8th January 2020
Here’s a question for you – how important is it to employ an agency and what can landlords get out of it?
If you’ve ever had the stress of self-managing your properties, you’ll know that there are huge merits in having a good letting agent to take care of things such as contracts, credit checks, inventories, and all of the points of legislation that go along with rentals.
Over recent years, there has been a significant growth in the private lettings sector, which makes it more important than ever for landlords to not only find the right letting agent, but to know what they can offer in terms of service. And striking up a good relationship with your agent is key in getting the most for your money.
Why do I need a letting agent to manage my properties?
The purpose of a good letting agent should be to eliminate stress for both landlords and tenants, by making the process of renting a property as easy as possible.
As a self-managed landlord, it is vitally important that you know about all of the key legislation, such as the newly approved Tenant Fee Ban, deposit protection, and the Immigration Act, as well as health and safety issues, including up to date gas certificates and electrical checks. If you fail to comply with any one piece of legislation, you could be facing fines, and even imprisonment.
By employing a letting agent to fully manage your property, you are safeguarding yourself, your property, and your reputation, as well as having peace of mind that they have worked hard to find the right tenant, and that the rent is paid on time.
And from the tenants’ point of view, they are assured that they are protected during the term of their tenancy, are aware of their rights, and have a point of contact if anything goes wrong. So you are eliminating those late night phone calls when your tenant encounters a problem!
What should I look for in an agent?
You need to decide from the offset what it is you need from your agent. Most agents will offer a range of services for landlords, including a tenant finding service, and fully-managed. Be aware that if you opt not to pay an agent to fully-manage your property, then you as the landlord will be fully responsible for drawing up all the required paperwork, including inventories and contracts, as well as taking full ownership of ensuring that you are compliant with all relevant laws and regulations. If you are not able to put in the time to learn all about the laws and regulations surrounding letting a property, or don’t want the stress or responsibility of organising regular checks for things such as gas safety, electrical checks, PAT testing for appliances etc. then perhaps you’d be better off looking for a service which will cover you for all of that.
A fully-managed service also means that the agent will deal with all of the day to day issues, such as general maintenance, complaints, and rent collection. So if anything goes wrong, your agent will act as the contact for your tenants, and will be able to sort out any issues on your behalf.
Once you have decided the level of service you want, begin by researching local letting agents. If you have connections with other local landlords, ask them for recommendations, and look for online reviews. Compare what they offer, as well as their fees, and check out that they have the required memberships and money protection schemes.
I’m not happy with my current agency service – what should I do?
Firstly, try talking to them – is it just that you have bought into the wrong service? It could be that you’re with the right agency, but simply need to renegotiate the service you’re getting. But if that’s not the case, and you think you’re with the wrong agency for you, there’s no shame in shopping around for a new one. The purpose of employing an agent is to take the stress off you, and if you don’t feel that they’re pulling their weight, then move on.