When the lettings fee ban comes into force for landlords and letting agents next year, independent inventory clerks may prove essential to the smoothness of managing rental properties.
News about rogue landlords and agents letting properties that are unfit for habitation, withholding money without cause, or charging extortionate fees while having little duty of care for tenants have led to a loss of confidence in the private rental sector, along with heaps of legislation.
Why Independent Inventory Clerks will be Essential Following the Lettings Fee Ban
Danny Zane, the Chairman of the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC), believes: “A negative perception feeds into mistrust and disputes. That is why most letting agents seek out AIIC members as a quality assurance in their inventory process.”
In 2019, landlords and agents may no longer be able to charge fees to tenants under the proposed lettings fee ban. Different agents will use different strategies to deal with this; most will find ways to keep costs down. A positive perception will help them do just that, as word of mouth is a powerful tool – it means that people come to you.
Independent letting agents are already well positioned, as they are likely to live and work in the area that they let properties, so will have a deeper understanding of their communities. This allows them to sell the local amenities, as well as a home, building trust, relationships and their reputations.
“Independent agents have a lot in common with independent inventory clerks, creating a strong business alignment: our members’ independence gives the parties confidence that things are reported solely based on professional knowledge and expertise in an unbiased manner,” Zane says.
Corporate letting agents, too, have been active. The current stigma surrounding the industry has led many to self-regulate, in the hope that this will change the public’s negative perception. Another way to seed trust and enhance their reputation would be to engage with an independent inventory clerk for properties that they manage, market and/or let, even if they have an in-house inventory service.
Zane continues: “Because our members are seen in the marketplace as being fair, impartial and having no strings attached, they can help letting agents position themselves more positively in the public’s mind.”
Even landlords who manage their properties themselves cannot be sure that a positive relationship with their tenants will be as positive at the end of a tenancy.
“Our members always take the time to explain to tenants the inner working of an inventory report, and answer questions that may trouble both tenants and landlords, reflecting positively on the letting agent,” Zane adds. “A good relationship between the parties is vital and mutually beneficial, and I believe our members are part of that.”
Landlords, if you compile your own inventories, we urge you to read our guide on creating a professional report: https://www.landlordnews.co.uk/guides/a-landlords-guide-to-inventories-and-avoiding-disputes/