In October 2001 Apple introduced us to a little grey box that could play music files. The iPod. It was also the year that the first Apple store was opened. In the world of Windows, XP was released and we all had to grapple with a new look desktop in our office. So much has changed. The way in which property managers and letting agents report in 2021 is very different from how it was done 20 years ago. This quarter, we’re taking a stroll down memory lane and take a look at what exactly has changed over the last two decades.
Reporting in 2001
Most of us can barely remember what we had for dinner last week, never mind remember how we used to work 20 years ago. But we used good old Google to help jog our memory.
When we think back to the property landscape in 2001, we remember that it was the beginning of the buy-to-let boom – a significant time for letting agents. For property managers, the turn of the new decade was perhaps a pivotal year in that, “Post First World War, the % of owner-occupied housing continued to rise to a peak in 2001.”
However back then, regulations and requirements were not quite the same as they are today.
In Scotland, the Property Factors Act 2011 was introduced to provide a minimum standard for the industry. In Wales, they required agents to be licenced and in January 2017 the Department for Communities in Northern Ireland announced an intention to “Introduce a regulatory framework for all letting agents including bringing forward legislation to ban letting agent fees.”
In England many reforms and regulatory procedures have been implemented over the years, including the “Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013”, which “ gave the Secretary of State power to make an order requiring letting and managing agents of privately rented and residential leasehold homes to belong to an approved redress scheme.”
5 years later in 2018, following the outcome of a consultation exercise,
“The Government reiterated the intention to regulate letting agents and clarified that this would also apply to managing agents, i.e. businesses and individuals who provide block management services in the private leasehold sector.66 The Government is proposing to introduce “a single, mandatory and legally enforceable Code of Practice covering letting and managing agents.” Source
The ongoing changes to the lettings and managing agents landscape has brought more and more need for greater transparency and a need to be compliant.
So when we compare today to 2001, the need for reports then would have been few and far between. They would have related to business practices to suit only those people involved. Reports then would have been limited to what was necessary – check-in, check-out, and perhaps some requirements to meet building regulation standards for property managers.
It would have been a case of carrying out reports using a pen and paper, or, at best, using an Excel spreadsheet or Word document.
Fast forward to 2021
Today, across the UK, property management and letting agents day-today work and the ‘must-do’ tasks looks very different.
We have seen and we know that the industry has had more and more regulatory requirements piled on. And with good reason. So the need for reporting – and accurate reporting at that- has become a necessity.
Whether it’s, First Tier Tribunals, codes of conduct, deposit schemes, fire regulations, or a host of other obligations, these are all now part and parcel of property management and lettings.
For many, the old ways of working – the paper-based reports, the clipboards, and pens, or indeed some of the older software for reporting, just isn’t cutting the mustard in today’s offices and teams.
Agents and managers now have to be highly organised, have paper trails, and have all the information they need to hand.
And they have to have reports that are presentable for more discerning owners and tenants.
There’s so much more to consider.
Is your letting agency or property management business 2021 ready?
As we’ve seen, a lot has changed in lettings and property management in a short space of time. New laws, new rules, increased regulatory requirements all mean that property managers and letting agents need to be much more organised and on top of all reporting. It’s not a nice-to-have anymore, most of this is mandatory. So it’s really important to get it all right, with the minimum of errors and excellent attention to detail.
How has your reporting changed over the years? Was your business operating in 2001? And what have you had to do to keep up with rules and regulations?
The industry is still evolving, and there is a need to keep up with the developments.
In our next article, we’re going to look at what reporting looks like in 2021, and ask, is your reporting process fit for 2021?