Finding The Right Letting Agent

If you own a rental property in the UK, finding a good letting agent is essential to ensure the smooth running of your property investment. A letting agent can help you find tenants, manage your rental property, collect rent, and handle all the paperwork associated with renting out your property.

However, with so many letting agents available in the UK, it can be challenging to find the right one. In this blog post, we will explore how to choose the right letting agent in the UK, including the use of the National Approved Letting Scheme, client money protection schemes, and other essential factors.

Choosing the best letting agent

A good letting agent can help you maximize your rental income, minimize your risks, and save you time and hassle. A bad letting agent, on the other hand, can cause you numerous headaches, such as finding bad tenants, failing to collect rent on time, and not handling maintenance issues promptly. Therefore, choosing a good letting agent is essential to ensure the success of your rental property investment.

One of the ways to ensure that you are choosing a good letting agent is to look for a company that is a member of the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS). NALS is a government-approved accreditation scheme that sets standards for letting agents in the UK. NALS members must adhere to a strict code of practice and meet specific criteria, such as holding client money protection and professional indemnity insurance.

Decide on the services you need

Deciding on the services you need from a letting agent is an important step in finding the right letting agent in the UK. Here are some of the services that letting agents typically offer:

Tenant find service:

This service involves advertising your property, arranging viewings, and finding a suitable tenant. Once a tenant is found, the letting agent will carry out reference checks and draw up the tenancy agreement.

Rent collection service:

With this service, the letting agent will collect rent from the tenant on your behalf and transfer it to your account. They will also chase any late payments and deal with any rent arrears.

Full management service:

This is a comprehensive service that includes tenant find, rent collection, property inspections, maintenance issues, and dealing with the end of tenancy. With this service, the letting agent will take care of everything related to the management of your rental property.

Marketing rental properties:

Letting agents have access to a variety of marketing channels to advertise your property. They can also provide professional photographs, floor plans, and virtual tours to showcase your property in the best possible way.

Property management:

Letting agents can handle maintenance issues on your behalf, such as arranging repairs and dealing with emergency call-outs.

Tenant referencing:

Letting agents can carry out thorough referencing checks on prospective tenants to ensure they are reliable and can afford the rent.

Tenancy agreement:

The letting agent can provide a tenancy agreement that complies with all legal requirements and protects your interests as a landlord.

Client money protection scheme:

This scheme protects the money that you pay to the letting agent for services such as rent collection and management.

Property inspections:

Letting agents can carry out regular property inspections to check that the property is being well-maintained and to identify any issues that need addressing.

Deposit protection:

The letting agent can register the tenant’s deposit with a deposit protection scheme to ensure that it is protected throughout the tenancy.

When deciding on the services you need from a letting agent, it’s important to consider your own circumstances and requirements as a landlord. For example, if you live far away from your rental property, you may require a full management service, whereas if you live nearby, a tenant find service may be sufficient. Consider your budget and the level of involvement you want in managing your rental property.

Research local letting agents

Once you have identified the services you need from a letting agent, the next step is to research local letting agents. A good starting point is to search online for letting agents in your local area. You can also check local directories, ask for recommendations from friends or family who have used a letting agent before, or visit high street estate agents.

When researching letting agents, it’s important to consider the following factors:

Reputation: Check online reviews and ratings for the letting agents you are considering. Choose a letting agent with a good reputation for providing excellent service and being reliable.

Accreditation: Look for letting agents who are members of a professional body such as the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS) or the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA). This will give you peace of mind that they operate to a certain standard.

Fees: Check the fees charged by the letting agent for the services you require. Make sure you understand what is included in the fee and if there are any additional charges.

Services offered: Make sure the letting agent offers the services you require, such as rent collection or property management.

Communication: It’s important to have good communication with your letting agent. Look for an agent who is responsive and easy to get in touch with.

Experience: Look for letting agents who have experience in the local market and have a good understanding of the local rental market.

Legal knowledge: Make sure the letting agent has a good understanding of the legal requirements of renting out a property, such as tenancy agreements, deposit protection, and fire safety regulations.

