Guest blog - Kristjan Byfield, Lettings Industry

Posted on 18 Aug, 2021

Guest blog post, written by Kristjan Byfield Co-founder of The Depositary - 'Automate the end of tenancy process for happier tenants, landlords and agents.'


The last 18 months or so have been a huge catalyst to the evolution of our profession and how we engage with our clients and customers - and how they want to interact with us. So, what will Lettings and the PRS look like in 2030? Here are some of my predictions...

Fewer agencies

The constant evolution of tech will make the delivery of quality services, at scale, more achievable and profitable. We will continue to see M&As happen at pace over the next decade creating some behemoths in the UK PRS. Meanwhile smaller, independent agencies will be able to compete on every level of service and will become increasingly bespoke to a very particular market or client segment. The disparity (in size/scale) between the two will become greater but ultimately, I believe the consumer will be the biggest winner with an ever-improving standard of service delivered.

Complete Eco-System

The latest wave of PropTech in the lettings space is becoming increasingly focused on singular issues/aspects. This is creating highly effective solutions for individual steps in the lettings process- which, when integrated into an agent's central CRM system- are creating an incredible end-to-end solution both in terms of the agent's operations but also the experience had by clients and customers alike. 10 years of an increasingly open CRM landscape has led to an ecosystem of integrated solutions delivering a 'best in class' experience for agents and the public alike.

Media Assets & Social Media

The variety and quality of marketing assets agents produce for properties will continue to improve. 10 years ago, few letting agents bothered with professional shots and floor plans- by 2030 Tenants will expect professional photos, accurate floorplans, high resolution virtual tours (with an agent on hand for questions) and quality video content. Agents that continue to ignore the importance of this will be increasingly left behind. The increasing volume & quality of content will continue to make Social Media a vital part of any and every agents marketing as agents find better ways to extract the maximum value for the benefit of their own agency and not huge portals.

Media-first portal

The portal landscape has been rocked by a complete 're-imagining' of what a property portal is. Gone are the sale/rent search bars on the home screen, gone are the fake & juggled listings, gone are the properties with 1 bad photo taken 5 years ago on a mobile phone with a greasy fingerprint on it. Instead, we have a fully immersive experience that pulls users straight into tours and videos, where the platform already knows your approximate budget, what you like to do and where you need to get to for work. Properties that are 90% right for you will fill your screen (of whatever device you happen to be on) as you hop from property to property wandering around them refining the finer elements of what the right home looks like to you.

Property Logbooks & MOTs

After years of work and government lobbying, the government at long last listened! Not only has it adopted UPRNs as the key identifier for residential property, importantly it has mandated that these must be used in every single property related transaction. What is more, it has mandated that all regulatory organisations (e.g. Gas Safe) must make their compliance data available via API - and that all works certificates, sign-offs and warranties must be provided in digital form. This has led to a transformation in the way property data is stored and shared and how compliance is monitored and enforced. Organisations with the applicable access rights, can access a property's logbook detailing what works have taken where, when and by whom including any compliance/building regs/certificates/etc. What is more, the government has mandated that all lettings listing sites must adopt the Property MOT traffic light system. This is an automated verification of key property safety & regulatory compliance enabling Tenants young and old to instantly understand if the property they are looking at is safe. This has made rogue agents & landlords a thing of the past as the consumer is now empowered with key information (without requiring the knowledge of what should be in place)- in turn this has made regulatory enforcement a breeze with most compliance matters handled automatically using tech.

A profession at long last

These changes have almost completely eliminated the rogue operators, agents and landlords alike, creating a transparent PRS that consumers can trust. What is more, the automation of huge transactional parts of the industry means that most agents' day jobs revolve around delivering the highest standards of service and customer experience. This, in turn, has finally driven a seismic shift in the way our industry is perceived- with many now recognising us as a cutting edge, customer-centric industry that delivers an array of safe and quality housing solutions the length and breadth of the UK.


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