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In Light of the Fee Ban, Can PropTech Firms Damage Control?

10 January 2019 7773 Views
In Light of the Fee Ban, Can PropTech Firms Damage Control?

Recent years have seen tighter regulation and new legislation hit the lettings industry. Combined with the fee ban, there is no doubt that the traditional business model of a letting agency is being challenged. Of course, this can also bring opportunity, but in the first instance agencies need to undertake a complete overhaul of work practices to reduce admin and costs, so they can focus on getting the customer service spot on.

Technology, by definition, is designed to make our lives easier, so there’s no doubt that PropTech will support agencies in their day-to-day role; making admin chores easier, and providing an enhanced service to attract tenants and landlords alike. This will all help agencies to increase profitability, but with hundreds of new PropTech firms starting up each year, it’s a job in itself keeping up with the latest tools, and what will have the biggest impact.

Niall McTurk of Sinclair Properties, who specialise in student lettings opted to trial a new PropTech product with Glide, the multi-tenant billing specialists, over the summer last year. McTurk said; “the product makes life easier for our tenants and prevents them from arguing over bills, which is hugely beneficial and takes away the stress. It also allows us to keep all bills in one place, giving us more time to focus on running the business.”

Glide Switch is an advancement that ensures 100% of properties already have the bills in place, easing the stress from both the letting agent and tenants. Tenants can then choose to transfer to their own provider if they wish. Richard Price from Glide said; “Many of our clients have an expansive portfolio of student properties, which makes the summer months extremely busy and stressful, as they manage hundreds of tenancy changeovers. As students are experiencing living independently for the first time, there can be a lot of questions about all things property related and so they turn to their landlord or Letting Agent for support, fielding calls from tenants who are confused about bills adds to the workload, during what is already a busy period."

Glide Switch promises to remove the admin and hassle traditionally associated with tenancy changeovers and utility providers. With Switch, Glide can take charge of utility contracts ahead of tenancies even starting. Letting agents avoid having to deal with multiple energy suppliers across their property portfolio; while tenants avoid disputes over summertime billing responsibilities and receive fair equal billing for the duration of their tenancy.

As well as reducing administrative tasks to keep costs down, letting agents can also generate additional revenue from insurances or utility and media switching. That said, it’s important these services are packaged to customers in the right way to increase take-up rates.

An annual report into student accommodation, What Students Seek, has year-on-year highlighted the growing demand for bills inclusive rates. The 2018 report confirms that 87% of all students surveyed recommend having bills included, yet over half, (55%) of students living in private rentals still have to manage and pay their bills separately.

Having to manage bills in shared households does cause arguments among tenants, particularly over the summer months when the majority of students move out, but bills still need to be paid. In fact the last report found that arguments over bills are increasing, with a quarter of students citing rows in 2018 versus just one in ten in the previous year. If you have a large student portfolio, one sure way to attract more tenants is by offering inclusive bills.

Benefits Letting Agents Can Expect from Glide Switch include:

  • One supplier across all properties, meaning one point of call for all utility queries

  • All tenancy utility queries can be deferred to a dedicated contact at Glide

  • GDPR compliant

  • Tenants benefit from inclusive shared rates for their whole tenancy

  • Glide combines gas, electric, broadband, water and TV licence, into one monthly payment

  • Commission paid upfront to all existing and new customers

Of course Glide Switch is just one example of how PropTech can support letting agents in 2019 and beyond. For more useful tools read the following article in Estate Agent Today

To find out more about what Glide Switch can offer and do for you, please contact us today.

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