Find out what you should take into consideration when choosing a letting agent…

Key things to consider when deciding on a letting agent

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Despite decreases in house prices all over the UK, the property lettings market has still remained strong in recent years, with prospective landlords seeing property letting as a viable long-term investment.

According to the Office of National Statistics, there are now 2.5 million more homes in the private renting sector than there were at the turn of the millennium.

However, it isn’t easy, the vast majority of landlords appoint a letting agency to handle the intricate details but how do you know which one to choose?

At Stirling Ackroyd, we’re pleased to be able to offer you some new year tips as we know how vital it is to get the right letting agent for your specific circumstances.

Our advice analyses the most important factors, such as a good knowledge of the area where your property is based, whether the company’s online marketing methods are sufficient to reach a wide pool of applicants, and crucially, whether they can keep you up to date with essential compliance issues.

We’re confident that we’re the best choice for any landlord in the Central and East London areas as we have over 30 years’ experience in assisting landlords let out their properties. Although we evidently back ourselves to be the best in the business, here are our tips on finding the perfect lettings agent for you.

What kind of lettings service is right for you?

Remember, always choose an agency that can remove the hassle, allowing you to enjoy the financial advantages of being a landlord. In this vein, the first decision you’ll have to make is opting for which level of service you require.

A let-only agency will find the tenants and deal with the contract paperwork, but when the initial stages have been completed and the tenancy has begun, they’ll take a back seat and leave you to manage the property yourself.

This level of service could prove to be problematic if you’re a less-experienced landlord as the more help you can get, the more peace of mind you have.

If you do require more assistance, opting for a full property management service may suit your circumstances better. Here, the letting agent will take on everything that a let-only agent does, but then deal with all the day-to-day issues of the rental on your behalf.

This may include arranging for any maintenance issues to be fixed urgently, organising regular property inspections, and even re-negotiating the contract at the end of the tenancy.

The option you choose will mainly depend on how much spare time you feel you have to undertake the management of your property. If you want to be involved on a regular basis and you live close by, the let-only option could be viable, but you should bear in mind that if you lead a busy life, live a long way from your rental property, or you’re often out of the country, it will evidently be more difficult to deal with any issues yourself.

Did you know?

Did you know that Stirling Ackroyd can provide you with its Fully Managed Plus property management service?

We deal with every issue from beginning to end. From sourcing the perfect tenant, drawing up the contracts, completing the reference checks, producing the AST (Assured Shorthold Tenancy), carrying out the check-in assessments, and getting the residence fully compliant with the law.

We even offer our Fixflo service, which is a repair reporting tool that enables tenants to resolve any maintenance issues that may arise with minimum disruption to you.

Location is key

It is sensible to use a letting agency that’s located in the same area as the rental property. Local knowledge is vital, and it may be worth testing the agency’s staff by asking simple questions about the local area. This will give you a sense of how experienced the letting agent is.

If the letting agency employs staff who are experts in the local area, they will be able to share key information with the tenants who are applying to rent your property, such as the cost of council tax, how far the property is from the nearest transport link, and where are the nearest local amenities.

What’s more, possessing a knowledge of the area will make you savvy when it comes to pricing your rental property. You’ll need to do lots of research on the market and it’s helpful if the agency staff can assist you with all the numbers, averages, and statistics of what type of property is being sold where, and for how much.

Keeping it local

Did you know that Stirling Ackroyd has more than 30 years’ experience of letting properties all over your local areas across Central and East London? In addition to this experience, we have a really strong branch presence in ten sought-after locations – and this means we have all the local knowledge and industry experience necessary to best market your home to potential applicants.

Tenant money protection

The law stipulates that landlords and letting agents must keep tenants’ deposits in a government-approved tenancy deposit protection scheme. You can ask the letting agent about which scheme they use for more information and to check they’re complying with the law.

In addition, as of April 2019, all letting agencies in England that hold client money have to form part of a government-approved client money protection scheme (CMP). This is designed to eliminate fraudulent activity and to safeguard the financial well-being of the tenants.

It’s worth getting all this information when deciding on a letting agency as it ties in with how seriously they take compliance.

Stirling Ackroyd uses my|deposits, which is a leading tenancy deposit protection scheme provider. Should a claim ever arise, my|deposits provide a free and impartial dispute resolution service.

Stay compliant, whatever you do!

There are numerous pieces of legislation in place to protect the safety of tenants. This legislation is strictly enforced and should be rigidly adhered to.

You should always choose to let your property with a letting agency that has the necessary expertise to keep your property compliant at all times. The repercussions are severe and could see you lose your property as well as paying out hefty fines as a penalty.

Where tenant safety is concerned, never compromise or cut corners. All properties with a gas supply must have a Gas Safety Certificate provided by a qualified gas engineer.

Similarly, if your property is a HMO, any electrical items are provided by the landlord, they must be tested by an electrical engineer to ensure that they are safe.

What’s more, any soft furnishings at the property must comply with Fire Safety regulations and though all good letting agents will handle these matters to ensure your property is legal, the actual responsibility will ultimately come back to you as the landlord. This is why it’s essential to choose a property letting agency that can stay on top of the compliance regulations at all times.

In order to be one hundred percent certain that the property or properties in your portfolio are fully legal, ask the letting agent how often they carry out regular inspections to ensure the tenant’s wellbeing is being maintained.

Compliance experts

At Stirling Ackroyd we have compliance experts and employ a team of dedicated professionals who will stay on top of the changing regulations. We’ll make sure that your property always adheres to the law so you can relax in the knowledge that you’re in the best hands.

Opt for great marketing strategies

Make sure that the letting agent has a proactive attitude to marketing your rental property and that they employ a wide range of up-to-date and effective strategies to find tenants for your home.

It’s an unhappy fact that if your property doesn’t have a tenant in it, it will cost you money. Enquire as to how the agency markets your property, which websites they use, and how they differentiate themselves from the competition.

A good way of saving crucial time to get your property occupied as soon as possible is by finding out if the agency already has tenants on the database who may be interested in the property.

Stirling Ackroyd provides our landlords with an unrivalled service by combining a strong branch presence across Central and East London with excellent online connections which market your property to the widest audience possible.

We specialise in the most recent marketing strategies available, consisting of:

  • Listing your property on major portals including Rightmove and Zoopla – as well as our own website
  • Investing in Google paid advertising to capture additional tenant interest
  • Regular, targeted email communications
  • Additional products to attract tenants to your property by offering such schemes as Zero Deposits, Rent and Legal Protection, attractive insurance incentives
  • Friendly, fully-qualified and dedicated branch staff who are passionate about property and well-known for their reliability
Let Stirling Ackroyd be the lettings agent of your choice

For peace of mind and complete certainty that your rental property is in the best possible hands, choose Stirling Ackroyd. We offer a complete service that is unrivalled amongst our competitors.

Not only can we take care of everything we’ve already mentioned, but we also provide a wide range of additional services which will no doubt prove essential in the lettings process. These include mortgage advice from our sister company dot Financial Services, quality maintenance upkeep, surveying and conveyancing.

Our last tip is that you get in contact with us today in order to organise a free valuation of your property. Our experienced property experts will look farther than just the bricks and mortar and focus on the things which make your property unique.

Stirling Ackroyd guarantees to get to know your residence as well as you do so that we can advertise it to its maximum potential, bringing you the biggest applicant pool possible.

Central and East London is in our DNA, and your property is our passion. Book your valuation today!

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