Two major suppliers to the lettings industry are merging in the wake of the tenancy fees ban.
Barbon Insurance Group, which trades as HomeLet and Rentshield Direct, and Let Alliance announced the deal this morning.
Operating under the name of Barbon Holdings, the combined businesses will offer tenancy referencing and insurances including rent protection.
They will continue to trade separately under their current brands.
Martin Totty remains as group chief executive of Barbon Holdings and Andy Halstead stays as chief executive at Let Alliance, which also offers a tenancy deposit replacement product.
As part of the deal, Halstead will also become an executive director on the Barbon board, subject to regulatory approval.
A statement said that the merger comes “at a pivotal time” following the tenancy fees ban “which has challenged the traditional business model”.
Totty said: “Letting agents and their landlords are looking for peace of mind that strategic supply partners deliver quality and value, are financially resilient, well capitalised and with balance sheet strength to meet future liabilities on products and services they sell today where customers may have use of them much later.
“We also recognise that customers can no longer afford the time or resources required in conducting risk assessments and due diligence on the viability of small firms with limited solutions.
“Combining the robust and longstanding Barbon business with the creativity and breadth of product portfolio of Let Alliance – both with deep experience in regulated financial services – creates a scale provider of lettings protection solutions that has the potential to invest and innovate better than if the brands remained independent.”
Halstead said: “We have built a very special business at Let Alliance.
“Customers are at the heart of everything we do. Our merger with HomeLet and Rentshield is consistent with our values – it’s all about our customers.
“Letting agents across the UK are working in a tough and challenging market. Letting agents are consolidating and local firms are merging in order to build scale and thrive in the future.
“Strategic partners and suppliers like us need to understand the needs and challenges that letting agents experience and consider how they provide support and solutions.
“The merger allows us to focus all our combined resources on further developing our proposition for customers.
“We are ‘fit for the future’ and have the financial strength to deliver exactly what our customers need.
“The merger gives us access to resources that we could only dream of as an independent and it gives us the scope to carry on as Let Alliance and remain true to our values and customer commitments.”