How letting agents should use Facebook

Many letting agents and property management companies use Facebook but they do not use it correctly in my opinion. In a previous blog post on how letting agents should not use Facebook I discussed this and there reach. So now lets look at how letting agents should use Facebook.

Facebook Reach

To quickly summorise what Facebook reach is ” The total number of unique people who saw your content in their News Feed, ticker or on your Page” , this is really important for your account because lets face it your posting content to be seen.

Here are 5 ways how letting agents should use Facebook

1. Engage with your tenants.

I must admit I love how the guys over at Walton Robinson engage with tenants on their Facebook page. They take a picture of new tenants who collect keys for a property with their company logo and then tag them in the image. They are actually building their audience through their new tenants by asking them to like them. Then once they are tagged their friends congratulate them on the move etc. It appears their main tenant market is students, so by the students friends viewing the image they can see that the agency are student rental friendly.


Including tenants in your facebook pag

 2. Engage with your landlords

There is a couple of ways to do this and there is many companies that are good at it, I haven’t come across many letting agencies that do it great. (if your agency is on Facebook why not like our page and I can check you guys out) One company which I am a fan of is The City Bin Company.  They post testimonials on their website which promotes their main message as having excellent customer service. My opinion on this is that it encourages others to send similar positive messages. As more people like the posts the higher the reach of the post will become which feeds to more testimonials etc… Nice trend going 😉 Top Marks

Facebook testimonials letting agents

There is also a star rating widget that Facebook allow page visitors to rank. As your page fans or customers rank you with stars you get to show off your star ranking… Aim for 5 Stars.

Testimonials left from landlords on your Facebook page for your letting agency is a great way to build your portfolio.

Letting agents facebook stars

3. Engage through comedy

Facebook posts which hold an image is much more likely to get a thumbs up in the form of a like, a share or a comment etc and guess what this builds your reach. I must admit the guys over at The City Bin Co do this really well.

This particular post had over 100 shares and 150 likes so you could imagine what the reach is. Any coincidence they have over 7,000 fans.. I think not

funny property management facebook post

4. Ask questions through postings

Rather then just posting a status update and expect a like, post a question and expect a comment. By doing this you are engaging with your fans and opening up the possibility to conversation. Remember its called social media so make sure your social. If you want to bring the possibility of engagement up further include an image and post a question, this really works well once its original. Many property companies and portals post unusual and luxury images with a question to open engagement. Below is an image from the UK’s property portal NeedAProperty facebook page, as you can see this simple question got over 200 likes, over 20 shares and multiple comments.

Engaging letting agent Facebook comments

NB. Its very important to be creative here and looking up “luxury properties” on Google and posting them to your Facebook is not the most creative so don’t expect miracles.

TIP. I would highly recommend that once you are out taking marketing snaps of a property look for something quirky, unique or luxurious at your property. Take a picture, think of a witty comment along with a question and post it. This way you are opening engagement and listing a property.

Remember don’t just list every property you are marketing as your fans wont engage and your post reach will reduce.

5. Engage with other local businesses

If your in property your more then likely dealing with a specific locality, within this locality are a lot of other businesses. A high percentage of this population at some point will either be personally looking or have a close friend who is looking to rent or rent out a property. By engaging with other businesses in your locality your brand will start to be recognized by the community in your locality.

your letting community

NB. So its quite simple the more of a contributor you are to social media the more you will get from social media.

TIP. Look for other local businesses with a Facebook page, like the page and start engaging.

PLEASE don’t spam as its the quickest way your community will hesitate in connecting with you.

Facebook and social media should be part of your overall marketing strategy. Dont expect to receive a flood of calls over night but do expect if you things correctly to do more business in the near future.

