Lettings Direct – Letting Agents, Property Management Specialists and Buy to Let Experts.
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Currently and unlike sales, the Lettings Industry is not regulated and only the more professional agents choose to be self-regulated.
We have been in property and Lettings for over 20 years and seen many things in that time, most of which are a result of people or agents cutting corners when it comes to finding Tenants and managing properties. Everyone loves a deal, but don't compromise on the quality of the Letting Agent you use as this could be very costly if things go wrong - please don't be fooled by cheap fees or flashy adverts. To help, we have listed what we feel are the 10 most important ingredients to a successful let are:
Ensure the Agent is registered with either ARLA or The Property Ombudsman - this ensures not only rigid guidelines, but also compulsory professional indemnity insurance. Avoid the work from home agents or the Estate Agents who have gone into Lettings for cash flow as often is the case that neither have the experience or knowledge when things go wrong
The general rule of thumb is rent the property in a good clean condition and expect it back in the same - the worse the property is, then this will reflect on the tenant willing to take it.
Both of these are legal requirements and copies should be given to the Tenant
Ensure the Agent does fully reference the prospective Tenant and credit checks are conducted.
Ensure the Letting Agent uses a very comprehensive Tenancy Agreement and it fully covers your position as a Landlord - this is an area which we see so many times where the Agent has an old, off the shelf type tenancy that doesn't really cover the Landlords position, especially if there are any none standard conditions to the property or the letting agreement.
The legislation surrounding Tenancy Deposits makes the Inventory probably one of the most essential items in letting the Property. An inventory is the basis of how the Tenant should leave the property at the end of the Tenancy; therefore this document should be detailed with photographic support and of course signed and dated by the Tenant as their acceptance.
This is a legal requirement - all deposits have to be registered in a Government approved scheme and the tenant furnished with a certificate. If it isn't done, the Tenant could sue the Landlord for an automatic 3 x the value of the deposit.
Again, essential to ongoing management of the Property & Tenant, we would usually recommend a property visit at least once every 3 months, followed up with documentation, especially if there is any damage or misconduct spotted during the visit.
Should you need possession of the property or to impose a rent increase, then this has to be done correctly and the correct notices served on the tenant - these are date sensitive, so extreme care needs to be given.
This should be conducted in conjunction of the original inventory and the cost of any damage or additional cleaning needed to the property should be borne by the Tenant. Again this needs to be communicated in writing and in accordance with the guidelines of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme used. Such works should be carried out before the new tenant moves in to ensure the property is always reinstated.