Marketing Assistance for Managing Agents - How Unipol can help
Introduction to Unipol
Unipol is a charity, established in 1975 in Leeds and in Bradford in 2002, to help students find the best housing they can, to drive up standards and be a beacon of good practice for other housing suppliers. Unipol is dedicated to promoting high quality student accommodation that’s affordable. Unipol's operations are not for profit, which means no profit is taken from our operations and all monies received are invested back into the organisation in the form of services for students and tenants.
An exceptional service for managing agents
As landlords we all know that the student rental market is continually changing, particularly over the last 5 years. We are now operating in a surplus market and it is getting increasingly challenging to let our properties. Flexibility and effective marketing are central to a successful let and Unipol is committed to assisting you to achieve this. The information here will illustrate how we can help you, through the services we offer, maximise the exposure of your property(ies) to your target audience in the most effective way.
Why advertise with Unipol?
Unipol is a unique organisation in a unique position within the Bradford student letting market. Over the last two decades Unipol has continued to develop and expand its relationships with the Bradford University, Bradford College and their Student Unions and a number of colleges. In practice these relationships mean that students are recommended to use the Unipol service above all others to secure their accommodation and all of our publicity is welcomed on their premises.
Providing the best access to over 30,000 students every year
Unipol actively works with all institutions to make sure that students are equipped with the necessary skills to choose their properties wisely. Every student in halls will receive house hunting information produced by Unipol, delivered by their institution, to help them make the best choice for them and their group.
- Last year there were more than 3.5 million hits and 600,00 page impressions on the web site, this shows it is used by most students;
- So far this year over 37,000 actual searches have been carried out up to July 2011;
- Independent research has shown that around 84% of students with a housing requirement use Unipol's site as their starting point for finding houses;
- The site carries details of around 2,000 bed spaces each year to help students who want to live in the private sector;
The Unipol website
What we provide is a very well used and attractive website, where you can display details of your properties with photographs, EPCs and room plans with space for extra information. Your adverts will be displayed clearly and students will be able to select a link that will take them to a dedicated page detailing lots of information about your agency and the services you provide. In addition the website offers an online service, providing access to a set of tools which will allow you to manage your rentals more efficiently. These include publishing tools to upload images, information about your properties and advice on how to be a better landlord.
Not just a website
Although Unipol aims to centralise as many private sector vacancies on our website as possible to allow for transparency, comparability and no hidden bias we do use many advertising methods to help you let your properties.
The Unipol Tabloid
Unipol produce and circulate a tabloid at the start of housing hunting to all University and Private Halls of Residence and over 1,400 properties in the BD7 area. The tabloid gives students useful information and details of properties that meet the Unipol Code. In Leeds a recent accommodation survey conducted by Leeds University Union, it was found to be the best read and most useful housing publication. The 2007 tabloid helped to generate a 98% rise in property searches in January alone. This is further evidence of our commitment to you, to develop the service and make Unipol’s site the one site that you cannot afford not to advertise on. To advertise in the tabloid please contact the Bureau.
Unipol is continuously exploring new ways to reach students to inform them about our service and about our landlords. We use plasma screens in public spaces within the institutions we serve to further communicate our message.
Students receive information by email and through their logins at University. Only Unipol with its established relationships with the institutions in Leeds can get this level of access to the whole student body.
The Supporter of the Code for Managing Agents
Unipol is committed to improving standards in student housing and does this primarily through promoting accreditation to landlords, managing agents and to students. The institutions and their student unions will be advising students to give priority to landlords and managing agents signed up to the Unipol Code when deciding which properties to view. There is a marketing advantage to being associated with the Code; it offers you guidance about what you should do; it promotes good practice and makes it easier for students to find a safe and secure property.
When you advertise with Unipol and join the Code or become a Supporter of the Code you are making a choice to be recognised as a landlord or agent that is committed to continuing improvement in student housing standards. Students will look to you as having properties that exceed national health and safety requirements. Students are using the Unipol website more than any other in Bradford and especially to look at properties that are covered by the Code
Supporter of the Code status
If you are a managing agent then you will be able to join a special scheme that means you become a "Supporter of the Code" where you seek to encourage your owners to meet the standards in the Code. It is fine, in this case, to join individual properties. If you can join all your properties then you will become as fully accredited as any owner who has joined the full Code of Standards.
Unipol wishes to encourage and support all managing agencies to participate in accreditation by being members of the Unipol Code but acknowledges the practicalities for different types of managing agents in ensuring that their owners' properties can fully comply. This status allows us to reward good managing agents who are making every effort to ensure as many of their properties as possible meet the standards of the Code.
Becoming a Supporter of the Code
To join as a supporter of the Code you will need to give an undertaking to draw the attention of the Code to all of your owners and will seek to persuade them to join. you will also provide information about the Code (which will be supplied by Unipol) to all your existing and potential owners.
If you are willing to annually sign up to a protocol to this effect you will automatically be designated, by Unipol, as a “Supporter of the Unipol Code” and this will be recognised in Unipol's publications and on our web site when marketing properties. This will give you a marketing advantage and students will know that you are working towards achieving the highest standards in student accommodation.
What you get from using Unipol to advertise your porfolio
The Unipol package
- Access to more than 8,000 students using Unipol's service;
- Advice and assistance from Unipol's staff and use of the Bureau;
- Full colour web display of your properties including a photograph;
- Access to all of Unipol's information on tenancies, deposits, repairs and developments in housing that are likely to effect you;
- The opportunity to purchase cheap legal stationary;
- Invitations to special events;
- Invitations to landlord training events;
- Use of the online facility for entering adverts, making amendments and adding interior photographs;
The Code of Standards package (this includes all of the above and the extras below):
- Any properties that meet the Code are displayed ahead of other properties on the Web with a blue banding showing the Code icon;
- All managing agents that become supporters of the Code will have their name detailed on a special membership list, where students will then be able to link through to that agent’s current properties;
- Opportunity to join the starred status, where properties that meet the Code are awarded stars to represent their amenity level;
- Invitations to special "Code only" events, including an annual briefing offering you important up to date information on what is happening in the student property market;
- Free merchandise available to distribute to your tenants that are in Code properties;
- Opportunity to advertise those properties that meet the Code in a tabloid newspaper to be widely distributed in partnership with both universities, colleges and their student unions respectively. This will be distributed in February 2012.
Additional Services for all owners using Unipol
- Floor plans – training on how to create floor plans. Unipol intend to display these on adverts;
- Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) information – how to get one, how to display this on your advert;
- Model tenancy generator – landlords can create Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreements free of charge using an online generator. These tenancy agreements can also be purchased in the bureau for a small fee;
- Owner training – recent training events have included the new Housing Act, HHSRS and the introduction and use of EPCs;
- Additional training courses – This year Unipol will be offering training to landlords on how to produce tenancy agreements using the online generator and how to upload photographs to adverts;
- Online access, giving landlords greater control over their adverts
You are welcome at Unipol
At Unipol we look forward to discussing how we can help market your properties to the students in Bradford. Unipol will support your agency throughout the letting experience, including advice on how to get the most from your adverts and advice on recent legislation and how it will affect you.
Please contact us now to make an appointment to visit our office so we can show you in more detail why many landlords and agencies in Leeds are already using our service successfully to let their properties. Alternatively we are happy to visit you if this is more convenient. We look forward to working with you.
For all enquiries about the Unipol service for managing agents please contact:
Accommodation Bureaux Services Manager
Tel: 0113 243 0169
155-157 Woodhouse Lane