Legal 101

2021 Letting Agent Report 

Catherine Boxall
·
October 9, 2021

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In September 2021, Legislate contacted letting agents across the UK to determine what trends in the letting industry excited letting agents the most and what were the most common difficulties experienced by letting agents. After our study, we found that letting agents were most excited about the growing demand for housing and rental properties which provided them with the opportunity to meet more tenants. In terms of difficulties, a common theme was the challenge in finding, sourcing and managing contractors for maintenance- a difficulty that has been exacerbated by the pandemic. Another common difficulty identified was keeping up with the training required to cope with changing government legislation.


Exciting Trends in the Letting Industry

As mentioned, the letting agents we contacted were excited about the rising demand from tenants for properties. Indeed, according to the Propertymark demand from tenants was the highest ever recorded during July this year: the average number of new prospective tenants saw a 16% increase in the number of new prospective tenants registered per branch from June. This rising demand has increased the contact that agents have with prospective tenants. One of our letting agents, Aspire to Move, said that they ‘love meeting all the new and different types of landlords and tenants we help’. 


Average number of prospective tenants November 2020 - July 2021
Propertymark: Average number of prospective tenants Nov 2020-July 2021 



On a similar note, other agents were excited about new technologies that have infiltrated the market this year, influenced both by the pandemic and rising demand for housing. One agency spoke about the increasing demand for virtual viewings, stating that they have now become a customer expectation. The agency reported that adopting such practices is useful in saving time, saving money and qualifying applicants more easily, let alone the environmental benefits of this approach. 


Common Difficulties in the Letting Industry

When reaching out to letting agents about the most common difficulties letting agents run into, we received two clearly common responses: contractors and legals. Letting agents discussed how they struggled to source contractors and get maintenance work completed quickly. One agency discussed that this shortfall has been influenced by suppliers being short on stock and that the pandemic has resulted in appointments being delayed, particularly due to isolation requirements.  Vanarama found that 64% of households (of 1,000 respondents) required help from a tradesman in 2020. 

More than 6 out of 10 households needed help from a tradesman in 2020.
More than 6 out of 10 households needed help from a tradesman in 2020.


The second difficulty letting agents commonly said they faced was keeping up with changing government legislation and ‘people’s failure to understand and comprehend the legalities of lettings’. Indeed, following the enactment of the Tenant Fees Act 2019, letting agents were forced to abandon certain practices and the introduction of new safety regulations, such as the introduction of electrical safety inspections in April 2020, has meant that letting agents have had to pay extra attention to the legal landscape. Furthermore, as a result of emergency Coronavirus legislation, letting agents have also seen a significant change in the rules surrounding notice periods and right to rent checks, having to remember key dates when rules relax. The difficulty in keeping up with all of these changes has only been further exacerbated by poor reporting on these areas. Stories explaining that landlords can no longer legally refuse pets in rental properties (which, as explained here, is very not the case) spring to mind. 

More than 1 in 3 agents said keeping on top of changing legislation was a common difficulty


These difficulties, alongside rising demand, have ultimately led to some agents expressing difficulties in managing time. Those agents that are proactive, trying their best to source contractors, match tenants to houses and keep on top of changing regulations, understandably find it challenging to ensure they allocate enough time to each process to ensure they maintain their excellent levels of customer service. 

Conclusions 

Overall, 2021 has been a busy for lettings. Surging demand alongside a series of legislative changes this year has kept agents constantly on their feet. We have seen that agents have, overall, been excited by increased demand. Rising demand has given them the opportunity to connect and engage with record number of tenants and has provided agents with the opportunity to do what they do best. Agents were also excited about the rise of new technologies that have enabled them to continue to provide the gold standard of service even due to increased demand. Understandably, agents felt that the frequent changes to regulation and legislation, though important, were a common difficulty to keep on top of. It is hoped that agents will harness new, time-saving technologies, such as Legislate, to ensure they can continue to excel despite increased demand and changing regulation.

Finally, a massive thank you to all the agents that took part.

A special thanks to the following agencies for writing such useful responses. 

