Times are changing for the lettings industry, with new regulations affecting the way firms operate. One of the biggest changes is the abolition of letting agent fees. Fees to tenants have already been banned in Scotland, while in England and Wales, the agents have had to publicise their fees, so there is transparency. Some tenants have been paying £700 or more in fees for administration services or credit checks, on top of paying a month’s rent in advance and a month’s rent as a deposit. The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, said that shifting these costs to landlords will save hundreds of pounds for the 4.3 million households living in rental accommodation in the UK.
Landlords have also faced tax changes this year, with stamp duty introduced on second homes, including buy-to-lets, and tax relief on mortgage interest being phased out. So this means interesting times ahead for the letting market. About one in five households live in private rental accommodation, with this figure set to rise, as more people find they cannot afford to buy property. The letting industry therefore needs to adapt to meet the needs of increasing numbers of clients and changes to regulations.
Online presence is essential
As more people search online for properties, it is essential for letting professionals to have a strong online presence. Many traditional high street agents will now offer online lettings as well as being able to view properties online. The letting process needs to be seamless, digitised and transparent, so that tenants can communicate effectively with agents online.
Local knowledge is key
Whilst needing to be ever-present online, letting agents also have expert local knowledge, which can help save time and money when looking for a home. Let an agent know your requirements, such as being near schools, public transport or shops, and they can deliver. You can contact a company such as alexclarkglos.co.uk for letting agents in Gloucester. They can help tenants with their search or manage properties for landlords.
Professional letting agents offer that personal connection for tenants to contact, particularly if the landlord does not live locally. They can make sure the inventories and contracts are set up, all checks are carried out, and ensure a tenant moves in on time. They act as the buffer between landlords and tenants, which makes them specialists in negotiation and arbitration.