London, 20 April 2015 – Today, the UK’s largest online tenant portal The Tenants’ Voice is launching The Tenants’ Voice Approved, a free but exclusive membership for letting agents, in a bid to shake up the industry, and ensure a better rental experience for tenants and landlords.
Glenn Nickols, Founder of The Tenants’ Voice, comments: “The Tenants’ Voice recognises that letting agents still have an important role to play in the industry and that the right agent can improve a tenants renting experience considerably.
“Letting agents have a bad reputation because there are bad agents out there who exploit both renters and landlords. The industry needs a shake-up, and with our unique insight into what tenants want, we feel well-positioned to drive this change”.
While research from The Tenants’ Voice reveals that 64% of tenants prefer not to use a letting agent, 73% admit that the ‘right’ letting agent can improve the renting experience and 71% believe The Tenants’ Voice Approved scheme will improve the letting experience by helping them find the best letting agents out there. Download the full survey here.
The Tenants’ Voice, which has a monthly TV show coming soon to the Property Channel, is only looking to promote letting agents with: a positive local reputation, a thorough knowledge of their local area, access to quality tradespeople, fees and charges are in-line with their area averages, up-to-date client money protection and membership with The Property Ombudsman.
Glenn Nickols continues: “We view these types of agents as far superior to online services that only want to compete on price for landlord business, and place the tenants needs low in their priorities. A happy tenant typically means full occupancy and happy landlords. The high street agent still has a major role to play, and we want those committed to looking after tenants to prosper.”
“We believe The Tenants’ Voice approved membership is a significant step in rebuilding the tenant letting agent relationship and is a small step in our plans to raise consumer awareness and expectations about the role good letting agents can play. The scheme will show how a good agent can help while also ensuring that renters can hold letting agents accountable to a standard of service, and code of conduct, that tenants deserve.”
Over a quarter (28%) of tenants and landlords say they do not know how to find or recognise a good letting agent.
There are already over 300 agents vetted on The Tenants’ Voice and a 2015 cap of just 1000 Approved members. In the long-term, quality will be maintained by keeping membership exclusive and capped at just 30% of the market. Letting agents intending to join are vetted manually and individually, and membership is free so there is no way for a substandard agent to buy their way in.
Approved letting agents will benefit from being featured in a vetted agents directory with rate and review tools on The Tenants’ Voice website. These agents will also be included in its ‘Good Letting Agents Guide’ and can choose to enter the annual ‘top local agent’ awards, which will help to attract new landlords and retain the best tenants.
Glenn Nickols concludes: “This initiative will help tenants find high street agents who care about their reputation and who value tenants as customers and offer them a great service.”
“Improving relationships and trust between all parties is key to our strategy for improving the renting experiences for everybody.”
Becoming Approved for free – four easy steps
- Step 1: Locate your agency in The Tenants’ Voice extensive directory, register or sign up via Facebook
- Step 2: Agree to The Tenants’ Voice Code of Conduct
- Step 3: Confirm details of your client money protection plus membership status with ARLA, NALS, RICS and The Property Ombudsman
- Step 4: The Tenants’ Voice reviews your application for Approved Status (up to 10 days)
Similar to Trip Advisor, Approved Agents can engage with tenants and landlords in its lively forum, to demonstrate expertise on issues such as: safety, repairs, deposits, laws, roles and responsibilities. More than 10 ‘helpful’ votes are required to be eligible for the inaugural Tenants’ Voice best local agent awards which are scheduled for autumn 2015.
Look out for Tenants’ Voice TV, coming soon to the Property Channel.