I never planned on having a career in property. As a sales manager for a national advertising company I rapidly progressed in my career and as a result, I moved all around the UK. Wherever I went, I found it was usually cheaper to buy somewhere to live instead of renting somewhere – and more profitable to let it out when I moved on.
Before I knew it, I had built up a Buy-to-Let property portfolio.
Wherever I went, though, I wasn’t happy with the letting agents I left behind managing my houses and investments – claiming to be property experts they were sluggish, complacent and so far behind the times with very few agents using technology to enhance their customers’ experience.
So I started my own firm – Keep It Simple – KIS.
I spoke directly to other local landlords to ask them what they were looking for in a letting agent, and their answers were clear. They wanted to deal with a property expert who could not only offer them advice but would also help them find and keep good tenants. They wanted transparency and communication from the people they employed to manage their homes, but most importantly they wanted protection from the potential pitfalls which comes from renting out property.
We set out to challenge every preconception in lettings – and one thing was clear. Tenant Deposits had to go.
Tenant Deposits barely cover a landlord if their property is seriously damaged or they are faced with serious rent arrears. At the same time, we discovered that less than 3% of tenants deposits end in disputes, therefore I quickly concluding that a different approach to the current cash tenancy deposits schemes which imposed a barrier to entry and mobility for generation rent. A smarter solution was needed for mitigating the risk of damage landlords and agents felt when renting out property.
We were the first letting agents in the UK to abolish tenancy deposits, replacing them with a one-of-a-kind deposit replacement insurance, which we have further developed to now include rent guarantee and legal assistance – including court and bailiffs fees.
Within days of launching, Dlighted we saw a huge increase in properties being rented out, as it decreased the move-in cost for tenants by as much as 30% compared to our competitors, whilst offering our clients, the landlords, protection and peace of mind of mitigating any risk via a proven insurance product.