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How to Choose a Good Letting Agent

Most landlords will use a letting agent to find a new tenant and the ongoing management of their property. So how do you go about finding one?

A letting agent will be responsible for both financial and legal matters concerning your property. It is crucial to choose the right one who will find you good tenants and return for your property.

Location Location Location
Most towns will have a number of agents who specialise in lettings. As Letting Agents are unregulated most landlords prefer to use an agent who is a member of a professional body such as ARLA (The Association of Residential Lettings Agents).

It is easier to both find and have your property managed from an agent in the area where your property is located. Nothing beats local knowledge of the area when it comes to both finding tenants and managing your property.

Signing Up
When you have instructed your agent you will be asked to sign a document that details what fees you will be paying and for what services. It goes without saying, read the document carefully, be clear as to what additional charges may be incurred.

Marketing
It is essential that the agent markets your property in both the local press, on their website and that they subscribe to the major property portals such as Right Move and OnTheMarket. They will also have their own database of prospective tenants and be able to advise on what rental you can expect to attain. Voids in the renting out of your property are expensive so a pro-active agent is essential.

Service Level
The agent will offer different levels of service for your property. You may just wish them to find a new tenant for you or you may want everything to do with the property to be managed by them. They can discuss this further with you. If you choose to have your property fully managed ask what date the rent is received by the agents and what date it will be sent to your own account. Landlord and Tenant money should be held by the agents in a separate bank account.

Administration
A professional letting agency will be able to advise on any legislation regarding the letting out of your property and ensure that you meet the legal requirements.

They will collate all paperwork involved with any new tenants. This will involve obtaining references for them, carrying out credit checks, confirming their employment details and ensuring they have the right to work in the UK. The agent will draw up a tenancy agreement and Gas Safety Certificate. They will also need an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate). If the landlord is providing any electrical items these will also need safety certificates.

Deposit Protection
When the agent has found a tenant they will deal with the deposit on the property. It is normally equivalent to 6-8 weeks’ rent. These funds need to be registered with a deposit protection scheme by law. The agent will supply you details as to where the deposit has been registered.

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