Being a landlord can take up a lot of your time. Some landlords pay an agent to manage the property. You must still give your tenants your name and address. You need to trust your agent. You could end up in trouble if the agent does something wrong.
Things to check before appointing a letting agent
Do some research before you pick an agent. You should check
- the agency's online reviews from landlords and tenants
- if they are members of a regulatory body
- if the agency has client money protection in place
- what level of service they will provide
- how the agency deals with complaints from landlords and tenants
- whether there are any outstanding court judgments against the agent.
What does a letting agent do for a landlord?
- give you advice about how to furnish your property and what you should charge in rent
- market your property
- carry out viewings of the property
- manage applications for a tenancy
- recommend tenants to you
- prepare tenancy agreements and rent books
- protect the deposit
- handle inspections and repairs
- deal with ending the tenancy.
You'll need to agree what work the agent will do and make sure your contract reflects that.
Fees for letting agents
You'll have to pay your letting agent. The amount you pay depends on how much the agent is doing for you.
Make sure you know what fees you have to pay before you sign a contract. Letting agents should not charge tenants fees for services they do on your behalf.
Smartmove Housing is a letting agency run by a charity. It charges lower fees than commercial agents.
Disputes between a landlord and letting agent
There is no formal body to regulate letting agents in Northern Ireland. This means you'll often need to take your own legal action if you have a disagreement with the agent.
Some agents join a redress scheme, like The Property Ombudsman. These schemes can help you, and the tenants, if the agent does something wrong.