Increased use of PropTech by letting agents can cut rent arrears, minimise voids and reduce the financial and legal fall out from repossessions.
That’s the claim of a leading PropTech entrepreneur, Neil Cobbold, who is chief operating officer of PayProp UK.
He says that the scales of cost and disruption caused by problems which can be alleviated by PropTech are vast.
Last year, for example, the average time taken for a landlord to repossess a property when applying to the courts was 22 weeks (or as high as 25 weeks in London) - that’s well above the national average of 16 weeks in previous years.
"There are a variety of different reasons for repossessions taking longer, but if rent arrears are kept under control during a tenancy, this is one way in which the number of repossessions and the time taken to reclaim a property could be kept to a minimum" says Cobbold.
"Having to go through the repossession process can be long-winded and costly, so it's crucial to avoid having months of outstanding rental payments on your rent roll" he adds.
Cobbold insists that tenants in arrears are more likely to pay up if they are chased on a regular basis. What's more, if agents and landlords communicate with renters in arrears, they can find out what is causing the non-payment and work together to find a solution such as an affordable monthly payment plan.
He believes that when it comes to reminding tenants of the money they owe, automated SMS messages and emails are the most effective.
"Statistics show that around 90 per cent of text messages are read within three minutes of receipt. Meanwhile, our data shows that 61 per cent of tenants with outstanding payments settle or arrange a solution within 48 hours of being reminded" explains Cobbold.
"Automating this process reduces the letting agent's workload and ensures that no-one is forgotten or reminded when they shouldn't be. Agents should no longer be sending letters to chase unpaid rent as it prolongs the process and letters are easier to ignore."
Cobbold adds that as we move towards Christmas and New Year, it’s a crucial time for letting agents and landlords to keep on top of rental arrears.
"Tenants spend more over the festive period, and arrears tend to spike. If agents and their landlords are well prepared and manage arrears effectively, they can reduce the chance of any payment issues spiralling over the next few months," he says.