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How A Letting Agent Can Help Landlords

Jul 5, 2008
As a landlord there are a myriad of considerations to make not least is finding a suitable letting agent that understands your concerns. In most cases a letting agent in fact acts on behalf of the landlord and not the tenant. Their pay comes from the landlords pocket and the services they offer for these fees differ depending on the agency. The main task of a letting agent is to find tenants for rental properties; in the industry these are predominantly known as accommodation agencies. In addition, some agencies take an all encompassing approach meaning that the tenant never has contact with the landlord, dealing with all matters pertaining to rent and issues with the property.

There is a wide variety of letting agents out there, most are listed in directories and the internet is an obvious resource that cannot be ignored. As well as specialist agencies, most major estate agencies have a department that deals with lettings and rental. There are two main bodies that regulate the industry; these are the National Approved Lettings Scheme and the Association of Residential Letting Agents.

To utilise the services of a letting agent a landlord must register with the agency. From this point onwards the agency will strive to find tenants for the property. If you are a tenant, registering with an agency means that they will present you with suitable properties for your needs and the rent you would like to pay. Rentals move fast however so when presented with a property that is suitable, it is advisable to push ahead rapidly.

The fees the letting agent receives are for certain services so the landlord does not have to undertake difficult tasks. One of the major responsibilities of the agency is to deal with all of the paperwork. Naturally most landlords will not have extensive legal knowledge when drawing up rental agreements; this is when agents can come in useful. Rather than spending a great deal on legal services it is far simpler to let the agents perform the tasks. However, while legal fees are expensive, they are normally a one off payment whereas agency fees are charged on a monthly basis.

Paying the monthly fees however can take much of the stress out of letting a property. The fees are put in place so that the landlord does not have to manage the rental; this task is solely performed by the agent. This means that all correspondence between the tenant and landlord passes through the agency, making the rental process much easier for the landlord. In addition, it is also the agency's responsibility to make regular inspections of the property to see whether it has been damaged in any way or if any other issues have arisen.

Maintenance of the property is usually the responsibility of the landlord even with the agent's services. While the reporting of any maintenance issues may pass between the agency from tenant to landlord, ultimately if there is something like a broken boiler or faulty utilities the landlord must see to resolving the problem.

Agency services can be a useful addition for landlords. Whilst it may be possible to follow the do it yourself approach, unless you can dedicate a great deal of time to your letting hiring an agent is the advisable course of action to follow. As most landlords today use their properties as a means of added income, agency services offer the perfect solution to solving any problems that may arise with tenants and the rental more generally.
About the Author
Real estate expert Thomas Pretty looks into how the services provided by a letting agent can be extremely useful to landlords.
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