If letting agents want more satisfied clients and fewer disputes they should provide better information to tenants.
That’s the view of PropTech entrepreneur Neil Cobbold, chief operating officer of lettings payment automation provider PayProp.
He cites research by the National Landlords Association which shows that 79 per cent of tenants need better information on the roles and responsibilities of landlords and letting agents.
"Proactively educating tenants on the rental process from the outset can save agents time from having to mediate unnecessary disputes between landlords and tenants” says Cobbold.
"Some key areas where tenants may lack understanding relate to financial obligations and property upkeep. It’s very important to make sure tenants are kept informed throughout the tenancy. Often tenants are set wondering: ‘Has my rent been received?’, ‘How much do I owe?’, ‘Is my deposit safe?’, ‘Is it my responsibility?’ and ‘Who pays for repair work?’
"If tenants are clear on what to expect, they are more likely to be satisfied and stay in the property for longer – at least as long as those expectations are then met. This can help reduce arrears and void periods for letting agents and landlords” Cobbold adds.
According to the NLA's research, 67 per cent of almost 900 tenants surveyed said that they were not aware of the government's How to Rent guide which is designed to help them understand their rights and responsibilities.
Cobbold says: “Agents could do more to promote the How to Rent guide to consumers. By making sure tenants not only read but understand this guide, letting agencies can manage expectations from the outset of a tenancy and save time and money on creating their own educational materials."
Additionally he says agents should
encourage landlords to prioritise good communication and set out roles and responsibilities on both sides of the relationship.
Cobbold adds that key lease terms such as payment dates, tenancy lengths and notice periods should all be set out in a clear and accessible manner so tenants know what is expected of them and when.
"A concerted effort from agencies and landlords to provide renters with more clarity could make for a more harmonious and efficient private rented sector” he concludes.