The relationship between agents, tenants and landlords in the next five years will not be the same as it is now, and was previously. This is good news for agents and landlords willing to embrace change.
With the number of properties within the PRS (Private Rental Sector) more than doubling during the past fifteen years, the sector now accounts for around 20 per cent of the total housing stock within the UK. This is approximately 4.8 million homes. The PRS has now become the second largest homes provider to individuals, overtaking social housing which is responsible for around 17 per cent of homes.
When the Housing Act was introduced in 1988, the PRS was reasonably small, with landlord ownership not nearly as widespread as it is today. Now, it is thought that around 65 per cent of all landlords identify as accidental, having fallen into letting property by being unable to sell property or through inheritance.
ownership not nearly as widespread as it is today. Now, it is thought that around 65 per cent of all landlords identify as accidental, having fallen into letting property by being unable to sell property or through inheritance.
The growth of the private rented sector has created a significant increase in the amount of small management companies. With little regulation and no barrier to entry, there are more than 10,000 companies specialising in property management in the UK. It is also widely recognised that levels of service differ enormously among these companies.
However, the sector is about to transform. Major changes will occur to the relationships between agents, tenants and landlords, for example legislative changes such as the Tenant Fee Bill will change the treatment of tenants and present increased fairness and transparency to the system.
Many agents oppose the legislation, as this revenue accounts for around 25 to 33 per cent of their total income. It is thought that they must change their business model rather than oppose the development.
In addition to this, there have been campaigns to end no fault evictions, and introduce extended tenures for tenants in an effort to improve security for tenants. Some old relationships were built on conflict between tenant and landlord, which pitted each against one another with no positive connection achieved. Each side often had their own clear interests, with no middle ground.
It is now clear that property management must be focused on developing mutually beneficial relationships between all parties. The tenant, as the customer, must not just be regarded as a source of revenue, while the landlord is not merely an investor seeking profit, but is providing a home. The agent lies in between to ensure that every party benefits from the relationship.
If a tenant requests a repair, it should not be considered a chore to be completed at the lowest price, and if a landlord believes a tenant is causing damage, this must be resolved.
The previous system of property management is flawed, in terms of both ethos and means of delivery. The fundamental change to online services from bricks and mortar is at the centre of these changes. Technology offers the foundation for implementing greater openness, fairness and transparency, assisted by face-to-face support.
Platforms are now available which provide 24-hour access for landlords and tenants to access and input data. Relevant information is available for landlords and tenants at any time, and responses and actions can be monitored directly. This ensures that all parties remain informed at all times.
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