Many letting agents are good, some are outstanding, but it has to be said that many others offer a poor service.
Here are a few things they may be keeping quiet about
1. They do not have any relevant qualifications.
The letting agent industry is unregulated. There is nothing to stop any Tom, Dick or Harry setting up shop with little experience. Many do.
2. They are spending your money
Letting agents hold thousands and thousands of pounds of other people’s money. As there is no regulation for the industry, they can keep this where they like. Sometimes it is just put in the firms general bank account along with their own money (or more likely, overdraft) and spent on their own expenses.
This is why (again) you need to use an agent regulated by ARLA or RICS or one which has signed up to Safe Agent.
3. They have not referenced your tenant properly
Finding a good tenant is one of the main reasons why people go to an agent. However, I have had cases where I have been instructed to evict a tenant for rent arrears and we (ie the landlord and I) find out that the initial referencing was unsatisfactory. Many landlords have also complained about this to me.
The problem is exacerbated by the fact that many agents refuse to provide details of any of the referencing material to the landlord, claiming that they are not allowed to under the Data Protection Act. I wrote about this here.
4. They are getting kickbacks from repairmen used for your property repairs
Not all agents do this of course, but it is not unknown for agents to have cosy relationships with tradesman, with the hapless landlord being charged over the odds.
5. They are encouraging your tenants to leave at the end of the term so they can charge you for finding a new one
I wrote about this here. Again reputable agents wouldn’t dream of doing this, but apparently it does happen.
All of this is totally against the principles of agency law. Under agency law the agent has a ‘duty of good faith’ to deal with his principal (in this case the landlord) fairly and not put his own interests first.
Good agents will do this as a matter of course. Others however, won’t. Which category does YOUR agent come into?
(NB Do you really need to use an agent? >> Click here to find out)