East London Letting Agents: A basic guide for landlords.
Choosing the correct letting agent for your needs can often be a stressful & lengthy process. With a market over saturated in options, how on earth do you make sense of who actually does what they say? Well, if one thing is for sure- there is always room for the best. But, if you are a new landlord, how do you make sense of the noise? Take a read below for a few handy tips on choosing your letting agent wisely.
1. Make sense of the jargon. 
Naturally, when we venture into the unknown, we love to have a quick Google around to see what’s what. It is definitely a good idea to do some research of your own, ask friends for recommendations and check out agents reviews & awards. You are likely to be met with some fancy websites and a lot of legal terminology that you might not always be able to make sense of.  Any decent letting agent will happily be able to guide you through the basics of what is needed to be a landlord and what your next steps are.
Something to look out for- most agents have a fee structure where you will pay an upfront fee and then will be charged separately for things such as an income tax statement, copy of the tenancy agreement, registering your tenants deposit, etc. All agents should have fees clearly displayed on their website so you can make an informed decision of your ‘shortlist’. At base, we do not charge any extra or ‘hidden’ fees to our landlords. If you wish to learn more about base’s fee structure & services, click here.
2. Redress schemes.
Since 1st October 2014 letting agents are required to be a member of a redress scheme. When searching for a letting agent, it is imperative that you ensure they are part of a redress scheme such as The Property Ombudsman or Property Redress Scheme. If you are ever unlucky enough to instruct an agent that does not fulfil their duty of care to you as a landlord, you may have to go through their complaints procedure. If you are needing to action any official complaints or needing any resolution, the redress scheme will be your first port of call if you cannot negotiate a resolution directly with the agent. To find out more about how base is regulated, click here
3. Regulation.
As an industry, we are experiencing a high volume of new regulations coming into play with a particular spotlight on the private rental sector. It is now more important than ever to instruct an agent who can protect you against any breaches of regulations that are continuously changing. A good letting agent will be able to tell you exactly what your responsibilities are, ask you if you currently have any legal documents needed to rent and advise you of what you are missing.  For example, a tenancy must not start in your property unless you have a valid gas safety certificate. Depending on the size of your property, you may also require a licence. Licencing legislation varies from borough to borough. This is why you ideally need a local letting agent who knows the local regulations inside out. It is worth noting that whilst you can instruct a managing agent, you are still very much liable for anything the agent fails to do (for example, you can be ordered to pay up to 3 times the deposit amount to the tenants even if the agent failed to register their deposit!). To find out more about what base may ask you for as a landlord, and why, click here
4. Valuations
So you’ve found a handful of regulated agents you like, the fee structure agrees with you and you’ve booked in a few valuations. Which agent do you instruct after receiving your valuation package? The answer is simple- not the agent with the cheapest fee or the agent that promises to get the highest rental yield. Whilst it’s very nice to be told you could achieve around 10% more than other agents have quoted, you will be told this simply to win your instruction. The reality of over valuing can mean a larger vacant period in your property. Additionally, you’ll end up renting your apartment for near on what the other agent had originally quoted (and, they would have secured this with no vacant period!). Whilst a lower fee offering can seem attractive, you really must question the level of service provided in order to justify charging such a low fee. Our best advice is go with the letting agent that is most truthful with you- they will always tell you what you need to hear (when you most need to hear it) and not necessarily what you want to hear.
Here at base our portfolio is made up of many landlords who have experienced some of the aforementioned issues, or, new landlords who have needed the right guidance and support. If you are a landlord searching for an east London agent, you are in the right place! Click here to make an enquiry. We would be delighted to help.