The lettings industry can and should do more to raise awareness of reducing moving stress for tenants and landlords, according to Tenant Shop.
Tenant Shop provides products and services for both letting agents and tenants. It notes that there is a lot of advice for homebuyers and sellers about how to deal with moving homes, but there is relatively little in comparison for landlords and tenants in the private rental sector (PRS).
Frequent studies have been made into the owner-occupier market, in order to help provide valuable insights. Meanwhile, the Government is working to improve the home buying and selling process with a range of measures and initiatives. But, yet again, the PRS has been left wanting in this regard.
Glenn Seddington, managing director of Tenant Shop, says: “Considering the rapid growth of the PRS – which now accounts for approximately 20% of all households and represents the largest housing tenure in London – more needs to be done to make the moving process smoother for landlords and tenants.
“It’s also crucial that advice and guidance is readily available for these stakeholders as the PRS becomes more widely regulated and the lettings process is subsequently more complex.”
What are the moving pain points for landlords and tenants?
Tenant Shop points out that it’s crucial for landlords to understand how key legislation works, in order to remain on the right side of the law and protect their investment. This includes recent changes such as the Tenant Fees Act, deposit protection and the Right to Rent scheme.
It highlights that tenants should be fully aware of their rights and obligations when it comes to renting a property. They should also have the ability to showcase their value as a good tenant to a potential landlord.
Seddington explains: “If both sides of the transaction are aware of what is required of them from the outset, this can help to make things run more smoothly and speed up the moving process.
“Landlords will also want to make sure that as a new tenancy starts, the previous one is tied up and signed off, paving the way for a smooth changeover with no unpaid bills or charges outstanding.”
For tenants, the majority of moving pain is likely to come from financial issues. Finding a deposit for a new property before receiving their existing one back can be a major challenge.
“Once a tenant moves into a property, they will be eager to get everything sorted quickly so they can start to enjoy their new home. This can range from organising bills and council tax to managing utilities, and getting the TV up and running so they can get started on their next boxset,” continues Seddington.
“Another moving stress for renters is packing and creating a precariously constructed Jenga tower of their belongings in their van or car. Any advice tenants can receive on these matters could also help them greatly when it comes to moving day.”
What can letting agents do to reduce moving stress in the PRS?
A lack of understanding and awareness are key drivers of stress among landlords and renters during tenancy changeovers, Tenant Shop says.
Seddington comments:”As the rental process becomes more professional, letting agents need to be on hand to provide consumers with the guidance and advice they need to feel at ease during the moving process.
“Providing a first-class customer service has always been a vital part of maintaining long-term relationships with landlords, while impressive customer relations will not go unnoticed with tenants, who could go on to become future sellers or landlords.”
Seddington also highlights that agents can help to minimise stress for tenants by providing them with access to innovative products, such as deposit replacement schemes and new referencing options. This could reduce the financial pressure on their move.
He adds that it’s also important to have the technology and systems in place to manage changeovers efficiently.
“Not only will this reduce the chance of human error and provide consumers with a more succinct service, but it will also allow letting agents to spend more time growing other parts of their business,” he concludes.