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Landlords Must Consider This When Choosing The Perfect Letting Agent In 2023

Whether you’re looking to become a landlord for the first time or already have a property portfolio, having a good letting agent on your side is essential to your success.

The problem is that the increasing popularity of investing in rental properties has brought with it a plethora of poor quality agents. Many of these so-called ‘experts’ are only interested in taking your money, which of course you want to avoid. So how can you separate the wheat from the chaff? This handy list of tips should help you do just that!

The Essential Things All Landlords Should Consider!

1. Check Their Accreditation

The first thing to look out for is whether or not the landlord of your choice is a member of the National Approved Letting Scheme. Any self-respecting agent belongs to this scheme and should indicate their affiliation in any documentation they send you. Remember that letting agents do not have to be regulated by law. So you should choose those who proactively participate in schemes that prove their seriousness.

Other reputable professional associations you should look out for are:

  1. The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA)
  2. The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA)
  3. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

There are also other schemes you should look out for. Check that the agency you are considering is a SAFEagent. This means they belong to the Client Money Protection (CMP) Scheme, which protects your money and is officially recognised by the government. Membership of the Property Ombudsman gives you extra peace of mind as it ensures that both you and your property are always fully protected.

2. Check Their Insurance Status

While the Client Money Protection Scheme is very helpful, you should still make sure that your new letting agent has the right insurance cover. Find out if they have professional indemnity insurance and how much they are insured for. Professional indemnity insurance covers the agent in the unlikely event that they are sued, but it is also a solid indicator of a properly run business.

3. Check That Their Service Matches Your Requirements & Needs

The services offered by letting agencies can vary, so it is important to check whether the agent’s offer is suitable for you. The first step is to know what you want from your agency. So take the time to explore your requirements before making enquiries. Do you want to take your business into your own hands? Or would you prefer someone to manage your property for you? Every landlord has different requirements and only you can answer the question of how involved you want to be.

Knowing what level of service you need will help you make the right decision for your business. Many agents offer a three-tiered list of service options that will look something like this:

Rental Only – Perfect for landlords who view their investments as their primary source of income and main business. Professional landlords have the time and knowledge to manage their properties themselves, so rent-only is often the preferred option for them.

Rent Collection – Some landlords are happy to take care of the day-to-day aspects of property management, but want to keep their hands off when it comes to the financial side of things. Rent collection is perfect for this type of investor. It’s also worth bearing in mind that many tenants will prefer payments to an agent over a private individual. This is mainly because they know that agents will immediately collect missed or late payments.

Full Management – This highest level of service is the ideal choice for those who want an investment that practically manages itself. A dedicated management team takes care of all the day-to-day tasks associated with being a landlord, giving you the freedom to do what you want!

4. Do They Deal With All Of The Innevatable ‘Legal Stuff’

As a landlord, it’s not so easy to buy a property and find a tenant because there are also some legal requirements that you need to meet. Things like gas and electrical safety regulations need to be considered as well as the Right to Rent review that came into force in February 2016. Meeting these legal requirements can be a real headache for the uninitiated. Therefore, it is important to find a letting agent who will take care of this for you if you want to be 100% sure that your business remains compliant throughout the tenancy.

5. Assess Their Property Marketing Strategy

An empty flat is every landlord’s worst nightmare. That’s why it’s important to be confident that your letting agent will do everything in their power to find a suitable tenant – and quickly. While any letting agent will make promises to this effect, there are ways you can check for yourself. Pay attention to how the agent markets other properties they already have on offer. Do they rely solely on a particular form of advertising? If so, it is likely that he is not reaching the widest possible audience in your area. Good letting agents are present everywhere, from the high street to social media.

6. Ensure That They Check On Tenants & Property

It’s unfortunate, but a fact: some tenants do not look after a property as if it were their own – even though they have to live there! Good letting agents screen potential tenants before placing them in your property, reducing the likelihood that you will end up with a tenant from hell. It’s also worth asking how regularly the agent will inspect the property during the tenancy. Staying on top of things and carrying out regular inspections will help you keep your tenant in line and ensure that your investment is always in good condition.

7. Check ALL Fees & Charges

As for fees, the amount you’re expected to pay can vary widely from agent to agent. Make sure you’re aware of all the fees involved so you don’t get any nasty surprises later. These may include:

  • Vacancy fees
  • Individual service fees (e.g. for drawing up contracts, inventories, etc.)
  • Renewal commissions
  • Management fees
  • Agency fees (these are incurred if you decide to sell to the tenant and can be charged whether or not you go through the letting agent for the sale)

While you should definitely pay attention to the fees you’re being charged, it’s equally important to look at the bigger picture when making your final decision. If you choose the cheapest letting agent for this reason alone, it can lead to problems. So make sure the level of service is right too. As with so many things in life, when looking for the right letting agent, you often get what you pay for.

8. Check Policy On Maintenance & Repairs & Home Emergencies

Should you opt for full management, it is essential to find out exactly how your agent will deal with any repairs or general maintenance that may be required to keep your property in good condition. Good, established estate agents will have a ‘book’ of reliable contractors to deal with any issues that may arise.

9. Check Their Reviews & Ratings

The final check you need to make is what others are saying about the agent. The best way to find out about an is if you know someone who has used them in the past. Word-of-mouth is a strong endorsement of a agent’s credibility and can give you great peace of mind when making your final decision. These days, however, you do not necessarily have to rely on recommendations from friends and family. The internet is a good place to do your research.

Find Reviewed & Approved Rental Market Providers, Suppliers & Services, including reviews for all major letting agents right here on RentalMarket.org – the biggest forum for rental market reviews in the UK.

Keeping these nine points in mind before choosing a letting agent will help you make the most informed decision possible. If the agent meets all of the above points and you feel that you can work with them, you can probably assume that you are in good hands.

If you are thinking of letting your property in East London or West Essex, you should definitely shortlist Petty Son and Prestwich. We have been operating in the area for over 100 years and know the local property market like no other. Come along and have a chat with us, or get in touch with the office nearest you by phone or email. We look forward to speaking with you.