contracts  in line with common practice for many subscription services – both within our industry and beyond

  • As with every Zoopla contract or agreement, customers were given full visibility of the amendment before signing


Zoopla extends free portal usage to five months


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  1. watchdog13

    If true, shocking.

  2. Property Poke In The Eye

    Ouch!!! Good luck Zoopla – these portals love losing agents.

    Can agents who advertise with Zoopla check their contracts and confirm in the comments if they have signed with a contract with an auto renew clause – so we can all gauge if this is true.

    Also – if a spokesperson from Zoopla also wants to comment on this topic.

  3. Herb

    Another reason for agents not to sign with Zoopla. Being locked in to an auto renew with small window is an underhand tactic that dodgy companies use.

  4. TheSheepman73

    Jeez, anything for a headline it seems like this morning.

    Rightmove have been doing this with our contracts for years and usually with a 15-20% price hike as a thank you!!

    Some people have short memories, but Zoopla were the only portal that put their head above the parapet and have us all free months while there was complete uncertainty! What happened was the reverse; our market went crazy in this last 18 months; almost never been so good.

    As for the automated renewal, my account manager told me at the time, it was on the contract, AND got a reminder email about two months ago about this exact thing. Plenty time for me to take some action if I wanted to!

    Take some responsibility and stop passing the buck!

  5. NeighSlayer

    “Common practice” to them because they do it with all their products? Quickly checks contracts.

  6. Whaley

    Every time we do our annual Supplier Survey we find that one of agents number 1 pet hates is the auto renewal of contracts with suppliers.

    With Kerfuffle you can protect yourself either via our dashboard for free or with our managed service.

    So if you’d like to ensure you only ever renew a contract intentionally again let me know


  7. WiltsAgent

    Always read what you sign and if you don’t like it don’t sign it.

    Given that Rightmove’s CEO initially described Covid as ” a blip, a bit like Xmas”, compared to Zoopla who were far more proactive in giving support and probably shamed Rightmove into taking action I can’t see a problem. If you sign something without checking first you are asking for trouble.

  8. WiltsAgent


    Given that Rightmove’s CEO initially described Covid as ” a blip, a bit like Xmas”, compared to Zoopla who were far more proactive in giving support and probably shamed Rightmove into taking action I can’t see a problem. If you sign something without checking first you are asking for trouble.

  9. smile please

    Auto renewal should be banned on all sectors.


    It promotes unfair contracts in favour of the supplier.


    Praying on naive customers.

    1. Dick Value

      Except for insurance policies where important cover continues?

  10. Bosky

    “Obviously you should always read the small print”  So you knew this!

    “we were all running around like headless chickens ”  Is this not a daily occurrence for a lot of business owners!
    In today’s faster moving pace I can see why T&C get overlooked, especially online sites i.e. registration conditions, buying goods or services, policies such as privacy and cookies. Who really bothers to read all these!
    Yet, as business owners, we need to distinguish between terms relating to website use and contractual terms of suppliers and providers, such as Zoopla; as such, it is the owner’s/directors duty of care to their business to read T&C’s affecting their business.
    Suggestion for the day:-  Take a time management course.

  11. Ding Dong

    most things in life are not free.

  12. CPestateagentesq

    Sorry, but it’s not ‘buried in the small print’ its a simple 6 page contract (which does refer to t&c’s) however the cancellation clause is just about where you sign and in pretty big print:


    CANCELLATION RIGHTS: Members will not be able to cancel or terminate the Contract for convenience during any Initial Term or subsequent Renewal Term. After the expiry of your Initial Term of your Contract (see “Initial Term” above) this Order Form shall automatically renew in accordance with the Member Terms and Conditions unless terminated in accordance with the Member Terms and Conditions.


    That’s it, that’s all you had to read… if you couldn’t manage to read a simple contract, which offered a large ‘rent free’ period, without thinking “i wonder what the catch is” then god help you…

  13. Chanel298

    The more I read about the major portals the more I realise that OTM is the only one that actually has the agents best interests at heart… the tide is definitely turning. I couldn’t be happier that I came off the other portals!


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