While many landlords choose to let and manage their properties themselves, for others using an agent can be essential. The following are some of the key indicators that agents may be a good idea:
- You live too far away from the property and cannot easily show it to prospective tenants or manage the property if there are problems.
- You don’t have the time. Managing or letting a property can be more time consuming than is imagined. When looking for a tenant for the property, you need to be there to answer the phone and deal with queries. Managing the property does not involve just collecting the rent; it will generally mean you need to have time available during the working day to do repairs or give access to tradesmen for example.
- You are letting an upmarket property where the prospective tenants are more likely to deal with an agent.
- You are susceptible to stress and hassle. You need to be of a reasonably robust temperament to deal firmly and fairly with the occasional bad tenant. You may find the management services of an agent a useful intermediary between yourself and a difficult tenant.
- You own a large House in Multiple Occupation (or other property) which has a high turnover of tenants or requires more intensive management.
- If you are not confident about your property management skills or your knowledge of legal requirements, you may opt for an agent.
Choosing an Agent
You may rely on word of mouth recommendations from fellow landlords who are letting a similar type of property. Failing that the following pointers should be considered :
- Do they have a number of clients with properties similar to yours? If they do, it means they are more likely to find you a tenant quickly. Some specialise in certain types of property or tenants.
- Do they have Client Money Protection (CMP) aswell as Professional Idemnity Insurance ?
- Are they members of a recognised national organisation such as UKALA ? www.Ukala.org.uk
Crucially, UKALA agents must adhere to the Association’s strict Code of Practice and are answerable to an independent redress scheme should something go wrong with a tenancy.
UKALA agents also have access through membership to a wealth of advice and guidance some of which, by law, they must adhere to.