ABC Property Management (NW) Ltd T/A ABC Property Shop 

Sue Smith, Director 

Cheshire 

Favourite spot: Ellesmere Port where hundreds of ABC Property Shop’s tenants live! 

https://www.abcpropertyshop.co.uk/


ABC Property Management
ABC Property Shop



Aspire to Move 

Will Maslin, Director 

Bath and Bristol 

Favourite place: ‘Bath! It’s such a wonderful, beautiful city- there’s no need to visit anywhere else!’ 

www.aspiretomove.co.uk 

  

Aspire to Move 
Aspire to Move Office


Barrows & Forrester Property Group 

James Forrester, Managing Director 

Birmingham, Lichfield and Surrounding areas 

Where to visit: “The city is thriving with new developments and masterplans emerging week by week, alongside the historic architectures and buildings it already has to offer. Not only that but with green spaces in all our parks, the open water of the canals and a diverse nightlife from Michelin-starred restaurants to indy nights in Digbeth – there’s only one place to be in the Midlands. If urban living isn’t quite your thing though we are spoilt for greenery across the region with the beautiful Peak District throughout Derbyshire or the pure escapism of the Shropshire countryside.”


https://www.barrowsandforrester.co.uk/ 


Barrows & Forrester Property Group 
Barrows & Forrester Property Group


Bricknells Rentals Ltd 

Chris Holmes, Director 

Rotherham 

Favourite place: Roman York! 

https://www.bricknells-rentals.co.uk/ 

Bricknells Rentals Ltd 
Bricknells Rentals Ltd


Goodman & Lilley

Claire Jenkins, Lettings Manager

Bristol and North Somerset - South West 

Favourite place: Exmoor National Park with its ‘breath-taking coastlines, tranquil countryside and interesting  little medieval villages and hamlets.’ 

https://www.goodmanlilley.co.uk/ 


Goodman & Lilley
Goodman & Lilley


G.R.Estates 

Sarah Gibson, Lettings Manager 

Teesside, North Yorkshire & the North East

Favourite place: ‘Any of the beaches, or the Moors. ‘ 

https://www.gr-estates.co.uk/ 

G.R.Estates 
G.R.Estates



Haslams Estate Agents 

Peter Fuller, Group Lettings & Acquisition Director

Reading 

Favourite place: Season ticket holder at Reading FC! 

https://haslams.net/ 

Haslams Estate Agents | Your Local Estate Agents in Reading
Haslams Estate Agents 


Lionhead Property 

Mikala Underdown, Director 

Slough, Barnstaple and Malborough 

Favourite place: Windsor Great Park 

https://www.lionheadproperty.co.uk/ 

Lionhead Property
Lionhead Property 


Madison Oakley Lettings & Estate Agency

William Bell-Knight, Managing Partner of Lettings

Bath 

Favourite place: Bath, a ‘beautiful, idyllic and historic city with lots to do and see’ 

https://www.madisonoakley.co.uk/ 

Madison Oakley: Estate Agents in Bath | Letting Agents in Bath
Madison Oakley Lettings & Estate Agency



Michael Antony Lettings Limited

Paula Dugani, Director

Chippenham

Favourite place: ‘Wandering around the stones in Avebury… so relaxing’ 

https://www.michaelantony.co.uk/ 

Michael Antony Limited Employees, Location, Careers | LinkedIn
Michael Antony Lettings Limited


Prospect, Bracknell 

Anna Elema, Lettings Negotiator

Bracknell, Berkshire 

Favourite Place: Windsor- its a great town centre on the river with lots of history! 

https://www.prospect.co.uk/estate-agents-bracknell

 

Prospect Estate Agency Bracknell | Real Estate Agents In Bracknell - The  Lexicon Bracknell
Prospect, Bracknell 


Saxons Lettings 

Jeff Stevens, Director 

Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset 

Favourite place to visit: Cheddar Gorge! 

https://www.saxonswsm.co.uk/ 


Saxons Lettings 
Saxons Lettings 


Simply Let Dorset  

Jacky, Owner Director 

Dorset

Favourite place: Corfe Castle and Old Harry rocks and the Purbecks

https://simplyletdorset.co.uk/ 


Simply Let Dorset
Simply Let Dorset  



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