Regulation of the letting industry is a hot topic – and something of a hot potato too!
In a move designed to protect consumers from rogue lettings agents, an amendment to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill was introduced on 16th April 2013. MP’s in the House of Commons approved rules that will ensure that all letting agents will now be forced to sign up to redress schemes.
There are two schemes available: The Property Ombudsman and Ombudsman Services (Property) which give landlords & tenants a route of redress if their letting agent does not adhere to professional standards. These can involve issues such as unfair charges, lack of transparency over fees, and poor service.
Previous to this new legislation, registration with an Ombudsman Scheme was done on a voluntary basis.
Research from Which? found that 62% of tenants and nearly half of landlords didn’t know whether their letting agent was a member of a professional body. Figures from the The Property Ombudsman highlight the problem of voluntary complaints schemes as, in 2012, it received 8,334 complaints regarding lettings, but 2,121 were about agents unregistered with the service.
Whilst this mandatory registration is definitely a step in the right direction, there is much more that needs to be done to restore consumer confidence in the private rented sector.
Much of this can be via self-regulation undertaken by those firms that are committed to professional standards and differentiating themselves from the less scrupulous operators.
Embracing digital technology is one way that professional agents can raise the bar.
The transparency afforded by digital technology is healthy and empowering to all users.
With a digital approach:
- You can use your smartphone or tablet as a business productivity tool
- All photos are date, time, and location stamped
- Ability to capture to the level of detailed needed for an inventory, check-in, midterm property visits, check-out, or maintenance property condition report.
- Automatic transcribed dictations from your mobile device
- Ability to readily identify excessive wear and tear, cleaning issues, damage, or missing fixtures and fittings
- Ability to share and comment on reports digitally significantly reducing time for amendments
- Embraces the core skills of the inventory routine
- Extremely intuitive and easy to use interface / workflow
- Fully customized reports with your brand identity preserved
The benefits of a digital approach:
- Significantly saves time and cost.
- Unifies the inventory from inspection to check out resolution
- Automates inventory reporting in a transparent manner from inspection to report production
- Standardises data capture & reporting in a streamlined, efficient approach consistent with current business practice
- Adaptable digital solution for your business consolidates the entire workflow
- Create a recognised professional product that represents industry best practices and enhances your reputation
- Establish a readily accessible property history available 24/7 for immutable property condition reports over tenancy and property life
The transparency afforded by digital technology protects all parties in a tenancy agreement. It promotes best practice and high standards of service. It can reduce the amount of deposit disputes. It gives consumer confidence, as most tenants are now of the “digital age”.
Agents committed to professional standards are already embracing digital technology and reaping the rewards while, at the same time, raising standards in private rented sector & increasing consumer confidence.
Embrace the ‘Power of Digital’ in 2013 : Free Trail at www.imfuna.co.uk
Imfuna Let is the complete digital property inspection system automating the reporting process, reducing the overall process from property data capture to report generation by up to 75%.