As a landlord, the responsibility and liability ultimately fall on you to ensure that your property is legally let and managed. Even if you use a letting agent and don’t handle the management yourself, it is the landlord who will be pursued and penalised legally if the tenancy or property end up falling short of the necessary requirements and standards.
This is why it is important that if you are planning on working with a letting agent, that you understand what it is they do, the varying levels of service that they can offer and how much you want them to be involved with managing your property.
We spoke to some online estate agency experts to find out about the responsibilities of letting agents to landlords.
What is a Letting Agent?
A letting agent is someone who’s main role is to act on the behalf of private landlords and manage their properties for them, offering expertise, advice and support as well as providing huge peace of mind and helping to make their lives much easier.
Whether you are new to being a landlord and just starting out in property or a veteran landlord that maintains a vast portfolio, a letting agent can be extremely helpful.
What Are the Types of Things That a Letting Agent Can Manage?
The responsibilities of a letting agent vary, and each is different with their own unique offerings, level of service and products. The responsibilities they take on depends on the level of involvement that you require, the location of the property and how hands on you wish to be as a landlord.
Here are some of the top things that letting agents can take care of when managing your property;
One of the key services that letting agents can offer is to help find a suitable tenant for your property, doing the leg work for you. From taking professional photos, producing floorplans and advertising through to arranging viewings and carrying out referencing and tenant checks.
When they do find tenants, they can also draw up the tenancy agreement, arrange for them to be signed by both parties and if required, create an inventory of the property so that when the tenancy ends, fair and accurate deductions can be taken from the security deposit.
The property will need to be checked and inspected not only before the tenants move in, but ideally at least once every 3-6 months to ensure that everything is safe, legal, in good condition and that there are no repairs or maintenance that need doing. These inspections can cover things like;
- Gas and electricity safety checks and certificates
- Ensure that the correct licences and registrations are in place
- Repairs and maintenance issues
- Assess tenants living conditions
- Spot illegal activities
- Dampness and mould
- Leaks and blockages
- Condition of the garden and outside space
- Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors
Rent Collection and Managing Payments
Letting agents can handle administration of the deposits, deal with any end of tenancy deductions and collect rent from the tenant, passing the balance onto you. When payments aren’t made on time then they can carry out the necessary actions to follow up and secure the payment.
Communicating with Tenants
When any issues arise that are reported by the tenants, the landlord is legally required to respond to them and resolve the problem within a reasonable timeframe. This is a task that letting agents can take off your hands, working with approved contractors to fix the issues quickly on your behalf in a way that is cost-effective.