Landlords ‘should always use a lettings agent’

Landlords have been advised to use a lettings agent to manage their properties – but is it always necessary?

Julie Twist, managing director at Julie Twist Properties, acknowledged that she is “bound to say” lettings agents are a good thing for people with buy to let insurance due to her position as an estate agent.

However, she pointed out that there are real benefits to doing so.

“There are a lot of rogue tenants out there and we can protect landlords from that. Also, it is not just about problems with tenants; there is a lot of legislation that landlords have to comply with as well as health and safety issues,” Ms Twist commented.

The expert suggested that new landlords in particular may benefit from using the services of an agent to act as an intermediary.

A lettings agent is described as an individual or organisation that deals with a rental property on a landlord’s behalf in exchange for a fee.

There are indeed a good deal of advantages to having one, as they carry out a range of tasks including marketing and advertising, safety inspections, vetting of tenants, chasing unpaid rent and drawing up leases.

Lettings agents may be able to negotiate higher rent and they can also act as a buffer between tenants and landlords.

All this should significantly reduce the property owner’s workload, particularly if they have a range of homes and live quite far away from some of them.

However, there are disadvantages too. Agents typically charge between five and 15 per cent of rental income – and if the rent goes up, so does the fee.

Also, having a property stringently managed by an agent could take away some of the enjoyment landlords experience, as they will not have any contact with their tenants, plus the agent will undoubtedly not have as much commitment to the home as its owner.

Ultimately, whether to use a professional lettings agent or not is a matter of personal choice, so landlords should weigh up the pros and cons before taking the plunge.

Article courtesy of Stride

RentPro property management software for letting agents and landlords.

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