Letting agents play a fundamental role in the renting process, often acting as the glue that holds everything together. The best ones are highly trained and offer a wide range of services designed to help landlords rent out their properties and tenants find new homes. But where can you find top-notch agents? Here, we look at what you should consider and where to find the best letting agents, whether you’re a landlord or a renter.
What is the role of a letting agent?
A letting agent is a professional who helps landlords manage their rental properties and find suitable tenants. They act as intermediaries between landlords and tenants, providing services such as property marketing, tenant screening, lease preparation, rent collection and property maintenance. A letting agent plays a crucial role, helping both landlords and renters navigate all aspects of renting.
Letting agents help to ensure a landlord’s property is occupied by reliable tenants who pay their rent on time and take care of the home. They can assist with property inspections, repairs and maintenance so the property is kept in good condition and compliant with all legal requirements.
For tenants, letting agents provide access to a broader range of properties and professional guidance on finding a suitable home. They can also offer support throughout the tenancy, helping to resolve any issues or disputes that may arise.
What makes a good letting agent?
The best letting agents should be knowledgeable about the local rental market, up-to-date with the latest legal and regulatory requirements and able to demonstrate this information to landlords and renters in a straightforward way.
Being proactive in their approach is also a valuable quality for a good letting agent. They should take the initiative to find suitable tenants quickly and efficiently, using their marketing skills to promote properties to the widest possible audience.
Furthermore, being organised and efficient, with strong attention to detail and the ability to handle complex administrative tasks, is key.
Providing clear and accurate advice to landlords and tenants on issues such as rental valuations, tenancy agreements, and tenancy deposit schemes is another vital part of a letting agent’s job. They should be able to offer valuable guidance and support throughout the rental process, making it as smooth and hassle-free as possible.
Are letting agents regulated in the UK?
Letting agents in Scotland have to be listed in the Scottish Letting Agent Register and in Wales they need to register with Rent Smart Wales. In England and Northern Ireland while there are complex legal and compliance frameworks, there is no requirement for registration or qualification.
Some letting agents are also voluntarily regulated in the UK,
Essentially, you can start a letting agency without any experience or qualifications . While that might promote an entrepreneurial mindset, it can also lead to many businesses operating in the field without the required skill set.
That’s not to say a good letting agent needs to be regulated, but using one that’s part of an official body, such as Propertymark, comes with more guarantees. It’s also likely to stop people from acting in bad faith, like when a tenant tried to sell their landlord’s property without permission.
we strongly advise using one that is regulated and adheres to the regulating body’s terms.
Should a letting agent be registered?
It’s highly recommended that landlords and tenants use an agent that’s regulated by a professional body. Choosing a registered letting agent offers several advantages:
Deal with a professional
Renting through an agent means you’re dealing with a professional, rather than a landlord who may also work full time. This matters when the boiler breaks down or you have a maintenance issue – professional agents have systems in place to manage repairs and can usually call on a team of specialist contractors.
Professionalism and accountability
Registered agents are held to a high standard of professionalism and ethics and must comply with a code of conduct. They are also subject to regular monitoring and assessment and can face sanctions if they fail to meet the required standards. This provides a level of accountability and assurance to both landlords and tenants.
There’s plenty of legal compliance involved with renting, and a registered agent needs to be well informed on all legal aspects. This includes client money protection and deposit protection, which ensures landlords and tenants are protected and that rental processes are conducted in a legal and transparent manner.
Letting agents are legally required to belong to a redress scheme, such as the Property Ombudsman, which allows landlords and tenants to raise complaints about their agent’s conduct. It offers a level of protection and recourse in the event of any disputes or issues.
Where can I find the best letting agents?
You will likely use a local letting agent whether you’re a landlord or tenant. Tenants often find the home before the agent, using property portals like Rightmove and Zoopla to search for a place.
Landlords, on the other hand, instruct the letting agent to let the property on their behalf. There are many places you can look, including your local high street. But it’s worth seeing which letting agents are regulated by a professional body first. You can search Propertymark to find a regulated letting agent.
What is a Propertymark letting agent?
Propertymark is a professional membership body for estate agents and letting agents. Setting and promoting high standards of professionalism and ethics in the property industry.
To become a member of Propertymark, an agent must meet specific criteria and adhere to a strict code of conduct. This includes holding appropriate qualifications, having professional indemnity insurance, and complying with all relevant laws and regulations. This includes those relating to client money protection and deposit protection.
Propertymark agents are subject to regular monitoring and assessment to ensure they meet the required standards of professionalism and ethics. Landlords and tenants can be confident they are dealing with a reputable and reliable agent as there is a higher level of assurance and accountability.
Advantages of using a registered Propertymark agent
- Professional recognition. Propertymark members are recognised for their professionalism and are held to high standards.
- They are qualified. It’s a complex business and they have to keep their training up to date to stay in membership
- Access to market intelligence. Propertymark agents typically have more access to market intelligence, best practice and industry insight. Meaning they’re up to date on the latest developments.
- Consumer protection. Propertymark members must adhere to a strict code of conduct and practices therefore provide a level of protection to consumers.
- Indemnity insurance. Members must have professional indemnity insurance to cover any issues with letting agreements.
- Client Money Protection scheme. They must safeguard financial transactions made through the agent and have their accounts independently inspected annually. This protects both the tenant and the landlord.
The Best Agents Around
Whether you’re a landlord or tenant, you want to know you’re in good hands when navigating the rental market. Using an accredited letting agent increases the chance of a successful experience.
Be sure to look for the logo that all Propertymark members display. Find a local estate agent in a matter of seconds here.
Last Updated: November 22nd, 2023