As an agency business, how much are you spending on professional body memberships? Perhaps it’s time to question how much you get back. Is the benefit more than a sticker to put in your window?
I’m going to raise my head above the parapet to say industry bodies need to do more to present a united front and represent the industry’s views.
Take, for example, the ban on letting agent fees charged to tenants. In times of need – like now, when letting agents face their income being slashed in return for the same amount of work (or even more if you bank on increasing compliance) – professional bodies should work for their members and protect their interests.
Probably 99% of agents have the same view on this matter – whatever professional body they belong to – so there’s no reason why there can’t be a strong, united approach taken by all the trade organisations. There is always strength in numbers when there’s a common cause.
The lettings industry needs to work together more than ever. Sadly, we are fragmented and divided. The power sharing Government and shuffle of MP seats means the lettings agenda will be debated more voraciously than ever before, with an increasing emphasis on what might be good for the tenant, and not for the letting agent.
I’d love to see all the professional bodies campaigning for the same outcome – really representing the people who duly pay their subscriptions. Our industry needs a compelling argument, a loud voice and a bold presence on the political stage in order to help shape policies, influence MPs and get outcomes that benefit our industry.
Some of you will be using your trade memberships as a badge of honour, a stamp of professional validation and even a unique selling point. No doubt it’s a great tool in an officially unregulated industry. But rather than merely form part of your marketing, it’s time for the professional bodies to unite so their voices are heard as one, benefitting the agent, the landlord and the consumer.
*Simon Duce is managing director of the ARPM Group, which provides national outsourced lettings support