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PropTech chief’s advice to agents: talk more with landlords and tenants

Letting agents should communicate regularly and proactively with their landlords and tenants to help them understand the proposed reform of the sector and to navigate their way through the cost-of-living crisis.

That’s the message from Oli Sherlock, director of insurance at lettings platform Goodlord, who on a Propertymark webinar said it was in agents’ interests to highlight the independent help and advice available to tenants should they find themselves in difficult scenarios, such as rent arrears, so they don’t develop into possession claims.

He also encouraged them to share relevant industry news and updates, saying they should not assume landlords and tenants were aware of wider issues such as the recently published renters’ reform White Paper.



Sherlock said: “Regular and proactive communication with their landlords and tenants is often one of the things that drops off the list when agents become extremely busy. But given the challenges in front of us maybe it has become even more important than ever before."

Other ways agents can mitigate the impact of the rising cost of living, according to Sherlock, includes helping prospective tenants fully understand the monthly cost of a property they are applying for such as utility and council tax bills, as well as the rent. 

Agents should also encourage landlords to balance any desire to increase rent with the effect that could have on tenant continuity.

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    Next week: Oli Sherlock shows his grandmother how to suck eggs.

    Kristjan Byfield

    Some much-needed cloud on a very hot and sunny day- can always rely on you, FUL, not to bring the sunshine.


    @ kristjan You are another self-appointed former spurt. Do me a favour and don’t reply to my comments in future and I won’t reply to yours. Until then, choose your own first word, but the second is OFF.

    Kristjan Byfield

    I'm not sure I'm a former anything FUL- tenant, landlord, agent and supplier all fall under my current remit. I'm very happy to 'ward off' any unnecessary negativity, doom-mongering or personal attacks. If you feel the need to do so, I will likely feel compelled to offer contrast. I think that's what they call a 'mixed weather front'.

  • Andrew Stanton PROPTECH-PR A Consultancy for Proptech Founders

    Goodlord have burnt through £25M ... and had a wage bill of 8.8M in 2021 - that seems a huge amount of 'humans' in the business - maybe digital transformation was not around in 2014 when they kicked off their caper. Maybe Oli should spend some time automating more of the operational flow of the business, rather than saying landlords are not in the loop, my experience is that a typical landlord who owns 1.77 properties (that is data for you) is pretty clued up on things and wants to protect themselves and their property asset. With huge amounts of free information out there with just a swipe on your mobile - I am not sure why it would fall to letting agents to 'inform' landlords or tenants anything.

    It is also a logistical thing, typical branch has 230 tenancies, 460 tenants plus and a team of five, of which one person probably deals with direct communications to landlords and tenants ... so zero engagement is the norm until there is a problem.

    Kristjan Byfield

    I'd argue that most landlords in the 1-3 property range (the majority) are actually not at all clued up with current regulation or the array of reforms proposed. This is absolutely an agents job- to educate, inform and to, thereby, assert their considerable value of expertise in this way.

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    Letting agents have had their fees cut in half, how can they afford it ? Further quite a lot of tenants are professional debtors. Once again the elephant in the room is open borders ! Their is an unlimited demand for property in Britain.

    Kristjan Byfield

    Why have agents had their fees cut in half? Our fees haven't changed in 18 years and, if anything, strengthened after the TFB came in to effect. The removal of S21 makes a strong case to stop offering LO, upsell RC/FM and gain further revenue- bolstered further by climbing rents. We happily charge 18% FM (inc VAT of course) and with rents at their highest ever levels are set for our best ever year of fee revenue.

  • David Ray Billing Better

    Clearly, there have been financial reductions for Letting Agents over the past few years, however, it is easy to look back and wish for what we once had; all industries must look ahead, and look for new emerging opportunities, particularly financial opportunities.

    Modern technology entered the industry a few ago and is being constantly improved by reducing labour, improving processes and enhancing tenant engagement, and increasing Landlord and Letting Agent's profits.

    I can remember a Triumph Stag fondly, but what I want is a Tesla.

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    David Ray, this obviously a sales pitch. All the letting agents l know used computerised schemes. No business can cope with having their income halved ! Look what's happened to the energy market ! It's cost the taxpayer a fortune to bailout the industry


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