Property

What is a Letting Agent?

A letting agent, is a person who manages properties on behalf of landlords. Depending on their agreement with the property owner, their role may be simply be to locate tenants and collect rent on behalf of the landlord. Or they might be responsible for also managing the property entirely on behalf of the owner.

Why Use a Letting Agent

Letting agents often work on behalf of multiple property owners to secure tenants. As a result, they often have a great deal of knowledge about the area they service and may have multiple properties they can rent to a tenant at one time. This saves the tenant some time from having to contact multiple property owner and meeting with them to view different properties. An added benefit is the letting agent acts as a facilitator between the landlord and the tenant, so if problems should arise, the agent often is able to assist in getting resolutions.

 What Your Letting Agent Should Do

There are a number of things that a letting agent should be able to do on behalf of a tenant. When meeting with a letting agent for the first time, keep these in mind. If they do not appear to be able to meet these standards, consider finding a different letting agent to work with to locate a property. Also, when meeting with the agent, make sure it is clear whether or not they are acting as the property manager or not. If not find out what their responsibilities are and when you need to contact them and when you should contact the landlord directly.

  • Answer all of your questions about the properties available, and questions about the terms of the lease.
  • Show the property to the tenant in its entirety.
  • Provide the tenant with the necessary safety certificates and energy performance on the property.
  • Prepare a tenancy agreement or lease which details the specifics of the agreement, including the address of the property and the names of the parties entering into the agreement.
  • Provide information on the property owner, even if they provide complete management for the property.
  • Either forward requests for repairs to the property owner and provide information to the tenant as to when the repairs will be completed. Or when acting as manager of the property, they may act on the behalf of the owner to complete approved repairs to the property in a timely manner.

 

Finding a Good Letting Agent

When looking for a letting agent, see if they belong to a professional agency for letting agents. By belonging to one of these groups, your letting agent agrees to adhere to a specific code of ethics. If for any reason they violate this code of ethics, you can contact the agency to have the problem addressed. Some of the most well known organizations include:

  • National Approved Lettings Scheme
  • Association of Residential Letting Agents
  • UK Association of Letting Agents
  • National Association of Estate Agents

When you do select a letting agent, make sure to ask them for a list of all the fees they charge, and any time you pay a deposit or money to the agent, insist on getting a receipt. There are a number of fees a letting agent is allowed to charge, but a fee to register with them is not one of them. This is illegal, so make sure you know what fees they are charging before you enter into an agreement with them.

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