Can I Switch Letting Agents?
Has your letting agent let you down? It does happen – not often, thankfully, but there are times when you’d be better getting rid of the current incumbents and changing to someone far more professional.
But how do you go about that? Well, it’s not as difficult as you might think. After all, if the reason you’re getting rid of them is because they failed to do their job properly ie twice they have ignored an emailed maintenance request from your tenants, then you’re on pretty safe grounds. That’s because they haven’t kept up their side of the contract between you both. In which case, they are the ones who have broken it and you are free to find another letting agent without worrying about the ‘bad’ letting agents suing you in court.
Check Your Contract First
Obviously don’t do anything without checking you are in a good legal position first. So, run through the contract. It’s probably fixed for six months to a year and says you must give them notice to terminate. This can be three months but if you are nearing the end of the contract then a couple of months, or even one month, should be sufficient.
Check that there isn’t a clause that states you must pay the letting agent the equivalent of a month’s rent for terminating early.
Benefits of Changing You Letting Agent
Probably the biggest benefit of terminating your contract and finding another, far better, letting agent is that your tenants are likely to take out another lease with you. Certainly, why would they if their maintenance requests go unanswered?
Having to find new tenants at the end of every lease period would be expensive, a worry and just too much hassle every six months or one year. It’s something that, if you are a part-time landlord (ie you already hold down a ‘day job’), that you can well do without because you simply don’t have the time to go looking for new tenants twice a year.
You won’t lose your tenants – even if that letting agent found them for you (and which you probably paid them handsomely for). That’s because the Tenancy Agreement you signed with your tenants is between yourself and them; it has nothing to do with the letting agent contractually. So, if they threaten to take the tenants with them if you cancel, know that they have no legal leg to stand on.
Finding a New Letting Agent as a Landlord
One of the best ways to get signed up with the top letting agent in your area is simply to ask around. What letting agent do other landlords use? Are they happy with the service? Have they been with them. Often word-of-mouth recommendation is one of the best you can get.
It’s possible to quiz other landlords if you’re part of a monthly landlord meet-up group. Alternatively, you could always ask online in one of the many landlord forums. Ask the trade body ARLA Propertymark for a list of letting agents who are accredited with them. That way, at least, they have to abide by a strict code of service when carrying out their duties.
What Happens When I Switch Letting Agent?
Your new letting agent will contact the current one and ask for copies of the records relating to your property. This should be a simple switch. The new letting agents will probably also visit your tenants to let them know they will be dealing with queries in future, and to make sure they have all the contact details. You don’t have to do anything – which is exactly how it should be when you are paying for a letting agency service!
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