A lettings agency has voluntarily decided to scrap To Let boards in densely populated areas, because they are unsightly and in any case most renters find properties online.
The homes4u agency in Manchester says it recognises that many people see To Let boards as an eyesore, especially when they appear in bulk in some areas popular with students - the city has over 80,000 students, almost all in rented accommodation.
The agency set out its argument a few weeks ago - before the start of the academic year - in a blog on its website; we’re grateful to Ann Durrell at the agency for drawing our attention to it.
The blog is reproduced in full below.
What do other agents think? Are To Let boards no longer necessary?
At homes4u we are leading the way by no longer putting up to let boards in areas of high rental population.
Traditionally To Let boards have been a staple for Letting Agents, but with the majority of renters now finding their next home online, are they really necessary?
Manchester is a city with a thriving student population of over 80,000 the majority of who will be in rented accommodation. This thriving student population leads to high numbers of Let boards which is evident in popular student areas such as Withington, Fallowfield and Rusholme.
Whilst acknowledging we live in a city with a transient population, residents see the vast number of boards as an eye sore. Concerns are not solely based on the negative visual impact but also the potential for increasing crime rates. Streets full of To Let Boards can highlight to burglars which properties are shared or student houses and make them a target for criminals who view them as ‘easy targets’.
100’s of boards will be erected across the city in the coming months when students start their house hunting journey for the next academic year. These properties are advertised now but a let may not be secured for several months, meaning To Let boards will be left in situ by agents until a let is secured.
For current tenants there is also the concern of unsolicited viewings. During peak period renters make take the chance of door knocking from seeing to Let Signs rather than arranging viewings with agencies. We would always discourage any tenants from allowing strangers in their home without prior arrangement. Our home advisors take full contact details from viewers and accompany viewings to protect the security of tenants and their properties.
From October we have taken the decision to lead the way and we will not erect To Let boards for Academic year houses in Fallowfield, Withington and Rusholme.