More people than ever are deciding to rent a home instead of buying. But as a landlord or a prospective tenant how do you choose the letting agent that’s right for you? Here at Michael Graham we have been helping landlords and tenants for over 50 years. Here’s what we think is important when choosing a letting agent:
Written by Lisa Proffitt | 21st May 2019
Top 10 things to consider when choosing a Letting Agent
- Local Success: Choose a letting agent which lets properties similar to yours and can demonstrate success in the local market.
- Do your homework. Some agents specialise exclusively in lettings, while others are linked to an established estate agency. Consider if the agent has the right network to market your property effectively. Look at their online reviews to get an idea of the service you are likely to receive. At Michael Graham our 14 networked offices work together to make the whole lettings process as easy as possible for our clients.
- Is the letting agent up to date with the latest legal changes? The Tenant Fees Act comes into force on 1st June 2019. From that date it will be illegal for landlords and agents to charge tenants a fee for carrying out references, inventories and administration. Other key elements of the Tenant Fee Ban are to limit tenancy deposits to five weeks’ rent and to limit holding deposits to one week’s rent. Pre-existing tenancies can run under their current terms until 31st May 2020. It is vitally important that the letting agent you choose is aware of the latest changes to the law.
- Look for the ARLA logo. Anyone can set up a lettings agency but only agents who are ARLA registered guarantee a professional, independently audited service. Not only do they deliver higher levels of financial protection to landlords and tenants than are legally required, but ARLA Propertymark Protected agents hold landlord and tenant money in a separate client account which is independently audited. As part of ARLA campaigning, all letting agents are now required to be part of the Client Money Protection Scheme which means that in the extremely rare event of a fraud, both landlord and tenant will be reimbursed for any loss. Michael Graham is registered with RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) and has been ARLA registered and backed by the Propertymark Protection scheme since 1999.
- What level of service do you want from your letting agent? Do you only want them to find you a tenant, or do you want an agent to manage the whole term of the rental agreement from start to finish? The majority of letting agents will offer both services so make sure you know which services you are paying for. Here at Michael Graham Lettings we offer a let only as well as a fully managed service and work hard to make sure we meet all of your requirements.
- Paperwork. A professional letting agency will handle all the paperwork involved in a letting. They will take up references on new tenants, carry out credit-checks and confirm the tenant’s employment details. At Michael Graham once we’ve made all these checks our letting agents draw up the tenancy agreement.
- Marketing and advertising. Make sure the letting agent you choose will be pro-active in their search for a good tenant. At Michael Graham our homes to let will be listed on our award-winning website as well as on national property portals Rightmove and OnTheMarket. Our marketing department includes a dedicated social media marketing team to make sure that your home is seen by as many potential tenants as possible.
- Safety legislation. By law the rental property must comply with all safety legislation. A Gas Safety Certificate must be provided by a qualified gas engineer; any electrical items in the house tested by an electrical engineer; and any soft furnishings compliant with Fire Safety regulations. A professional letting agent will take care of all of this and at Michael Graham we also make sure that each tenant has a copy of the property’s Energy Performance Certificate.
- Repairs and maintenance. Ask the letting agent if they carry out regular inspections to check that the tenant is keeping the place in good order and to discover if there are any maintenance issues. At Michael Graham Lettings we inspect all of our managed properties within the first three months of the tenancy and then twice a year after that.
- Fees. Most letting agents operate on a 'no let, no fee' basis and should be able to clearly explain their fee structure. Bear in mind that the cheapest agent is usually not the best. Click on the Landlord button on the Michael Graham website for a clear and thorough breakdown of our fees.
Are you a landlord with a property to rent or a prospective tenant looking for a new home? Get in touch with our Michael Graham Lettings team today, we’d love to help. For Michael Graham town and country homes currently available to rent, click on the Property Search page on the website and select Lettings, where you’ll find the three properties listed below.