Letting agents

How to choose a Letting Agent

Choosing a rental property is a huge commitment and with so many letting agents and properties to choose between, the process of finding a place to live can be overwhelming. When selecting a letting agent, it’s important you can trust they will help you find the perfect property within your budget. We have a list of top tips to help you when choosing a letting agent.

Phone a friend

Start by asking friends and family to recommend letting agents they have used in the past to help you pull together a list of potential agents that suit your needs. If your family or friends have had a positive experience, there’s a good chance you will too.

Check industry credentials

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Although the Government has recently proposed that property agents become regulated, at this moment in time letting agents in England are currently unregulated and there is a risk you could come up against a rogue agent. Look for the ARLA Propertymark logo to give you peace of mind that your money will be protected. ARLA Propertymark agents commit to the highest standards in the industry; use our find an expert tool or look for the ARLA Propertymark logo on websites, letting boards and in office windows.

“Choosing a property to rent is a huge financial commitment and can be overwhelming, especially for first-timers. We almost always focus on the property rather than the agent, but it’s important to consider the longer term. A good agent will help you find the best property for you and your budget, but if they’re going to be managing the property it’s important to know how responsive they really are. We encourage all Propertymark members to remember their tenant’s welfare to ensure they have a positive experience and that the tenancy goes smoothly”

Phil Keddie

Phil Keddie

ARLA Propertymark President

Know what you should be charged for

As of 1 June, agents can no longer charge additional fees that are not considered ‘permitted payments’. This means lettings agents can only charge for a holding deposit capped at no more than one week’s rent, a refundable tenancy deposit capped at five weeks’, change or early termination of a tenancy, and payments arising from a default, which include late rent payments or replacing keys. All lettings agents should have educated themselves on this, so if they do try to charge it’s important you know your rights, so you can challenge the agent and if necessary you can go elsewhere. 

Ask them questions

Letting agents have various schemes and rules they must follow by law; if your agent can’t answer any of the following or the answer they provide isn’t satisfactory, then we recommend you do not use them.

  • What property redress scheme are you part of?
    By law a letting agent must be part of one. When they tell you, you can always double check on the redress scheme’s website to see if they are really a member.
  • Which client money protection scheme are you part of?
    This is also required by law. Money such as rent, or a deposit is considered client money. These schemes exist to prevent the money being misused.
  • What tenancy deposit scheme will my deposit be protected by?
    Another legal requirement. Your deposit must be part of a tenancy deposit protection scheme; the letting agent should give you paperwork that confirms which scheme it is part of when you pay the deposit.
  • Where can I see your fees?
    Letting agents must clearly display their tenancy fees on their website and in their office. If you can’t see them, or if they contain any prohibited payments, then the agent is potentially breaking the law.

Remember, all the above are legal requirements of a letting agent. You can report an agent you feel may be breaking the law.

Speak to current tenants

Another way to get a good insight into a letting agent is to ask the current tenants if they’ve had a positive experience. Even when you’re viewing a property it’s still worth finding out more about the agency, as they will often be managing the property as well and this plays a massive part in your experience while living there. The more information you can find out from the people who are currently using the letting agent, the better.

Local knowledge is best

Asking about the local area will give you a sense of how experienced the letting agent is. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and try to choose an agent who has a branch in the area you’re looking at. If the agent is an expert in the local area they will be able to share key information with you, such as the cost of council tax and how far the property is from the nearest transport link.

 

Why choose an ARLA Propertymark Protected Letting Agent?

If you're looking to let your property, you need an agent that you can trust and rely on.

The quality of the agent makes a real difference.

Find a Propertymark Protected letting agent in your area.

Find an expert

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