Renting through a letting agency can sometimes feel like a rollercoaster ride, complete with unexpected twists and turns. If you've found yourself facing challenges with your letting agent, you're not alone. From sluggish repair arrangements to elusive communication, dealing with letting agents can be a bit of a maze.
But fear not! This guide is your map to navigating the letting agency landscape, providing you with all the information you need to tackle challenges head-on and, hopefully, sidestep any potential problems. Whether you're a rookie renter or a seasoned pro, the insights in this guide are designed to be your trusty companion in the sometimes tumultuous world of renting. So, buckle up and let's dive into the tips and tricks that can make your renting experience smoother and more enjoyable.
What Does A Letting Agency Do?
A lot of landlords choose to manage their properties themselves, however, those that don’t have the time, often turn to letting agencies to do the work for them.
There are many pros that come with choosing a letting agency for landlords such as saving time, vetting tenants, and ensuring that rent is paid on time.
Letting agencies offer landlords a range of services including finding tenants for the landlord and arranging the rental agreement, collecting rental payments on behalf of the landlord, and managing other aspects of renting the property such as maintenance.
How To Avoid A Bad Letting Agency
Despite their services to a landlord, it’s important to remember that letting agencies are businesses. Therefore, the main goal of the agency is to make money.
While you may be fortunate enough to not have to deal with a poorly managed letting agency or a rude letting agent, it is important to be prepared in case.
Here are our handy tips to ensure that you put the right foot forward when it comes to renting a property through a letting agency:
Try and visit the agency if you can
By visiting the agency’s office you’ll get a good idea of how professional (or not) they are. You may also get the opportunity to browse available properties in your desired location and ask any questions you have too.
Read online reviews
Online reviews from previous tenants who have used the agency are imperative to finding an agency that is good, especially if you can’t visit the agency before renting. We recommend reading as many reviews as possible to get a feel for what the agency offers and how it has handled previous tenancies.
Ask about fees
Many letting agencies aren’t clear on exactly what the fees they charge cover. While most will provide this in writing, it’s certainly a red flag if they don’t. Ask what the fees cover and why they are being charged before going ahead and agreeing on renting a property.
Make sure your deposit is protected
Many letting agencies across the U.K. use a deposit protection scheme to ensure that a tenant can securely get their deposit for the rental back at the end of their tenancy. We advise choosing a letting agency that offers this level of protection, otherwise, you could find yourself in an uncompromised position at the end of your tenancy.
Problems You May Encounter With Letting Agents
We’ve covered some of the problems you may encounter with letting agents below and guidance on how to deal with them should they arise.
1. Tenant Fees
In the U.K. most fees that are charged to tenants are now banned, and agencies can no longer charge for references, credit and immigration checks, administration, and fees to renew your tenancy when a fixed-term contract comes to an end.
For tenants who started their tenancy agreement on or following 1 June 2019, the above fees mentioned are banned now. However, if your tenancy started before this date the ban is only applicable to fees charged after 1 June 2020.
2. Unfair contract terms
All terms included in a tenancy agreement must be fair. You should be given a fair amount of time to carefully read through your terms set out before signing.
Tenancy agreements that are to be signed should not include terms that are considered unfair by law. These include ‘break clauses’, high-interest rates on unpaid rent, no guests overnight, that your landlord is able to enter the property when they wish, and that you are responsible for fixing repairs that the landlord should deal with.
Complain About A Letting Agency
Sometimes when renting you may encounter issues that need to be rectified. However, for some people, agencies aren’t always helpful in dealing with things promptly which can lead to further problems.
If you need to complain about your letting agent regarding unfair fees or contract terms, it is possible to make a complaint.
You should always aim to raise an issue you have with the letting agent first, however, if you find that it can’t be resolved there are next steps that you can take.
Every agency in the U.K. must be part of a scheme known as the letting agency redress scheme. There are multiple schemes set up across the country which can assist you with a range of complaints.
You can complain about the following:
⦁ Hidden fees and charges that are unfair;
⦁ Improper or unfair treatment;
⦁ Incompetent service.
Court Action You Can Take
In some cases, you may be able to make a claim that is going to be handled through a court hearing.
If you have a dispute to make against the letting agent you can take a letting agent to a small claims court to claim your money back or counteract the unfair charge.
You can consult Citizens Advice for more information about small claims courts.
Finding A Letting Agent You Can Trust
PropertyHeads helps you connect with a wide community of trustworthy letting agents that can offer wonderful homes for rent.
Our property social network is the perfect place to start to find a home that you can rent with total peace of mind.
Check out PropertyHeads today and find a reputable agency in your area.
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Added: January 25, 2023 10:15:52