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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Purplebricks-style online agency looking for franchisees across the UK

A new online lettings agency called Accommodation.co.uk is looking for franchisees to join ahead of its formal launch next month. 

The company says it’s presenting “a first of its kind franchise offering” and a custom-built platform promising to ”streamline and automate administrative tasks” for landlords and tenants. 

It says early bird franchisees will benefit from no startup fee for a limited time. An introductory price of £1,000 will be levied before increasing in early 2020.  

The firm says its Local Lettings Consultants - reminiscent of Purplebricks’ Local Property Experts - will be able to run their business “without the need for expensive high street offices, equipment and software” but with a digital platform and head office support from its Manchester HQ within the pricing structure.

Through the platform, tenants can find properties and arrange a viewing, make an offer on a property, complete the referencing, including wage verification and a credit check - all in 10 minutes, pledges the firm. 

Successful tenants will be able to sign the tenancy agreement and make a deposit payment. After move in, tenants can access a dashboard where they can report maintenance problems and communicate with their landlord.

Landlords can opt for full property management or a let only option.

Clients get book online to arrange a meeting with a local Lettings Consultant, which will include a market appraisal and compliance report. Once new tenants are onboard, landlords will be able to see rent status, a maintenance overview and receive compliance reminders.

“A lot of talented, ambitious lettings professionals are facing immense difficulty in the face of mass closures of traditional letting agents. We’re offering a highly competitive start up fee to empower experts to set up their own business while still benefiting from Accommodation.co.uk’s expertise, training and resources” explains Clive Tomlinson, the new firm’s lettings business development manager.

“The majority of time-consuming administrative tasks will be handled by the platform, freeing up our franchisees to concentrate on delivering a great experience for landlords and tenants alike. We’re an ambitious company and we’re excited to work with our franchisees to grow across the UK to improve renting for everyone.”

And he adds: “By sharing the power of proptech with our local lettings consultants, we’ll enable them to focus on what they’re good at and what really matters to landlords and tenants. By enabling our lettings consultants to work remotely with the full backing of our central team, we’re able to keep outgoings low and earnings high - something that traditional lettings agents simply can’t do.”

Co-founders of the firm are property investor John Lomas, 58, and two former students of Lincoln University, Aaron Short, 24, and Matthew Meekins, 23. 

They say their firm will create 50 new jobs in the next three years.

Short says: “We’ve already had an overwhelming response from property professionals who are looking to set up a franchise, with several already undergoing training, as well as our Local Lettings Consultants who are open for business in September. At the moment we have plans to launch three new Local Lettings Consultants each month, and this is likely to increase due to demand.

“More and more people across the UK are either choosing to rent or are frozen out of the UK housing market, and many of those people are contenting with substandard private rental properties, extortionate fees and a poor customer experience. Generation Rent have become accustomed to apps and instant communication, so by emulating an Airbnb experience, we’re creating a more accessible and streamlined experience from start to finish. It will also ensure that once a tenancy begins, there is more accountability and transparency.”

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    Good lord...not another PB’s!

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    Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!1

  • Kristjan Byfield

    Greatest challenge for online lettings is compliance- huge burden and only getting greater. Factor in pending licensing and those increases and more to come such as electrical regs. Lettings is insanely hard to disrupt (and find a profit margin) whilst delivering a compliant service without expecting too much of a landlord- many of whom aren't aware of 90% of the legislation they need to comply with. I'd argue that landlords are most costly & difficult to acquire than a vendor- then factor in an avg fee of around £1k in the industry- to undercut that by at least 30%, deliver on performance and compliance, pay enough to retain motivate quality staff and still find a margin for profit. There's a reason a lot of the established online players have largely focused on sales and not lettings.

  • Paul Barrett

    I guess to be a profitable LA mindful of the workload LA must have LL larger numbers of property under management.
    It seems scale is required to remain viable.

  • Paul Smithson

    There's some nutter on here who uses high street agents who also do the inventory for £250 inclusive of vat. Unbelievable:-)

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    An investor and two wet behind the ears students

  • Paul Barrett

    The LA game is a declining industry.
    There will be far fewer players and far fewer LL.
    LL simply won't be prepared to pay what LA may need to remain viable.
    With increasing costs for LL they need to reduce costs to remain profitable.
    Dumping the LA is the first cost that could be reasonably dumped by LL.
    There are now many cheap or even zero cost ways of sourcing tenants.
    For LA the only way to survive is to have far more properties under management but with the same numbers of staff.
    Many LA are simply not proficient enough to survive the loss of tenant fees and will struggle to convince LL to pay additional charges to cover for loss of such tenant fees.
    So there needs to be a vast consolidation of LA.
    It is pointless LA trying to squeeze LL for more now that vast numbers of them are up against the bonkers S24 policy.
    But actually all this could be a good thing as far as the remaining LA are concerned.
    They will become far more professional and will have the security of scale to keep them viable.
    The days of the small LA are numbered.
    Not their fault of course but the sheer weight of regulation etc coming to LA is too much to ask of the small-timer.
    In a town you really only need one LA with one office.
    They will have an online presence with the office for those who wish to have face to face interaction.
    LA will need to change their ways of doing things or they will find thenselves out of business or being taken over.
    This of course must be all very galling for the small LA who has built up a successful business.

    A bit like mortgaged sole trader LL have done.
    Well those LL have been hit by the bonkers S24 and now LA with the TFA which is effectively their version of S24.
    Both polices are bonkers but we are as LA and LL all in the same boat as victims of totally ridiculous Govt policies.
    Many LL are being put out of business by S24 and the same will happen to LA.
    Effectively LA are victims of the TFA and S24 as LL are terminating contracts as they leave the PRS or decide to self-manage to reduce costs to cope with S24.
    There is on the near horizon another massive threat to LL and LA alike..................................RENT CONTROLS!!!!!!!
    IF they occur expext a mass exodus of LL from LA to becoming self-managing LL.
    There will be a massive black market and LA can hardly be expected to collect more than the controlled rent!!
    For LL this won't be a problem.
    No problem collecting the real rent in cash from the tenant above the capped rent level.
    If Labour get in expect RENT CONTROLS to be introduced effectively overnight.
    Which is why with such threats I am converting to lodgers.
    No more AST lettings for me!!!

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