The importance of using a reputable letting agent – by Bolton Letting Agent Westpine Property Lettings
Being a landlord can be a risky business, with a range of legislation and regulations to adhere to – not to mention attracting the right kind of tenant and ensuring they are fully referenced. That’s why choosing a reputable letting agent is the most important decision made by a landlord.
The difference in choosing a professional agent and a shoddy ‘as useful as a chocolate teapot’ agent can determine whether you, as a landlord, have a positive and profitable investment property or a major cause of numerous headaches.
It still surprises the majority of people when I inform them that the lettings industry remains an unregulated industry. The majority of service industries are, if anything, somewhat over-regulated but at least it gives the consumer the peace of mind that there will be intervention should a company mistreat them in any way. The same, sadly, cannot be said for the lettings industry. Therefore, Westpine Property Lettings always recommend that landlords instruct an agent who is licensed with ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents). Each year unlicensed letting agents cost landlords thousands of pounds because they don’t have protective measures in place – make sure you’re not one of them. By using a licensed ARLA agent you are guaranteed that you are dealing with an agent who follows a strict Code of Practice laid down by the professional body and generally adheres to uphold the highest ethical standards in the industry.
I regularly here horror stories from landlords about how they have been treated unfairly by unscrupulous agents. Recently, I listened shocked as a landlord informed me that he was switching agents as his previous agent only paid over the rent to him every two months, despite receiving the rent from the tenant monthly. The agent was using the money in the meantime to help with his cash flow ‘issues’. If this situation sounds familiar, without hesitation de-instruct this agent from managing your property. Here at Westpine, we uphold a strict process to ensure that all client money is held in a separate insured client bank account. As members of SafeAgent, we guarantee that our landlords that their money is always safe, offering full reassurance.
Finally, we strongly recommend that landlords ensure that an agent is ‘qualified’ to manage their property. Shockingly, anyone can start a letting agent business but a landlord should always ask the agent the following questions to ensure they are placing their property in the hands of a professional:
1: Do they have experience working in the lettings industry?
2: Do they hold any professional qualifications in lettings & property management?
3: Do they attend regular training courses to update their knowledge?
If the answer to any of the above questions is ‘No’ – move on and find a more reputable agent. Westpine regularly advocate the importance of using an agent who is qualified to manage your property – make sure you always instruct an ARLA licensed agent. To find a licensed agent in your area, visit: http://www.arla.co.uk