Looking after a rented property can be quite a handful. As a property owner, you may want to use your time elsewhere without neglecting your investment. This is where letting agents step in, they take the hard work off your hands and use their expertise to find you, great tenants.
What Do Letting Agents Do?
Essentially, letting agents take some of the burdens from landlords. How much help they provide depends on their agency and services you agree to. There are 3 levels of service you can receive.
Tenant Find – The first and basic tier you can choose is tenant find. As you can guess, this service includes finding tenants for your property. They will first visit your house and take professional photos of your property. From there, they will advertise your property online and in local newspapers. They can also help sort your viewings, perform background checks and create the tenant agreement.
Rent Collection – This option is added to the first tier to include rent. The letting agent will sort the deposit, collect rent, chase arrears and even serve notices if required.
Full Management – In this case a letting agent would handle the entire lettings process from acquiring tenants, collecting rent, handling repairs and managing inventory.
Consider what level of assistance you want when selecting a letting agent.
Check Their Qualifications
It’s worth checking the qualifications of the agency you use. There are several in circulation that you should look out for. These are the ARLA Propertymark and RICS. These industrial credentials can only be earned through studying with a professional board.
To check if your letting agent has one of these qualifications, check their website where they will likely be displaying it. You can also check if they’re a part of the property redress scheme which is a legal requirement for estate and letting agents. This scheme provides customers who are unhappy with the service with a complaint’s procedure. This gives you an extra level of protection.
Look at Their Reviews
Another good idea is to search online for letting agent reviews. You may be able to find the agency’s reviews on their social media of Google business page. There are also dedicated sites for reviews such as TrustPilot. You’ll be able to get a feel for whether the agency is trustworthy from previous landlords’ experiences.
You may even be able to find testimonials on their website. Granted, the agency will only showcase positive reviews, but it should give you an extra idea of the service they provide.
Client Money Protection
Letting agents will handle a fair amount of money whilst managing a property. Client money protection gives the tenant and the landlord protection over these transactions. In the event of fraud, the landlord or tenant will be reimbursed under the scheme.
It is worth checking that your letting agent is a part of this scheme. It shows they have integrity and want to put your mind at ease.
Some letting agents will handle the deposit on behalf of you. There is such a thing as a tenant deposit protection run by the government. This is a scheme that ensures that tenants get their deposit back if they operate as a fair occupant.
When you’re choosing a letting agent, you can ask them for this information. They should be able to present you with a confirmation on request.
Marketing and Advertising
If you want to get a good idea how well your property will be marketed, look at the agency’s previous advertisements. Examine the quality of the previous ads they’ve run, as well as which sites it appeared on.
It is commonplace for properties to be listed on Rightmove and Zoopla. If you cannot find their current properties easily, neither will your prospective tenants.
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