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Paul Shamplina, Founder of Landlord Action and COO of the HFIS group, has been training letting agents for over 20 years. Here, he offers advice to help agents overcome the challenges they are currently facing, namely dwindling stock levels and intense competition to find and acquire new landlords.
“The many agents I’ve been talking to across the UK are worried about where the market is heading – demand has gone through the roof but increasingly they don’t have enough stock to supply it.
So, they’re seeing bidding wars and mini auctions taking place, which is forcing rents up. On top of that, more landlords than usual are exiting the market and therefore agents need to find new stock to replace the stock they’ve lost. How to do that – how to attract new landlords - is the kind of training and advice I give when out on the road; landlords do not grow in trees.
Letting agents also have a growing minefield of legislation to understand and implement, something many landlords haven’t clocked.
Right now, it’s the hardest it’s ever been for smaller portfolio and ‘accidental’ landlords to manage their properties compliantly without professional help.
So you can argue that the greater the amount of regulation, the better it is for letting agents, who increasingly have a vital service to offer landlords in an increasingly regulated world.”
“One challenge is that letting agents tend not to ‘big up’ what they do and consequently they are often under paid for their services.
Just think about how much time agents spend finding a tenant, marketing the property and then servicing a tenancy agreement – it’s hours and hours.”
“I think the message agents should drive through when pitching for full management is that they are ‘protecting the landlord’ chiefly by being compliance officers and, most importantly, making sure tenants are properly referenced before they move in.
Letting agents are needed most pressingly by landlords in the current market because managing a property in a compliant way is harder than ever.”
“I always say to landlords that it’s a false economy to use agents just for tenant finding because the small percentage increase in fee, when divided by 12 months, is good value for the significant amount of compliance work involved.
But acquiring landlords requires effort – including content on your website and socials explaining what you offer, and also local networking, rather than just advertising on the portals. You’ve got to be more proactive as it is such a competitive market for stock.”
For advice on generating free leads and organic traffic to your website, read this guide for agents written for mydeposits by Sally Lawson, former ARLA president and expert in supporting the lettings industry to increase revenue. And for guidance on building a suite of additional landlord services to add revenue and profit to your business, read Sally’s article here.
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Property Redress Scheme is approved by Government under the Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015