Letting Agents’ Responsibilities: What Do Letting Agents Do?
What does a letting agent do? Find out who is responsible: the letting agent or the landlord?
Whether you’re a seasoned property owner with a vast portfolio or a fledgling landlord starting a new career, letting agents can provide peace of mind and support
Depending on your needs, residential letting agents can provide the services you need to help make your job much easier.
In fact, they can manage all your marketing, find suitable tenants, conduct inspections, draw up a tenancy agreement, and be the main point of contact with your renters.
Knowing what services agents provide can be very helpful if you’re considering working with one.
Before we take a deeper look at the duties of a letting agent vs. your obligations as a landlord, let’s make sure we’re clear on what an agent is, what they do, and who they do it for.
What does a letting agent do?
Put simply, letting agents act on behalf of the landlord and carry out services concerning their rental homes.
The responsibilities of a letting agent includes offering varying service levels, depending on how much landlords want them to be involved in their property’s management.
Most property management companies will charge you based on a percentage of your rental income, with the average fee being around 10%.
But this fee can vary considerably depending on where you live and which agent you use to manage your property.
Unlike estate agents, letting agencies are not involved with selling properties and work solely on leasing. So if you ever plan on selling your property, you’ll need to contact an estate agent.
What are the responsibilities of a letting agent?
The three primary duties of a letting agent are:
1. Finding prospective tenants
One of the fundamental letting agent duties is finding prospective tenants for your property. More specifically, suitable tenants who will respect your property and pay their rent on time.
The tenant-find service usually involves taking professional photographs of the property, producing floor plans, and advertising in local newspapers and online property portals.
As part of the tenant-find service, property management companies are also responsible for arranging and attending viewings of the property, showing interested parties around, and settling deposit disputes.
They can also carry out referencing and background credit checks to ensure prospective tenants have provided honest and accurate information.
Your agent will also draw up a tenancy agreement for you, the landlord, and your renter to sign. This will be a legally binding document.
2. Rent collection
Another important duty of a property agent includes rent collection from your tenants.
The main benefit of rent collection is that your agent can act impartially and professionally. This also means you can avoid awkward and potentially difficult conversations about tenants not upholding their rent payments and tenancy agreement.
3. Fully managed service
Many online letting agent services offer a comprehensive service, which involves general maintenance and arranging necessary residential property repairs.
This is useful if you live away from the property or need more time to deal with plumbers, electricians, and other tradespeople. Your agent can remove the stress of travelling to and from the property whenever something needs to be repaired.
As outlined above, a complete letting agent service also includes rent collection and finding suitable renters for your property.
Landlord responsibilities: What a letting agent does NOT do
We now know the role of a letting agent and the various services they offer when managing properties.
But it’s equally important to understand your own duties as a landlord. These are issues an agent is not obliged to deal with or does not hold responsibility for.
1. Take on legal responsibilities
Although letting agents can help you in many ways, it’s always the property owner’s job to ensure legal obligations get met. This includes ensuring gas and electric safety inspections are carried out.
Keep in mind letting agents will be able to guide you accordingly to ensure you’re legally compliant.
However, if something goes wrong, you, as the homeowner, will almost always be held accountable in the eyes of the law.
2. Deal with rent arrears and bad tenants
Letting agents should always strive to go above and beyond to find a suitable tenant who pays their monthly rent on time and keeps your property clean and tidy.
If a tenant does begin to act poorly or falls into debt, every good agent will work fast to try and resolve the situation.
Still, it’s important to understand that dealing with renters who fail to pay rent or cause damage to your property is not the responsibility of your letting agent. Ultimately, the burden will fall on your shoulders.
What to ask a letting agent before hiring them
When managing rental properties, finding a decent agent can seem daunting if you’ve never used one.
But with a few simple questions, you can find out if an agent is up to par and someone you should consider hiring.
We recommend asking letting agents the following questions:
- What accreditations do you have?
- Can you prove your success at managing rental properties?
- How many rentals do you look after?
- How much will I profit from my rental property?
- What are your fees?
- What marketing techniques do you use to attract tenants?
- Can you provide an example of how you screen and reference potential renters?
- How do you deal with tenants in rent arrears?
- Which contractors do you use when handling maintenance issues?
We hope this blog has helped you understand what letting agents do and how they can significantly help and support you as a landlord.
From arranging marketing campaigns and finding suitable renters to drawing up tenancy agreements and taking care of inspections – agents can take a lot of the pressure off your shoulders.
But although agents take on many duties, remember that important obligations fall on you, including handling troublesome lodgers and any legal issues that may arise.
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