When The Negotiator recently reported that medium-term lettings platform Spotahome had advertised a property that was clearly an unregistered HMO, it raised important questions about who is responsible for ensuring properties listed online conform to local and national laws – portals, agents or landlords?
We asked Spotahome’s General Manager for the UK & Ireland James Kirimy (pictured, above) to give his views on the challenges and opportunities facing the brace of new platforms such as his entering the market.
“The drive towards greater transparency within the rental property sector is gathering pace, with increased scrutiny of landlords and lettings agencies by both regulatory authorities and tenants.
“More accessible data means that knowledge and control is shifting to the consumer with increased information available on landlords, and typical rental costs and fees, as well as seeking more secure options offered in verified property listings.
“Therefore ‘Generation Rent’ demands a better level of service and a more open, honest and accessible way of finding properties.
“Increased regulatory compliance of property rentals is putting pressure on landlords – as the tenancy contract owners – to ensure their properties are fairly represented and fulfil legal criteria.
“Belatedly maybe, but digital transformation is well and truly underway in the property sector, and lettings agencies and landlords must embrace new technologies to deliver a faster, more seamless experience to meet these new demands.
“Speed of transaction is critical – 24/7 access is now a given in most other sectors so property agents have to find ways of meeting this expectation; from using technology to solve time restrictions when viewing properties to the booking and payment processes.
“Generation Rent are digital natives, born into a world where transactions happen online first.
“In the same way that they buy groceries or book holidays, they’re comfortable renting their property online, where technology provides the transparency and trust tenants need to make informed decisions, whilst providing far greater convenience.
“By digitising more of the rental process, agents can reduce operational costs, improve margins and offer more competitive rentals.
“Digital portals should ultimately work as partners to facilitate the relationships between landlords and tenants, helping to support and inform on rental compliance while providing guarantees to protect both parties.
“Along with this, many landlords need to adopt a new mindset to ensure they understand and adhere to new regulations, and accept that they need to provide this new generation of tenants with an enhanced level of service.”