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CEO of ARLA Calls on Letting Agents to Reduce Costs as Fee Ban Approaches

Posted by Ross Jones-Morris in

Image courtesy of Flickr, (View licence)

The CEO of ARLA, David Cox, has warned that the upcoming ban on tenant fees will trigger a "seismic shift" in the way the lettings industry conducts business. He put emphasis on cost cutting as the main way to lessen any impact.

At a webinar hosted by Goodlord last week he warned that the implementation of the bill is inevitable, citing the lack of opposition to the bill among politicians: "There's no dissent at all. I cannot overturn the will of 650 MPs with no support in Parliament."

With regards to combating any potential ill effects of the ban he stated, "Landlords are starting to get a bit twitchy and some are leaving the market, and while the Government continues to attack the Private Rental Sector, it's only going to get worse."

"I think everyone needs be looking first at how they can reduce their costs and how they can maximise their income."

In a Q&A that followed Cox's talk, independent consultant Graham Lock advised: "Now is the time to review all your processes and what you're doing with technology. If you do nothing you risk not innovating as an agency."

"Agents are looking at increasing their fees, but if you're not improving your business and your service at the same time, you'll miss out."

Cutting down on admin therefore looks like it will be key to weathering the strain the ban will impose. A large part of this as independent consultant Debbie Franklin states, will be processes: "You need to look at your processes almost as though you're starting from scratch. It's really key you do that properly."

"Take a step back and think how can I change that? Don't think you can just keep doing the same thing you've always done, you have to keep evolving and innovating."

The proptech side of the industry has boomed in recent years, but with many agents still not technologically up to scratch, there's still a huge amount to be saved across the industry with effective use of software.

Online contract signing, automated payment collection, one-click referencing and centralised marketing channel management software are all widely available. As David Thomas, founder and director of Liberty Gate said in the webinar: "You've got to focus on cutting costs and increasing revenues, and that's really where the proptech can come in and help."

"Automating processes is ultimately saving us time and money, especially on the administration side."