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Why Use a Managing Agent and What to Expect

Finding a good tenant and managing the tenancy effectively are essential parts of being a professional landlord.

When does it make sense to use a managing agent to manage a property?

The purpose of a letting agent is to alleviate stress for the landlord and to ensure that their property remains a savvy and profitable investment. If the landlord has a substantial portfolio or even just one property but also works, time can be a constraint. Letting agents are a valuable resource. They can deal with checking rental payments, renewing tenancies, visiting the property and dealing with any maintenance problems or issues that may arise directly with the tenant. This is particularly useful if the landlord is abroad, as a local contact is imperative.

Landlords need to fulfil their obligations to tenants. A lot of landlords don’t live locally but need to act swiftly if things go wrong, such as stopping leaks and carrying out other emergency repairs. Even for landlords who live locally, it can still be difficult to respond rapidly and efficiently, for example to find a contactor at 2am. For agents, this is all part of the property management service we provide.

How can agents help landlords comply with the ever-increasing amount of legislation for the sector?

We have noticed that the rapid rate of regulatory change is leading increasing numbers of landlords to use an agent. For example, some landlords still have problems fully understanding the requirements for tenancy deposit protection. It’s a major cultural change in the market, and the penalties for non-compliance are draconian. By using an agent, it can become the responsibility of the agency to register the deposit, and the agency may assume some liability for any fine. Using an agency can help reduce the exposure of landlords to non-compliance and affords them some protection.

Landlords tend to seek reassurance from agents, particularly if they are inexperienced and require advice on the legal pitfalls and latest legislation. Agents can ensure all paperwork is provided for notices, and for court action for possession if necessary. In these circumstances, to ensure the landlord is fully compliant and to ease any potential worries, it would be beneficial to use a letting agent.

What kinds of services and arrangements can we offer landlords?

There are many different services available to landlords. We offer everything from Fully Managed services, to bespoke “pick and mix” services for those who want specific tasks to be carried out by us. Our Fully Managed service is our most comprehensive service, where we take care of everything from offering initial purchase guidance, marketing and letting the property, right through to receipting the rent, chasing arrears, managing renewals and deposit deductions.

What should landlords expect from a good letting agent?

Membership of an organisation such as UKALA or ARLA should be a baseline. You should also use an agent with a full understanding of all the deposit schemes and regulations, not an agent who will just introduce you to tenants and then wash their hands. You should avoid estate agencies who have just added on a lettings business without real investment training.

First and foremost, landlords should expect an agent that offers excellent customer service and provides exceptional communication to ensure a seamless experience. A good agent should be doing everything in their terms of business; including periodic management visits and reporting the findings to the landlord, communicating with the landlord regarding general lettings matters and legislation updates, advising the landlord on any legal requirements which they as a landlord are responsible for, such as a non-resident landlord or complying with tenancy deposit protection. Agents should be flexible and tailor services to their clients’ needs, to ensure that all landlords are getting the best possible service and resources. The agent is the eyes and ears of the landlord and should be looking after their investment as they would if doing it themselves.

An important point for landlords to check is whether the agent holds client money protection, which protects the landlord in the event of any misappropriation. The agent should also belong to an ombudsman so that the landlord has resource in the event of a dispute, and hold professional indemnity insurance in case of a serious complaint. 

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