Mastermind Group Member Tip
By Glyn Trott, MD of LetMC and Pinnacle Lettings
I was with the Lettings Mastermind group on Tuesday 21st November, the day before the Chancellor’s Autumn statement, which announced the ban on agency fees. Peter Knight was chairing the meeting, and asked ironically:
“Let’s imagine that tenant fees get banned tomorrow – what could we do to get ourselves ahead?”.
As the group groaned and tutted at the idea, Peter pushed for us to come up with thoughts and options.
What struck me was that we have been here before; when I opened my Cardiff agency in 1997 agents did not charge fees, and they did not chauffeur potential tenants around in branded cars. They handed out lists of properties and told the tenants to walk the streets to view the properties, and the managed fees were around 12% to 15%.
Back in the group, the ideas mainly floated around increasing landlord fees and rents rising, but it got me thinking that we need to load more of the work back onto the tenants e.g. by getting them to pre-vet themselves and get an approved reference report, before we even show them a property.
In 1997, my agency and another local competitor introduced a £30 fee. To the horror of all our other competitors, tenants paid us because we provided the service of chauffeuring them around a number of properties, and negotiated improvement with the landlords to secure the home they wanted.
So my member’s tip is that the ban is an absolute opportunity to revisit my agency’s process, hand back more to tenants, remove steps and get back capacity so, as I grow going forward, I don’t need to employ more people.