Can you change letting agent as a landlord? Yes you can – and it's easier than you think!
You’re paying too much. You’re not happy with the service. You’re not satisfied that your property is being looked after. Whatever your reasons for feeling disenchanted with your current agent, the important thing to know is this: you don’t have to put up with it.
And why should you? Your property is an incredibly important asset. Perhaps it’s part of your retirement plans. Maybe the rental income you receive is crucial to your family finances. When you entrust that level of responsibility to a business, you are entitled to expect courtesy, respect and a high level of service.
Your agent needs you more than you need them. So why does it feel like the other way around? If it’s time for a change of agent we can help you every step of the way. Best of all our professional support won’t cost you a penny.
But hold on…
Aren’t we getting a bit ahead of ourselves?
Change can be stressful – even when you are changing something for the better. Your life is busy and the perception is that changing your agent will be time-consuming and laborious. But it honestly doesn’t have to be. In fact we can take care of everything on your behalf – completely free of charge.
Why choose us? Belvoir is the Sunday Times Awards Best Lettings Franchise for the past six years. That’s not all. Out of 180 offices ours has been the best performing Belvoir team in the UK for the past ten years – generating more returns for our landlords than anywhere else.
We are accredited members of the Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA) and the National Association of Estate Agents and are Propertymark Protected. Propertymark promotes much higher standards of agent conduct than the law demands and we are regularly audited to ensure that we are meeting these standards.
Sounds good? Find out more on our website.
How to change letting agent – in eight steps
Changing letting agent is easier than you may have thought and – broadly speaking – follows a simple process.
1. Check your contract
The first thing to do is to check your contract for a termination clause. This will spell out the agreed legal process for ending your dealings together. Can’t find your contract? Ask your agent for a copy.
2. Give notice
Once you’re aware of the termination terms, give official written notice of your intention to end the contract. The notice period required will most likely be in your contract, but it is normally either one or two months. If no concrete timeframe is provided it’s still in your best interests legally to have a paper trail of your intentions. We can help you draft a letter to serve your notice should you wish. Just ask. Oh and if possible try to time the end of the notice period with your tenants’ rent payment day.
3. Look in to the finances
Will changing agent cost you money? It’s a big and important question – and in truth there isn’t a simple answer. It all depends on your current agent, your tenants and the type of clauses you have in your contract. For example if your current agent found your tenants, they may require compensation. Be prepared to negotiate.
However if you are leaving your agent because you don’t feel satisfied that they have delivered on what they promised, you could argue that they have breached their contract – in which case any exit fees would be waived. It’s not something to accuse your agent of lightly – and the burden of proof falls on you as a landlord. But if you think you have a case then talk to the Office of Fair Trading or Citizen’s Advice about your legal position. Or call us for a chat - as expert letting agents we know what’s right and wrong.
4. Get your tenant contact details
It’s best to keep your tenants informed during the transition process. Get their contact details from your current agent – they are legally obliged to give them to you – and get in touch with your tenants directly. Or if you are transferring to Belvoir, we can make contact to introduce ourselves and reassure them that their place in the property is under no threat.
5. Confirm that your agent knows you are leaving
Back to the paper trail. Ask for a letter or email from your agent confirming receipt of your notice to leave and outlining the applicable exit fees.
6. Collect keys and paperwork
Talk to the outgoing agent to arrange the handover of the keys to your property, tenant files, inventory, EPC, gas certificate and any other paperwork relating to your property. We can do this on your behalf free of charge if you are transferring to Belvoir.
7. Get the deposit transferred
There are strict rules regarding the way you handle your tenants’ deposits. Make sure it’s transferred securely and protected under your name or registered with your new agent. Again if you transfer to Belvoir we can take care of everything on your behalf.
8. Create a new tenancy agreement
You should also create a new tenancy agreement providing the details of whoever is managing the let – be that you as a private landlord or a different letting agent. Be aware that your existing tenants may choose to leave your property if there are any major changes to the terms of the tenancy, so try to create as little disruption as possible. Or be prepared to relist your property if necessary.
Over to you…
Changing estate agents doesn’t have to be stressful. But there is some careful background work to do before making your move. To talk about getting the level of service you deserve, please feel free to contact me directly. Myself and my team here in Stamford and Bourne can help you every step of the way.
01733 321 500
Luke Clarke is Belvoir’s Lettings Manager. Luke has over 12 years of property experience and has built up unrivalled expertise in the lettings industry and remains a tried and tested advisor for landlords who not only intrust Luke with the complexities of day to day property management but also to assist them with the ongoing development of their property portfolio.