Do Landlords Really Need Letting Agencies?February 13, 2018 8:46 am
While landlords might once have chosen to manage buy-to-let properties themselves to maximise profits, recent changes to the law mean the assistance of an agent is by far the better option.
The heavy legislation of today’s private rented sector means being a truly DIY landlord is now difficult to achieve. With every new bit of legislation in relation to safety standards, compliance, certification, tenancy deposit handling, reference checking, the list goes on – an agent offers invaluable peace of mind. In 2018, this peace of mind will be further enhanced with the knowledge that everyone acting as an ‘agent’ will have to comply with a strict Letting Agent Code of Practise. Whilst LET it has always complied with the spirit of good, fair practise, the reputation of the industry as a whole will be enhanced in the knowledge that any agents who want to cut corners and follow poor practise will simply not be able to trade.
What this means is that few landlords can have a DIY arrangement and today the choice for landlords is to either take on the full responsibility of the many rules and regulations to let a property and all the fines for breaches or noncompliance that go with it – or to consider outsourcing this to a qualified, diligent letting agent.
The decision really comes down to time and knowledge. If a landlord is not prepared, or able, to spend time keeping abreast of letting law and health and safety requirements, or doesn’t want to be disturbed anytime during the 365 days of the year about leaks, chase non-payment of rent or sort out tenant disputes with neighbours, it is probably better to pass this responsibility to an agent such as LET it.
Even more so, this applies to landlords who aren’t local to their property or are letting their home while abroad, miles away, or even the other side of town. Today’s tenants are very much seen as “customers” and require experienced day-to-day management with issues sorted quickly.
Whilst it is still possible to be a DIY landlord, it is not for the faint hearted, and not for the landlord with multiple properties, unless the landlord is making it their main occupation, in which case if they end up acting as an ‘agent’, for a few friends’ properties for example, they’d have to go through the Letting Agent Code of Practise also.
Finding a professional agent, however, isn’t always easy. At LET it we endeavour to be the most up to date with changes to requirements, the most forward thinking in terms of protecting landlord’s investments, and present properties to the highest of standards.
In summary, to ensure landlords secure a good agent, they should check they:
- Are a member of the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS), the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) or Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), organisations that keep members up-to-date with the law and best practice
- Have client money protection
- Offer easy-to-read terms and conditions that clarify what the landlord and tenant are responsible for
- Carry out diligent checks on tenants to minimise risks
- Carry out a thorough photographic inventory
- Protect the tenants’ deposits in the correct manner with a tenancy deposit scheme provider
- Carry out regular property period checks