If renters are given clearer information on what to expect from landlords and letting agents, they could enjoy greater consumer satisfaction as a result, according to PayProp.
The provider of payment automation for lettings believes that educating tenants as to the roles and responsibilities of each party could minimise confusion and thereby reduce the risk of disputes.
Tenants need more information
Research conducted by the National Landlords Association (NLA) shows that 79% of tenants need better information on the rights and duties of landlords and letting agents.
Neil Cobbold, Chief Operating Officer of PayProp UK, explains that taking the opportunity to educate tenants about the rental process from the outset could save agents the inconvenience of having to be involved in needless disputes between landlords and tenants.
Key areas tenants may be ignorant of relate to financial obligations and property upkeep, matters which tenants should be kept informed of throughout the tenancy. Too often tenants are left wondering whether their rent has been received, how much they owe, whether their deposit is safe, whose reponsibility something is and who pays for repair work.
If tenants are in no doubt as to what to expect, they are much more likely to be satisfied and remain in the property for longer, at least for as long as these expectations are met. Consequently, tenant satisfaction and security can help to minimise arrears and void periods for landlords and letting agents.
The How to Rent guide
The NLA’s research showed that 67% of 900 tenants surveyed said that they were unaware of the government’s How to Rent guide, which is designed to help them understand their rights and responsibilities. Cobbold is surprised to learn that so few tenants know of the guide, especially as it is a legal obligation for them to receive one at the start of a tenancy.
He believes that agents could do more to promote the guide to would-be renters. After all, it is a free government resource that is updated regularly and contains much of the information that renters may need.
Letting agencies could manage expectations from the outset of a tenancy using this guide, saving time and money by not having to create their own and ensuring that tenants not only read but understand the information in the document.
Providing tenants with more clarity
Letting agencies could also do more to help educate tenants and improve renter satisfaction besides actively promoting the How to Rent guide.
Cobbold adds that being proactive early on and explaining facts clearly face-to-face during viewings and subsequent meetings can help to build a good relationship and understanding with tenants. Providing home-made resources or advising consumers where to find trusted industry sources of information throughout the tenancy can also be productive.
Agents should encourage landlords to prioritise good communication and establish the roles and responsibilities of each party.
The importance of ensuring that the correct procedures are in place to inform the tenant of their financial position throughout the tenancy should not be underestimated with regard to renter satisfaction.
With that in mind, key lease terms such as payment dates, tenancy lengths and notice periods should all be set out in a clear and straightforward way so that tenants know what is expected of them and when.
A determined effort by agencies and landlords to provide renters with more clarity could result in a more efficient and less confrontational private rented sector (PRS).