The leading utility management service says that reduced void periods can help agents to retain landlord clients at an all-important time as agents’ incomes are hit by a loss of fees and landlords shop around for the best value for money in the face of rising management costs.
Void periods cost the typical landlord £500+ each year
The average landlord loses £528 each year due to void periods, according to a study by Kent Reliance. The research suggests that this figure is rising due to average rents increasing and the gap between tenancies lengthening.
Meanwhile, a study by the UK Association of Letting Agents suggests that 35% of UK landlords experienced a void period during Q1 2018, with 63% of these due to natural tenant changeovers.
“Landlords will be looking to minimise lengthy void periods at all costs and letting agents have an important role to play in saving their clients money, ensuring a smooth changeover between tenancies,” says Glenn Seddington, managing director of Tenant Shop, an Inchora company.
“With the tenant fees ban now in force, keeping void costs will be an even higher priority for landlords, especially those who are paying higher management fees as a result of the new legislation.”
How can agents help landlords to reduce void periods?
Agents can contribute towards reduced voids in a number of ways, including being proactive in finding new tenants and managing changeovers efficiently.
“By having the right software and processes in place, agents can help to prevent void periods becoming a serious and costly issue for their landlords,” Seddington continues.
“Tying up loose ends at the end of a tenancy is crucial in saving time and making sure everything is ready for a new tenancy to commence. This includes notifying local councils and utility companies about tenancy changeovers and dealing with stray bills.”
“If agents can automate these processes using the best PropTech solutions, they can save themselves time and keep their clients happy which is a win-win situation for all parties,” he says.
Retaining landlords is crucial to agents’ survival
In a post-fees ban world, retaining landlords will be more important than ever if letting agents want to survive and thrive.
With challenging market conditions including reduced income, more government regulation and stiff competition between agents, keeping landlords happy and demonstrating value for money will be crucial.
Many landlords will have seen their costs increase and their profits reduced as a result of higher management fees and legislation such as the reduction of buy-to-let mortgage interest tax relief and the 3% stamp duty surcharge.
“Agents need to focus on showing landlords everything that is included in their service and why they are more effective than local competitors,” says Seddington.
“If your service is slick and efficient this is only going to impress landlords, increase your chances of long-term retention and provide your staff with more time to focus on growing your business further.”
“Working out how you can reduce the impact of pain points landlords face on a regular basis, such as void periods, will only help in showing your clients why they need the services of a professional letting agency now more than ever,” he adds.
“Despite a challenging market, there are still plenty of opportunities for letting agents to be successful. Utilising the best PropTech services and products can be hugely beneficial in achieving long-term stability.”
Tenant Shop works with thousands of letting agents across the UK, reducing workload, increasing profitability and providing additional routes to revenue.
They provide agents with an automated energy void solution, in partnership with ScottishPower, which reduces costs for landlords while the property is unoccupied and simplifies the moving process for tenants.