How to attract Tenants

How to attract tenants to your letting agency website

Some letting agencies may not be as lucky as our tenant rich cousins in major cities like London , Dublin etc.

how to attract tenants

How do tenants find your listings

In my previous blog post “using Google keyword planner effectively”,  I discussed how letting agencies can drive more landlords to their site. But if you’re an agency that is on the other end of the scale and you are looking at how to attract tenants to your website well then the approach is a little different.

What are the search terms that tenants use

Tenants search terms tend to be a lot simpler as they don’t tend to normally be bothered if they rent from a property management company, letting agency or landlord. They tend to mainly search through the portals and use terms such as “flats to rent in Fulham” . The search results that tenants normally use tend to be dominated by portals and dependent on location and if the search is generic  your letting agency website most likely will only ever get listed in the bottom half of the first page of results. This isn’t great as the stats will show 70% of clicks will be on the top half of the page.

How to improve your search return

You can improve your search return by being a little more specific in your listings and to use different sources of marketing. For example if your tenants search term is a little more specific you have a greater chance of returning on the first page. We can target these searches through long tail keywords  (In my previous blog I illustrated what long tail keywords were)  By listing your property on your own website with a full street or complex address in the page title, keywords etc its more likely to come up in the top half of search results.

Long tail property management keywords

Long Tail keywords a more detailed searcher

If your tenant was to look for a property within a specific complex or road within an area you are much more likely to appear on the top half if not 1st of the search returns. 


Lets say a tenant was looking for an apartment on “Manchester Ave”, they may conduct a search such as “Manchester Ave apartment to let”. This gives you a much higher chance and ability to rank on the top half of search results.

How can you rank on top of the search terms

I would first of all recommend to use YouTube when advertising your properties. By recording a quick and informative property overview, uploading it and listing the property on your letting agency YouTube station with the location name in the video title, descriptive text and keywords you are much more likely to get to the top of search returns.

If fact type in “Manchester Ave apartment to let” into Google and you will see how I have done this with a very simple post. Not only does it come to the top half of the page but a video box displays showing that a video is there. As a result the searcher (tenant) will be drawn to the image.

attracting tenants to your agency

Tenants Database

If attracting tenants to your property management company is what you looking to do then its vital you store the tenants details in a database to use as more suitable properties come on the books. If you want a cutting edge tenants database for free I would be delighted to give you access to one just click here.


Television Licence

Your Television Licence – what do you have to pay?

A television licence is a certificate that states that you have paid the appropriate fee to the government and contributed to the cost of public service broadcasting in Ireland. Your television licence is issued for 1 year in general. If you have a Television you must have a TV Licence. A TV licence In the Republic of Ireland costs €160.


New Television Licence Regulation

However, what if you don’t watch television? Well a new regulation will mean that you have to pay a television license whether you watch it or not.  According to the Independent, “Nobody will be able to refuse to pay the new broadcasting charge on the basis they don’t have a TV as it will be legally binding on all homes regardless of what devices they own.”

The Government is hoping to have this regulation fully in place by January 1, 2015. The cost increase to €160 is to combat the current 18% evasion rate.  The increase in laptops, tablets and PCs is likely to be a cause of people “not watching” television, as they are no longer watching on a television set. However,the definition of a Television set is (Section 140 (1) of the Broadcasting Act 2009):

“television set” means any electronic apparatus capable of receiving and exhibiting television broadcasting services broadcast for general reception ( whether or not its use for that purpose is dependent on the use of anything else in conjunction with it ) and any software or assembly comprising such apparatus and other apparatus.

Despite the digital switchover in 2012, analogue televisions are still required to have a television licence too. All premises at which a TV is located require a TV Licence regardless of its use, therefore businesses need television licences too, even if they only use their television for training purposes.

Do you need a television licence for each television you have?

If the equipment capable of receiving a television signal (for example a television set or a laptop) is held in a household (an apartment, flat or a house), then one television licence will cover multiple pieces of equipment. If you have a television set in your  kitchen and another in your living room, one television licence covers both sets.

