A Simple Guide To Recruiting A Letting Agent
A landlord should take time to find a reliable letting agent to manage their property as this will be one of the landlord's most valuable assets he is putting in the agent's hands. The landlord will be creating a kind of employer/employee relationship and he should make it clear what service he wants from the agent. This might range from a tenant find service to full management. It goes without saying the agent should act on the landlord's instructions and in the best business interests of the landlord.
There are a number of questions you could ask an agent before signing a contract with them:
Does the agent have a postal address? Exercise caution if only a website or PO BOX address.
How many years has the business been established? Minimum two years recommended.
Has the agent's staff attended any lettings training courses in the last two years? By doing this, the agent's staff will be fully up to date with all the recent changes in the law.
Is the agent a member of a professional accreditation body such as ARLA, NALS, or NAEA? Does the agent display what fees they will charge both to you and your prospective tenants? It is now a legal requirement to display such fees clearly on their website, in their advertisements and also in their offices.
Does the agent display the "Safe Agent" logo? If so, this will indicate whether they operate an independent bank account for holding their clients' money.
Which deposit protection scheme does the agent generally use? Do ask to see evidence of this.
Ask the agent for a copy of the business contract which will form the basis of your dealings with the agent. Take time to read it thoroughly and understand the fees the agent will deduct before signing.
Make sure this business contract includes a clause which states how soon after receiving a rent payment it will be passed to the landlord. In addition, ensure you ask the agent for copies of the tenant's application form, a copy of the credit check report and check-in inventory report together with a copy of the tenancy agreement.
Are they willing to perform right to rent checks for you? If they say they are make sure you have that in writing or you will still be held liable.
Ask the agent which redress scheme they are a member of. This registration is a legal requirement since October 2014 and will allow both you and your tenant to seek redress if needed.
And finally, always remember, the agent is working for you and should always act in your best business interests and your good name.