Tech-savvy generation of renters pose greatest threat to future of ‘blinkered’ high street agents, claim

Traditional letting agents could be on their way out – it has been claimed.

City AM’s Katherine Denham says the danger posed to them is not going to be regulation but the tech-savvy younger generation of renters.

She envisages a future where there will be agents charging the wealthiest tenants a high fee in return for an excellent service.

“At the same the number of online agents like Purplebricks will rise to reach the mass market,” she says.

Denham says that the lettings industry seems “blinkered to the dangers, underestimating the threat posed by thriving online businesses, and millions of tenants who are fed up with paying over the odds to get little in return.

“There’s a generation of renters who may not be able to afford to buy a house, but who are not prepared to put up with unprofessional letting agents forever.

“And while some agents are upping their game in response, many aren’t doing themselves any favours and show little interest in trying to win over this generation.

“Really, it’s not the imminent rules that letting agents should be panicking about. It’s tech-driven millenials who could well be the death of this industry.”

Denham, who says some letting agents are “reliably awful”, says the sector is “oblivious to the peril it is facing”.

She adds that it has made little effort to make amends over the past decade: “The bad reputation is still exacerbated by hefty letting fees that are hidden within complicated structures.

“Property agents have a reputation for milking people out of money . . . it’s an experience that anecdotally seems widespread.”

Denham believes that banning tenant fees, and forcing agents to sit exams are welcome.

She says the changes mimic those which have reformed the financial advice sector.

The Retail Distribution Review sparked a decline in the number of financial advisers, and allowed online advice services to plug the gap being cheaper and faster.

“You can see the property agent industry heading in the same direction,” she says.


Email the story to a friend


  1. ArthurHouse02

    The financial service industry does mirror ours to some degree in that there are regulations in place to restrict the practises of charlatans but lack the will to enforce them.

    With a tenant fee ban forthcoming i am a little bemused by how letting agents are going to charge tenants high fees. Also i think she is an example of people who dont work in our industry who dont understand our industry. Yes it is vitally important to provide a good service to tenants, but with an over supply of tenants and a shortage or properties to let, tenants will not shy away from an agent who has a property they want to rent. We all know letting agents who offer a crappy service and they still let properties.

  2. Shaun77

    How can you describe a sector as “thriving” when very few of them are yet to make a profit?

    1. smile please

      Do we still have comment of the week? – If so this is it.

  3. Woodentop

    This is a classic case of a TROLL.

    I can’t remember ever reading so much rubbish, it is clear that everything she says is wrong and hasn’t a clue about the subject of lettings. “Reliably awful” and “Oblivious” LOL, LOL, LOL, she certainly is and she is an AM.

  4. RichardHill61

    Another crappy article written by someone at PIE that doesn’t understand that the letting game is very labour intensive!!

    Online vs High Street is such BS!! Only difference, if you embrace technology, is one needs somewhere for their staff to work and you might as well have a decent shop window advertising your business if you can afford it!!


    1. Woodentop

      I think you will find that PIE are reporting what a “Journalist and part-time very stable genius” is claiming (included in her profile). Clearly the latter is very questionable.

  5. BillyTheFish

    “She envisages a future where there will be agents charging the wealthiest tenants a high fee in return for an excellent service.”

    Yeah, her knowledge of this sector is so vast, she sees this incredible future lasting until the sun goes superno… oh hang on, sorry I think she meant until APR-19.



You must be logged in to report this comment!

Comments are closed.

Thank you for signing up to our newsletter, we have sent you an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Additionally if you would like to create a free EYE account which allows you to comment on news stories and manage your email subscriptions please enter a password below.