How Can Letting Agents Pick-Up More Private Landlords & BTL Properties?

Latest Landlord News by: Madalena Penny

Ask any letting agent and it’s the same story…..they need more private landlords with decent, available accommodation to let.  Since the great property famine descended upon the UK and house prices bombed and sales became stagnant, estate agents focused through necessity on lettings in the wake of restricted mortgages ruled by austerity from lenders.

What began through necessity is now a demand-driven industry for letting agents, an industry incidentally that is now worth a total worth of £500bn in the UK.  Letting agents are increasing their presence, in the high streets and online. All, and I mean all are searching for more properties, more private landlords and new business to assuage the mass influx of tenants flooding the sector.

Major players in the letting agent arena, ‘Countrywide’ have just announced that they have seen a 51% rise in tenant-demand at the beginning of the year and tenants are outstripping rental properties at a ratio of 5:1

So how can letting agents attract more rented properties and clinch the deal with landlords?

Firstly, ensure you have your strategy, code of ethics and delivery of service ready.  Don’t be ‘dolly the sheep’, a clone of every other letting agent; have a unique selling point.  Let the landlord know you have the best service for his property, the best tenant referencing products; impeccable communication strategies with tenants; that your on the ball with defaulting rental payments and the all important one – That Rent Payments Will Be Sent To The Landlord On Time. If you’re using your own property maintenance team for a rental accommodation, let the landlord know if you make a profit from it and make sure it’s not a large one.  Landlords are going to be far more relaxed and happy with an agent if the agent is honest from the outset.  Remember there are plenty of agents out there if you mess up.  (I once knew an agent that lost a landlord and his vast portfolio over a  sticky window and a broken washing machine in a swanky upmarket apartment.) Yep the devil’s most certainly in the detail.  As in any business, over- promising and under-delivering is a one-way route to skids-ville, (politicians should also take note).

When it comes to finding more private landlords, get out there and search for them, don’t expect them to come looking for you.  There are some little relatively unknown nuggets of landlord streams that can be a source of usefulness if approached properly:

  • Local authority housing department.  Local councils usually have a list of private landlords.  Some regions have their own landlord groups.  It’s worth enquiring and offering them a seminar or a landlord clinic to assist them; become a part of their community.
  • Local MP (Member of Parliament) office.  The local MP’s office deal daily with housing problems from constituents in the borough.  Advisors for MP’s have a wealth of contacts in this sector.  By offering them ethical services and exchanging contacts that can be of use to constituents is something worth thinking about.
  • Open days/evenings if promoted well enough is a great public relations exercise for alerting landlords and tenants to your particular unique services.
  • Ensure you have access to legal queries pertaining to residential renting and the implications to the Housing Acts; invite landlords via a press release to contact you, give them some sound free advice should they have any questions.  Legal 4 Landlords are experts in the private rented sector and offer an affiliate scheme to letting agents.  Apart from tenant referencing; evictions, insurances and rent guarantees, under their umbrella you also get access to some great advice.

You’re not going to please everyone all of the time, but through a strong code of ethics and a professional but amicable honest approach, landlords and investors will be far more inclined to do business and inevitably put their faith in you.