What Your Agent ‘Should’ Know To Get Your Business!

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We currently manage over 500 properties and can let your property within 10 days! Now that’s impressive – or is it?

Does the above statement mean that this person knows enough to keep you as a Landlord safe and market your property for you?

What should an agent be telling you to get your business, or better still what questions should you be asking that they need to know the answers to!

I will put the most important down below but there are a lot more besides these.

  1. What Insurances Do You Have?

All letting agents should have all relevant insurances including Public and Personal Liability, Professional Indemnity and maybe even Directors and Officers insurance.

 

  1. Do You Have CMP?

CMP stands for Client Money Protection – although it is not yet mandatory (even though this is in the pipeline), if your agent does not offer this service I would run fast in the opposite direction!

CMP is a membership scheme that’s protects the clients’ (your) money in the event of any misappropriation of use by the members (Letting Agents). This includes deposits held, and rents collected amongst other things.

 

 

  1. Are You A Member Of An Ombudsman Scheme?

Again, run for the hills if this comes back as a no.  A good agent will always be a member of an approved redress scheme.

 

  1. What Is The Deregulation Act And When Did It Come Into Force?

The Deregulation Act came into force on October 1st 2015, and was arguably the biggest shake up of the rental sector in recent years. It includes the use of smoke and carbon alarms in rental properties, the required supply of documents to the tenant to make any rental official and compliant, and changes to the use of the Section 21 possession paperwork.

 

  1. What Certificates Do I Need To Have To Rent Out My Property?

The two certificates that are mandatory at present are an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and a Gas Safety Certificate (if gas is in the property).

The EPC’s last for 10 years and the gas safe needs renewing annually.

YOU CANNOT LEGALLY RENT A PROPERTY WITHOUT EITHER OF THESE.

There are two other certificates that you can have for a property rental, although there are not yet mandatory. These are an Electrical Safety Certificate and a Legionella Certificate.

The Electrical Certificate lasts for 5 years (can be 10 on a new installation), and the Legionella is required bi-annually.

Even though both these certificates are not mandatory the Electrical Certificate is due to become so within the next calendar year so we always recommend that it is completed and I would imagine that the Legionella would not be too far behind in becoming mandatory either.

 

 

  1. How Long From When a Tenant Hasn’t Paid Rent Do You Contact Them?

This is something I always used to ask as the responses would amaze me! In some cases, most agents will wait for between 5-7 days before chasing the tenant for their rent. This in my personal opinion is 5-7 days too long! The tenant should be spoken to on the first day and then every day following until an arrangement is made for payment. How long would you wait?

 

 

  1. What Is A Section 21 And What Is It Used For?

Yet again a good question to ask, as I am often surprised by how many agents don’t know the answer to this.

A Section 21 is a mandatory possession order for the return of your property. It gives the person served with it, an 8-week notice period of your intention to take the property back.

It is the easiest and most effective way to remove your tenants should you wish to do so, although morally there should be an adequate reason.

 

 

  1. How And What References Do You Obtain For My Prospective Tenants?

I am sure you would want to know that the references that are obtained for your new tenants are from a legitimate source and are checked thoroughly?

Unfortunately, when references are outsourced that is not always the case, and shortcuts can be sometimes be taken by larger businesses to get the tenant through your front door.

This does not have an effect straight away – but it may 6 months or even a year down the line when any insurance you hold is made invalid due to an incomplete reference check, when you claim due to the tenant’s damage or lack of rental payments.

 

 

  1. What Documents Do You Need To Give To The Tenants At The Start Of Any Tenancy?

This is covered within the deregulation act but to be specific, you need to prove that you have issued the tenants with:

  • A copy of the EPC for the property
  • A copy of the gas safety (If applicable)
  • A copy of the ‘How to Rent Guide’
  • A copy of ‘Prescribed information’ for their deposit

These ideally should be signed for, and you should have proof of this.

 

  • Why Should I Trust You Over Everyone Else I Have Seen?

In a word- you shouldn’t!! But you should trust the Landlords who we work for and we are able to provide you with the contact details of at least two Landlords who would be happy to speak to you, and answer any questions that you have about the quality of service we provide !

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