Selecting an Agent

There is a large selection of letting and Estate Agents in Kingston and as a Landlord it can be very difficult to distinguish one from another. Here are a few tips to ensure you select the right letting agent in Kingston.

Industry Checks.

Letting Agents are unregulated which means that anyone can open their doors and call themselves a letting agent. To counter this, look for an agent that has invested in operating a professional lettings business. Look for agents that:

-Are members of a professional body such NALS, ARLA or RICS. Additionally check whether the agent is a SAFE AGENT member.

-Are members of The Property Ombudsman (TPO). The Ombudsman has a code of conduct and is also the place where complaints can be registered.

-Has client money protection in place to ensure your money is protected.

-Has professional indemnity insurance in place to ensure that if the agent is negligent you will have some financial protection.

-Is registered with one of the deposit protection schemes. Tenant deposits have to be properly protected and if not there are heavy fines.

Agent Checks.

Our next set of checks are ‘softer’ checks but these will help you really understand the type of letting agent you may be getting involved with.

Look at the agents’ website and check the contact details. Is there an address? If it’s a residential house address, PO Box address or there is no address at all, then you may be dealing with someone who, despite the glossy website, is actually operating from their bedroom.

Check the agents’ office. Whilst location isn’t so important anymore, the office should still look professional. Does it seem like the sort of office that will attract the type of tenants you are looking for? Speak to the staff. Are they helpful and knowledgeable?

What property portals does the agent advertise on? Rightmove, Zoopla and Find a property are the major portals. To find the best tenants for your property it’s important that it’s marketed in the right places.

Review some of the properties that your shortlisted agents are currently marketing. Review the property description and photographs. It’s amazing how little effort some agents will put into letting your property.

Fees

Ask the agent to clearly explain their fees, not just the initial fees but all the fees that will be encountered up until the tenant moves OUT of your property and another tenant needs to be found. Check the costs for

Registering the depositInventory and schedule of condition reportsTenant check insContract renewals

If your agent is going to manage the property then check whether their management charge includes the following, if not find out the cost for

-Periodic property inspectionsTenant check outs

-Maintenance

Ask whether the agent profits from maintenance work on your property. It is very common for agents to take a commission or add a percentage to your maintenance bills.

Find out how much the agent would charge you for a Landlords’ gas safety certificate or for an Energy Performance Certificate. If this is higher than the usual market rate then you’re probably dealing with an agent that likes to ‘take a cut’.

Call us today to discuss your property rental in Kingston or surrounding areas.

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