The lettings fees ban will lead to an exodus from the industry on top of the thousands of backroom jobs that will have to go when the new Tenant’ Fees Bill becomes law next year.
So says one of the UK’s longest-established estate agent recruiters, Staines-based company Property Personnel.
Established in 1988, one of its directors – Allison Dalrymple (pcitured, below) – says the lettings fees ban will have a much more “wide-ranging” effect on the number of people employed within the industry than previous thought.
“Some people in the industry are already talking about these new rules resulting in a loss of 4,000 jobs,” she says.
But Alison says that following the ban the administration work done by these backroom staff will be transferred to front-line negotiators.
Because they will be doing more work for the same money and longer hours, Allison says this will lead to an exodus of staff and make it harder to recruit.
“The same number of transactions will be around after the bill becomes law – so references will still have to be taken, credit checks carried out, and immigration status investigated,” she says.
Corporates hit hardest
Property Personnel believes this will impact the middle-market corporates such as Countrywide and Connells the hardest while smaller independents and London’s prime agents will be spared after the fees ban.
“The truth is that in the heart of the capital, lettings fees often comprise a smaller proportion of the agency’s total income for each property – so life without them will be less noticeable,” says.
“In the regions, branch staff in the smaller independents may already carry out these duties anyway.
“We’re concerned that this is a return to an ‘old-school’ approach, where there’s less concern about ‘work/life’ balance, negotiators take on more responsibilities, and work for longer hours.
“The danger is that potential recruits may take a look at what’s on offer and decide that they would prefer to do a Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 job in another profession instead.”