Letting agents are being urged to consider how they can reduce their administrative workload, following huge growth in the size of the private rental sector (PRS) and ahead of next month's tenant fees ban.
The call comes from utility management service Tenant Shop, which says agents who can reduce admin pressure on staff can continue to provide an effective service to landlords and tenants.
It adds that two issues which agents can look to manage more effectively are notifying local councils and utility companies when tenancies change over and dealing with stray bills.
Tenant Shop says that the huge growth in the number of tenants since 2002, as demonstrated by the English Housing Survey 2017-18, has steadily increased letting agents' workload.
"Feedback from our agents indicates that this influx of tenants has equated to a significant increase in extra work for letting agents in the form of referencing checks, inventories and drafting tenancy agreements," says Glenn Seddington, managing director of Tenant Shop, an Inchora company.
"As a result, this means more moves in, out and within the PRS, which creates more work for agents when it comes to managing utilities in rental properties and helping landlords to deal with void periods."
The firm says that on top of PRS growth, the ban on tenant fees coming into force on June 1 could add to the pressure on letting agents' workloads.
"It's widely expected that there could be a rush of tenant moves immediately after fees are banned as tenants who have delayed moving home in recent months to avoid paying fees all spring into action at once," Seddington explains.
"A flurry of moves over the summer, when considered in the context of an already inflated tenant population and increased administrative burden, could put even more pressure on an already stretched workforce of letting agents," he says.
Tenant Shop says that as the amount of work agents are required to carry out continues to rise, finding solutions and partners that can reduce the administrative burden has become more important than ever.
"Difficult market conditions in 2019 mean agents need to use all the available tools that can help to take the pressure of their staff," continues Seddington.
"Solutions which save time, automate tasks and simplify processes are invaluable and can help an agency to deliver the same high levels of service, despite an ever-increasing workload."
"And with measures like the fees ban becoming a reality, the need to increase profitability is greater than ever this year," he concludes.
Tenant Shop, which works with thousands of letting agents across the UK, recently picked up the best in sector supplier award for tenant services at the ESTAS 2019.