Every month at Assist, we take 5 mins to ask a lettings sector expert 5 things. This month, we’re talking to our very own Managing Director, Charlie Saunders.

With over a decade of experience in lettings, the former letting agency owner turned property developer and owner of inventory services provider, Assist Inventories, Charlie was delighted to give his opinion on this month’s hottest topics. Let’s hear what he had to say –

Q. Hey Charlie. Ok, let’s get this one out of the way first – Brexit. What’s your views on how it’s impacting the sector now and what will it do to its future?

A: Brexit appears to be quite positive for the lettings sector at the moment, the general consensus is that people are staying away from buying in fear of uncertainty in the housing market. If we leave Europe without a deal then house prices may fall, possibly further boosting the lettings market. If we leave with a  deal then the public that have been living in rented accommodation but are ready to buy will likely flood the market and this will cause a slowdown in the number of tenants looking to rent.

Q: Thank you! Next, ‘Right to Rent’ is a seriously hot topic at the minute, what do you think about the extra obligations being placed on letting agents?

A. There are huge fines in place for landlords or their agent who let a property to an illegal immigrant, with this fear in landlords and agents minds it likely leads to eligible citizens without a UK passport being favoured to those with a British passport as landlords and agents err on the side of caution

Q. That’s interesting. Moving on then, we know the deposit free renting is causing an issue for many landlords. What can be done to mitigate the stress here and take advantage of the benefits the scheme brings?

A. Deposit free renting could be the future, with insurance schemes in place to cover any damages, negligence of property or cleaning issues, tenants can expect to pay roughly one weeks rent (non-refundable) instead of tying up typically 6 weeks of rent. The landlord will need to ensure an inventory is done though to be able to make necessary claims on the insurance.

Q. Thanks for sharing! Now, we can’t talk about migraines for letting agents without mentioning the Tenant Fee Ban. What are you thoughts on how this is playing out?

A. The dreaded fee ban, I think most agents are naturally quite nervous about this, they will have to work hard to attract more landlord clients. Agents will definitely be passing some or all of the costs previously charged to tenants over to the landlord. We will also be entering a world where even though a tenancy consists of the tenant and the landlord, after the fee ban some agents may see this as just the landlord as their client (they will be the only one paying for their services after all) which could lead to a poor service to tenants.

Q. Brilliant, thank you so much for your time. To finish, could you tell us something positive about the sector?

A. As with everything we have to remain positive and I think there is plenty to look forward too; the fee ban will ultimately flush out the bad agents who have been relying on extra fees from tenants but will suffer from a lower level of landlord clients, helping the more professional agents who provide a genuinely great service to flourish.

Massive thanks to Charlie for taking part in this month’s 5 in 5. If you would like to work with an inventory services provider who know that sector like that, then get in touch with us.