This top tip guide is to help you find the right professional letting agent for you.
How to choose a Letting Agent
The growth of Buy-to-Let is getting stronger increasing the popularity of rental property as a long term investment. 20% of households were renting in the private sector in 2015-2016, that has more than doubled since the 1980's/ 1990's. Since 2000 2.5 million more households now rent.
Most landlords will appoint an agent to handle the rental. There are a considerable number of letting agents. Given that the agent will be responsible for financial and legal matters you need to make sure you are happy with the agent you choose.
It makes sense to use a letting agent that is located in the same area as the rental property. Most towns have more than a few lettings specialists to choose form. You should always look out for agents who are members of a property professional body. For example Dinsdales Estates are member of Safeagent and ARLA Property Mark. You should look out for these agents as they follow codes of professional conduct and have proper protection schemes to protect the money of landlords and tenants.
Most letting agents offer more than one level of service. Find a Tenant Only means that the landlord will be undertaking the day-to-day management for the letting but the agency will ensure all the legalities are covered up until it getting passed back to the landlord to manage. Full management service is when the agency takes care of everything. The agency will keep you up to date with the property without it being a stress to you.
A professional letting agency will handle all the paperwork involved in letting. Credit checks, referencing, employment details and right to rent in the UK. The agent will draw up the tenancy agreement and gather required certificates: EPC, Gas Safety and EICR.
Before instructing you may want to ask where the agent advertises. Dinsdales Estates advertise on our own website, Rightmove, On the Market, One Dome, Our window display and Facebook. Check that they have tenants on their books of all interests as this may help speed the process.
- Client Money Protection
Letting agents handle deposits, rents and any money to pay maintenance invoices. You need to be certain your money is safe. Professional agencies need to demonstrate that they use a client money protection scheme. In the extremely rare event of a fraud, the tenant and Landlord will be reimbursed for any loss. All landlord and tenant money should be held in a Client Account, separate from the agents general bank account.
- Deposit Law
If you choose the full management service from an agent, they should be able to deal with matters concerning the security deposit that is paid by the tenant at the start of the tenancy. A deposit can be anything up to 5 weeks rent and is held by the agent on behalf of the landlord as a safeguard in case any damages that have been done to the property. By law deposits must be registered with a government approved tenancy deposit scheme. Dinsdales Estates use MyDeposits.
- Safety Legalisation
There's pieces of legalisation in place to protect the safety of Tenants. To be compliant with the law before renting a property out you need a valid Energy Performance Certificate, a Valid Gas Safety and a valid Electrical Installation Condition Report. Whilst good letting agents will handle these matters for you, it's the legal responsibility of the Landlord.
- Repairs and Maintenance
Every property needs looking after. Ask the letting agent if they carry out regular inspections. Dinsdales Estates do property inspections every 6 months and report this back to the Landlord. Inspections are to make sure the property is in good working condition. Regarding repairs a lot of landlords get the agent to pay the invoice out of the incoming rent.