I live abroad and I have a letting agent who helps me find and manage tenants for my property. They take care of everything and I can forget about the whole thing, and this really gives me an invaluable piece of mind.
According to the last 2018 English Private Landlord Survey from the UK Government, more than 50% of landlords in the UK do not use letting agencies to manage their properties. It is advisable though to keep in mind how agents can bring you real peace of mind.
There are new regulations on their way to ban tenant fees, and ever since this happened talk has been rife on the rental sector on how landlords could stop using letting agencies. The Tenant Fees Bill has been introduced on the past 1st June 2019, and now letting agents and landlords alike are preparing for a post-tenant fees scenario.
Before you go ahead and abandon your letting agency, however, you should consider how much peace of mind a letting agent can bring to your lettings investments:
Dealing with payments
Obviously, a landlord’s income relies on the receipt of monthly rental payments from tenants. Suffering delays or even missing out completely on these payments can not only cause financial trouble for those with mortgages, but can also bring on a huge deal of stress.
Chasing tenants for a late or missed rent will make the situation even more stressful for you as a landlord, so having a letting agency deal with all rent payments will make this process much smoother.
Keep you updated
There are over a hundred laws that landlords need to comply with. Thus, it is incredibly difficult to stay up to date with all these legal responsibilities. At the same time, the UK Government does not seem to be slowing down with these requirements for those letting their properties.
If you go for a fully managed service with your letting agency, then they will in all likelihood complete all of these tasks themselves on your behalf; things such as immigration checks on all prospective tenants and stuff like this. However, keep in mind that it is ultimately your sole responsibility to make sure that you are compliant with the law.
Managing tenant relationships
It isn’t solely rent payments that your letting agency will contact your tenants for; the agency will deal with the everyday management of the tenancy, this includes any contact that your tenant needs to make with yourself.
This includes, of course, the beginning, duration and end of the tenancy, and thus you can leave the hard work to your agency – say bye to finding new tenants, penning down agreements, check-ins or phone calls for a maintenance issue.
This is an exceptionally important point if you own multiple properties, as keeping all of the paperwork for each tenancy properly arranged can be a nightmare (particularly when it is advised keeping a copy of the communications in writing).
Your letting agency will open a file for each tenancy, so you can check that everything is as it should be. However, you should review this at regular intervals throughout the tenancy, to ensure that the letting agency is actually doing their job.
Arranging inspections and maintenance
Part of managing everyday running of your lettings is to arrange any maintenance required on the property as well as completing periodic inspections. This can be very time-consuming, especially in case letting your property is not your full-time job. An agency can manage these tasks for you.
Between the letting agent and you, come up with a plan for maintenance issues and inspections, as you might wish to arrange some work yourself.
Although letting agents cost money (and they will cost more in the future if they put their fees up for landlords), the peace of mind that they bring to investors can truly be invaluable.
Before making a decision about stopping your relationship your letting agency, make sure you assess how useful they can be when it comes to managing your lettings business.