Every month, we take 5 mins to ask a lettings sector expert 5 things. This month, we’re delighted to have Polat Ali, MD at Hunters Shoreditch and Bethnal Green, give us his time and insight. With a wealth of experience in the industry, Polat has some fantastic points to make…

Q. Hey Polat! Ok, let’s start with the breaking news – What do you think of the plans to abolish Section 21 and why do you think so few agents responded to the consultation? 

A. I understand the need for tenants to feel more secure however, I feel it may create an issue when dealing with problematic tenants.  Currently a landlord needs to wait for 2 complete months of unpaid rent before they can approach the courts.  This means that a tenant can be consistently late paying rent and the landlord will be powerless. I don’t think agents want to engage with that.

Q. Interesting! Thank you. Another hot topic right now is Purplebricks. On one hand the company has been named a ‘superbrand’, on the other, its share prices are falling and its model has been unsustainable model. What do you think of it? And how does it impact the sector? 

A. Many traditional agents feared the threat of the online agents however, this is not something that ever materialised.  My opinion is that they perform well in a good market but not so good when the market toughens, this is when good traditional agents prosper due to their hands on approach. It is not a sustainable model and I believe that many vendors and high street agents now see this.

Q. Thanks again. Now, moving on but sticking with the online theme, it’s also been estimated that online estate agents will only ever achieve 10% of the market. Why do you think that, despite the seeming ease and low cost that online agents offer, traditional and more expensive methods are still coming out on top? 

A. A property is very likely to be someone’s most valuable asset and I don’t think this can be left completely to technology. As a vendor and/or landlord I will always want to be able to walk into my local office for some friendly advise or assurances.  The online model simply doesn’t give you the same level of customer service which we pride ourselves on.

Q. We agree! Now, we can’t have an interview in 2019 without mentioning Brexit so, give us your take on how we can keep the sector moving while this uncertainty slows it down?

A. Haha Brexit, we have banned that word in our office. Many people have been taking the wait and see tactic however but I feel that the majority of people are now fed up of the prolonged uncertainty and are returning to the market.  People still need to move and with so many delays, many buyers and vendors are now just getting on with it.

Q. Thank you so much. Finally, the ‘other’ contentious issue – What advice would you give to other letting agents ahead of the fee ban?

I would advise having an honest conversation with your landlords and explain what is going to happen with the fee ban. Ask if they would be prepared to pay higher fees or pay for the extra services that we will no longer be able to charge tenants.

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Huge thanks to Polat for taking time out of his schedule to do this for us. You can further connect with him via his LinkedIn page. And of course, if you want to work with an inventory clerks who truly understand the sector, get in touch with us.