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Today’s tenants expect the application process for renting a new property to be conducted at their convenience online, like many other services. Everyone expects services to be digital these days, which makes a variety of processes much more efficient. The majority of processes outside the industry are conducted online, and it is believed that letting agents must follow suit to keep up with the modern world.

The lettings industry has generally been slow in adapting to the expectations of tenants, and in most cases, renting property continues to be a time-consuming, tedious and complicated procedure for all involved, including tenants, agents and landlords alike. This typically involves piles of paperwork which takes hours to sign, complete and file, alongside constantly changing legislation which requires documentation to be continuously updated.

There is little digitisation or automation for this process, and where technology is utilised, multiple inefficient systems often leave gaps, where manual processes must be used. This means that there is frequent space for human error, where the lack of standard procedures can cause confusion. Although a small minority of rogue agents are largely responsible for a negative perception of the lettings sector, this inefficiency also contributes to that perception.

Improving tenant experience is a key aim for agents who are looking to improve the industry’s reputation overall. One way to start would be to make the whole application process digital, using technology which handles every facet of the process. Technology has the ability to transform the rental experience for both landlords and tenants, reducing the quantity of manual administration for letting agents and saving time. For example, technology could improve:

Tenancy creation. A tenancy agreement created digitally allows tenants to complete their applications and pay holding fees anytime and anywhere, which makes it an efficient and time-saving process. E signature capabilities also mean that tenants will not have to visit your office, and you will not need to facilitate their paperwork.

Integration of the referencing process. Referencing tenants using technology solutions and software results in reliable and accurate checks. User-friendly and dynamic software is intuitive enough to remove delays and common errors, while providing a solution that is optimised for use on any device. Tenants can therefore submit references at a place and time which is convenient to them, with real-time updates informing agents and tenants on how the application is progressing.

Automate compliance and record-keeping. An automated audit trail shows when compliance documentation and contracts, such as tenancy guides and Right to Rent, are delivered, opened and signed. This also allows contracts to be updated easily and regularly to keep in line with any of the latest legislation changes.

Provide a place for additional services. Being able to provide additional services, like media, utility services or insurance can be fully integrated with your application process, allowing tenants to purchase them at the simple click of a button. This will not only increase conversion rates, and your agency’s revenue, but it also provides greater value to your tenants. Digitising your agency’s letting process will transform the experience of your tenants, and their customer journey and experience should be at the forefront of your mind in order to create a smooth and efficient pre-tenancy service.

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