Letting agents don’t have the best of reputations that’s something that most of us are already aware of. Whether bad experiences are personal or spread by word of mouth there are some pretty nightmarish stories out there concerning agents who have fallen down on many pretty simple aspects of lettings service delivery. That’s why we decided to carry out a survey to try and find out where the problems were and what might be done about them.
Our research found that 64% of people would rather rent directly from a landlord than a letting agent – this is despite the fact that (on the whole) agents are meant to be the reliable professionals there to guide landlords through the responsibilities and obligations of renting property to tenants. Only 36% said that they would prefer to rent via a letting agent, even though this should be the simpler option.
When asked whether letting agents look after tenants well and adhere to a duty of care, only 19% of respondents agreed. 28% felt that letting agents don’t provide services that are based on appreciating a duty of care towards tenants and 52% said that their experiences revealed that letting agents will just do the minimum to adhere to duty of care responsibilities. Only 13% of renters said that they would trust a letting agent to protect their interests in line with their rights. This is compared to a huge 47% who said they do not trust letting agents to do this and 40% who indicated that they would ‘somewhat’ trust letting agents to protect their interests.
With respect to finding a good letting agents, most renters simply didn’t know where to turn with 27% indicating that they didn’t know how to find one. This is obviously something that bothered our respondents who indicated in vast numbers that if they could find a letting agent that offered tenant focused services and recognised a duty of care to tenants they were sure that they would have a better renting experience. 73% of people who responded indicated that this would be the case – the problem is that people simply don’t know where to find the best agents.
Of course this is the reason that The Tenants’ Voice vetted agents scheme was started in the first place – to give landlords and tenants access to the very best letting agents. Our scheme includes manual vetting of agents, who must have membership of a government body and ombudsman, as well as agreeing our code of conduct, which is based on recognising a duty of care to clients and delivering services in a professional manner. With membership capped at 30% of the letting agent market and only available to those who have been thoroughly vetted, under performing firms can’t buy a place. When we asked respondents whether they thought a scheme such as this would improve renting experiences an emphatic 80% said yes.
So, that’s the headline: if you’re a letting agent looking for great tenants and focused on forging a better perception of your industry and a higher market profile then The Tenants’ Voice Approved scheme is the best way to do it. More information on how this works and how to get approved is available here.