In a world where so much is done remotely, and information on just about any subject is at your fingertips, you might question the relevance of residential managing agents. Yet to the property industry they perform a vital role
Why should I use a managing agent?
Whether you’re letting out a small studio flat or multiple buy-to-let houses, employing a managing agent can take the weight of being a landlord off your shoulders. But are management agents really worth the fees?
This really depends – on how much time you have to spend on the day-to-day running of your property for one, and on how involved you would like to be.
Why do managing agents matter?
In a world where so much is done remotely, and information on just about any subject is at your fingertips, you might question the relevance of residential managing agents. Yet to the property industry they perform a vital role.
Using their knowledge, expertise and contacts, they keep properties well-maintained and legally-compliant. They make sure that vacant homes are filled quickly and that tenants find the right properties for them – keeping the rental sector buoyant and maintaining the supply of properties to let.
There’s often an emotional connection too. Where many business transactions are conducted online, having a ‘real’ person in charge of a property’s safe-keeping matters to landlords. And for a managing agent, knowing the personal story behind their landlord or tenant’s property transaction means they’ll do everything in their power to make a move go smoothly.
What are the main tasks of a managing agent?
A managing agent is the lynchpin between landlord and tenant. They can help landlords with everything from collecting rent to managing repairs – their level of input will largely depend on you and your needs.
To start with, they can help you source good and reliable tenants. They can advertise your property, show people round and agree the rent. The agent will carry out background reference, passport and credit checks on your potential tenants too.
With their property experience and legal know-how, they can draw up a lease for you. They can prepare an inventory and state of repair assessment of your property to protect it from damage.
Once your tenant has signed the lease, the agent will help with the financial side of your arrangement. They can collect the deposit and on-going rent on your behalf; making sure it’s transferred to your bank account and that you receive regular statements. They can also deal with missed payments and re-negotiation of the rent.
Your letting agent can manage repairs too. They can carry out inspections periodically and respond to reports of issues from tenants. Depending on their level of input, you can authorise your agent to carry out emergency repairs without bothering you at all.
As agents need to keep on top of the latest legal and health and safety requirements on landlords, they will make sure your property complies with the law and good practice at all times.
If you want to end the tenancy, the managing agent can give notice to your tenant and carry out the necessary end-of tenancy checks - of the inventory and condition of the property. If your tenants have decided to move on, the managing agent can ensure the place is re-let as quickly as possible, avoiding any loss of rent through down-time.
And if you’re unfortunate enough to have problem tenants, an agent can deal with tricky issues, such as eviction, harassment or squatting, on your behalf.
What are the benefits to landlords?
The benefits of property management are really self-evident and largely about time and hassle, so think about how much time you want to devote to managing your property. Also think about how much experience and knowledge you have about the practical and legal aspects of being a landlord.
One benefit of using an agent is being able to draw on their expertise in a number of areas. As letting properties becomes ever more complex, the need to keep on top of the latest rules and regulations is growing. You can probably ask your agent anything – from market rent levels to gas safety certificates and from spotting a fake passport to knowing where to find a good plumber.
Choosing a management agent
Choosing an agent is a very personal decision, based on you and your property, but start by looking at their credentials. Check they are members of Association of Rental Letting Agents (ARLA). ARLA lists qualified management agents on its website.
Personal recommendations are good too, so get advice from friends or colleagues, who let property. Then get in touch with agents working in your area. Talk to them and make sure you understand the services they are offering; their terms of business and what will be included in your package.
Fees will be charged as a percentage of your gross income – look for best value, not the cheapest rate – think about what is being offered in return for the fee.
If you’re thinking of letting a property, talk to our rentals team at Plaza Estates. We can help you find the right tenant and help manage the process for you. Call us today