I get accused sometimes of ‘agent bashing’ by my letting agent readers. So this is a post celebrating all that is (or can be) good about a letting agent, and why they are a good idea for many landlords.
So, why should you (if you are a landlord) use a letting agent?
1. They will help you prepare your property for letting
As professionals, they will know the standards your property needs to meet and will help you put things right.
Often an agent will be able to help you make those small changes that make all the difference.
2. They will help you meet your legal obligations
A properly trained letting agent will know all the legal requirements and will be able to advise you. Often they can take the burden of getting, say the gas certificate or the energy performance certificate (EPC) saving you the bother.
The authorities are getting stricter about these things, plus new rules are coming into force (for EPCs and tenancy deposits) so if you are not an experienced landlord you will need professional help.
3. They can let your property quicker than you can
Well, in most cases they can. They will have access to online advertising sites such as Rightmove, and will probably have their own website too. Some agents also advertise via social media such as twitter and facebook.
Note to mention their shopfront in the high street where people looking for accommodation can browse the professionally taken photographs.
4. They can often get you a better rent
Many letting agents are used by relocation agents and companies willing to pay high prices for the right property. Usually these companies will only use professional agents for sourcing property for their clients.
5. They will get a proper inventory done and deal with the deposit for you
A really good inventory is absolutely essential nowadays and landlords who are taken to adjudication by their tenants will have little chance of winning without one.
A good letting agency will often have staff specially trained to do this work and will usually be able to do a much better job than you can.
There is also the advantage that if the matter ever does go to arbitration, the fact that the inventory was drafted up by an independent third party (your agent) will often mean that it is given greater weight by an adjudicator than one that was drafted up by you, the landlord.
Your agent will also deal with protecting the deposit properly, making sure that all the proper information is given to the tenant within the time limits.
6. They will deal with checking and referencing your tenant
A good agent will carefully screen and reference all prospective tenants as a matter of course.
This does not always mean that there are no problems later, but it certainly reduces the chances of this happening.
Agents may also be able to recognise known bad tenants, and also recognise the signs of a bad or criminal tenant (for example one who is thinking of converting your property into a cannabis factory).
7. They will deal with any problems that arise during the tenancy
There is a lot of work involved in renting property and it is not all just finding the tenant.
Often problems arise at the property – for example minor repairs that need doing. Tenants also sometimes lock themselves out and need helping.
A good agent will also carry out regular inspections to make sure that the tenant is looking after the property properly and that all is well there.
Finally of course there is the fact that most landlords really don’t want to be bothered with the tedious business of dealing with tenants, and agents take the burden of this away from them. A really good agent can be a blessing to a landlord.
At the risk of being accused of agent bashing again, I do need to say here that not all agents are like this. For example some 40% of agents are not even registered with the Property Ombudsman, and many more are not members of ARLA, RICS or any of the other regulating bodies for agents.
I do feel strongly that agents SHOULD be regulated. If only for the benefit of all the good agents who inevitably, and most unfairly, get tainted by the press reports about the bad agents. The ones that don’t do their job properly and run off with all the money.
But enough of that. I am sure I have missed some important benefits of using a good agent in this post, so please do use the comment box below to give YOUR reasons and comments.