Letting agent under the spotlight

When renting out a property, there are two primary options on the table: let-only and lettings and management. Unless in-house management is already in place, most investors choose both lettings and management, leaving the task of finding tenants and managing their in-life tenancy with the letting management company. 

Deciding which type of lettings service you should opt for is one of the easier aspects. The tricky part is finding the right company for your needs, whether you have one property or hundreds of units. To help you find the right letting management company, we’ve put this guide together, detailing the key attributes you should look for before instructing. 

Measure their proactivity

Most letting agents offer wide-spread marketing with property portals like Rightmove and Zoopla, but seeing your assets listed on these sites should be the bare minimum. You should aim to instruct a letting management company that is proactive with advertising your property. 

Find out how they measure the property’s performance on portals and other places where it’s advertised. It’s also important to understand the different advertising methods they use to market the property. Do they provide video viewings, are they out-of-the-box thinkers, how do they find tenants? 

Garner a proper and thorough understanding of how the company works and their long-term plans with your assets. They should be able to provide you with a detailed overview of how they will let and manage while maximising your gains. 

Letting management company fees

In the same way that you shouldn’t automatically go with the cheapest options just because they beat everyone else on price, you also shouldn’t assume that a more expensive letting and management service equates to the best service available. 

The fee structure is important for any investor who wants to maximise their portfolio without overexerting themselves on costs. But with most companies offering like-for-like services, it can be hard to differentiate between agents. 

Look for the ones who provide more transparency over their processes, from their fee structure to how they handle the day-to-day management of your assets. Management fees tend to be in the region of 10 and 20 per cent, so anything in this ballpark is acceptable. 

Do they provide visibility over your assets? 

Many letting management companies are happy to get on with the day-to-day running of the property without providing much clarity to the landlord. However, the technology available now means management companies should offer a seamless way for you to see how your asset performs in real-time. 

You should be able to track your rental income, see outgoings, and receive a breakdown of the bigger picture, including rental income for the year versus void periods as well as other metrics that offer more oversight on your portfolio. 

Tenant agreements and compliance docs should be easily accessible, so you can see every aspect relating to your assets. Essentially, modern-day tech should be utilised to provide you with complete transparency. 

How do they handle renewals? 

Plenty of agencies overlook renewals as they search for new tenants to fill current stock. Yet, the renewal process is equally as important. Work with a letting management company that treats void periods as a priority and look to minimise them at every opportunity. 

Most agents aren’t incentivised to renew, and so it’s not one of their primary concerns. But it’s not ideal for tenants to go onto rolling contracts, especially if you have multiple units. That’s why you should choose a letting management company that has a robust system in place for tenancy renewals. 

See how proactive they are about getting tenants to extend their contracts. At which stage do they reach out to see if there’s an appetite to renew? How do they go about the process? You should feel confident that renewing tenants is a key priority for the letting management company you instruct. 

What’s their approach to management?

Managing the in-life tenancy is a tricky balancing act, ensuring tenants enjoy their living experience while also keeping the property owner happy. The best way to do that is by focusing on the tenant experience. 

Happier tenants stay for longer. As a result, investors will feel reassured about receiving regular rental income without void periods. Property management plays a vital role in tenant happiness by providing a quick and responsive service to tenant issues and maintenance repairs.

A top-level letting management company will care about tenants and provide a service that matches their expectations. The result will be a better in-life tenancy and a higher chance of tenants staying in the property for longer. 

Finding the right letting management company

Choosing the best letting management company for your needs shouldn’t be an issue as long as you ask the right questions and align them with your core needs. Ultimately, you want a company that looks after your units and ensures they always perform at an optimum level, taking the stress away from you while firmly keeping you in the loop.