2018 will be a big year for landlords. The property market (both rental and sales) is now starting to feel the impact of Brexit and landlords, particularly in London, could see their rental income start to stall. Combine that with the impact of the 3% additional stamp duty and the increasing compliance legislation around the industry and the property market starts to look a bit daunting for landlords.
This actually presents an opportunity for lettings agents, who will find their role becomes increasingly important this year. By making the following tweaks to their offering, agents can make things a lot easier for landlords, increasing their own value and winning more instructions in the process. How’s that for a win-win situation?
Ensure energy efficiency
In April the new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards will be introduced, forcing landlords to ensure their property has a decent ("E" or above) energy standard. Properties rated "F" or "G" will be rated as substandard and landlords will be banned from putting them on the market until their rating is improved. Lettings agents should do their best to not just make their landlords aware of the new legislation (and other upcoming compliance issues), but assist them to install insulation, fit double-glazing, upgrade boilers or implement thick blinds and curtains to upgrade their ratings.
Broaden the net for target tenants
Although Generation Rent is the demographic that dominates the headlines, there are plenty of other tenant groups worth targeting. An agent’s in-depth knowledge of the area they work in should allow them to suggest whether rentals might work for young families (green spaces and school places), elderly (sense of community) or some of the other more disparate groups aside from Generation Rent.
Ensure consistent contact
Remaining in contact on a consistent basis with landlords (usually electronically, as this is less intrusive) keeps them feeling satisfied with the service you’re offering them.
Increase your service offering
Speaking of service, this is the year that lettings agents may find some merit in expanding what they’re offering both landlords and tenants. Increasing revenue stream through the promotion of landlord insurance and similar modes of protection is one value-add for landlords while, for tenants, lettings agents might want to consider rolling cleaning and gardening into a rental package to increase the appeal of the property.
the majority of landlords are accidental landlords (with two or less properties), often with fulltime jobs and family responsibilities of their own to attend to. This often translates into a lack of planning on their part, which increases the likelihood of maintenance issues. Lettings agents should take a leaf out of the block management book here and do their best to ensure their landlords are pre-planning and scheduling maintenance, such as boiler checks, the decluttering of gutters and the maintenance of wooden framework (doors and windows). Booking maintenance of these concerns in advance should ward off major issues, reduce expensive emergency call outs and guarantee landlords better rates for repairs or replacements.
Landlords tend to see money saved as money earned for their agents so, for more money-saving tips or details on any of the following, why not download our free factsheet, 10 Tips for Lettings Success in 2018, by clicking here.