5 top tips to prepare your landlords for new legislation
Experts discuss the many opportunities for letting agents to benefit from the Renters (Reform) Bill.
Three Goodlord lettings experts recently spoke on a webinar about what letting agents are doing to prepare for the Renters (Reform) Bill. With more than 45 years of combined lettings experience, they shared some of their top tips for agents.
Costas Frangeskou, Goodlord's Director of Growth, was joined by colleagues Lauren, who was previously a director of a multi-branch agency in London, and Aaron, who has managed estate agency branches for both corporate and independent market leading agencies.
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1. Create a uniform message to your landlords
Aaron: “Before any communication goes out to any of the landlords, I would be focusing on spending time upskilling the team internally - whether that’s through in-house training, reading blog posts or news articles. I would expect each member of the team to have a very good understanding of the key facts of the Renters (Reform) Bill, but not recite it word-for-word.”
2. A negative spin makes a negative landlord
Lauren: “Put a positive spin so that your staff don’t feel that the Renters Reform Bill is as scary as it sounds. I’ve been an agent myself, and [Section 21 notices] were the easy way out. Section 8 notices were always deemed to be the big, scary sections that no one particularly wants to serve, and now landlords are scared of those.”
“But in actual fact, the grounds for Section 8 have been strengthened. So instead, try and be reassuring to your landlord, ask them if there’s a reason they want a tenant out of a property. Nine times out of 10 it’s because they need to sell, or that they need family to move back into the property. Well, actually it’s good news to the landlord, as the grounds have been strengthened and you can still do that.”
3. Good communication can lead to new instructions
Aaron: “One of the best agents I spoke to sent out a mass email about the Renters (Reform) Bill to 2,000 landlords. It was a great opportunity to re-engage with them and highlight the key points, while also putting a really positive spin on how they’re tackling it. And I think the response they’ve had from it - because of the tone of the email - encouraged landlords to get in contact to talk through any concerns off the back of that email. They’re now actually seeing some instructions coming through from historically let-only landlords.”
4. Change your terminology now
Costas: “In conversations I’ve been having with agents, people have said to me ‘why should I change anything now when it’s a year or two away?’ well the average tenancy length across the country is four and a half years. So actually the tenancies you’re setting up today as a business will still be in play when the Renters (Reform) Bill comes in - and therefore the tenants will still be there.”
Aaron: “It's just making sure that it's very clear in your terms and conditions what you do and what you don't charge for - whether that's general advice or popping in to carry out a rent review. It’s making sure your terms of business caters for anything that you might well need to charge for moving forward to keep that landlord compliant.”
Lauren: “Off the back of that, ensure terminology that you are inputting within your terms of business as well is correct. [...] So ensure that the terminology used will cover you so you can continue collecting the fee that you want to charge for the full duration of that tenancy.”
5. Take advantage of the legislation to convert let-only landlords
Aaron: “It really is a great opportunity to re-engage with let-only landlords. There’s going to be a lot of nerves from them [...] and this might be the final nudge they need to convert to a fully-managed service.”
[Legislation such as pets in lets rules changing also presents an opportunity.] Historically you would always take a slightly larger deposit if a pet was involved. Whereas now actually for the landlords that have been extremely reluctant to take pets, you can now assure them that there will be an insurance policy in place to cover any additional damages. That’s going to ease a lot of concerns.”
Lauren: “It’s about establishing yourself as a market leader in your area. Make sure you’re really showing your worth as an agent because you know exactly what you’re talking about. There’ll be lots of really nice landlords you’ve got in your books that you don’t speak to on a regular basis."
"But actually they are going to be your little golden tickets because nine times out of 10 these landlords also have properties with other agents. If you’re reaching out to them and having conversations, they may open up more of their property portfolio to you.”
This article is intended as a guide only and does not constitute legal advice. Visit gov.uk for more information.