The Association of Residential Letting Agents has released a five point plan on how the public can choose a letting agent.
1. Phone a friend:” Start by asking friends and family to recommend letting agents they have used in the past to help you pull together a list of potential agents that suit your needs. If your family or friends have had a positive experience, there’s a good chance you will too” says the association.
2. Check industry credentials: “Look for the ARLA Propertymark logo to give you peace of mind that your money will be protected. ARLA Propertymark agents commit to the highest standards in the industry.” It also advises looking for the association’s logo on websites, letting boards and in office windows.
3. Know what you should be charged for: The association’s guide explains what can and cannot by charged to tenants under the Tenant Fees Act and adds: “All lettings agents should have educated themselves on this, so if they do try to charge it’s important you know your rights, so you can challenge the agent and if necessary you can go elsewhere.”
4. Speak to current tenants: “Even when you’re viewing a property it’s still worth finding out more about the agency, as they will often be managing the property as well and this plays a massive part in your experience while living there.”
5. Local knowledge is best: “Asking about the local area will give you a sense of how experienced the letting agent is. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and try to choose an agent who has a branch in the area you’re looking at. If the agent is an expert in the local area they will be able to share key information with you.”
And ARLA President Phil Keddie adds: “Choosing a property to rent is a huge financial commitment and can be overwhelming, especially for first-timers. We almost always focus on the property rather than the agent, but it’s important to consider the longer term.
“A good agent will help you find the best property for you and your budget, but if they’re going to be managing the property it’s important to know how responsive they really are. We encourage all Propertymark members to remember their tenant’s welfare to ensure they have a positive experience and that the tenancy goes smoothly”