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Is estate agency dragging down lettings?

"As properties fail to sell, we have seen a sizeable increase in the number of new (and sometimes reluctant) landlords entering the market. These are the very people who need protecting from the unscrupulous, uneducated or inexperienced letting agent who claims to be able to represent their best interests. However, there is also a corresponding increase in the number of estate agents entering the lettings arena as a way of bolstering their dwindling sales revenues – with potentially disastrous consequences.

"Not only is the continual-service role of the letting agent surprisingly different to the quick-fix function of an estate agent, but there are also over 100 pieces of letting-related legislation in which to be conversant. Indeed, these are so critically important that the Martin and Co Training Academy has an extensive ongoing nationwide training programme for our franchisees and their staff (delivering "best practices"), as well as the 200 or so new staff we expect to recruit (using our internal recruitment team) during 2009 to cope with the 40% year-on-year growth of our business.

"Knowing how intensively letting agents need to train, and the pressure they are currently under to deliver ambitious results without compromising customer service excellence, it is not a job for the fainthearted. Landlords should be extra vigilant when choosing a letting agent."

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