Why Letting Agents Need to be Local
In this article, I explain why landlords should never use a letting agent that thinks it is good practice to run their property management from a town that is miles away.
There are good and bad letting agents and I have experienced both.
Most of the time I let and manage my own properties. I run the adverts using an online letting site. I then meet the tenants, do the referencing, arrange the move in, sign the agreements, arrange for an inventory to be carried out, manage the deposit and do all the other fiddly admin and paperwork that needs to be done.
However, for two properties I own that are too far away I have to use a letting agent to do the tenant-find work, though I still carefully vet tenant applicants using my own referencing procedures (which, incidentally, are much tighter than any letting agent uses). After that, I manage them myself – after all, I am smart enough to work out who is a good roofer, plumber and the like – and I can’t see the point of giving an agent 8% of my rents, just so they can phone the same tradespeople that I might use and then charge me extra for the privilege of just providing this service.
Recently, I have experienced what a bad letting agent can be like.
My tenants have been plagued by rude and noisy neighbours for a long time. The neighbours are tenants too and these tenants are managed by a letting agency working for a landlord.
The trouble is that is it seems the letting agency handling the management did not bother to tell the landlord about all the many problems her tenants have been causing (aggressive behaviour, smoking cannabis) nor pass on my three complaints to her. The manager at the letting agency who handled the account has now left and it seems there are now no records left of my communications with the agent.
And to top it all, it seems they have just offered a renewed tenancy to these antisocial tenants – for a whole year, despite having repeatedly promised me that the tenants were leaving.
Using the land registry and other publicly available information, I managed to track down the owner and it seems he had been left completely in the dark about what has been going on at his property. His letting agency never passed on any of our complaints to him.
Avoid Non-Local Letting Agents
This particular letting agency, is part of a big chain of letting agents and has a shop in the town. However, they apparently run all their tenant management functions from another, different town that is 40 miles or so away with some of the other communications with landlords and tenants being managed from their head office which is 90 miles away and in a different county altogether.
I would always advise landlords to ask about the office that carries out the management of their properties. If it is to take place cheap generic viagra online from a town that is miles away, I would avoid using this agent altogether as in my view it is not good enough for an agency to manage effectively from such a remote location. (I’m not the only one to have picked this failing up with this particular agency – there are plenty of other people who have said similar things online). Also, never be shy to use land registry and other data to track down the landlord behind an agent and complain directly to them. The agents hate this – but it tends to make things happen – and will expose the lying type of agent, as is the case here.
Sadly, ARLA, the Association of Letting Agents, were reluctant to comment on whether this remote way of managing a letting agency business or the failure to pass on complaints to the landlord was fair or not.
They may be reluctant to comment, but I know where I stand on this matter: Avoid this type of agent.
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