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This is how landlords should choose an agent - according to ARLA

Propertymark has issued a guide to help landlords choose lettings agents.  

Angela Davey, ARLA Propertymark president, says she has five tips aimed primarily at landlords.

Research: Before picking the agent to rent out and manage your property, it’s vital to do thorough research to create a shortlist. You can do this by checking forums, reviews, as well as asking other local landlords for positive recommendations.


Check Client Money Protection (CMP) schemes: You also want to ensure that you pick an agent who is part of an organisation operating with Client Money Protection; a scheme designed to safeguard the money held by property agents in case anything goes wrong. As of April 2019, all letting agents in England that deal with client money must belong by law to a government-approved CMP scheme. Elsewhere in the UK, agents in Wales must have CMP as part of the Rent Smart Wales initiative and Scotland introduced CMP as a legal requirement in January 2018.

Verify membership of a redress scheme: Letting agents have a legal responsibility to register with a redress scheme to ensure that if a customer has a complaint about the service provided that cannot be resolved between yourselves, they can apply to the scheme. Check if the agents you are researching are signed up with either the Property Redress Scheme or The Property Ombudsman.

Your working relationship: It is essential to ensure you are happy with how you are being dealt with by the letting agent. Try and meet them, which can be done virtually during Covid-19, or speak with them over the phone to see how you get on with each other. Also, you should ensure that the agent you choose is proactive and professional. Choose someone who answers the phone quickly, has a professional website and conveys that they are proactive.

Are they Propertymark Protected? ARLA Propertymark members operate to professional standards far higher than the law demands. Members are backed by a CMP scheme, are required to undertake regular training, are members of an approved redress scheme and are kept up to date with complex legislative changes and best practice. They also adhere to a nationally recognised Code of Practice.

Davey says: “Letting a property successfully can often be a time-consuming process. Spending time researching a letting agent to work with is a wise move and will save you time and effort in the long run as you’ll know you’re in safe hands. A good agent will be available, proactive and helpful to ensure that letting your property is smooth sailing.”

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    Easy, avoid the big nationals at all costs these are run by wet behind the ears youngsters who have no idea what they are talking about, choose a local independent who also own BTL properties themselves, put just one property with them to start with to test them and see how long they hold onto the rent before paying out, the agent I use in Norwich pays out the same day that they receive the rent, many do not.

    Matthew Payne

    Its astonishing how many agents still have antiquated client account processes. I met an agent in the west country recently who only posts rents once a month! Loads still only do bi monthly or weekly payment runs. There is no reason not to do a daily payment run, only a question of choice and getting the right systems, processes and training in place. Takes 5 mins if you have it set up properly.


    Agree totally. In my experience the bigger the agent, the worse the service. Give me local experienced proprietor run independent every time.

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    I only have local properties now so no need to use agents. Hence conduct viewings myself and able to choose my tenants. We do our own maintenance as well. Has worked very well for the last 5 years and saves a lot of money.
    However, I agree, best to use local independent agents where you can establish a good working relationship. Avoid the large nationals at all costs.


    I used to do all my management myself but most are managed through a local agent now, I do most of the maintenance myself and organised my own tradesmen where necessary, all tenants have my contact details and are free to contact me directly, but I cannot be bothered with viewings, the agent I use is very good at sourcing the right tenants, for me they are worth their fee.

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    All new kids on the Block even ARLA is not around very long, we were LL’s for decades before them now all so high & mighty we have to learn to do everything their way.


    I'll continue to do things my way - even if I'm wrong! That way I know who to blame and am confident that mistakes will be used as learning opportunities.

    Gosh! I think I am beginning to sound young and foolish again!


    Agreed Robert, the best deals over the years that I've had are when I've followed my gut feelings and have ignored the advice of others, my long time solicitor (now retired) would always try and talk me out of deals, so I stopped asking him, I would do the deal first then give him the paper work to complete the purchases


    I have a simple barometer. If I think it's something that the SNP would approve of then I know it's the wrong thing to do. I have never done the wrong thing by going the opposite way to what the SNP would approve of.

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    First thing I do is call up pretending to be a tenant complaining about rats in the property and see how long it takes them to call back.


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