Choose the right letting agent
Sat, Sep 01, 2018
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 a good return for your property.
Location, location, location
Your town will most likely 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 by an agent near to where your property is located, particularly as their local knowledge will be crucial when finding tenants and managing your property.
When your agent has advised what rental income you can expect you may wish to proceed. When you've instructed an agent you will be asked to sign a document that details what services you will receive and what fees you'll be paying. It goes without saying, read the document carefully, be clear as to what additional charges may be incurred.
The agent will offer different levels of service for your property. You may just need them to find a new tenant for you, or you may want your property to be completely managed by them. They can discuss this with you; if you choose to have your property fully managed understand what date the rent is received by the agents and what date it will be sent to your account. Landlord and Tenant money should always be held by the agent in a separate bank account.
It is essential that your agent markets your property on their website and that they subscribe to the major property portals. Your agent will also have their own database of prospective tenants which they regularly communicate with, matching them to properties like yours as they become available. Voids in renting out your property are expensive, so a pro-active agent is essential.
A professional letting agency will be able to advise on all legislation regarding the rental of your property and ensure that you meet all the necessary legal requirements. They will collate all paperwork involved with new tenants, including obtaining references for them; carrying out credit checks; confirming their ID and employment details. The agent will draw up a tenancy agreement and Gas Safety Certificate. They will also need an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate), and if you are providing any electrical items these will also need safety certificates.
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.