Tenants, Landlords  and Letting Agents should take note however that if the building in which the equipment is kept is sub-divided into flats or apartments or other separate living quarters, then a separate television licence must be held for each of these quarters. This means that an individual licence must be held for each separate flat, apartment or other dwelling.

Owners of holiday homes also need separate television licenses for each household.

Who should pay the television licence in rented accommodation?

This is something the landlord and tenant must work out between them. If you are a tenant living in rented accommodation with a television you must have a television licence. This applies irrespective of who owns the television (whether the television belongs to you or the landlord). The law states that anyone resident on a premises in possession of a television set must have a television licence. Most good residential lettings agreements will stipulate who is responsible for the TV licence

According to An Post:

You can buy a television licence in the following ways:

To renew your television licence at the post Office, you’ll need your current TV reference number, which is on the reminder notice sent from the TV Licence section. To avoid delays in Post Offices it is important to bring your reminder notice with you as the notice is scanned at the counter.

Some other things to note:

  • You should receive your TV Licence within 10 working days.
  • If you purchase a TV Licence through the call centre, it will be posted to your address 10 to 14 days after the licence was purchased.
  •  A new 17 digit TV reference number and PIN are generated each year and supplied with your TV Licence reminder notice.
  • First reminders are posted 2 weeks before your TV Licence expires.
  • If you are moving house, it is possible and highly advisable to have your television licence transferred to your new address. Simply bring your existing licence to your nearest Post Office, together with evidence of your new address (that is a household utility bill or a bank statement). Staff in your Post Office will then amend the details on your record and your licence will be updated and re-issued to you. This service is free.
  • If you are aged over 66, are receiving a social welfare pension and nobody in your household is employed or receiving Unemployment Benefit or Unemployment Assistance, you may be entitled to a free television licence.
  • If you believe you may be entitled to a free television licence, you should contact the Department of Social Protection  at LoCall 1890500000 to get an application form for the Households Benefits Package. Fill this in and return it to the Department, Free Schemes Section, Pension Services Office, Freepost, College Rd., Sligo. They will issue the free licence to you.
  • “An inspector is sent to premises if a licence is more than six weeks out of date, if a new record is added to the database which doesn’t have a current licence, and where there are unlicensed addresses.”” (
  • Be sure to print off a receipt of payment if you have paid your Television Licence fee online to show to the TV Licence inspector if you have an inspection prior to receiving your TV Licence in the post. You will also receive an email with a text version of the Transaction Summary (if you have supplied an email address).

People give many reasons for not paying their licence, but they won’t work. And the repercussions can be serious; over 272 people were jailed for not paying the charge in 2012. Some excuses are downright ridiculous

So don’t get caught out!

If you have a query you should contact your local TV Licence Records Office.

Further information can be found at An Post and Citizens Information.

Opening an Account with an Energy Provider


The rules on changing Energy Provider

Recent changes introduced by the Commission for Energy Regulation mean that the process of switching accounts from one energy provider to another can no longer be carried out by a letting agency. The energy provider will only allow the agency to change account into new tenant’s name if they already provide energy to that property. For example; a property in Inchicore, Dublin 8 has an account with Bord Gáis. The new tenants also have an account with Bord Gáis. The agency can switch the account names without any great difficulty.

If the tenant wants to move into a property which has a different energy provider to the one (s)he currently holds an account with and (s)he wants to keep the same provider, (s)he will have to contact the current provider, instead of the agent, to complete the process. Taking the previous example, the Inchicore property has a Bord Gáis account. The new tenant has an Electric Ireland account and wants to stay with Electric Ireland. The agency can no longer switch the Bord Gáis account to Electric Ireland, the tenant must do so. Essentially, switching by the agency is only allowed when the two accounts are with the same energy provider. With different providers, the closing and opening of accounts by the tenant is the only way.

