Letting agents are a vital component of the letting process and their experience and industry knowledge will protect the landlord’s property and provides security for the letting agreement.
Letting agent play a key role in the rental process, and their industry knowledge and experience is there to make the process as easy as possible for landlords and tenants alike. Property owners should choose a letting agent that is approved by official industry associations. This guarantees that they have the necessary professionalism and qualifications to manage the property and tenant through the letting agreement. Organizations like ARLA provide information to help landlords select the right agent, but they are still often in the dark about what to expect from them.
An experienced letting agent will be able to gauge whether an applicant will look after the property and honour the rental agreement. They will go through the individual’s renting history to see whether previous properties were respected, any bills were paid, and whether the terms of the contracts were followed to the letter. The agent will also get a credit reference from the applicant’s bank or building society as well as employer references to ascertain whether the applicant has the financial capacity to see the rental agreement all the way through to the end. Anyone who is self-employed will be expected to provide the letting agent with references from their lawyer or solicitor.
Once the letting agent is happy with the credentials of the tenant he will them create an inventory as well as a document detailing the condition of the property. The agent and applicant will together walk around the property and any furnishings will be itemized so that the document can be crosschecked against an identical inspection carried out when the tenant leaves the property at the end of the agreement. The agent will record every item of damage to the property, no matter how small, so that at the end of the contract the agent knows who is liable for any maintenance and cleaning costs.
The agent will then provide the letting contract itself. And while these documents can be found elsewhere, one provided by the agent himself is a better option since it will be up to date with any revisions to letting legislation and will have been approved by official industry bodies. The document should include detailed information about the cost and duration of the contract, the deposit, responsibilities of the tenant as well as other items specific to the property that the property owner wants added. Landlords should also make sure that the contract includes a clause that gives the agent the right to show new tenants around the property since this will make sure that the property is vacant for the shortest time possible once the tenant decides to relocate elsewhere.
Agent Property Management During Contract
Once both the landlord and tenant have signed the contract the agent will still be involved. The agent will manage the tenant relationship to ensure agreement longevity. He will only give the tenant the keys to the property once he has received the deposit and first month’s rent. It is also his responsibility to make the tenant aware of any changes to utility costs and council tax payments. And throughout the contract he will be the one to collect the rent, manage any necessary maintenance work and periodically visit the property to make sure it is being looked after.
Termination of Contract
When the tenant decides to leave the property, the agent will compare the property against the information recorded at the beginning. He will then factor any resulting maintenance, cleaning or furnishing replacement costs into the amount of the deposit that will be returned to the tenant.
Stuart lives and breathes property and has setup The Property Group, a letting agency in Plymouth, Devon.