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By Kristjan Byfield

Director, base property specialists


TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

PropTech Today - how can tech help the smooth running of tenancies?

There are a huge array of products and services covering the entire journey of lettings, from prospecting all the way through to tenancy conclusions. There is also an ever-growing eco-system of CRMs, many of which have been built either specifically for lettings or have a strong lettings product offering.

However, I am not going to talk about CRMs today, but rather focus on the multitude of products and services looking to solve the issues faced at specific points in the process from the onboarding process through to tenancy conclusions.

Onboarding (tenancy application process)

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The first to market, and best known in this area, is Goodlord. If you haven't taken a look at Goodlord yet, well, where have you been? More recently they acquired Vouch, adding this to their product offering, and have other plans in this space. However, they are now far from the only onboarding product in this space! Competition is coming thick and fast- here is a list of similar products in this space you should explore:

Propoly (now owned by Legal for Landlords)

Pink Chilli in partner with Blinc referencing

RentProfile's 'onboarding' service/product

Box by The Lettings Hub

Halo.rent

Inventories & Inspections

All good property managers know that good record keeping of a property's condition throughout its lifecycle is vital to being able to advise a client on the best steps to take and to facilitate.

Whether you decide to outsource this to a third party or undertake this in-house, there are some great companies operating in this space. Some are exclusively for in-house operations, some can be used in-house or by independent referencing companies. Many of these also have integrations in place with the likes of Fixflo and The Depositary able to easily export issues and evidence for resolution, be that getting the issue fixed or seeking compensation from a tenant. A list of operators in this space worth exploring include:

Inventory Hive

InventoryBase

No Letting Go/Kaptur

TouchRight

iSurvey

Peach Software

Imfuna

As an agency, we have seen huge success embedding Virtual Tours within our interim inspection reports (with tenant consent, of course). We have used EyeSpy360 for this due to its ease of use and low cost pricing model, but there are lots of VT operators in this space now to explore.

Compliance & Regulation

Whilst some will be covered by your CRM and other elements by other service providers, a few select companies are trying to create solutions that are more bespoke and rich in these areas. Compliance is certainly not fun but it is critical to your business and the safety of your clients. All the more reason to plug in some bespoke and specialists solutions. Here are some worth exploring:

KAMMA (formerly GetRentr) - makes it easy to understand property licensing in the areas you operate and check your portfolio is compliant

COMPLYLEX - an easy-to-use, comprehensive compliance tool for letting agents (and landlords)

YUNO - property licensing and compliance with a focus towards HMOs

Maintenance

If you haven’t heard of, and taken a good look at, Fixflo, then where have you been? Many CRMs have evolved to offer some good maintenance tools. Other ones to consider/explore include:

Evo.pm

Plentific

Herddle

Payments & Accounting

There are currently three major players in the letting agency accounting solution space - however, it is worth noting that CRMs continue to expand their offering in this space with the likes of AgentOS facilitating Open Banking via their CRM. PayProp is the market-leader in this space, having been the first to market and also operate in several other countries. As such, you'd be mad not to contact them. However, two other contenders in this space I've heard great things about include:

AgentPay (from AgentOS)

Letts Pay

Tenancy Conclusion

The Depositary (full disclosure, this is my business alongside base property specialists) is the first and (currently) only software solution looking to streamline and improve the tenancy conclusion process for all. We reduce an agent's admin workload by around 80%, reducing repetitive tasks and making the process more transparent for tenants and landlords alike.

We have, to date, integrated with utility services, inventory providers and both TDS Insured & Custodial schemes offering an ever-seamless and streamlined process. Kerfuffle has an array of reviews from clients to date, but agents have so far called us a 'game changer' and the 'PropTech solution to every agent's headache' - built by agents, for agents, we know what is involved in the thankless tenancy conclusion process and are doing our best to eliminate as much of this as possible.

Summary

You likely already know, and use, several of the companies listed - but possibly not. Lettings is a very process-driven industry and, as such, it lends itself to the adoption of quality tech that is successfully embedded in a lettings agency to deliver greater job satisfaction, a more efficient and profitable team and a leading digital experience for tenants and landlords alike.

Embedding the right tech in the right place successfully will raise your game and make you soon ask yourself: 'How on earth did we deal with all this stuff before X!?'

Before you shop around, talk to fellow agents, talk to groups you are part of, reach out to Kerfuffle for their MOT service or talk to a specialist consultant. Most importantly, make sure you understand exactly what problem you are trying to solve before you start trying to find a solution.

*Kristjan Byfield is company director and co-founder of base property specialists and co-founder of PropTech compliance startup The Depositary.

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