Expect more from your lettings experience, is the message digitally-savvy letting agents have for Generation Renters on the move.
Generation Rent - made up of Millennials and Gen Z - are digital natives who have grown up or come of age during the era of the on-demand economy. They expect a seamless, digital-first proposition from businesses and services - which includes letting agents. Traditionally, letting agents haven’t focused on the experience of their tenants but this is starting to change.
The ban on letting fees in England and Wales in 2019 (they were already banned in Scotland) has removed one of the barriers to moving for Generation Renters, so it will be easier for them to leave a property - and an agency - if they're unhappy with your experience. Additionally, with more and more landlords leaving the market, it is more important than ever for letting agents to demonstrate they can attract and retain the best tenants in order to attract and retain their share of an ever-smaller pool of landlords.
Nicholas Edwards of Gibbs Gillespie thinks tenants expectations for their lettings experience have definitely changed. “Tenants are more educated and more aware of what they can get from you and what other companies can provide,” he says. “So if you don't treat them as a premiere customer, they know they can go elsewhere where they will be treated as one.”
The increasing importance of tenant experience is reflected in an increasing array of services being offered to tenants, particularly in the build-to-rent sector, says Edwards. “I think the market is heading towards concierge-type services for tenants, where they move in and everything is sorted for them - they won’t have to worry about anything. Over the next five to ten years, you will start to see tenants expecting that, on the day they move in, the bed is made, there’s a towel in the bathroom and everything is ready to go,” he says.
“A lot of the build-to-rent developments are already heading towards that model - maybe not to the extent of milk in the fridge, but many of those schemes have really embraced the idea of being totally ready for tenants to move in and everything working the second you step through the door,” notes Edwards.
“Any good agent now has a lot of additional strengths to their bow and will already be offering a lot of the services that tenants are looking for,” he says. “Making sure that tenants have a smooth moving process is just as important to us as new business generation - and we’re well-equipped in every department to make sure that happens.”