U.K. Government Tightening Grip on Agency Fees


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by Michael Wolter

The U.K. government has recently begun increasing the regulations on estate and letting agents, and the suggested measures continue to grow more stern. Government officials announced on 18 October that they plan to tighten the grip on property managers across the country, increasing the pressure on agency staff to find alternative ways to account for the fees they charge to tenants. This comes as a further addition to the regulatory changes announced earlier this year, known as the letting fee ban.

Although it is clear that the roles of estate and lettings agents will change drastically, there is still little concrete information on exactly what those changes will be. Communities Secretary Sajid Javid introduced the idea of a “new, independent regulatory body” to manage the rights of tenants, leaseholders, and oversee letting agents; this is currently under review.

The measures taken by the government aim to reduce the amount of money that tenants pay for services related to rented accommodation, which the government says average £223 per tenancy. Ministers say that Monks Estate and Letting Agents explains how they are preparing for the fee ban: “Without a doubt this will come as a significant loss for all agents, Monks included. Monks are in the process of considering options to maintain our high level of service whilst not receiving the tenants fees and adding alternative income streams to help absorb this.”

A significant portion of many agency fees can include inspections of the property, for instance inventory, check in, midterm, periodic, and check out reports. According to a government study, these reports can cost up to £216, which could potentially form a large portion of the fees charged to tenants. By bringing the production of these reports in house, agencies can maintain control over the cost of their reports and more easily incorporate the cost into their budget.

On top of this, property inspection software can make producing a property report much faster, giving agents more time to devote elsewhere.

Imfuna’s mobile apps offer a solution to this end, allowing anyone with a smartphone or tablet to conduct professional property inspections quickly and thoroughly, as well as publish PDF reports that include all recorded property data. All inspection data is stored in the cloud for safe keeping, and subscription levels vary to accommodate both large and small businesses. Marie Brooks of Monks adds, “Imfuna is a great tool to ensure our service levels remain high to our landlords and tenants alike, with the accuracy and efficiency in a cost effective manner.”

If recent events are anything to go by, the U.K. government will continue its clampdown on property agency staff. By preparing in advance, alternative methods to business processes can be made which could make or break an agency’s chances for survival.

To speak about how Imfuna’s property inspection software can be implemented into your business structure in preparation for the letting fee ban, email sales@imfuna.com for a free demo, or book online.

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