A prominent lettings agency owner has given his verdict on the concept of charging renters to view a property - “it is a terrible idea” he says.
A platform called ViewRabbit earlier this month raised eyebrows in the industry when it advocated charging renters £30 - possibly more in some cases - for a so-called‘guaranteed viewing’.
Simon Shinerock, chairman of Choices Estate Agents, says in a statement issued today: “I have refrained from commenting about this idea until now, because the guy who runs the site is so nice. But now that the agent community has delivered its verdict; I can come out and say that it is a terrible idea, in my opinion: because neither agents or buyers want it.”
Agents have voted against the concept in various trade polls and have left largely dismissive comments about it on trade press websites, including that of Letting Agent Today.
This week the Chartered Trading Standards Institute appeared to hammer the final nail in ViewRabbit’s coffin by saying its idea for the rental sector was illegal under the Tenant Fees Act 2019.
In the statement, much of which is given over to PropTech, Shinerock continues: “Time and again I have been approached by PropTech companies who have regaled me with their latest revolutionary game-changing market disruptors, only for me to have to point out that in reality - their idea is not rooted in how buyers, sellers, landlords, tenants and agents actually behave.”
He adds: “In my opinion; the most important changes the market will undergo will be ones that make the whole buying and renting process more joined up, more transparent; and above all – more efficient.
“For this to happen we need technology that all the players in the game have visibility on.
“Once this is in place, we will see massive changes to the market; with agents and lawyers having to demonstrate their ability to really add value to the transaction.”