The current financial situation is leading market commentators to perceive a growth in the rental property market. The argument is that as potential buyers find it hard to obtain mortgages, increasing numbers of people will be forced to rent. The situation however is not all doom and gloom, for those who have the investable capital to buy property and then let it out, this has the potential to be golden time for landlords.
Landlords differ in their reasons for letting their property, some may want the additional income that comes from letting, others may just wish to increase their property portfolio, some may even be travelling and simply want the mortgage paid for the time they are away. No matter what the reason however letting agents can be extremely beneficial for landlords, taking much of the stress and work from the process.
As with the utilisation of nearly any financial service it is advisable to use letting agents that have come as part of a personal recommendation. It is not always possible to gain a personal recommendation however and in this instance the use of the internet can be helpful. There are many websites devoted to the subject of letting agents and with the use of these it is possible to find a good balance between costs and services.
No matter how you come to select letting agents though it is important to ensure that they are part of one of the official bodies. These bodies consist of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) as well as others. These associations have strict rules of entry, one of which is that any agent should have at least two years of operating in the marketplace. It is hoped that this regulation ensures all members understand the market completely.
The other reason these bodies exist is so that renters and landlords have protection from unscrupulous operators. This is because all members must subscribe to the association’s codes of practice that if followed ensure that both landlord and tenant are given fair treatment. Additionally these bodies exist to allow legal procedures should any contentious issues arise. In recent years the government has also produced documentation to further regulate the lettings market.
In the majority of cases a landlord must sign contracts with letting agents before the property can be advertised. This contract will contain information on both the agents’ and landlord’s responsibilities and will define the rights of the agent to manage the property in the landlord’s stead. As with every piece of legal documentation it is vital to spend a great deal of time reading the fine print so no surprises arise once the tenancy has begun.
If you have trouble understanding the terms and conditions of the contract it is always advisable to have a legal professional take a look and present the information in a clearer format; as with any agreement, clauses that are not required, or are not preferable can be removed with negotiation.
It is hoped this article has given a brief introduction to the work of letting agents and how landlords can make best use of their services. In the majority of cases letting agents will work hard to find tenants and then manage the property effectively throughout the rental period. If the right agent is found, it should be possible for a landlord to have all the benefits of a property portfolio without the stresses and strains of managing tenants themselves.
About the Author
Property expert Thomas Pretty studies the work of letting agents and how landlords and tenants can utilise their services most effectively.