The letting agent you instruct for your buy-to-let property could have a major impact on your landlord experience.
While a decent letting agent should make your life as a landlord much easier, a incompetent agent could cause you unnecessary stress.
A good letting agent should market your property proactively, find you the right tenants, and handle the rental paperwork, all for a reasonable letting agent fee.
If you choose a management service, your agent should also capably deal with any day-to-day rental issues.
ARLA Propertymark has provided some top tips for choosing a letting agent that you may find useful as a landlord.
Phone a friend
Start by asking friends and family to recommend letting agents they have used in the past to help you pull together a list of potential agents that suit your needs. If your family or friends have had a positive experience, there’s a good chance you will too.
Check industry credentials
Although the government has recently proposed that property agents become regulated, at this moment in time letting agents in England are currently unregulated and there is a risk you could come up against a rogue agent. Look for the ARLA Propertymark logo to give you peace of mind that your money will be protected. ARLA Propertymark agents commit to the highest standards in the industry; use our find an expert tool or look for the ARLA Propertymark logo on websites, letting boards and in office windows.
Know what you should be charged for
As of June 1st, agents can no longer charge additional fees that are not considered ‘permitted payments’. This means lettings agents can only charge for a holding deposit capped at no more than one week’s rent, a refundable tenancy deposit capped at five weeks’, change or early termination of a tenancy, and payments arising from a default, which include late rent payments or replacing keys.
Speak to current tenants
Another way to get good insight into a letting agent is to ask your existing tenants if they’ve had a positive experience.
Local knowledge is best
Asking about the local area will give you a sense of how experienced the letting agent is. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and try to choose an agent who has a branch in the area you’re looking at. If the agent is an expert in the local area they will be able to share key information with you, such as the cost of council tax and how far the property is from the nearest transport link.