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Family-run agency threatened by fees ban turns to PropTech

A family-run lettings agency says its viability is seriously threatened by the likely fees ban to be introduced in 2018 - but that increased technology may yet save its bacon. 

SheffLets is run by Simon Tillyer, his wife, her sister and a brother-in-law.

Writing on Property Reporter, Tillyer says: “For agencies like mine, the lettings fee ban poses a serious threat to our viability. Industry experts have estimated that the fee ban could lead to up to 4,000 jobs being lost from the industry. 

“Higher costs may end up being passed on to tenants through higher rents and, in the worst-case scenario, others could be forced out of the business deepening the housing crisis.”

However, the family have come up with what they believe to be a solution by creating an automated referencing tool which they have piloted on the firm’s own inventory in south west Sheffield - an area heavily reliant on student lettings.

Tillyer claims the tool, called Vouch, saves between 65 and 85 per cent of typical referencing costs, and has the capacity for income generation within the system from leads for the sale of utilities and broadband.

He says that challenges such as the fees ban encourage innovation of this kind.

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