Our survey said…

Early this year, we started to survey letting agents across London. We have now collected the responses and analysed the results. Here’s what we found…

The Assist Annual Survey: top questions and answers


We couldn’t conduct a survey in 2019 without asking about Brexit so we posed these two questions…

Q 1. As a result of Brexit, is there a chance your business could close?

A. 86% of our respondents said no.

Analysis: Despite what we’ve come to know as ‘Brexit uncertainty’, it would seem that the private rental sector is pretty sure that the UK’s breakaway from Europe will not be the cause of its demise

Q2. Are there any upsides of a no-deal Brexit for the rental sector?

A. 82% of our respondents said no

Analysis: In contrast, despite not being worried about the overall impact of Brexit with regards to the survival of their businesses, the vast majority of our letting agents still can’t see any good in a no-deal Brexit.

The Fee Ban

Just like ‘the B word’, it wouldn’t be a 2019 letting sector survey if it didn’t address, the Tenant Fees Ban. We asked:

Q. What will your agency be doing to counter the Tenant Fees Ban?

This was a multiple choice question, the answers were as follows:

A1. Increasing Landlord Fees: 38%

A2. Other: 24%

A3. Find cheaper alternatives for services you outsource: 15%

A4. Market to more Landlords: 15%

A5. Cutting staff costs or branches: 8%

A6. Bringing in-house any service which you currently outsource: 0%

Analysis: Within the sector, there was a collective understanding that this top answer would be the go-to solution, therefore this result comes as no surprise. However, it is pleasing the see that only a fraction of agencies are planning to cut jobs or scale back as a result. Additionally, for us in particular, we are pleased that no respondents are planning to save money by cutting corners on outsourcing specialist services (like inventories) at a time where service is going to be crucial if landlord fees are to be increased.

Business Structure

As we progress further into the digital age, and proptech becomes more advanced, we wanted to know about the impact online estate agency was having on the sector. So we asked:

Q. Is the ‘Purple Bricks’ model causing a problem for your letting business?

A. 90% of respondents said no.

Analysis: Despite Purple Brics being named as a super brand this year, agents aren’t feeling threatened. See our interview with Polat Ali of Hunter’s Shoreditch and Bethnal Green to find out what he thinks the reason for that is.

Business Development

Finally, we ended with two questions with regards to business development and sales techniques. Here are or top findings…

Q. What’s next for property imagery?

A. 70% of our respondents said, “We don’t edit. Images need to be as realistic as possible.”

Analysis: This is of course great news for tenants, as they can be sure they can trust online imagery before spending time going to visit a property. This is especially true of London, where some new tenants won’t even view due to competition and busy schedules. However, further to this main answer, 30% also said 360VR tours were important (a nice addition to realistic imagery), but interestingly on another question, 90% said they haven’t integrated VR into their business yet.

Q. What will you be doing this year to boost your revenue?

A1. Market to more landlords: 54%

A2. Take on holiday lets: 18%

A3. Increase landlord fees: 18%

A4. Raise commission: 10%

A5. Cut staff and increase the workload of those remaining: 0%

Analysis: Of course this question somewhat mirrors our other regarding counter-balancing the Tenant Fees Ban, but if we look at simply increasing fees in isolation, it is positive to see such a proactive approach being take by agents who will simply be marketing even more.

Further Information

If you would like to know more about our survey then please contact info@assistinventories.co.uk

Assist Inventories provide property inventory services in London for both agents and landlords. We are London’s highest-rated inventory company on Google and winners of the AIIC’s Best Full Member award 2019. View our sample reports and our pricing.