Two letting agents are about to launch a platform which they say will hugely cut down on the amount of time branches spend processing the end of tenancies.
Kristjan Byfield and An Deckers, co-founders of Base Property Specialists in east London, say they have spent three years developing The Depositary.
The service deals with the problems and workload agents face at the end of tenancies.
Byfield – a well-known personality in the industry and a regular at agency events – said: “The conclusion of a tenancy is probably the most stressful and demanding part of a let for an agency – and yet, it is probably the most thankless.
“As agents, you have a ton of compliance to adhere to.
“You have to tread the fine line of protecting clients whilst being fair to tenants.
“You spend the vast majority of your time chasing people and the rest of the time answering questions like: ‘When will I get my money back?’
“Research has shown that the average agent spends 4-5 hours per tenancy on this process – that’s over 800 man hours per branch.”
In pre-launch testing, he says that The Depositary cut the average end-of-tenancy admin down to under 30 minutes.
Tenants also expressed their satisfaction with the system, as it shows them where they are in the process and the way deductions are evidenced and negotiated.
Some 92% of tenants in the pre-testing phase have accepted the proposals.
At launch next week, the platform will be only available to agents who are members of the TDS insured scheme. However, it is hoped to roll it out to all the deposit schemes and deposit alternatives.
There are no plans to make it direct to private landlords, other than large-scale organisations with in-house operations, such as build-to-rent firms.
The service will be available on subscriptions, likely to be around £50 per branch per month.
Byfield said: “The average branch will pay around £600 per annum to save some 600 man hours – a pretty amazing return on investment for an operations platform.”