A PropTech supplier says rental market activity remains relatively robust through this third lockdown, with a 25 per cent drop in the firm’s tenant referencing work compared to last year.
Blinc UK says this suggests many agencies are actually working at or near normal capacity and processing roughly the same volume of tenancies as they were at the beginning of 2020.
"Tenants' desire to rent has been consistently high since the start of the year, during what can sometimes be a quieter time for the rental market. This led to many agents letting a high number of properties over a short period with a shortage of supply now starting to emerge” says Darren Bignall, Blinc UK’s director.
Bignall adds that with physical viewings being discouraged as a result of the pandemic, it’s becoming increasingly common for agents to let properties simply from an initial virtual viewing.
"Considering the current Covid restrictions, it’s remarkable how many new tenancies have been completed so far this year. The lettings industry has adapted to a new way of working and has performed impressively in the face of the pandemic" he says.
Bignall adds with high volumes of transactions to manage, combined with the challenges posed by multiple national lockdowns, agents are increasingly aware of the benefits of agile and efficient software.
Late last summer Blinc UK acquired a 50 per cent stake in Pink Chilli Software, a pre-tenancy software platform. Bignall claims that when transaction levels are high, and agencies having to cope with some staff continuing to work from home or self-isolating, PropTech can assist the industry.
"Having the right software in place, which enables effective team-working despite people working at different times and in different locations, is essential for all letting agencies and particularly those with multiple branches and a high number of monthly move-ins.
"If an agency manages over 20 move-ins per month and it doesn't have the right workflows in place, things can fall apart pretty quickly, causing problems with tenants and landlords” he concludes.