What to Look for in a Letting Agent
Many Landlords underestimate the amount of work associated with managing a property. Since many Landlords buy property for investment purposes and still have full time jobs, it’s often a balancing act. This is why it’s best to use the services of a professional Letting Agent. It helps the tenancy runs as smoothly as possible, whilst ensuring your investment is still making you a profit.
To help Landlords ensure they choose the right Letting Agent, we have listed the criteria that you should check:
Ensure the Letting Agent Trades From Retail Premises and aren’t home based
This confirms the agent’s establishment. It also gives potential tenants the confidence that they are dealing with a reputable business and not a one-man band. Often home based businesses operate below the radar and may not be compliant with the Local Trading Standards guidelines. Additionally, they may not have adequate professional indemnity insurance.
Ensure the Letting Agent has Considerable Experience
Recently we have seen a purge of Estate Agents stuck for cash flow move into Lettings out of desperation. This is often without any concrete experience in the industry.
Ensure the Letting Agent is Established and has a Decent Sized Managed Portfolio
This in itself will illustrate satisfied customers. A good agent will manage well in excess of 250 properties as well as having a good selection of property available.
Ensure the Letting Agent is a member of a relevant trade association or accreditation scheme. Recognised ones includes ARLA or The Property Ombudsman. As a member of one of these schemes the Agent must adhere to strict codes of practice.
Ensure the Letting Agent is a Member of an Approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme
The ultimate responsibility for this lies with the Landlord and penalties for not securing a deposit correctly are usually three times the value of the deposit held.
Ensure the Letting Agent Advertises in the Right Places
Professional Letting Agents have access to the relevant advertising resources to ensure effective marketing of the property, as well as a large database of prospective Tenants, so properties can be let as quickly as possible. When choosing a Letting Agent ensure they use the correct media for advertising online. Professional Letting Agents use subscription property uploading portals such as ‘Rightmove and Property Finder’. Unfortunately some unscrupulous Agents will try to do things economically and advertise on free website’s which usually attract the wrong type of Tenants.
Ensure the Letting Agent is up to Date With Current Legislation
Lettings Agents should have good knowledge of legal procedures, as well as access to legal notices. This means the Landlord is covered for any eventuality that may occur during the Tenancy. Again, this is often not the case when Landlords deal with home-based operations or Estate Agents new to lettings.
Ensure the Letting Agent has the Support of a Network of Qualified Tradespeople
If something goes wrong with the property, then speed is of the essence. This is especially true when a Tenant is in situ. Therefore it is paramount that the Letting Agent has a network of qualified and trusted tradespeople. Prices should be competitive for maintenance as well as additional services such as Gas Safety Certificates and Energy Performance Certificates. These are legal requirements.
Chose an Experienced Letting Agent
Ensure the Lettings Agent carries out opening Inventories, regular property inspections and move-out inventories. So many don’t! It’s paramount that whoever you appoint to manage your property protects your investment.
Advice from Landlords
Another good pointer is if the Letting Agents also owns rental properties themselves. If they do, they will have first hand experience from both sides of the fence. Equally, they will be able to offer guidance on which type of properties, and areas, are the most popular with Tenants.