A landlord does have his own rights and owning a property with tenants can cause a lot of stress. As an owner, one very important question should be asked; Do I manage the property myself or employ the services of a letting agent?
A letting agent will know the process inside out, from marketing the property, leasing and finally occupancy. A professional firm will know what is best for the property and be skilled in all aspects of renting, and they will follow through up to the day of occupancy. There are a couple of important advantages in having an agent.
Firstly they will carry out a professional screening of all suitable tenants. This will include credit checks and a criminal background check, employment verification and any previous rental records. Secondly they will know what to do if it becomes necessary to evict a nightmare tenant. A problem tenant may know exactly how to use the legal system to their advantage if the landlord is inexperienced.
Apart from the two important tasks, a letting agent will also advertise and show the property to all the prospective tenants; confirm the transfer of all utility bills into the new tenant’s name; provide the lease agreement and obtain proper signatures before the tenant moves in; collect and account for the rents and deposit; arrange the first and final walk through, making note of the property condition, prepare a security deposit statement and provide a statement each month of all income and expenses plus they can give a full recap at the end of each year for taxes.
For a new landlord who will know the importance of landlord insurance but has never used a letting agent before, finding a decent one can seem like an extremely daunting job. Metropolitan and suburban areas are plentiful with agents all of whom want the business. As with most things, the best way to find a good agent is word of mouth. Browsing the web is another good idea and most established agents will have their own websites. The most important thing is to take time to shop around and always ask a lot of questions to each agent. Be clear on the agents charging structure including what is included in the fees and what isn’t. Most agents will charge a percentage of the monthly rent of the property as the lettings fee. Sometimes this will include a small fee for collecting the rent, but more often than not the rent collection will be charged on top. Unless a landlord knows what they are doing, having the services of a letting agents will be money well spent.