Quick Guide - to Letting Agents

Quick GuideAlthough many landlords manage their properties themselves, others choose to pass the management over to a letting agency.

What the agents do and the fee that is charged for their work very much depends upon the agency contract entered into between the landlord and the agent.

For example, sometimes agents will just be employed to find a tenant, others will employ an agent to manage the properties for them so they do not need to do anything.  Below are a few relevant points with links to further information. 

Note that if you are not a Landlord Law member, or have a Basic Membership some of the links will not work for you.  To join click here.  To upgrade your membership see here.

  • A reduction in workload and responsibilities. This is the main advantage of using a letting agent and why people use letting agents in the first place.
  • Letting agents usually have a greater reach for potential tenants, so will likely bring in tenants at an earlier time.
  • Letting agents may also have greater resources which an independent landlord will not have available to them (although Landlord Law members will find most of the resources they need on Landlord Law).

  • You will be paying a fee of the agent's work, which will reduce your income from the property
  • There is currently little letting agent regulation and agents are not, for example, required to have any qualifications or training.  Some agents work therefore is of a low standard.  Using an agency which is a member of Arla Propertymark or RICS will reduce the risk of this.
  • Often letting agents contracts will have termination clauses which make it hard for landlords to end the contract, should they wish to do so.  However, these can sometimes be challenged under the consumer legislation.

Landlords need to be very careful when searching for an agent as they are legally responsible for everything the agent does on their behalf.

 

We have the following resources to help landlords:

 

Letting agents (in common with other types of agent such as shipping agents and literary agents) are governed by Agency Law.

 

Landlord Law members can read our Legal Basic Guide on agency law here.

 

The 'landlord:agent' relationship is also subject to consumer law, provided the landlord can be classed as a 'consumer'.  This will normally be the case unless the landlord is a full-time professional landlord or is holding properties through a limited company.  This is explained in our guide on dealing with problem agents, linked from the next section.

Although many agents are wonderful and well worth their fee, sadly others are less so. We have seen many landlords join Landlord Law because of issues with their agents.

 

If you have problems with your agent you should first try to resolve it directly with them, and if this is not possible consider lodging a complaint with their Property Redress Service.  

 

Read our guide here on dealing with problem letting agents.