Advice for Landlords
Letting out a property can be a confusing time, especially with legislation changing regularly in the industry. It is vitally important that you make the right decisions and are happy with those that you make.
To assist you with this we have put together the guide below which is designed to assist you in choosing the correct Letting Agent for you.
Always choose an agent that is a member of a Professional Body. These are:
- The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA)
- The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA)
- The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
You should also ensure that they are registered with a Property Redress Scheme such as The Property Ombudsman.
It is strongly recommended that you choose an agent who subscribes to The Client Money Protection Scheme (which is a compensation scheme run by the National Federation of Property Professionals (NFOPP). This scheme provides compensation to landlords, tenants and other clients should an agent misappropriate their rent, deposit or other client funds.
Make a decision whether you would like the agent to simply find you a tenant (tenant find only) or fully manage your property (Fully Managed).
It is absolutely vital that you check the contract before you sign it. There are agents in the marketplace who may require you to give as much as six months’ notice to cancel the agreement. You should expect to have a notice period but it is suggested that two months is reasonable.
You will be amazed how the Landlord agreement and fee structures can vary. The best advice would be to select an agent with an explicit charging structure.
Satisfy yourself that your agent will arrange, or at the very least, remind you that the annual gas safety check is due if your property is being managed by them. This is too an important task for it to be forgotten by either the Landlord or the Agent!
Ensure that the agent will check that the property meets all other standards such as furniture, fittings, electrical fittings comply with current regulations. It is also important that the property complies with the HMO regulations including licencing.
Ensure that your agent of choice will deal with queries from the tenants and they are set up to arrange for routine repairs and maintenance. It is suggested that they are allowed to spend up to a specified limit on this but this is something you should discuss with them so that each party knows what to expect of each other. You may even wish to instruct your own contractors.
Ensure that your agent has set up Emergency Reporting Measures for any emergency issue that may occur out of working hours. A responsible agent should have emergency telephone numbers both on their website and on their out of hours telephone system.
Ensure that the agent you choose is capable of giving your fully compliant rental statements both monthly and annually. These statements are vital when it comes to filling in your end of year tax return.
It is strongly recommended that the agent you instruct conducts quarterly inspections of your property, preferably with photographic evidence. These inspections will ensure that it is being kept in a safe and compliant manner and assists the agent in identifying any problems such as damp, batteries removed from smoke detectors / CO2 detectors and so on.
Enquire as to whether the agent has an in-house Complaints Procedure. A credible agent should have a copy available to Landlords and Tenants both in their office and on their website.
Although the temptation may be to choose an online agent, it is important to select an agent where they have a high street presence.
Without an agent you may miss out on vital foot-fall when tenants visit offices to find a property. It is also important to have somewhere to visit if you want some “face to face” interaction.
Do your homework, do not simply choose the best headline rate as you may regret it in the long run.
Further information can be found out about renting out your property on the Government website by clicking here