The most important things you must look for when choosing a letting agent

Mon, Oct 14, 2019

If you’re a landlord ready to rent out your property, or a tenant looking for a place to call home, would you know which agent is likely to help you – and  which would not only break the law, but maybe demand fees they’re not entitled to claim?

According to London Trading Standards almost HALF of the lettings agents they had investigated over the fifteen months up to June this year were non-compliant with current laws.

Under laws passed this year it is a legal requirement that client money must be held in a separate account and covered by an approved Client Money Protection Scheme. The amount of money which can be taken as a deposit is now limited (for most tenancies this will be limited to the equivalent of five weeks’ rent), and information must be given to anyone handing over a deposit regarding how it will be held and protected.

So, how can you be sure your agent is operating within the law and will work with integrity on your behalf?

Ask for proof that your agent is a member of an approved scheme. This should be clearly shown in their office and on their website
Agents in England and Scotland are now no longer allowed to charge fees for arranging a tenancy for a new tenant – if you apply for the tenancy of a property you must not be charged for referencing, inventories, Right to Rent checks, administration costs, guarantors or even pets (changes made to existing tenancies might incur some, capped, charges) The very limited circumstances in which fees can be charged must, again, be clearly shown in the agents office and on their website, along with information regarding how you can seek redress if you have a complaint.

If you agree to pay fees to an agent who demands them it won’t put you ‘to the top of the queue’ – it means you are dealing with an agent with no respect for the law and probably not for you
We still hear from our clients about other agents who continue to charge tenant fees, hold back deposit monies or fail to pay across rent collections, and offer poor service standards

Choose a letting agent showcasing the ARLA propertymark
It shows that the agent works to the standards set by its own professional body. Staff will be trained in Lettings with a full knowledge of, and working strictly within, the law regarding property letting. This is vital for landlords, where non compliance with laws regarding property safety can result in a criminal sentence and fines. It’s important for tenants too, who need to know that the property they’re renting is safe and their money and rights respected and protected.

Andrew Grant lettings team are ARLA trained and have an in-depth knowledge of property letting legislation and procedure. Our years of experience are there to advise both tenant and landlord.

Find out how we can help - call our dedicated Lettings department on 0330 22 11 222 or email them with any questions you have