So what should you look for when choosing a letting agent, I’ve listed 10 points below;
Do they belong to a client money protection scheme?
A reputable letting agent should be able to demonstrate that they belong to a Client Money Protection scheme. This ensures that clients’ money is protected. Remember – as a statutory requirement, all landlord and tenant money should be held in a Client Account which exists separately from the letting agent’s general bank account.
Are they a member of a professional body?
A good letting agent should be a member of a nationally recognised and approved body. Surprisingly (at the moment) there is no requirement for a letting agent to be regulated or trained to a certain level. That said, lots of agencies have voluntarily accepted regulation under a Code of Conduct and/or committed to ongoing training under a lettings industry specialist training body. The main professional and/or training bodies to look out for are:
– The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA Propertymark)
– National Approved Letting Scheme
– The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
– The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA Propertymark)
– Guild of Letting and Management
Are they registered with an approved tenancy deposit scheme?
With a rent collection or fully managed service, letting agents are liable for matters concerning the security deposit that is paid at the start of the tenancy. As this money is held by the agent on behalf of the landlord, it must, by law, be registered with one of the following government-approved tenancy deposit schemes: Deposit Protection Service, MyDeposits or Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Ask your prospective agent for details of the scheme they use and for confirmation that the deposit has been registered.
Are they registered with a letting agent redress scheme?
The letting agent you use must be a member of one of three property redress schemes: The Property Ombudsman (TPO), The Property Redress Scheme or the Ombudsman Services Property Scheme. Letting agent redress schemes provide a free, independent service for resolving potential disputes between yourself and your agent. Through the scheme, letting agents must cooperate with any investigation and, if applicable, comply with any orders to pay you compensation, pay a fine or put
How do they handle repairs and maintenance?
Every property inevitably needs some maintenance now and then. You should get confirmation that your letting agent will carry out regular inspections to ensure the tenant is keeping the property in good order and to check if there are any issues. In the case of urgent problems, many agencies will have a list of contractors to use. They will then organise quotes and coordinate work up to a prearranged financial limit.
Are they organised when it comes to paperwork?
A professional lettings agency should be able to handle all the paperwork involved in a letting. They should be ready to take up references on new tenants, carry out credit checks, confirm the tenant’s employment details and check that the tenant has the right to rent in the UK. The agent will draw up the tenancy agreement and collate the required gas and electrical safety certificates. Agents can also obtain an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for the property. This must be given to any prospective tenant.
Do they have a good marketing strategy?
A letting agent has to be able to effectively market your property. Most agents will have their own website or occasionally advertise in the local press. It’s also worth looking at the agencies’ online listings on websites such as Rightmove as well as the emails sent to the past and current rental database.
Do they screen tenants?
A letting agent should do their best to screen potential tenants. It is worth asking if the agency has a system for checking prospective tenants, focusing on the key areas of credit rating, past rental history and current employment. It’s also worth asking an agent to outline the company’s rent collection policy and whether they enforce late fees. This could save you a lot of trouble down the line
Can they demonstrate good knowledge of the local area?
It is essential that your agent has a good understanding of similar properties in your area as well as the rents that they are achieving. This will ensure that you get the best rental price for your property – the letting agent will know what the going rate is and be able to filter and negotiate with potential tenants to secure that amount for you.
Do they have a comprehensive reporting system in place?
Having a clear line of communication between landlord and tenant is important, especially when it comes to a fully managed service. Look to use a letting agent who offers a clear level of reporting as part of their fully managed service.
We believe it’s important you have access to all the relevant information in one place, especially with more legislation now governing the private rented sector than ever before. Our industry is still yet to be regulated. Unlike other agents Kavanagh & Co are Propertymark ARLA qualified meaning we must adhere to strict rules and have all areas of our business assessed and inspected on a regular basis.
I hope you have found this information useful and would welcome the opportunity to listen to your requirements.