Belvoir Lettings in Long Eaton have just helped a landlord whose agent disappeared with several month’s rent and the tenants deposit prompting me to write this article. This landlord based his decision on which letting agent he chose by comparing the costs of different agents and picking the cheapest agent on paper. Be warned cheap agents can cost you dearly as a landlord!
Imagine you have put all of your faith in a letting agent, paying them the monthly management fee and then suddenly you don’t receive this month’s rent. You contact the agent and you get a very plausible excuse that the rent has not been received but it is being chased and is expected at the end of the month. The end of the month comes and goes and you hear nothing about the rent. You chase up the letting agent again and get a very plausible excuse why the tenant has not paid. The tenant lost their job, found a new one almost immediately but has to work a month in hand and then you will get your rent at the end of another month. How long do you accept these excuses, are they genuine or is your letting agent using delaying tactics in handing over the rent? The next time you phone for an update you find that the number is unobtainable, you check the website and it has ‘gone down’. You start making more enquiries and you find that your letting agent has gone out of business taking all of your rent and the tenants deposit with them!
Many landlords will not have the current tenants contact details and if you live abroad or another part of the country it is not very easy just to pop around and visit your tenant to establish the situation.
If you know any landlords needing help or advise please ask them to contact me directly. I have been a landlord since the early nineties and have been a Belvoir Franchise owner since February 2003 and I have seen a number of agents go out of business leaving behind many unhappy landlords.
There are a large number of landlords who are not familiar with the deposit protection process.
If your agent has failed to register your tenant’s deposit it would fall to you as the landlord not only to reimburse your tenant the full deposit, but also pay a penalty of up to 3 times the value of the deposit.. You would also not be able to serve your tenant with a notice to vacate your property!
Bear in mind some tenants pay 1, 2, 3, 6, or even 12 month’s rent in advance. If this is the case whether the rent has been passed onto the landlord or not, it has been paid and lost if the agent goes out of business. Our client account is bonded and ring fenced for security so dealing with Belvoir means you can sleep at night.
Although the lettings industry is not regulated, there are many voluntary organizations that are pushing for compulsory regulation for all lettings agents throughout the UK
Belvoir in Long Eaton are proud to be voluntary members of: Safeagent Agents (Safeagent), Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Safe agent and the Property Ombudsman.
When choosing an agent, remember it is not just the management fee percentage that is important: are they going to be in business in 6 months time? Do they have any client money protection in place? Are they accredited?