Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Rental Choice: Always Seek Professional Advice

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Rental Choice: Always Seek Professional Advice

Article excerpt

With all the recent lettings horror stories in the national press and as the number of amateur landlords sharply increases with the buy-to-let boom, the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) has produced some practical tips on how to avoid the pitfalls and choose a professional letting agent.

Being a landlord can be time-consuming and complex with many issues to consider.

A letting agent can handle the administration and common headaches such as finding a tenant, preparing documents and managing the property.

But there are some important factors to consider when choosing an agent.

Why use a letting agent?

Using an agent means that you can lose a lot of the day-to-day headaches of being a landlord, such as answering tenant's questions, arranging viewings, chasing rent etc. Letting agents have the experience and contacts necessary for vetting tenants, checking references, and drawing up contracts and inventories, all of which can be difficult and time-consuming for an individual landlord.

For a slightly higher fee, agents will also manage your property, taking care of repairs, paying bills, overseeing maintenance and collecting rent.

Avoid the pitfalls

* A good letting agent will not only take over the administration and management duties, but can also provide you with advice as to how to make the most of your property, for example providing advice on furnishing, decor, and local demand.

* It is just as important for the landlord to check the contract they have with a letting agent as it is for the tenant. Always read the small print and be sure of what you are signing up to, including the fees payable and your responsibilities.

* An experienced agent will know the local market and be able to position your property appropriately. Additionally, they should be knowledgeable about the relevant legislation and have a good relationship with local contractors for management and repair work.

* Agents will advise you of a potential rental income based on their valuation and the local market. …

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