Propertymark has issued a guide to help landlords choose lettings agents.
Angela Davey, ARLA Propertymark president, says she has five tips aimed primarily at landlords.
Research: Before picking the agent to rent out and manage your property, it’s vital to do thorough research to create a shortlist. You can do this by checking forums, reviews, as well as asking other local landlords for positive recommendations.
Check Client Money Protection (CMP) schemes: You also want to ensure that you pick an agent who is part of an organisation operating with Client Money Protection; a scheme designed to safeguard the money held by property agents in case anything goes wrong. As of April 2019, all letting agents in England that deal with client money must belong by law to a government-approved CMP scheme. Elsewhere in the UK, agents in Wales must have CMP as part of the Rent Smart Wales initiative and Scotland introduced CMP as a legal requirement in January 2018.
Verify membership of a redress scheme: Letting agents have a legal responsibility to register with a redress scheme to ensure that if a customer has a complaint about the service provided that cannot be resolved between yourselves, they can apply to the scheme. Check if the agents you are researching are signed up with either the Property Redress Scheme or The Property Ombudsman.
Your working relationship: It is essential to ensure you are happy with how you are being dealt with by the letting agent. Try and meet them, which can be done virtually during Covid-19, or speak with them over the phone to see how you get on with each other. Also, you should ensure that the agent you choose is proactive and professional. Choose someone who answers the phone quickly, has a professional website and conveys that they are proactive.
Are they Propertymark Protected? ARLA Propertymark members operate to professional standards far higher than the law demands. Members are backed by a CMP scheme, are required to undertake regular training, are members of an approved redress scheme and are kept up to date with complex legislative changes and best practice. They also adhere to a nationally recognised Code of Practice.
Davey says: “Letting a property successfully can often be a time-consuming process. Spending time researching a letting agent to work with is a wise move and will save you time and effort in the long run as you’ll know you’re in safe hands. A good agent will be available, proactive and helpful to ensure that letting your property is smooth sailing.”
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