Legislation changes represent one of the most significant opportunities for agents to win new landlords in the coming years. Sixty-two percent of landlords cited legislation changes as their biggest concern, and many are also unaware of recent or upcoming legislative changes - a survey found only 66% of landlords were aware of the Tenant Fees Act.
“Lack of knowledge is the key concern for many landlords who are considering property management,” says Matt Dilkes of Christopher Shaw in Bournemouth. “They're scared of getting it wrong, because in the last 12 to 24 months there has been a lot of increased legislation and criminalisation of certain things, so the penalties for getting stuff wrong are severe.”
Justin Matthews of Hotspur Residential in Northumberland agrees. “I think the reason a lot of landlords want an agent to fully manage a property is to make sure that everything is done correctly,” he says. “They don't want to get involved with the legislation and regulatory issues that can come up.”
Martin West of mlettings in Swindon and Cirencester says he’s seen an increase in the number of landlords approaching his agency recently and believes that this trend is likely to continue. “Many landlords have other business interests – they are entrepreneurs being pulled in different directions, so they rely on us to ensure they are following legal guidelines and they also expect us to look after their interests.”
West believes this will result in more independent landlords turning to compliance-savvy letting agents to manage their properties. “It's a very complex world for landlords and compliance has got to be central to what we offer,” he says.
Make sure you’re able to tell prospective landlords exactly how you will ensure they’re compliant, by being able to quickly summarise the processes and tools you have in place to make sure their portfolio is always up to date with the latest legal requirements. David Votta takes a unique approach at Votta Lettings & Property Management to show landlords how much compliance is required. "I often use a legislative questionnaire with prospective landlords that uncovers things they do not know about the industry and why they really do need a professional agent.”
West agrees. “Landlords need to have reassurance that we are knowledgeable, up to date with current legislation and that we have got them covered."