Hamilton Fraser recently held their first Legal Update and Compliance course of 2020 in Borehamwood, where letting agents where welcomed to undergo a training session in legal matters and legislation compliance in lettings.
After the training course, we sat down with one of the agents, Chris Christodoulou of Ashmore Residential, to ask how he felt about some of the recent changes that have impacted the lettings industry.
Q: What are your thoughts on the tenant fees ban?
To circumvent the losses, agents have to do more work than ever to be sure that they are complying with legislation changes.
Although it is more work, it is also an opportunity for agents to demonstrate their expertise by educating and supporting landlords. This is important because agents generally don’t demonstrate their value to clients.
I added 1 per cent in additional fees to my services to absorb the losses of the tenant fees ban, and I recommend other agents to do the same.
Another thing that I cannot stress enough, is how beneficial it is for agents to digitise their business processes. You can cut down on printing costs by using digital documents as opposed to paper. You can allow landlords and tenants to access and sign documents digitally/electronically through DocuSign and DropBox.
This saves money on printing and distribution costs, secures the documents, allows shared access to the files and verifies when each party signs.
Q: What strategies do you recommend for other agents to endure the tenant fees ban?
- Increase your fees to make up for losses from the tenant fees ban
- Digitise your business approach and make use of technology – this is both cost effective and efficient
- Grow your market share and work on developing brand awareness
- For this, you may need to employ people who can work on the digital promotion and marketing of your business
- Focus on producing quality content and aim to gain a subscriber base
- Be consistent and produce regular blogs and newsletters to provide added value
- Provide educational content to build perception of your business as an industry leader. Producing reliable content will help to gain your customers’ trust.
Q: What are your thoughts on ROPA?
I think that it will help to professionalise the industry and raise standards. Currently the standards are too low and there isn’t enough enforcement to punish those who fail to carry out their work legitimately. With the ROPA regulations, everyone will need a license, which will benefit the sector by weeding out the rogues and allowing the legitimate business to thrive. Chris is one of many letting agents who continues to educate himself and adapt his business as the industry changes. Many training courses exist to support landlords and agents with their work in a constantly developing sector and it is important to make the most of them. To learn more about these types of courses, and gain greater industry insight, visit The Hamilton Fraser Academy.
Click here for Paul Shamplina’s Interview with Chris Christodolou