What do letting agents do and what are they responsible for?

Many landlords decide to handle everything themselves when it comes to managing their property. There’s nothing to say that this can’t work out, and many small-scale investments can indeed be managed as a solo effort.

However, letting agents can provide a lot of support to landlords who would otherwise struggle with the demands of property management.

What are a letting agent’s responsibilities, and why would you want their help?

Why use a letting agent?

Letting agents are of particular value to landlords because of their specific role as liaisons between a landlord and their tenants. Letting agents can simply be useful go-betweens for landlords who don’t have a lot of time, or they can be a source of expertise and advice to lean on.

Letting agents can be brought in by landlords when management gets tricky, or they can lend their talents from day one by helping find tenants, handling references and first payments, and conducting property viewings.

Letting agent responsibilities can mirror those of the landlord as closely as the landlord prefers. The landlord can still have a degree of input and control in the processes for those who aren’t comfortable giving complete control of the property management to a third party.

Letting agent services

The services a letting agent offers can be wide and multifaceted, or specific and aimed at one particular job that the landlord needs help with.

The role of a letting agent might be:

Finding tenants (Let-only service)

A let-only service is one that doesn’t go past the initial introduction of tenants to a property. The letting agent will handle the work involved in sourcing the tenants, including gathering references, running credit checks (if applicable), and gathering their deposit and first month’s rent payment.

Once tenancy agreements have been drafted and signed and everything is in order, the letting agent’s involvement is effectively over, and the landlord takes over the continuous management of the property.

These services are useful for landlords who don’t need assistance managing a property, just with the task of finding people to live in it and getting them moved in and set up.

Rent collection

This letting agent service is more ongoing in nature. The agent will collect the monthly rent payments from the tenant(s) on behalf of the landlord, as well as take and protect deposits with all the necessary legal requirements for deposit protection satisfied.

When disputes over rent payments arise, such as payment arrears or consistently late payments, the letting agent can act on the landlord’s behalf to chase these. The agent may also be able to provide landlords with advice on how to proceed in particularly difficult matters of rent payments.

Fully managed

Fully managed services are the most comprehensive services provided by letting agents.

This means the management of the property is effectively handed over to the agent – with some input from the landlord still possible, such as agreeing tradesperson fees – so that the property’s owner can focus on other demands on their time.

Fully managed services can include:

  • Arranging maintenance, property repairs, and safety checks required for legal obligations such as gas certificate renewal
  • Communicating with tenants and answering queries related to the property, passing them on to the landlord where necessary, e.g. if a tenant wishes to get a pet
  • Inventory and property inspections, ensuring everything is where it should be and that nothing has been damaged or stolen without the knowledge of the landlord
  • Advertising, marketing, and viewings for prospective tenants. This includes professional photography and listing on popular property sites
  • Handling disputes between tenants or mediating problems between tenant and landlord.

Having a fully managed service costs more to the landlord over time, but the trade of a percentage of monthly rental income affords less of a drain on the landlord’s time and energy. Many landlords have work demands besides their property investments, so full management from a letting agent ensures the tenant still has a source of help with their home even if the landlord is preoccupied or living abroad.

Full property management is arguably where letting agents shine and where they can offer the widest application of their talents to landlords. The help of a good letting agent can make the difference between an expensive mistake and an enjoyable, profitable investment.

ARLA Propertymark protected letting agents

ARLA Propertymark (formerly known as ARLA, the Association of Residential Lettings Agents) is the UK’s leading membership body for agents working in property. Agencies with ARLA Propertymark accreditation are proven to work to a high standard of service and compliance, and they abide by a code of practice.

Almost half of England’s private rented properties are managed by agents who are members of ARLA Propertymark. Mistoria Estate Agents is one such member, sending the instant signal that any of our offices’ teams are staffed by individuals who know their business inside and out and abide by codes of conduct that guarantee fair and ethical business practices.

Mistoria’s Managing Director, Mish Liyanage, is now a member of Propertymark’s board, too, showing a core commitment to the standards set by the body.

Using protected letting agents gives landlords peace of mind that the business is committed to upholding good standards and that their money is safe. Any letting agent with Propertymark accreditation will typically show this on their website, but it always pays to ask if you’re unsure.

What Mistoria Estate Agents Salford can do for you

If you’re a landlord with a property that needs new tenants, full management, or if you just need some advice on how to get your investment off the ground, then get in touch with Mistoria Estate Agents Salford today. Our team will happily guide you through anything you need.

To learn more about our estate agency services and to get started, contact us today.

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