According to the latest English Private Landlord Survey, more than half of landlords in England don’t use letting agents to manage their properties. However, Just Landlords is reminding investors of how agents can bring them peace of mind.
Since plans were announced for a ban on tenant fees, talk has been rife within the private rental sector on how landlords may stop using letting agents, if agencies charge their landlord clients higher costs in order to recoup lost income.
Now that the Tenant Fees Bill has been scheduled for introduction on 1st June 2019, landlords and letting agents alike will be preparing for a post-tenant fees industry.
Before you jump straight to abandoning your letting agent, however, Just Landlords is urging investors to consider how much peace of mind an agent can bring to their lettings businesses:
Deal with payments
Of course, a landlord’s investment relies on the receipt of monthly rental income from tenants. Missing out on these payments or suffering delays, therefore, can not only cause financial difficulty for those with mortgages or high maintenance costs, but can also bring on a great deal of stress.
Having to chase your tenants for any late or missed rent can make the situation more stressful for you as the landlord, so having a letting agent deal with rent payments will make the process much easier.
Keep you up to date
There are currently around 150 laws that landlords must comply with – it is therefore incredibly difficult to stay up to date with all of your legal responsibilities. At the same time, the Government doesn’t seem to be slowing down with requirements for those letting property.
If you choose a fully managed service from your letting agent, then they will most likely complete all of these duties on your behalf, such as immigration checks on all prospective tenants. However, be aware that it is ultimately your responsibility to ensure that you are compliant with the law.
Manage tenant relationships
It is not purely rent payments that your letting agent will contact your tenants for; they will deal with the day-to-day management of the tenancy, including any contact that your tenant needs to make with the agency/yourself.
This includes the beginning, duration and end of the tenancy, so you can leave the hard work to your letting agent – no more finding new tenants, drawing up agreements, check-ins/check-outs, or phone calls in the middle of the night for a maintenance issue.
This is a particularly important point if you own several rental properties, as keeping all of the paperwork for each tenancy organised can be a nightmare (especially when it’s advised that you keep a copy of all communications in writing).
Your letting agent will keep a file for each tenancy, so that you can check that everything is as it should be and you have all of the documentation required. Again, you should look to review this at regular intervals throughout the tenancy, to make sure that the letting agent is doing their job properly.
Arrange maintenance and inspections
Part of managing the day-to-day running of your lettings business is to arrange any maintenance work required on the property and complete periodic inspections. This can be time-consuming, particularly if letting property is not your full-time job. A letting agent can manage these tasks on your behalf.
Between you and the letting agent, come up with a plan for maintenance problems and inspections, as you may wish to arrange work yourself. If not, they will be able to put a process in place to remove any stress on your part.
Although letting agents, of course, cost money (and they may cost more in the future if they put their fees up for landlords), the amount of peace of mind that they can bring to investors can be invaluable.
Before making the decision to stop using an agent, be sure to assess how useful they can be to managing your lettings business.