Jo Broad of Jolly Property Services, asks "why should I use an agent to rent my house"
PUBLISHED: 10:38 28 January 2011 | UPDATED: 20:35 20 February 2013
A question we are being asked more and more by potential landlords says Jo Broad of Jolly Property Services, is "why should I use an agent to rent my house - it can't be that difficult!"
A question we are being asked more and more by potential landlords says Jo Broad of Jolly Property Services, asks why should I use an agent to rent my house it cant be that difficult!
Jo would be the first to admit it is not rocket science. As she points out We are not splitting the atom here. All you need is a healthy dose of common sense, a well developed sense of humour, an in depth knowledge of housing and tenant law, awareness of letting regulations which are ever changing and a good base of trusted contractors who can be relied upon to do a good job at a good price Easy!
As long as the go alone landlord complies with the law relating to gas and electrical safety, makes sure the proper references are taken, doesnt harass tenants, and even a friendly visit once too often can be construed as harassment, ensures any soft furnishings comply with relevant legislation, makes sure electrical appliances are tested at the beginning of each tenancy, has the correct HMO licence and EPC, the correct agreement for the type of tenancy undertaken, registers the deposit with an approved scheme, is prepared to visit the property regularly but not too often is diligent about maintenance and repairs and is spot on with issuing the correct notice when he, or she, wants the house back again, then really there is nothing to stop them renting and managing their home themselves.
If trying to stay on the right side of the law and comply with a myriad of regulations were not enough for independent landlords, there is also the minefield of THE PROFESSIONAL TENANT
These individuals know more about housing law than the average high street lawyer ever will and are always on the look out for a landlord who may be happy to avoid the letting agents fees and deal with them directly.
We are aware of an existing landlord says Jo who really should have known better and who, between tenants, was approached by a couple keen to rent her property. They quickly agreed to a higher rent demand from her when their initial offer was rejected and to save her any trouble and outrageous agents fees even offered to draw up the tenancy agreement and inventory. They assured her they were landlords themselves and were very used to dealing with contracts and legal requirements.
The tenancy agreement was duly produced and signed (all 3 pages of it!) no references were taken and no credit checks done and the new tenants moved in. The deposit, which since 2007 is required to have been protected in one of the statutory tenancy deposit schemes, was held by the landlord as per the terms of the tenancy agreement.
The tenancy continued in an uneventful fashion until the landlord decided she wanted the property back. She popped an email to the tenants saying she would quite like her house back in a few weeks and guess what? - they didnt move.
The landlord now faces an expensive and lengthy process to get these people out of her property and, most importantly, because she failed to comply with the regulations concerning tenants deposits, she may well face court action and be unable to repossess her property under Section 21 of the Housing Act. The tenants are within their rights to seek compensation from the landlord for not having been provided with the correct information regarding the deposit. Currently the level of compensation awarded is equivalent to 3 times the value of the deposit somewhat higher than an agents fees!
All this because the landlord was keen to avoid excessive agents fees and was nave enough to trust the word of a complete stranger and in so doing put in jeopardy her most valuable financial asset and more pertinently her home.
There are of course agents out there says Jo, who simply fail both landlords and tenants in terms of the service they provide. The key thing is to choose an agent affiliated to one of the accredited bodies, one who has experience and a commitment to ongoing staff training and who will go the extra mile for you. Jo points out that she, and her staff, are keenly aware they are being entrusted with the care of probably the most valuable material asset you will ever own and to paraphrase that venerable playwright William Shakespeare Heavy lies the head who manages the house!