There is more to letting and managing rented property than many people realise – it can be a complex process which involves in-depth knowledge of many laws and regulations.
Yet many estate agents offer a letting service ‘on the side’ as a way to supplement their income - particularly when sales are slow – often with little experience of lettings and an inadequate understanding of the law and how to let and manage properties safely and legally.
According to letting specialists Leaders, because letting agents are still not formally regulated, too many landlords and tenants get caught out using inexperienced agents and are often attracted to them because of discounted fees.
As Leaders’ Worthing branch manager, Sally Stewart (who has a NFoPP Technical Award in Residential Letting and Property Management) explains: “Over the 30 years we have been established, we have unfortunately seen countless landlords and tenants badly let down by agents that simply didn’t know and understand lettings well enough to do the job professionally and to a high standard.
“At a time when more people are turning to the private rented sector for their housing needs, it is more urgent than ever for the public to be aware of the importance of only using an experienced letting agent that is a member of a professional, self-regulating body such as ARLA, NAEA or RICS.
“Ideally you should also choose a specialist agent so that you know they are qualified, knowledgeable and completely impartial in the advice they offer.”
Sally points out that not only will a letting specialist have expert knowledge of the process and the market - from valuing the property and setting up the tenancy accurately, to serving the correct notices in the right way and ensuring a smooth handover at the end - they will also have the procedures and resources in place to maintain a high standard of service to all their clients.
“Accuracy in every element of the process is crucial,” says Sally, “because getting it wrong can have significant consequences. For landlords this includes legal expenses, loss of rent, long void periods, loss of tenant’s deposits and serious penalties for not complying with legislation. For tenants it can literally be a matter of life and death if legislation regarding the safety of the property and its contents is not complied with, for example gas and fire safety. By choosing an experienced letting specialist, landlords and tenants will have peace of mind and be confident that they will get the best from their investment or rented home.”
Leaders have been specialising in letting and property management for 30 years. They are members of ARLA and SAFEagent, and are well-respected in the industry for their expertise and high standard of service. For advice you can trust on all aspects of letting and renting please contact your local Leaders branch or visit www.leaders.co.uk