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The Letting Agent; Making Life Easier For Landlords
http://setbanking.com/articles/10165/1/The-Letting-Agent-Making-Life-Easier-For-Landlords/Page1.html
Thomas Pretty
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By Thomas Pretty
Published on 10/8/2008
 
A look at the work of the letting agent and how they manage much of the rental process allowing the landlord more freedom.

Becoming a landlord is often seen by many people as a licence to print money with little stress or effort. This is not always the case however, much of the time being a landlord means making a lot of decisions and putting in a great deal of effort into caring for tenants. The process can be made easier however by employing a letting agent, allowing the landlord a far simpler rental period. In most cases the letting agent takes their fees from the rent, meaning that the landlord must raise their rent should they wish to make the same amount of money than if they were renting the property privately.

For this fee however the letting agent will perform some important tasks. Firstly the agency is responsible for finding tenants for a property, they will also conduct the majority of the paperwork with the tenant meaning that communication between landlord and renter is practically non existent. The agency also has a responsibility to inform the landlord of any problems with the property as well as passing on any concerns the tenant may have with the property or the rental agreement.

There are a large number of letting agents on the market today; in most cases they are listed in local directories although the internet is rapidly becoming the predominant form of advertising and communication. As both a tenant and landlord it is important to use an agent that conforms to the codes of conduct laid down by the National Approved Lettings Scheme and the Association of Residential Letting Agents. By doing this certain assurances of operational practices and principles are secured for both parties.

The reason the landlord pays the agent's fees is so that they do not have to undertake certain tasks. One of these major responsibilities is the creation and completion of any paperwork pertaining to the rental property. This is beneficial to the landlord as it negates the need for an extensive legal writing process, saving time and money. The only downside is that the landlord must pay the agent on a monthly basis whereas legal fees are normally a one off payment.

Ultimately however the fees can be seen as worthwhile as they remove much of the stress from the rental process. The agency will normally manage the property on a full time basis acting as a go between for the two parties. Subsequently the agent must relay any communication between the tenant and landlord and where necessary make recommendations to either party. Another responsibility is that the agency must inspect the condition of the property on a regular basis to ensure the landlord's investment is not being damaged.

A letting agent however will not perform maintenance tasks on the property; in most cases this is left to the landlord. Reports of any maintenance work however will be recorded by the agency to ensure that both parties are aware of what has been done and whether any follow up work will need to be completed.

Ultimately while utilising agency services is an added cost for a landlord, it is a worthwhile cost in the long run. It can make that licence to print money a very real and attainable possibility. While the landlord can never be truly removed from the rental process the work of the letting agent does allow them some freedom. Putting property up for rent is a long term investment, it will certainly pay for itself in time with or without the use of an agency; it is just an agency will make that time less stressful and more enjoyable.