You don’t have to beg landlords to stay

It’s the statistic that no one in property expected but research from the National Landlords Association revealed that 61% of landlords are currently use a letting agent – a 7% increase from the final quarter of 2016. The same report also found the proportion of landlords self-managing their property slipped by nearly 10% during the last year.

The surge in landlords working with letting agents and not following a DIY path comes at a time when many thought investors would be turning their backs on the professionals. The worry is, however, that as buy-to-let taxation changes bite and letting agents potentially increase landlord fees, property investors will head for the door. As desperate as you may feel about retaining business, you don’t have to beg landlords to stay.

The job of a letting agent and property manager is to make a landlord’s life as simple as possible – taking away the hassle, sorting out the problems and transferring the rent into their account with the minimum of fuss. Agents and managers should work hard now to ensure landlords feel they couldn’t possible manage without them – becoming indispensible is a sensible plan for the coming months.

So where to start? Getting landlords to realise the benefits of a full management service will go a long way to plugging gaps that will be left when you can’t charge tenant fees. You might even turn a better profit too! Offering a full management suite may mean increasing the amount of services you offer, refining the level of professionalism your services are delivered with or even offering introductory discounts on full property management for a limited period of time to covert let-only landlords into full service customers.

Lettings has never been more complex and compliance driven, and that in itself should be a strong argument when it comes to getting landlords to stay. The idea of breaking the law scares many buy-to-let owners, as does the thought of having to check up on tenants and possibly evict them. As a property manager, you can provide peace-of-mind.

Dazzle landlords with your industry knowledge and diplomacy skills. Communicate with them more often – maybe through an automated email newsletter – showing them how you’re on top of new regulations. Don’t be frightened to tell landlords what you’re doing to protect their asset– it helps to justify your fee. There’s nothing worse than paying for a service then rarely hearing from the business provider – it leaves people wondering what they’re paying for.

Landlords need to think of you as an ally working on their side at all times. That might mean more regular reporting, a more proactive – rather than reactive – approach to management and a transparent way of working that gives landlords confidence in your abilities. There’s no room for complacency and you should always strive to deliver the best service possible.

Ultimately landlords don’t want the hassle that comes with property investment – they just want the rewards. A full management service people can trust will remain a service in demand – it’s up to you to make sure your business is in the best shape in order to retain landlords and win new business.

Written by Simon Duce – simon.duce@arpm.co.uk

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