Glenn Seddington (pictured) is managing director of Tenant Shop
The lettings industry can and should do more to raise awareness of reducing moving stress for tenants and landlords.
We’ve reached a point where there is a lot of advice for home buyers and sellers about how to deal with the moving process, but relatively little in comparison for landlords and tenants in the private rental sector (PRS).
For example, there are frequent studies into the owner occupier market, helping to provide valuable insights. Meanwhile, the government is currently working to improve the home buying and selling process with a range of measures and initiatives.
But, again, the PRS is rather left wanting in this regard. And, when considering the rapid growth of the PRS – which now accounts for approximately 20% of all households and represents the largest housing tenure in London – more needs to be done to make the moving process smoother for landlords and tenants.
I believe it’s also crucial that advice and guidance is readily available for these stakeholders as the PRS becomes more widely regulated and the lettings process is subsequently more complex.
What are the moving pain points for landlords and tenants?
It’s become increasingly crucial that landlords understand how key legislation such as the Tenant Fees Act, deposit protection and the Right to Rent scheme work in order to stay on the right side of the law and protect their investments.
It’s also important for tenants to be fully aware of their rights and obligations when it comes to renting a property and have the ability to showcase their value as a good tenant to a potential landlord.
If both sides of the transaction are aware of what is required of them from the outset, this can help to make things run more smoothly and speed up the moving process.
Landlords will also want to make sure that as a new tenancy starts, the previous one is tied up and signed off, paving the way for a smooth changeover with no unpaid bills or charges outstanding.
The majority of moving pain for tenants, meanwhile, is likely to relate to financial issues, with finding a deposit for a new property before receiving their existing deposit back being one of the main challenges.
Once a tenant moves into a property, they will be eager to get everything sorted quickly so they can start to enjoy their new home.
This can range from organising bills and council tax to managing utilities, and getting the TV up and running so they can get started on their next boxset.
Another common moving stress for renters is packing and creating a precariously constructed Jenga tower of their belongings in their van or car. Any advice tenants can receive on these matters could also help them greatly when it comes to moving day.
What can letting agents do to reduce moving stress in the PRS?
It’s evident that a lack of understanding and awareness is one of the key drivers of stress among landlords and renters during tenancy changeovers.
As the rental process becomes more professional, letting agents need to be on hand to provide consumers with the guidance and advice they need to feel at ease during the moving process.
Providing a first-class customer service has always been a vital part of maintaining long-term relationships with landlords, while impressive customer relations will not go unnoticed with tenants, who could go on to become future sellers or landlords.
Letting agents can also help to minimise stress for tenants by providing them with access to innovative products such as deposit replacement schemes and new referencing options, which could reduce the financial pressure on their move.
We’ve found that it’s also important to have the technology and systems in place to manage changeovers efficiently.
This is because not only will it reduce the chance of human error and provide consumers with a more succinct service, but it will also allow letting agents to spend more time growing other parts of their business.