Do you have a property you’re looking to rent out?
From finding and vetting tenants to collecting rent and performing maintenance and repairs, letting agents are a great resource for landlords and can simplify the rental process. But how do you choose the right one?
Here we’ll explore what to look for in a reliable letting agent and tools for finding the best professionals in your area.
The benefits of letting agents
Although many people choose to manage rental properties for passive income, being a landlord takes a lot more work than most people realise.
Letting agents have access to resources and tools that most people don’t. They can find interested, serious tenants quickly and perform efficient background checks.
Many letting agents use reliable contractors to perform fast, inexpensive repairs and at Romans we even have our own maintenance company that our landlords can use, called Three Sixty Maintenance.
Letting agents also act as the go-between for landlords and tenants, maintaining a positive relationship between the two parties.
Romans have experienced letting agents who are extremely knowledgeable about their local area and are ready to help make life easier for landlords.
Romans is also one of the best-rated agents on Rentround, the estate and letting agent comparison site.
Find a letting agent you can trust
There are many pitfalls for landlords when picking an agent. Paying unexpected or hidden fees is one, but protection and regulation is another.
Letting agents must be up to date on all recent laws and legislation to ensure you’re renting your property out legally.
Deposit schemes are designed to protect the tenant’s security deposit. In April 2019, a new law was passed that requires all landlords or letting agents to protect a tenant’s deposit in a government-approved money protection scheme.
This protection must be in place within 30 days of receiving the deposit. Failing to do so could result in a hefty fine and prevent you from renting in the future.
Find a letting agent that uses an approved scheme. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the process to ensure they’re doing things by the book.
Romans also provides tenants with a No Deposit Option for those wanting to move quickly and easily, which means that rather than paying a large deposit upfront, they can instead pay a small monthly fee and enjoy deposit-free renting.
Landlords can rest assured that properties marketed under the No Deposit Option will be indemnified by Romans for the equivalent of 7 weeks’ rent – that’s 40% more protection than the standard 5-week deposit.
Landlords should also know what regulators and associations letting agents belong to.
These regulatory bodies protect the rights of both tenants and agents. Enrollment in these associations is also a show of professionalism and quality service.
Here are some of the most popular regulatory bodies and what each one does.
The Property Ombudsman
The Ombudsman is designed to create a final settlement of any claims made by either party. Individuals can receive up to £25,000 for an actual loss, distress, aggravation, or inconvenience at the hands of their agent.
ARLA (Association of Residential Lettings Agents)
ARLA is the UK’s regulatory body for letting agents and they campaign for greater regulation in the lettings sector of the property market. By using an ARLA Propertymark Protected agent, customers have the peace of mind their agent will provide a professional service and their money is safeguarded by Propertymark’s Client Money Protection scheme.
Choose a letting agent you can afford
While money isn’t everything, it is an important factor to consider when choosing a letting agent. You want a letting agent with fees you can afford.
Start by determining how much it will cost you to maintain and run your rental property. This includes things like the mortgage, electric and gas bills, maintenance, and any other overhead fees.
Next, determine how much rent you can charge tenants. A letting agent can help with this by performing market comparisons of other homes in the area similar to yours. Factors to consider are the size of the property and its location.
By now you should have a better idea of how much income and expenses you have each month and how much you can afford in letting agent fees. Avoid hiring an agent that charges more than you’re willing or able to pay.
Always ask what specific services are included in the agent’s price and be wary of “administration fees” that can eat into your rental profits.
When it comes to finding a reliable letting agent, it’s important to do your research. In addition to comparing fees and services, you also need an agent who has a good reputation.
You should use a combination of online reviews, such as Google, and your own instincts to choose a reputable letting agent.
Most people aren’t shy about sharing their raw, honest opinion and experiences. Look for reviews about the agent’s expertise, communication, fees, and reliability.
Don’t let one, or even two, bad reviews completely turn you off though. Sometimes, people are disgruntled and turn to the internet to vent. It’s important to read multiple reviews and see what the average rating and opinion are.
You could also look for award wins or news stories, for example Romans was rated in the top 5% of agencies in the UK for lettings in the EA Masters Best Estate Agent Guide 2021.
Once you’ve narrowed down your search, don’t be afraid to contact a few of the letting agents to ask more in-depth questions. Bring up the online reviews you read and any concerns or questions you have.
A reputable agent will have no problem answering your questions and explaining how they could best help you.
The right letting agent will simplify the rental process
A reliable letting agent will help make the rental process run more smoothly.
With plenty of knowledge, expertise, and access to resources, letting agents take the guesswork out of being a landlord and also ensure that your properties are adhering to all the latest legislation.
With the right letting agent on your side, you can sit back, relax, and accumulate income.
If you’re interested in renting out your property, find out how much you could earn from it and request a free, no obligation valuation from Romans.