We wrote two weeks ago about how the incoming tenant fees ban could make a lettings agent's full management service even more beneficial to landlords.
With more and more legislation coming to the fore, many landlords probably don't know if they are coming or going when it comes to managing their properties.
While some agents' property management fees may rise in light of the tenant fees ban, which comes into force on June 1, the value of the service and the peace of mind it provides is arguably increasing for landlords.
But that doesn't mean you shouldn't demand a top-level property management service from your lettings agent for the fee you are paying - particularly if it is rising.
Here are the most important things you should look for when choosing an agent to manage your property...
Letting agent fees for landlords
It's a fact that legislation such as the tenant fees ban only comes into force when the government can no longer put up with the minority of agents who continually push the boundaries.
It's also a fact that some agents have, for many a year, charged extortionate, sometimes hidden, fees to both landlords and tenants.
We've always been transparent about our landlord fees at Martin & Co Camberley and will continue to be.
When looking for an agent to manage your buy-to-let property, insist on an honest, up front and clear breakdown of each cost and service the agent will provide.
If you're happy with the figures and service level outlined, ensure everything is written into your contract.
Transparency and honesty is key. If your agent is unable to provide clear terms of business outlining all landlord fees, as we do at Martin & Co Camberley, it could be best to steer clear.
Is your agent regulated? They should be!
All lettings agents have, since 2014, been required to join one of now two government-backed redress schemes, after the third, Ombudsman Services, ceased last year. They are:
Despite large fines for not registering with one of the schemes, there are almost certainly still agents out there who remain unattached to either.
As members of The Property Ombudsman, Martin & Co Camberley fully supports the scheme's aims to deal quickly and efficiently with customer complaints.
Consider your agent's experience
When it comes to good lettings agents, longevity and reputation counts for a lot.
An brightly-branded new agent in town might grab your attention, but an agent that has been trading successfully in your area for a number of years should have a solid reputation.
They should also have a sound business model that can withstand economic and industry changes and huge experience of the area and how to get the best out of your buy-to-let property.
The power of the internet is a wonderful thing. It enables hugely effective marketing of your buy-to-let property, for one, but more importantly than that, it allows you to do your research on an agent and their reputation.
We've been trading in Camberley since 2009 - that's a decade of great reputation built up, not to mention our managing director Giles Mugford's 20 years of experience as an agent and landlord himself since 1999.
Your full management service should cover everything
Landlord legislation is mountainous in 2019. Here are just a few of the key obligations you face when renting out your buy-to-let property:
* Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)
* Tenant deposit security
* Gas safety regulations
* Fire safety regulations
* Smoke and CO2 alarm regulations
* Tenancy deposit regulations
* Electrical safety
* Right to Rent immigration checks
* Legionnaires disease regulations
* How To Rent Guide distribution
* Checking out the condition at end of tenancy and managing the deposit return
* Undertaking property maintenance using approved contractors
* Regular management visits to the property and report to you
* Managing the transfer of utilities at start and end of tenancies
* Accounting to you for rent received and chasing late payment by tenants
* Arranging gas safety checks using approved contractors
* Advertising your property's availability to the widest possible audience
* Conducting viewings, negotiating offers and providing regular feedback
* Conducting identity checks and credit checks on potential tenants
* Drawing up a tenancy agreement and arranging for it to be signed and paid
* Diarising renewal of the tenancy or notification that the tenancy is ending
Are you considering full management services for your buy-to-let property? Speak to one of our lettings experts to discuss how Martin & Co Camberley could help.