These changes make life more difficult for agents. They have to spend time explaining the process to both the tenants and landlords  and why they can and can’t do certain things. If agents need to discuss or clarify details with the energy provider, they may not be able to as some providers refuse to speak with anyone other the account holder under data protection rules. The agent has to rely on the tenant to do it, which may mean chasing tenants for confirmation and not being able to move on until you know it’s definitely been done. If the tenant refuses to pay a bill, the agency might have to step in and pay it, as there’s an agreement with the landlord that utility accounts will be managed by the agency.

Figures from the regulator show that during the period January 2010 to December 2011, Electric Ireland lost 345,412 customers, with Airtricity and Bord Gáis gaining 257,151 and 77,793 customers respectively. Price competition would be the obvious explanation for the differences.

How to open,  switch or close an account with an energy provider:


To switch (change account name):

-You need the name, address, account number, MPRN/GPRN of the home, move in date, electricity/gas meter readings, date of birth and contact details of the tenant. You’ll need to call Electric Ireland to arrange the switch. If everything is in order, the account will be switched straight away.

To close an account:Contact Electric Ireland with the name, account number, the moving out date, the final meters reading, forwarding address and the new tenant’s name and phone number.

To open an account: Contact Electric Ireland with the name and address, move in date, MPRN/GPRN number, meter readings on move in date, date of birth and account number of previous address.If the tenant is a new customer (s)he must sign up for a direct debit or pay a security deposit if €300.


To switch, open or close an account: you need contact Bord Gáis with the tenant name, old and new addresses, meter readings, MPRN/GPRN numbers and bank details.


To open and close accounts: you need to contact Airtricity with tenant names, old and new addresses, meter readings from move out/move in days, MPRN/GPRN numbers and bank details.

The process of switching or opening and closing accounts varies from provider to provider, as shown above. Further details can be found on,, and

Cost of Renting – 5 costs of renting for Tenants


Cost of Renting –  for Tenants

Cost of Renting #1 – Rent

All tenants have to remember that the rent isn’t the only cost they’ll be facing when they move. The average rental in Dublin, for example, is approximately €950, but as with every other non-rental household there are a number of costs to be covered.

Cost of Renting #2 – Deposit

Most, if not all landlords will look for a deposit before tenants move in. This is usually one month’s rent and may be used to cover repair costs, unpaid rent or utilities at the end of the tenancy. The general rule for all other costs is the user pays, although it is always worth clarifying with the landlord first. These costs include the following:

Cost of Renting #3  – Electricity/Gas

Rates vary between the Electric Ireland (operating as part of the ESB Group), Airtricity and Bord Gáis and may be affected by government policy. Information on the rates can be found on their websites , and . The letting agent can now no longer switch a tenant from one service provider to the another, unless in certain circumstances.

Cost of Renting #4 – TV: 

TV license (at the time of writing) costs €160. A tenant may query why he or she has to pay this instead of the landlord. The answer can be found on the TV license section of the An Post website ( ‘Any person in occupancy at an address where a television set is held is legally responsible for the licensing of the television set regardless of ownership of either the premises or the set itself.’  Similarly, any TV subscriptions to UPC, Sky or any other internet, phone or television company must be paid by the tenant. Costs will vary depending on the package sought. For those who think they can avoid this cost by not having a TV, a proposal exists to launch a broadcasting charge for all households, regardless of whether they have a TV or not.  It covers those who watch programmes on non-traditional media e.g. laptops. The proposal is in the early stages so it’s unclear if it will be passed.

Cost of Renting #5 – Waste:

This applies if the property rented is a house. Recent changes have seen Dublin City Council pass control of waste collection services to Greyhound, a private company. As most readers will know, this changeover has not been a smooth one and there’s much confusion about collection dates and fees. Charges on waste depend on the colour of the bin and size. Our advice is to keep up to date with the situation and discuss with the landlord whether to remain with Greyhound or to switch to another private company.

All of these costs require careful consideration before renting a property. Is it worth renting?