Keeping On Top Of Your Rental Responsibilities
Being a landlord is no easy job, particularly if you have a portfolio of properties. Why not hire a letting agent to take on the burden for you?
Being a landlord comes with great responsibility, which not all take seriously. A London landlord was recently fined £214,000 for health and safety failures which put his tenants at incredible risk. The landlord in question owned multiple properties across the capital which were all investigated as part of the case against him. The offences ranged from failure to supply gas and electrical certificates, not providing an adequate fire exit route, and in one property, there was an exposed live electrical cable as part of the cooker hob which could have caused electrocution.
Clearly this landlord was unscrupulous but if he had used a letting agent to help manage his portfolio of properties, then it would have been necessary for him to meet legal rental regulations and he could have saved himself considerable expense.
What Do Letting Agents Do?
The job of a letting agent begins with your vacant property. They will find suitable tenants to live in your property for a pre-agreed period of time. If you have specific criteria about who you want to live there, then they will vet people for you and carry out reference checks so that you feel comfortable – you may not want smokers or people with pets to move into your property for example. You’ll likely have a specific figure in mind for the rental price, so your letting agent would negotiate on your behalf if needs be until you’re happy with the arrangement.
They’ll also draw up a contract for both the landlord and tenants to sign, and can also carry out an inventory check prior to the renters moving in. This procedure is a list of the contents and condition of each item within the property, so that if your tenants rip a huge hole in the sofa, then they won’t be able to turn around and say it was in that state when they arrived.
Brentwood estate agents explain that there are typically different levels of management services on offer, and whilst some landlords do like to be involved to some extent and build a longterm relationship with their tenants, others prefer to simply collect the rent and pay the bills. If you live away from your property or are too busy to be a hands-on landlord, then it makes sense to sign up with a lettings management service to deal with the daily running of your property. Your tenants will be able to call the lettings agent instead of you if there is a leaky pipe or a problem with the boiler. Although you’ll be kept fully informed about what’s going on with your property, you won’t have the responsibility of dealing directly with your tenants.
Choosing Reputable Lettings Agents
It’s important to understand though that choosing a substandard lettings service is as good as not having one in place at all. Therefore, it’s essential that you choose a lettings agent who is a member of the professional body ARLA. This will give you peace of mind that you’re meeting regulations and operating inside of the law.
Whether you’re currently a landlord who is struggling to keep on top of your responsibilities, or else you’re new to the buy-to-let market and want some hands-on assistance in managing your tenants, then signing up with a lettings agent is the right move for you!