News: Landlords in desperate fees warning

Fri, 14 Sep 07

With demand for rental property in the UK currently so strong, many agents are slashing their letting and fees in a desperate bid to attract landlords...

This may seem like good news on the surface, however, ARLA-registered letting specialist Leaders – one of the UK’s largest privately owned letting agents - is warning landlords to be wary of deals that seem too good to be true.

Says Leaders’ managing director, Paul Weller: “Landlords should be aware when choosing a letting agent that you get what you pay for in terms of service and professionalism. Half-price fees could result in a second-rate service, and worse, in the agent not having the funds to deliver any service at all.”

A complex process

Leaders – who have been specialising in letting property for almost 25 years - argue that there is more to letting property than simply advertising it in the local paper – and that it takes a lot of time, money and resources to do it properly.

For example, knowledgeable, well trained staff are needed; prospective tenants should be vetted carefully; complex legislation must be complied with; a professional inventory should be compiled; tenants’ safety and landlords’ interests must be protected at all times; and maintenance issues addressed promptly.

“Of course landlords will naturally want to keep their costs down and will be looking for a competitive rate,” continues Paul. “However, landlords paying exceptionally low fees face the risk of receiving a poor service - with some or all of the above being neglected - which could lead to serious problems.

High and dry

For the agent themselves, Leaders are concerned that dramatic fee cutting will prove unprofitable, unsustainable and even costly, which could cause them to go out of business, leaving their landlords and tenants high and dry.

When choosing a letting agent, Leaders advise landlords not to base their decision on price alone, but to also consider experience, reputation, professionalism and overall service. For extra peace of mind, only agents who are members of a professional body such as the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) should be considered.

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