Lettings Business Sets its Sights on Acton
Lets Do Business - no-nonsense agency with fresh attitude moves in
A new letting business with a different attitude is taking Acton to its heart - and coming to the heart of Acton. Guy Williams and Dominic Walters, have Acton in their sites as a great area for their newest office to join the ones they already have in Fulham and Putney. They say 30% of their five-year-old business is already in Acton and Chiswick, so it's time to move part of their operation to the area.
Dominic should know what he is talking about: He has lived in Acton for years. Currently a resident of Alfred Road in Poets Corner, his experiences of Acton include being flooded out of a flat in Horn Lane during the floods of August 2004. "The water came right up to the tops of the radiators," he told us, "and the toilet ended up in the living room."
Dominic and his business partner Guy say they run a "strictly no suits and ties" business. Lets Do Business aims to service the 'lifeblood of London' - nurses, teachers and other key workers.
They say that in their business, "local knowledge is all-important. We can make genuine valuations only in areas we already know. During the past five years, since we've been operating successfully in Acton and Chiswick, we've had very few disputes with landlords or tenants. Mostly, we find clients are very pleased with our service. Landlords come back to us time and again and tenants contact us to tell us they're happy, too."
Inevitably, many of their tenants will be young, qualified professionals - nurses, teachers, account managers and other key workers - many in the UK temporarily from abroad, especially New Zealand, South Africa and Australia. They are looking for somewhere self-contained, affordable (most spend around £100 to £150 per week) and convenient to live with good transport links. Lets Do Business offers larger rental properties, too. Dominic says: "Acton is definitely on the up with its good communications and vibrant community."
The way these two run their business is refreshing and no-nonsense. Their staff tend to be young, as they relate better to landlords and tenants. "Negotiators mustn't sit at desks or they will stagnate." They want people who work for them to have job satisfaction, and a full, busy working week. They offer bonuses for negotiators who sign three rentals in a day.
We asked them if they also extend to the sales market. They told us: "No, we are solely a letting agency. Although there is more money in sales, our number one aim is to rent property. This is actually one of the reasons we are successful, so we don't want to change that. However, we may expand in that direction at some point. In the mean time, we would work closely with another local agent if one of our clients wanted help in that direction."
They seem to take their responsibilities as letting agents seriously, too. Rubbish disposal for tenants is a subject which comes up time and again on the ActonW3.com Forum so we asked them what they do to make sure tenants know what the rules are. "We make sure the landlord gives us the correct information, and we also make sure they pass that information to the tenant. We also make it our business to give all the necessary information to tenants about the local council, rubbish collections, etc in the tenancy pack."
Also, they told us, "we check references very thoroughly. We want to keep our landlords happy and it's important to get things right from the start. This explains why landlords tend to come back to us once one lot of tenants move out."
"We turn down lots of prospective tenants. We won't take anyone on housing benefit or DSS clients and there are no shortcuts to checking references. We could get ourselves into terrible trouble if we don't check people out properly."
Lets Do Business insist on only taking on properties of a good standard. If landlords prove difficult, they will not deal with them again. The majority of the landlords they deal with live in the same area as their properties, so it is in their interests to ensure that their tenants do not cause problems.
Dominic and Guy want to make their office look attractive. "We want to spread the word around and having a nice-looking frontage is important." They will be using different advertising methods once they've settled in to their new office. "We'll start with three staff and take it from there."
As far as their views on Acton are concerned, they say that as Shepherds Bush is the next Notting Hill Gate, Acton is definitely "coming up". When considering where to rent an office, they looked at properties on the High Street but found them very expensive. "Also, the High Street isn't nearly as attractive as Churchfield Road. To an outsider it looks as though it's holding Acton back."
"The good news for Acton is, that we find when we move an office into an area, it improves. When we first moved to our premises in Fulham, the surrounding area felt a bit dingy. Now it's very smart and upmarket. Acton will be next."
Their optimism about Acton, plus their down-to-earth, no frills and no nonsense attitude about the property business will make this agency a welcome addition to the Acton scene.
March 21, 2008