Maintenance: Check if the letting agent has a network of reliable contractors who can quickly and efficiently carry out any necessary maintenance work on your property.

Marketing strategies: Look for a letting agent who has a good marketing strategy for your property. This will help to ensure that your property is let quickly and at the best possible price.

Once you have a shortlist of letting agents, you should contact them to arrange a meeting or phone call to discuss your requirements in more detail. This will give you a chance to get a better feel for the letting agent and decide if they are the right fit for you.

Are there any extra letting agent fees for landlords?

Yes, there can be extra letting agent fees for landlords. Some letting agents may charge additional fees for services such as property inspections, arranging repairs and maintenance, renewing a tenancy agreement, and conducting background checks on prospective tenants.

It’s important to carefully review the terms of any agreement with a letting agent and ensure that all fees are clearly outlined upfront. This can help avoid any surprises and ensure that you are fully aware of the costs associated with working with a letting agent.

Property management services – pros and cons

Property management services can provide a range of benefits to landlords who are looking to rent out their properties. Here are some pros and cons to consider:

Pros:

  • Time-saving: Property management services can handle all aspects of managing a rental property, including marketing the property, screening tenants, collecting rent, and arranging maintenance and repairs. This can save landlords a significant amount of time and hassle.
  • Expertise: Property managers are experienced professionals who understand the legal requirements and best practices associated with renting out a property. They can provide guidance and advice to landlords to help them navigate the process successfully.
  • Tenant retention: Property managers can help landlords retain tenants by addressing issues quickly and proactively. They can also conduct regular property inspections to identify and resolve any potential problems before they become major issues.
  • Legal compliance: Property managers can ensure that landlords comply with all legal requirements, including tenant screening, lease agreements, security deposits, and fair housing laws.

Cons:

  • Cost: Property management services typically charge a fee for their services, which can eat into landlords’ profits. The cost of property management services can vary depending on the level of service provided.
  • Loss of control: Some landlords may feel uncomfortable handing over control of their property to a third-party property manager. This can be especially true for landlords who have a strong emotional connection to their property or who are used to managing the property themselves.
  • Quality of service: Not all property management services are created equal. Landlords should carefully research potential property managers to ensure that they are reputable and provide high-quality service.
  • Limited involvement: Some landlords may prefer to be more involved in the day-to-day management of their rental property, and may feel disconnected from the process if they rely heavily on a property management service.

Should I choose a big or small agency?

Choosing between a big or small letting agency depends on your preferences and requirements. Both types of agencies have their pros and cons.

A big agency may have more resources and a wider reach. They may have a larger portfolio of properties and a bigger team to handle different aspects of property management. This could mean they have more experience and knowledge to help you find tenants quickly, deal with maintenance issues efficiently, and manage the property effectively.

On the other hand, a small agency may offer a more personal service. You may have a dedicated point of contact and a more hands-on approach. This could be beneficial if you prefer a more tailored service or if you have a unique property that requires special attention.

How can I make sure the estate agency is trustworthy?

To ensure that the estate agency you choose is trustworthy, here are some steps you can take:

  1. Check if they are a member of a professional body: A reputable estate agency will usually be a member of a professional body such as the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS) or the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA). Membership in these organizations usually requires adherence to a code of conduct and high standards.
  2. Look for client money protection: Estate agents who deal with client money should have client money protection in place. This protection ensures that client’s money is secure in case the agent goes bankrupt or is found to have misappropriated funds.
  3. Check online reviews: Check the estate agent’s website, as well as third-party review sites like Trustpilot or Google Reviews. This can give you an idea of the quality of service they provide and what their past clients have to say about them.
  4. Ask for references: Don’t be afraid to ask the estate agent for references from past clients. This can help you get a better idea of the kind of service they provide and whether they have a good track record.
  5. Research their experience and reputation: Check how long the estate agent has been in business and whether they have a good reputation in the industry. You can do this by searching online or asking other landlords or property owners for recommendations.

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