Letting agents will take control of your investment

Choice

Letting agents will take control of your investment

"Not all property investors are born to be a landlord. The thought of actually dealing with all that property maintenance and tricky tenants make some sigh with the indignity. The fact is, not everyone is suited to being a landlord." Gregor Kosinski, Branch Manager at Belvoir is also a landlord with a large portfolio of rental properties. Here are his views on why to use Letting Agents to manage his portfolio.

Some landlords are wary of their tenants. Employing a letting agent is an ideal way of not having direct contact with tenants. Personally, I do prefer not to meet my tenants. To me, the property is an investment and due to my life style I'm lacking time for a personal touch some Landlords like to have.

A positive of employing a letting agent is that they do act as a filter, cutting out some of the 'poorer' quality letting applicants that a landlord might have to sift through if they were advertising in classified adverts. This is because many letting agents require either a registration fee or they charge the tenant for arranging the letting. This cuts out 'scammers', opportunists, and many tenants on benefits, who are less likely to register through a costly letting agent. Obviously, if the landlord is specifically aiming at benefit tenants they need to realise that in using a letting agent this may exclude a proportion of their potential letting 'pool'.

The advantages of dealing direct a good letting agent, the letting agent is likely to follow their instructions but always present the offers. As a landlord I am flexible and often agree on the offers presented by the agent I'm using. For example, the applicants are a young couple renting for a first time and need a Sofa as they don't have any. Good letting agent will present this offer to the landlord and will make the applicants aware that the additional cost of furniture may be added to the rent they will pay.

Many landlords, especially those with a single investment property, retain a strong sense of 'ownership'. They want to be involved in every aspect of property management and they are uncomfortable about ceding this responsibility to others. In light of the previous section and the issues raised, landlords need to ask themselves honestly; where do they stand in the spectrum of management control? Does the landlord want to have complete control or would they prefer to have very little direct involvement, relying instead on the property professionals.

Ultimately, it's important to understand that by employing somebody else to manage their rental property, they are relinquishing control to somebody who may be less committed to the success of their residential investment than maybe they are. On a let only' basis, a letting agent is concerned with getting a tenant in, and providing the tenant passes the requisite tests and tenant

referencing checks they will get their commission, any subsequent issues with the tenant is not their problem. Landlords should always remember this.

Aspects of the quality of the letting agent's service are not always apparent until after the tenancy has begun. For instance, what types of credit and referencing checks has the letting agent carried out? When the letting agent tells the landlord that the tenants are 'fine', landlords need to make sure that they know what this means, and what checks the letting agent has employed.

Equally, landlords should look at how thoroughly the property inventory was completed. Will it stand up in court or a process of arbitration? Does the letting agent really notify the utility companies of the new tenants' details and the meter readings. The landlord needs to monitor the level of service is the same as a letting agent first promised and doesn't start to slip overtime.

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