Should You Use A Letting Agent?

This is a question that many potential landlords ask themselves time after time and, it has to be said, there are things for and against this as there are with many things in life. Let’s have a look at some of the factors that will affect you in making a decision.

letting agents can be a big help in the letting of your property
There are many benefits in using a letting agent – Image credit: Janet McKnight.

The first thing to be aware of is the cost of using a professional letting agent. The amount that you will pay will vary depending upon a number of things such as whether you have used a letting agent to find a tenant to occupy your buy to let property, whether the letting agent is just going to deal with the paperwork in connection with the landlord taking up occupancy or whether they will be managing the whole process including visiting the property periodically to make sure it is being looked after and chasing up the tenant for any missed rental payments.

The amount that you will pay may vary between letting agents as it is a very competitive industry so it is worth shopping around. For instance, to find a tenant for you could mean you having to pay the letting agent in the region of 10% of the first years rent. The on going monthly fee could be anywhere between 6% to 15% of the monthly rental depending upon the service the letting agent provides.

Obviously, if you are in the fortunate position of already having a tenant for the property there is an immediate saving but what happens if that tenant were to move out? Do you have someone else that could take up occupancy straight away? A letting agent will often have a number of prospective tenants on their books and could quickly fill that vacancy thus keeping the rental income rolling in.

A letting agent will be able to interview prospective tenants initially for you and take up references. The letting agent will be aware of the law relating to property rental and help with the tenancy agreement, collecting rent and chasing up any arrears. They could visit the property periodically to check it is being well looked after which is something that you may not be able to do so easily if you lived a long way away. Should the property require any work doing to it the letting agent could arrange this for you. They could also assist in any disputes between you and the tenant.

Ultimately, the decision must rest with you but we hope that the above is of some assistance.

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