How to fix property management
Fixed-fee management from The Happy Tenant Company has recently achieved NLA Recognised Supplier status. CEO Adam Joseph explains how it is disrupting the market.
How are you challenging the status quo in the residential property market?
Our philosophy as a firm is captured in its name: The Happy Tenant Company, as we believe that serving tenants well is an obligation of the landlord, but it is also completely in their interest to develop a better long-term relationship. Whether you manage your own properties or use an agent, we provide a superior, better-value and more-effective service. That’s because, unlike agents, we don’t mark up any services or take any kickbacks from service providers. We make sure you’re not at risk from not meeting all your obligations, and we take away all the hassles of managing the property from the moment you let it through to the day-to-day challenges that can come from keeping tenants happy. We are challenging the market, as we believe that we manage properties better than everyone else, having created the most efficient formula for property management. Many landlords we speak to like the idea of being a landlord, but just don’t want the burden of the responsibility that goes along with managing their own property. Our view is that being a letting agent and a managing agent are two very different specialist functions that are too often connected in order to maximise profits. We don’t take commissions or kickbacks from anybody – our fixed annual management fee is the only payment required for us to do our job. All cost savings we can make for our landlords are passed on in full.
How did you come to be an NLA Recognised Supplier? What assessment did you have to go through?
It did take a long time, which is a good thing. The NLA is a well-respected organisation, so I appreciate it’s not going to make just anybody a Recognised Supplier. The team that considered our application did their due diligence. I had to complete a lengthy application form, give two landlords as references (and I know they were both contacted); they looked into our accounts, checked our client money-protection policy, and I’m delighted that we were approved. I’m excited to get involved with the NLA and I look forward to speaking to the chief executive at some point to see how I can get involved in committees and panels, and offer any help that I can.
What are today’s tenants looking for in a rental property?
Tenants are very clued up about the market now. They’re aware of overcharging and how high reference fees can be, and they won’t stand for it any more. They want to be able to trust their landlord and property manager. The properties they are renting are their homes. They have every right to feel safe and secure. It pays to look after good tenants. And if the tenants are happy, the landlord will be happy.
What are the hot topics you feel the most passionate about?
I think it’s crazy that anybody off the street can set up as a letting or managing agent. In the US, you need to have a real estate licence to even show a property, let alone let one. It should be the same here. I was just emailing Heather Wheeler MP about her new working group, tasked with setting up a new regulation for letting agents and managing agents specifically around the behaviour of agents so that there is a higher degree of professionalism in the sector. We are all for that. We’re not afraid of regulation. In fact, we’d welcome it!