How to Choose a Great Letting Agency
If you’re a first-time landlord then it’s natural that, as well as doing your own research, you’d like to think you’d be guided by your letting agent too.
After all, they can help you keep in line with legislation (ie tenancy deposits and making sure you have all the necessary certificates for gas, electricity and EPC).
And, in many cases, that’s exactly how it goes. But not always. Like other sectors of industry, you get good and bad professionals. So, how do you know your letting agent is one of the good ones? Well, here’s the Property Loop guide to dealing with a decent letting agent:
Will You Use Them For Property Management Too?
It might be that you want to do the landlord duties, such as look after repairs and maintenance etc, yourself. If so then you’ll only need the letting agent to market your property, find a tenant, do the reference checking, draft up the tenancy agreement and maybe even lodge the tenant’s deposit for you. They may also collect the first month’s rent. Then you’re flying on your own.
If you already work full-time and your property’s quite far from where you live then it might be an idea to consider using your letting agent’s property management services too. Most offer this, and for many landlord’s it’s a Godsend. It will probably cost you from 10% to 14% of your monthly rental (15% in London). but if you don’t have the time – or inclination – then it’s definitely worth it. You can always negotiate the price after a few years.
Do You Need a property Manager?
The Tenant Fees Bill in 2019 banned letting agents from charging tenant’s fees to renew a lease, check the inventory etc. It’s believed many letting agents will try to put these extra costs onto the landlord instead. Check that isn’t the case by getting your letting agent to outline exactly what you will be charged. Ideally, get an agent who offers ‘no let, no fee’ so that you’re not being charged during void periods.
Are They a Member of a Professional Trades Body?
You will want your letting agent to be a member of either the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS), or one of its official supporting bodies (ARLA Propertymark, RICS and NAEA). These all issue strict codes of conduct for letting agents but more important for you – they sign up to a client money protection scheme.
It’s also important to make sure your letting agent is registered with the Property Ombudsman Service or Property Redress Scheme, in case of a dispute. They should also have professional indemnity insurance.
How Will They Market Your Property?
Will they put it on Rightmove and Zoopla? Do they have a list of possible tenants already? Will your property be advertised in the local newspaper? Make sure you know what exactly they’ll do for you.
Can you contact them outside of office hours?
If you can’t contact the letting agent in the evening or weekends then chances are your tenants won’t be able to either. And that’s no good if there’s an emergency repair or you want to chat over a potential issue.
Looking for an online property agent you can trust? Then get in touch with the team here at propertyloop.co.uk.
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