Choosing a good letting agent to advertise and rent your property out can be tricky. As your property is an investment, you’ll no doubt want to minimise costs by finding a good tenant quickly without paying too much for the service. It’s important to remember that a letting agency will be representing you and your property and will be a tenant’s first impression. Below are a few hints and tips on choosing a letting agent that is right for you.
Do your research
A good way to find a suitable letting agent is to get recommendations from landlords you know, as they will give impartial advice. Also, make sure you choose one that is a member of a professional body, like The National Association of Estate Agents, The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, or The Association of Residential Letting Agents. To see whether an agent would be right for you, search agent listings to see if they handle similar properties to yours. From there, you can enquire about their success rates.
Next, decide whether you want an agent to oversee the whole rental agreement and term or if you just need help finding a suitable tenant. Most agencies will offer both services so weigh up the pros and cons and ask about prices, packages and the terms and conditions involved. Find out as much as you can about what they can do, what properties they have and how they have dealt with other landlords. They will be charging a fee for their services so make sure you are 100% happy with them.
What type of tenant do you want? Let agents know if you’re looking for families or single professionals so they can advertise your property accordingly. It could be worth using a number of agents to help, as some operate on a ‘no let, no fee’ basis. You can then hire the agent who finds you a tenant first.
Check whether the agent has professional indemnity insurance, which will cover them against the cost of claims for inaccurate advice or negligence. They should also have client money protection, which will protect the tenant and landlord if the agent misuses the rent or deposit.
Depending on what service you need, an agent will usually charge up to 15% of the rental price. Make sure you read over all documents and forms carefully to ensure you’re aware of any extra charges made.
The cost of hiring a letting agent will be ongoing so ensure you have budgeted for this, especially if you are using their full management service.
As of 27 May 2015, letting agents are required by the Consumer Rights Act 2015 to publicise all fees, charges or penalties payable by you or your tenant in connection with letting agency work. (Rent, deposits – apart from holding deposits – and certain third party fees are excluded.)
Letting agents are now to be regulated
Letting agents are now required by law to join redress schemes like the Property Ombudsman in order to better protect tenants and landlords. The government have made amendments to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill which can now enable tenants and landlords to complain if they receive poor service or unfair charges. Previously, letting agents could sign up to redress schemes voluntarily, meaning many agencies were not regulated.
For more information on buy to let and becoming a landlord, visit the Becoming a landlord page of this site, within the Landlord Advice Centre. If you’re looking for finance to fund a buy to let property, check out our buy to let bridging loan rate section.