Advice for Landlords:
Always use an ARLA Licensed Agent.
There is currently no legal requirement for a letting agent to be licensed. As such the process of opening a letting agency is easier than getting a driving license. The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) has a strict code of practice which its members must abide by.
They also offer a redress scheme if a mistake was to occur. To become licensed the agent must pass an in depth exam covering all aspects of the letting market and the law that surrounds it.
Ensure you understand what you are signing.
Never be pressured into signing a lengthy sole agency agreement. They benefit no one but the letting agent. If an agent offers you a discount fee in return for giving them exclusivity, a 2 week notice period to change this is more than reasonable.
By law, if you instruct an agent to market your property anywhere other than their business premises, you have the right to change your mind within 7 days. Most of the time you would want the contract to commence immediately and landlords often waive their right for the property to be marketed straight away. There is nothing wrong with that as long as you are making an informed decision and know your rights.
In this economic climate it is more important than ever to protect your income. Most landlords have now realised that letting a property without a rent guarantee policy is like driving a car without insurance. Some letting agents offer rent guarantee policies free of charge, but there is often an excess or other exclusions. At Martyn Gerrard we offer a £0 excess rent guarantee policy free of charge for the first 12 months. If you would like to know more, please contact us.
Look at the bigger picture.
Many landlords ask agents about the percentage rate, but often ignore the hidden cost of letting their property. It can be misleading to only compare the percentage quoted by the agent, without enquiring about other charges such as administration fees, contract fees etc.
Every agency works differently and may offer you a very low percentage, but impose high administration charges or even charge the tenant fees as well as the landlord. Consider expected income and all costs before making your decision.
If you would like to know how much your property could be worth in the current market we will be happy to help.
For further information contact your local ARLA licensed office of Martyn Gerrard.