What is a letting agent and how do you seek out the best ones from those looking for a fast buck and low ranking of customer satisfaction and service? OK, so you have a property – you don’t want to let it go and you’d like to make some cash from it by letting it out.
Letting out a flat or house to friends or family members can be difficult when it comes to collecting the monthly rent and making sure all your tenants’ needs are addressed. Worse still is letting your home out to strangers who may default regularly on monthly rent fees, damage your furniture, misuse white goods or generally keep the place in an ill-state of repair.
This is why it can be so much simpler to use a letting agency to handle all the trouble and strife you can encounter when strangers move into your home. A letting agent will keep your home managed and will be the first (and last) point of contact with the tenant at all times. The only monies you will have to fork out are the letting agent fees, which often cost around 10 per cent of the total monthly cost of the rent the tenant pays.
Choosing the best letting agent means choosing one that’s based locally. A local letting agency will have the knowledge of the house prices, rental charges and fees directly associated with that area. Try to avoid online letting agencies and meet up face to face with your agent before doing any business.
Lettings agents in the UK offer three levels of service, so it might be a good idea to know in advance of your meeting which one is going to suit your needs (and not the agents’).
Tenant Discover Only
This is the lowest and cheapest service and is the one where the agency finds you a good, suitable tenant and you must do the rest. That includes you collecting the rent and servicing any cookers, fridges, washing machines and heating requirements going awry.
Tenant and Rent Collection
The letting agent will get your tenant, collect all the fees owed to you at the end of each month, take their cut and then pass the money right into your hands. All other matters must be dealt with by you, the landlord.
This is where the letting agent finds a good tenant, collects the rent, sorts out any repair, communicates as a liaison with the tenant and sorts everything out. You, as the landlord, will only get involved if absolutely necessary.