Read our guide on Buy to Let mortgages.
Being a landlord can be a lot of work, especially if you have a number of rental properties.
You will need to be aware of your legal and regulatory obligations as a landlord and ensure you can find and pick suitable tenants. You could also be dealing with call-outs at all times of the night and at weekends.
Using a good letting agent is beneficial for a whole host of reasons; here are six ways in which agents can help to make your life easier.
- They will help you meet your legal obligations as a landlord - An experienced letting agent will advise you on all the relevant legal requirements. They can take the burden of getting the required energy performance certification (EPC) and gas certificates for example. Authorities are strict on these regulations being in adhered to and the agent can also keep you alerted to any new rules which are coming into force. If you are not an experienced landlord it will pay to have this professional help.
- They can probably let your property more quickly than you can – Agents have access to their own list of registered tenants looking for rental properties in your area and often advertise on rental websites and through their own website. Their high street shopfront will also be seen by prospective tenants and they will present your property professionally when advertising its availability.
- They can often get you a better rental price - Letting agents are often used by relocation agents for companies willing to pay high prices for the right property. Usually these companies will only use professional agents for sourcing properties for their clients.
- They will deal with checking and referencing your tenant – They are experienced in understanding what makes a good tenant. Agencies will carefully screen and reference all prospective tenants as a matter of course. This does not always mean there will be no problems with the tenant, but it can certainly reduce the chances of there being. And because of this experience, they often recognise ‘bad tenants’.
- They will provide a suitable inventory check and handle the deposit for you - A good inventory is essential and landlords who have disputes with their tenants have less chance of settling favourably without one. Agencies will often have staff specially trained to do this work and will be able to do comprehensive job. There is also the advantage that if a dispute ever does go to court or arbitration, the fact that the inventory was drafted up by an independent third party (your agent) will often mean that it is given greater weight by an adjudicator than one that was drafted up by you, the landlord. Additionally, the agent will deal with protecting the deposit, ensuring all the correct information is given to the tenant within the time limits.
- They can deal with any problems that arise during the tenancy – As we have already mentioned there is a lot of work involved in renting property and it’s not just about finding a tenant. Often problems will arise – for example minor repairs that need doing, tenants sometimes lock themselves out or have issues with neighbours. An agent can deal with this for you and will also carry out regular inspections to make sure that the tenant is looking after the property properly and that all is well there.
If you are looking for an agent in your area we recommended choosing an agent that is registered with the Property Ombudsman, or a member of ARLA. Other useful websites to check for this are The National Landlords Association (NLA) and The Residential Landlords Association (RLA).