When looking for letting agents, advice is often offered to tenants seeking out the best deals so they are not charged through the nose by less reputable firms. It is just as important, however, for a landlord to do their research before settling on a letting agent to ensure they have found the best one to represent both them and their property.
Letting agents, whilst not as strongly regulated as the sales side, still have a number of official schemes they can subscribe to. These were set up to establish a list of industry-wide regulations that all letting agents should stick to in order to offer fair and reputable service.
So if you have a property and are looking for ways of ensuring you sign up with the best, what are the official bodies and what do all those acronyms actually stand for?
Deposit Protection Service
DPA is the Deposit Protection Service. It was set up to ensure that a tenant’s deposit is not held by the landlord or letting agency but instead a completely unbiased and independent third party. This ensures that the correct and fair amount is handed back to the tenant when they move out and that those involved do not have a say or make interest on the money during the tenancy. Whilst this may not seem like the most desirable option for landlords, it is now a legal requirement to safely store deposits in a third-party account, so letting agents which use such schemes will ensure you remain on the right side of the law.
Association of Residential Letting Agents
ARLA is the Association of Residential Letting Agents, which was set up solely to regulate the lettings market. Realising that lettings require a completely different approach to sales, ARLA was created to offer unique and specific regulations for the rental market. It promoted industry standards and requires letting agents to be able to display their practice falls in line with its regulations before allowing them to use its logo. Letting agents which are registered with ARLA should offer both landlords and tenants a better service that is in line with nationwide regulations.
There are a great many different bodies and services which can show just what a letting agent should be like before you sign on the dotted line, so ensure you look for them before awarding your business.
Other factors to consider
Along with the fees that a letting agent may charge it would also be worth asking what the retention rate of both properties and tenants are. If a letting agent has a high turnover of either it may possibly be an indicator that they fail at providing good customer service. Do they keep your tenant happy by answering queries quickly? Do vet tenants correctly so the landlord is paid, and has an undamaged property at the end of the agreement?
What methods do they use for marketing the property? With many more tenants searching online for rental opportunities you will want to make sure they are advertising the property with plenty of photos on the main property letting websites.
With enough investigating and question asking you should soon be well on your way to forming a working relationship with a letting agent. Also, don’t forget to ask your friends and contacts who also rent property or put a shout out on social media channels asking for opinions and advice on agents you are considering.