Ten Questions to ask your Letting Agent

Many landlords are finding it increasingly difficult to keep up with all the new legal requirements and regulations which now seem to change on a monthly basis. If you are thinking of using a letting agent who claims to be a specialist in this field, then here are ten important questions which we think you should ask them.

1. Do you have Client Money Protection? This is the most important question as otherwise an agency which goes out of business may also disappear with your rental funds. It would also be worthwhile enquiring if they have Professional Indemnity Cover and how long they have been established.

2. Are you up to date on tenancy law? Enquire what training their staff undertake and if the agent invests in Continuing Professional Development to make sure their knowledge and skills are kept up to date.

3. Are you a member of any regulatory body, such as ARLA? The Association of Residential Letting Agents is the U.K.’s foremost professional body. However, if they are affiliated to any other scheme, then also check if they can access a free legal lettings helpline. It is not a mandatory requirement to be part of such a scheme, but most good agents would choose to be regulated in order to prove their professionalism.

4. What Deposit Protection scheme are you using? All tenant deposits must be protected within thirty days with a government approved scheme.

5. Can you organise the mandatory legislative requirements such as Landlord Gas Inspections and Legionella Risk Assessments and what is your charge for this work? Also can you provide 24 hour emergency cover should my tenants have a problem outside of normal working hours?

6. Are you a member of a redress scheme, such as The Property Ombudsman? It is important to know exactly what you should do if you have a complaint. From October 2014 all agents have been required to be a member of one of three government approved redress schemes.

7. How often will you be carrying out inspections of my tenanted property? It is important to check on a regular basis that your property is being cared for and to ensure the tenants are not breaching the Tenancy Agreement in any way.

8. What checks do you carry out on tenants? Are they properly referenced by a professional reference company or in-house? Full checks will ascertain if the applicant is likely to be responsible and able to afford the monthly rental, together with whether they have a legal right to reside in the United Kingdom.

9. How often will I receive a Statement showing my income and expenditure? How detailed will this documentation be?

10. Will there be any hidden fees? All fees and charges should now be displayed in the agent’s office and on their website. However, at Harcourts we are becoming increasingly aware that not all charges are properly disclosed and some agents add on 10% or sometimes more to all tradesman invoices but do not make this clear to their clients.

At Harcourts we are confident that we can answer ALL of the above questions positively. If you would like to discuss any point raised above or any other property related matter, then please contact Harcourts on 023 8063 7438, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or check our website at www.harcourts-property.co.uk for initial free advice. Our experience and continued professional development in the property market means that we can provide practical advice and a service which means your property is in safe hands.

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