How do I choose the right letting agent for me?

Your letting agent should be compliant, proactive and knowledgeable.

When choosing a letting agent to let and manage your property in Derby or Burton-on-Trent – probably one of the most valuable assets you own – you need to be sure that they know what they are doing!

A letting agent should have only 2 priorities for landlords;

Firstly, they need to show that they are maximising the potential value of your asset.

This includes things like achieving the highest market rent, keeping void periods to a minimum, carrying out proper tenant referencing, preparing detailed photographic inventories and inspecting the property regularly.

Secondly, the agent should always be keeping the landlord compliant and the property safe by adhering to the 170 plus rules and regulations that govern the private rental sector.

Don’t put your property into the hands of someone who will not look after it properly. The consequences can be disastrous and  financial penalties severe.

You need to obtain every piece of information from your shortlist of agents to make the final decision as to which one to choose.

Have a good look at the agents website and check their social media activity too.

Here are some pertinent questions with an example of acceptable answers. These are by no means exhaustive so please ask as many questions as possible.

You are looking for longevity and expertise.

An established letting agent should offer excellent local area knowledge. Ideally, the representative that you are meeting should also be an expert in the local area.

You are looking to avoid an understaffed agent.

Ideally, the agency should have a separate lettings and property management team to provide a more comprehensive and efficient service.

The answer to this must be ‘Yes’.

Legislation was passed in 2015 stating that all property agents must display their fees prominently in their offices and on their website.

There are 2; The Property Ombudsman (TPO) and The Property Redress Scheme (PRS).

A redress scheme is there to resolve disputes between agents and their customers.Letting Agents MUST be a member a schemes. It is a legal requirement.

There are a number of schemes available and the answer MUST be ‘Yes’.

This is a legal requirement, Client Money Protection protects landlords and tenants should an agent misappropriate rent, deposits or other client funds.

The Dispute Service, The Deposit Protection Service & MyDeposits.

Letting Agents MUST be a member of one of the above schemes and all tenancy deposits must be registered within 30 days of receipt.

Ideally, the agent should advertise on 2 out of the 3.

Around 94% of property searches are now performed using a property portal. The more portals that are used by the agent, the higher the market exposure to potential tenants.

People like to see visual representation of the property.

An should be producing both floor plans and videos. Properties advertised with one or both of these will receive much higher interaction rates with potential tenants.

Every agent should use a specialist referencing company.

A specialist company will carry out all necessary referencing including credit history, rental history and current employment details. They should also carry out ‘Right to Rent’ checks.

The agent should be able to provide this to you.

A detailed, photographic inventory and schedule of condition should be prepared prior to the tenant moving in to the property. An example should be available for you to view.

You are looking for between 4 and 6 months.

Periodic inspections are carried out to check if the tenant is adhering to the tenancy agreement. An inspection 4 months into a tenancy and 6 monthly thereafter is ideal.

A landlord should always receive a copy of the report.

The agent should provide the landlord with a copy of each inspection report and discuss what actions, if any, need to be taken. Ask to see an example of the report.