What do we think about unscrupulous practices by some letting agents?

A recent article by Dan Hyde in This is Money highlighted how broken the UK rental market has become, and how the Government has announced this week it will appoint a property regulator to act as an ombudsman to help wipe out unscrupulous practice by letting agents.

This could not come at a better time with last year being the first year more people in London rented than owned properties and the average age of first time buyers in the UK soaring to 35. The numbers that belong to ‘Generation Rent’ are growing by the month. This obviously leads to a host of greedy middlemen looking to take advantage of  tenants and private landlords with outrageous charges for often very basic services and often non-refundable.

To address this, there is now a new generation of online platforms that provide all these services and often much more, but automated and online, and therefore at a fraction of the cost of a traditional agent, let alone the many mercenary operators described in the article of Dan Hyde.

Some services of course need a human interaction – like when the boiler breaks down – but Rentify has a dedicated customer service team that can quickly step in here and send out the expert to assess and repair, without waiting for the agent to troop in, have a look around, and send out an expert anyway. The tenant and the landlord get a much faster service.

With the online approach there are no fancy offices, no cars, no commissions for the companies to support; the online and automated services are already in place, so no implementation costs, and the tenant and landlord just pay the amount needed to get the job done. And about time!

Our view is that the days of the agent adding no value and charging handsomely for it are numbered. The online revolution has already seen the virtual extinction of the insurance broker, the travel agent and the bookshop, and we think the letting agent is not so far behind.

Rentify is a proud member of the Property Ombudsman, ARLA and the RLA.

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