When it comes to letting agent responsibilities, there’s a lot of blurred lines. Their responsibility is to manage the property for the private landlord but it isn’t as simple as you think.
Responsibilities range from just finding tenants and collecting rent, to full management and responsibility of the property.
All agencies are different
The list of services vary depending on each agency. There is no set standard and you should ensure that you know what services you are paying for before signing anything.
For example one letting agent may offer a tenant find service which includes registering the tenancy deposit. Whereas in another agency registering the tenancy deposit isn’t included.
This is why it’s important to ensure you read all of the terms and conditions before signing any agreement.
When looking for a letting agent, Rent Round helps landlords massively. By typing in a postcode, landlords can see agent fees, ratings and services offered.
Letting agent general responsibilities
Listed below are the basic responsibilities that any letting agency should conduct:
- Provide advice to the landlord on any legal agreements/ responsibilities: such as safety standards, right to rent, tenants information and anything they can assist on.
- Assist with tenancy agreements- such as helping the landlord construct the tenancy agreement.
- Advise clients about the letting process.
- Checking tenant references to check the legitimacy of the tenant
- Be able to answer any questions related to the rental property to the landlord or the tenant.
- Be part of a government approved redress scheme
There are two types of letting agents that you can go for, an online letting agency or a high street letting agency. They both work similarly but there are a few differences between the two.
Online Letting Agency
The responsibilities of a letting agent have changed from the more traditional high-street responsibilities in recent years. A lot of this change is due to the rise of online agents.
The price for online agency is significantly lower than traditional agents.
The other main difference is online agencies do not have a storefront where you can just walk in and talk to the agent face to face.
Online agencies communicate and support their clients through email and phone.
The goal is the same for online and high-street agencies but it’s just the responsibilities that may vary.
Here is how responsibilities change for each service with online and high-street agencies.
The tenant finding service
This includes finding tenants for the landlord and also constructing the tenancy agreement which fits the tenants, landlords and the letting agency’s needs.
As previously stated, it’s important to remember that services change with different agencies.
High-street agencies ‘tenant find service’ usually includes a wider range of services that require a ‘person’.
Online agents, won’t offer services that require a physical presence at the property, under their basic packages.
These include conducting viewings, inventory keeping and photography & floor plans.
Usually there are add-on services offered by online agents. Landlords are expected to pay extra for some of the above the excluded services mentioned above.
When it comes to a traditional agent, covered in the basics will be
- Photography and floor plans
- Arranging and conducting tenants viewings
- Inventory keeping
- Checking tenants right to rent
- Checking tenant references and credit checks
- Conducting an inventory (keeping records of the condition of the property before the tenant moves in)
- Advertising and marketing (in store and on their website)
- Tenancy contracts (this includes all of the terms and conditions of the tenancy agreement)
Full Service Management
The full service includes managing everything to do with the tenancy. This starts with finding tenants to meeting the landlord’s day-to day management of the property.
Full service management includes everything listed above in the tenant finding service but a few more jobs are included in this service for example:
- Contract renewals
- Notices to the tenant
- Collecting rent
- Maintenance (this is a big job which ensures that the property is kept in a good condition)
- Property inspection (to make sure the tenant following the tenancy agreement conditions)
- Handling any complaints or inconvenience
- Conducing a final inspection and handing over the tenancy deposit.
With online agencies property inspections and hands on maintenance are unlikely to match the services of traditional agents.
Without a physical presence, it’s difficult to undertake maintenance & inspections, at the lower prices.
In conclusion of letting agent responsibilities…
Overall as a landlord you need to ensure that you pick the right letting agency for you. Terms and conditions need to be checked for the services essential to you.
Online agents are an option to all landlords. However documents & prices should be vetted to ensure a clear understanding of add on costs.
About the author
Raj Dosanjh is founder of Rent Round, a letting agent & property manager fee comparison site. Raj has a background in banking & finance alongside his property business. He also has a passion for martial arts & runs his own Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academy.