Updated: May 22
Like any area, there are a number of agents to choose from in Bishop's Stortford - so here are some key points to help you decide:
1. Select a letting agent who is a member of the National Approved Letting Scheme, or one of the professional bodies that support it. Wardsmith & co. are members of The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA). Also make sure they are registered with a Property Redress Scheme.
2. Decide what you want the agents to do - do you just want them to find a tenant for you, or do you want them to manage the property while it is let? If you want them to manage the property, the points below are important.
3. Check that the agent has professional indemnity insurance which will cover them against the chance of being sued, and that they have client money protection in place (note that if the agent runs off with the tenancy deposit, you will still be responsible for repaying this to the tenant, and if he runs off with the rent, you can't ask the tenant to pay this to you again).
4. Consider whether you want the agent to deal with tenancy deposit protection and discuss the arrangements with them. Worth checking that the deposit is actually protected, as you are responsible if they do not do this.
5. Check the management contract very carefully. If there are sections you do not understand, take advice before signing. In particular watch out for the following clauses:
- which make landlords give six months notice or more if they wish to cancel the agreement. Three months is reasonable.
- which provide for the agent to be paid commission on renewals of the tenancy with the tenants found by them, whether or not they are actually managing the property
- charges for when the property is vacant - the agent is entitled to a fee but it should be less than when a tenant is in place.
- estate agency fees - this type of clause provides for the agent to get an estate agents fee, typically 1.5 percent plus VAT, if the property is put up for sale and is bought by the tenant - whether or not the letting agent acts as estate agent for the sale.
- administration charges when new tenants go in - these charges are normal but make sure you know what they are.
- charges for services such as inventories, tenancy agreements etc. Again, normal but check that you are happy with the fees.
7. Make sure that the agent will check that your property meets all other standards, for example that any furniture and fittings (including electrical) comply with the regulations, and that if appropriate your property complies with the HMO regulations including licensing.
8. Ensure that they will deal with queries from the tenants and arrange for routine repairs and maintenance, subject to your approval.
Contact Zoe to have a chat about our services and why Wardsmith & co. are different 01279 510300