‘Tenant is looking after the Property and keeps it clean and tidy’
With Channel 5’s Series currently airing on Evening Television, I thought it may be quite topical to look at some of the issues raised.
A good Agent can make the difference to bad situations developing too far. The agent should be inspecting regularly (if you pay them to), advising you on Steps to take and Serving Relevant Notices according to the Legislation.
So with this in mind, thought I might offer some pointers on how to choose an Agent:
- Agent Focused on Customer Service for Tenant not just you. Good Idea to Pose as a Tenant to See who treats you Best. After all words spreads about the good and Bad Agents in any town! Tenants like to be treated fairly, so good tenants will naturally migrate to the Good Agents and ultimately your Property.
- Letting Agents are not regulated, but the better ones typically belong to the National Approved Lettings Scheme (NALS) or the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA)
- Ask to See their Terms and Conditions, these may be 40 pages long so it might be worth asking for it to be checked by a legal Professional. All Charges have to be displayed by Law. If not on Display then report then to them The Property Ombudsman (TPO)
- Find out exactly what their service includes. How often they Visit to check the Property, do they do accompanied Viewings. An important Document is the Inventory taken at the Start of any Tenancy. Is this part the Service? A Good inventory will save a lot problems later on when tenancy comes to an End.
- Ask for Evidence of Visits, Inspections, Viewing and Inventories. A good Agent will be proud of the Service they provide and will only be too happy to demonstrate it.
- When you call them on the Telephone and you get the Voicemail, doesn’t necessarily mean they cant be bothered, they might be too busy to answer. Just as long they return your call and deal with your question promptly.
- When the Credit Crunch hit in 2007 a lot of Estate Agents understandably jumped on the Lettings Bandwagon. It provided them with an income stream as their Property Sales Evaporated overnight. What I call Accidental Agents. Many of them still are not geared up for Property Management and are paying it Lip Service only. A good way to Check is to Find out where the Property Management (ie. Maintenance Dept) is carried out. You may find its located elsewhere and not necessarily in the same Town, City or County!
- Check to see if they have won any Awards either Nationally for the Larger Agents or at a Local Level.
- Review Sites can offer some guidance although theses can be open to abuse!
In General I would say that Research is the Key. Speak to trusted Friends, Family and Acquaintances to see what experience if any they have. Agents don’t generally have the Best Reputation, but their reputation is tarnished by only a small minority.
Best of Luck!