Rental properties can provide a steady stream of income with the proper management. Some owners decide to manage properties without help from a third party. Others find it easier to hire someone to take care of the day-to-day operations involved with renting a property. Property owners who want to hire someone must learn about how to choose the best letting agent.
Most agents offer one of three types of service, which factors in to how much the property owner pays. Full management agents take care of everything having to do with renting the property. This includes selecting suitable tenants, creating rental contracts, collecting monthly rent and passing it on to the owner and dealing with all maintenance issues. This is the most expensive service available but allows the owner to leave all responsibilities up to the agent.
Some letting agents take care of finding tenants and collecting rent, but that is all they do. The owner has to worry about maintenance and fielding any tenant complaints. This costs less than full management services. Sometimes agents will find a tenant and write the contract but leave rent collection up to the owner. This is the least expensive service available.
Property owners can expect to pay a fixed fee or a percentage of rent when hiring a qualified agent. Agents offering full management or services for finding tenants and collecting rent typically work on a percentage basis. This is usually around 10 percent of the total rent, but some larger agencies charge as much as 17 percent plus value-added tax. Agents offering tenant-finding service only may charge a flat fee for successful rental.
One way to ensure the property owner is dealing with a reputable professional is to find someone who belongs to a trade association. These professionals must adhere to certain rules of conduct when dealing with landlords and tenants. Someone who shows proof of membership can provide the best service for the client’s money.
Landlords can speak to other property owners in the area about the agents they use. A personal recommendation is often the most reliable way to find a reputable professional. Owners may be able to find a local landlord association to help with referrals if they do not know any other property owners personally.
When hiring a full maintenance service provider, qualified agents should be able to demonstrate their ability to comply with legislation that protects the tenant’s interests and safety. This means handling all annual maintenance reviews, including obtaining a Gas Safety Certificate from a reputable gas engineer. All electrical appliances owned by the landlord must past a safety test conducted by a qualified electrical engineer. Soft furnishings must comply with all relevant fire safety legislation.
Owning a rental property can be lucrative for property owners who handle management issues properly. Experienced letting agents can ensure a property has quality tenants at all times with little or no worry about vacancies. They know how to treat good tenants properly to encourage them to rent long-term and eliminate lost revenues associated with turnaround.
Thanks to Alan Munns of Redstones Thanet for his help in the preparation of this article.
Marlowe Innovation Centre,