How to Choose a Good Letting Agent: 7 Questions to Ask
May 18, 2022 | Mariel Roe
Choosing the right letting agent for you is an important decision. Your property is a valuable asset and entrusting an agent to find tenants and potentially manage it for you isn’t something to be taken lightly.
Working with a professional and experienced letting agent can help save you time, and money and give you the best chance of finding great tenants. Plus, you can rest assured that you’re managing your property in the right way and leaving yourself less open to risk. This could be from rental arrears or from the ever-changing and complex legislation that regulates landlords and tenancies.
Here are our tips on how to choose a good letting agent and the best questions to ask them before you commit.
1.Are You Regulated?
All letting agents must be part of a government-approved letting agency redress scheme, either the Property Ombudsman (TPOS) or The Property Redress Scheme (PRS). However, there is currently no overarching statutory regulation of private sector letting or managing agents in England.
A professional agent would usually choose to register with ARLA, and agree to be governed by their code of conduct. Staff of an ARLA registered agent would usually have undergone an exam to test their knowledge of the industry and legislation. You can tell this as they would usually choose to have the initials MARLA, after their name.
2. Are You Part of a Client Money Protection Scheme?
The obligation for lettings agents to have client money protection became law in 2019. This protects clients and tenants money in the case of malpractice, so if an agent isn’t a member of a scheme it is an immediate red flag.
3. What Are Your Fees?
Of course, asking about fees is a given. But some letting agent fees are hidden in the fine print and may only crop up in certain situations. An example of this is that many agents will charge you a fee for creating the tenancy agreement, often several hundred pounds, on top of the percentage fee they are charging.
Ideally an agent would quote one fee that is transparent and covers everything with no hidden extras.
When inquiring about fees, make sure you ask about all charges you could be liable to pay – not just the standard stuff. It is a legal requirement that agents provide you with details of any fee that may become due in the future. For reference, you can check out our fees here.
4. What Marketing Strategies Do You Use?
A good letting agent is always on the hunt for new ways to market their properties. Depending on who your target market is, modern forms of marketing (like blogging and social media) can be highly desirable.
Make sure you ask how your letting agent will market your property to see if it’s the right fit for you.
5. Do You Know the Local Area?
Naturally, having a local letting agent has its benefits. Someone that knows the area well can market your property to potential tenants much more effectively as they will know all the benefits, amenities etc of living in the local area.
Quiz the person you speak to about what’s nearby and ask to see their published local area guides. It is especially important for a letting agent in London to have this knowledge, as tenants often look in areas they are unfamiliar with to be able to afford what they want.
6. How Long Does it Take to Find a Tenant?
Every landlord wants to find a tenant as quickly as possible to minimise the void period. And finding a good tenant can take time.
Regardless, a good letting agent will have the facts on the average time it takes them to fill vacancies, so do ask for the figures. The more efficient they are with marketing, viewings and negotiation the quicker their average time will be.
7. What Are Your Opening Hours?
When your letting agent is available to speak to you is important. You need someone that can work around your lifestyle and be ready to answer your questions when you have time to speak.
While most letting agents in a local area have standard opening hours, some may be open or available out of hours, and some can take calls 24 hours a day. Being available at the weekends is particularly important with lettings, as this is when most tenants are free to view.
Enquire With Properly Today
Properly are your local letting experts in London. If you’re thinking about working with a letting agent to help manage your property, our friendly team are happy to answer all your questions.
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Had Michael round for a valuation of our flat – very knowledgeable and friendly and wasn’t pushy at all. When it comes time to sell we’ll definitely be giving Properly a call!
Michael and Mariel have been very helpful from the time I contacted them on a property I was interested to rent and through the offer process. Mariel did a wonderful video call showing of the house since I was not in London at the time. I felt completely comfortable to sign the lease from the video call. Thank you Mariel!
Kerry Spring Rice
Mariel helped me sell my apartment in West London. She was always there when I needed her. Her advice was invaluable and made everything a whole lot easier. I can’t recommend her highly enough.
We had the opportunity to interact with Michael of Properly in our search for a new rental flat. Michael was professional and courteous in our dealings with him. He was a pleasure to interact with and he frankly stood out amongst all the agents we interacted with over a search of several weeks.
We had such an easy and stress free move. Michael helped us with all our questions and was quick to find out any answers to our questions. Would highly recommend.
Mariel & Michael have been amazing, very thorough, helpful and a delight to deal with, would highly recommend! Thank you both.
Mariel and Michael made the process of agreeing a housing let incredibly seamless, stress-free and quick. Their timely communication and fantastic ‘customer service’ was second to none. Would highly recommend
Mariel and Michael have been absolutely great, by far my best ever experience with an estate agent. Properly is honest, upfront and friendly, responding really quickly to any and all queries and with a lovely personal touch.