Many landlords looking to let a home prefer to use a letting agent who can deal with a tenant directly, can help find a suitable tenant and deal with financial matters such as handling a deposit. They do, however, charge fees for this service. When choosing a letting agent it is vital that they are members of one of the main trade bodies for the property rental sector: Association of Residential Letting Agents, National Association of Estate Agents and the Safeagent, formerly known as The National Approved Letting Scheme. This ensures that they abide by a strict code of conduct.
Please see our Letting Agent Directory.
Advantages of Using a Letting Agent
- The letting agent can tailor a service to best suit your needs, including finding and checking the suitability of a tenant, managing the property, dealing with repairs and organising insurance.
- Letting agents that are registered with a trade association also have to ensure their staff are well trained and that they will offer a prompt, efficient service.
- Letting agents can provide tenancy agreements and handle advertising for the property.
- Letting agents that are members of the above trade bodies are signed up to The Property Ombudsman scheme, which gives the landlord a right of redress if the letting agent acts unfair, maladministration occurs, or disputes arise with a tenant.
Disadvantages of Using a Letting Agent
- Fees can be prohibitive for some landlords, who may feel that they can carry out tasks such as finding a tenant and drafting a contract on their own. A typical fee charged by a letting agent for managing the property can be around 10% to 17% of the monthly rent.
- Using a letting agent can create an extra layer in the relationship with a tenant, slowing down communication at times. One online survey by the Citizen's Advice Bureau found that 73% of tenants were dissatisfied with the service provided by their letting agent. This increases the risk of a tenant preferring to move out and find another home to rent.
- If you do not use a trusted agent and the agency goes bankrupt, then the landlord will still be liable to the tenant for any outstanding money due to the tenant, such as their deposit.