9:00 AM, 9th October 2012, About 11 years ago
Could the Deed of Assurance (available exclusively to members of The GOOD Landlords Campaign) be the basis of a brand new business model for landlords and letting agents?
A new page explaining the commercial advantages of incorporating a Deed of Assurance into your letting strategy can be viewed by clicking HERE.
The evolution of the Private Rented Sector is upon us as buy to let renters of the last decade are starting families and the average UK first time buyer is now 37 years old (40 in London). There has been much talk of “Generation Rent” but how is the letting industry evolving and keeping pace with this rapid change in the demographic of renters and their requirements?
Independent research suggests that tenants with children make up 30% of the market and that 1 million PRS homes are let to families with children.
It is logical to assume that these families will not want to move home too often. To many agents this could be in conflict with their business model which relies on tenant churn to earn fees. This begs the question, is that why most letting agents end up managing properties for accidental landlords who generally only have one property to let, possibly two or three?
For most parents, keeping their children in the same school is important. For a portfolio landlord this must be good news as a long term tenancy is far more profitable. Any property which has been lived in for over a year will begin to show wear and tear when a tenant moves out and will need a spruce up to optimise its letting potential. However, if that tenant stays on the requirement for redecoration is likely to be insignificant for several years. Furthermore, tenants don’t like paying fees to renew a tenancy agreement any more than landlords do. Could this be a reason why tenants wanting a long term let seek to deal directly with landlords? Could this also be why most portfolio landlords choose to self manage?
It’s not just tenants with families who want some assurance they will not be given two months notice to find a new home through no fault of their own though is it?
A Deed of Assurance is also an alternative to tenancy renewals. A reduced fee can be charged by agents as deposits will not need to be re-protected and this results in reduced cost and administration and potential for increased profit. Tenants will love the concept of reduced costs and the extra flexibility and certainty afforded to them via a Deed of Assurance and are likely to seek out landlords and letting agents operating this alternative model.
It has occurred to me that agents who choose to adopt the Deed of Assurance business model could end up winning significantly more instructions from portfolio landlords. Logic tells me that economies of scale and reduced administration may well result in letting agents obtaining more instructions from portfolio landlords or landlords with properties better suited to families.
The bottom line for landlords, tenants and letting agents is viability. Right now I’m not convinced that many letting agents are considering how or why the next generation of landlords and tenants will develop and the associated opportunities.
The buy to let boom over the last decade has increased the size of the UK Private Rented Sector by around 80%. The vast majority of the properties built in the last decade and acquired by buy to let investors were flats and apartments. These have also been the property type of choice for first time buyers over the same period. However, many of these buyers and tenants are now getting older and starting their own families. First time buyers of the last decade are choosing not to sell and are letting their former homes, thus spawning a new generation of accidental landlords. These new families, former first time buyers and renters of flats, now require a larger home and for the majority, renting is the only viable solution. Arguably, their requirements are better matched to those of the self managing professional landlords who though accident or prudence chose to go against the trend and invest into larger properties.
I believe that landlords and letting agents which promote a new business model using a Deed of Assurance could well be the ones to enjoy the fastest growth over the next decade. I know a lot of landlords might believe that letting agents would be too short sighted and set in their ways to recognise, let alone grasp this opportunity. However, I have evidence which contradicts this. To my surprise, nearly 50% of the founder members of The GOOD Landlords Campaign to date have been letting agents. It is clear that some letting agents do indeed recognise The GOOD Landlords Campaign as an opportunity to get ahead of their competition by using the Deed of Assurance concept to develop a brand new business model. It has been encouraging to speak with agents who plan to leverage the business model promoted by The GOOD Landlords Campaign to gain PR in their own locations via local press and media. This is obviously great news for The GOOD Landlords Campaign but equally, it is excellent news for the next generation of landlords and tenants wishing to let their properties.