10 Questions to Ask a Letting Agency (when letting a property)

A letting agent should help you find tenants and remove any stress from the process. Asking them a series of questions can help you pick the right one for you and your tenants. Choosing a letting agent is a big commitment, and by asking the following 10 questions you can be assured that you’ve made the right choice.

  1. What accreditations do you have?

When considering a letting agent to look after your property, make sure you find out which trade bodies they are members of. Letting agencies in the UK have to join either The Property Ombudsman or Redress Scheme. Those that hold money of landlords have to be members of an approved scheme such as Money Shield or UKALA Client Money Protection.

  1. Do you have a record of success?

Peace of mind is everything when running a successful property portfolio and when handing over key areas of the operation, experience is key.  When looking for a marketing or managing agent, you should put longevity right at the top of your list of must-haves. Also, the agency itself should demonstrate a track record of lettings and property management success in the local area

  1. How do you deal with tenant issues?

Tenant issues will happen – hopefully, they are small, but you want your letting agent to be prepared. Ask how they deal with tenant issues, what their process is, what issues they support, and which are out of their control. For example, if there’s damage to the property. Do they organise quotes and tell you, or manage the repairs from start to finish?

  1. How do you attract good tenants?

An agent selling your home needs to attract solid buyers. The idea of what ‘Good tenants’ are can change from person to person. However, it’s important to have an idea of what you want from your residents. Are you looking for families only, over 65s only, are you open to students and young people? Also, what demographic of people currently live in the area – is it mostly families?

  1. Do you screen and reference potential tenants?

Ask them what kind of system they have in place to ‘screen’ potential tenants. Do they subscribe to a tenancy database and undertake analysis of a person’s credit history, employment status and past rental history? Will you ask for references from their workplace or previous.

  1. How much will my property earn in monthly rent?

A letting agent will base a figure off of a number of factors. You can ask them what they use and should provide details of the reasons. You can also ask them about similar properties to yours and what they make a month.

  1. How do you deal with a crisis?

A good agency has contingency plans. If a pipe bursts, do they have a plumber on call to sort an issue quickly.

  1. Who do you use to deal with maintenance?

Do they hire electricians, plumbers etc that are reliable and highly rated. Knowing who they use gives you the opportunity to scope them out and see if they can provide high quality standards for your tenants.

  1. How do you protect deposits?

Securing a tenant’s deposit in a tenancy deposit scheme is a legal requirement. When choosing a letting agent, it’s essential to understand what they provide – especially if you need a deposit scheme.

  1. What do you charge?

Ensure the payments that are obliged to are clear and transparent. A good letting agent will have options to spread the costs or options to negotiate prices. Also, look for cancellation periods and/or fees.