When it’s time to switch your Letting Agent

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been talking with quite a few Landlords in the local area who have become dissatisfied with how their valuable property investments are being managed, and have approached me to see if they could switch their agent.

Lack of communication; overpriced maintenance charges; inspections not carried out; long void periods in between tenancies: there are many reasons why a landlord may consider moving the management of their property to a different letting agent.

Many landlords tend to choose a letting agent and stay with them for years, tenancy after tenancy, even if they are not delivering on service. For some, the perceived hassle of changing agent encourages them to stay – and others don’t even realise that changing letting agent is a possibility – meaning that some agents can become complacent once a tenancy is underway without the fear of losing their client.

In reality, changing letting agent can be a straightforward and hassle free experience for both landlords and their tenants. Let’s take a look at 4 of the most common misconceptions from landlords considering switching letting agent.

 

  1. I signed an agreement with my letting agent so I have to stay

 

It is true that (in most cases) you will be tied in to an initial fixed term period with your letting agent. This is to avoid landlords leaving a company immediately after an agent has invested considerable time and effort in finding, referencing and moving in a new tenant.

The initial term can vary from agent to agent, but it is usually 6 to 12 months. The best place to start is to check the Terms of Business that you have signed, this document will outline the fixed term period and also the notice that you must give to terminate your contract.

If you are over your initial fixed term, or are approaching the end of the contract, you can most likely end the contract by giving 1 or 2 months’ written notice. This does not have to coincide with the end of your current tenancy.

 

  1. I have tenants in the property and don’t want to lose them, so I will have to wait until the end of their tenancy

Many landlords believe that they have to wait until the end of a tenancy to switch letting agent, however, this is not the case.  The Tenancy Agreement is a contract between the landlord and the tenant, with the agent working on behalf of the landlord, so changing agent does not affect the legal rights or obligations of either party.

It is actually a much more straightforward process to change agent during an ongoing tenancy as it means that the new agent can smoothly transition the property without the added task of advertising and finding a tenant.

If a letting agent has not been delivering on service, it is likely that the tenant will be pleased that the management is changing, meaning that they may be more likely to stay in the property for longer than they would have with the previous agent.

 

  1. I don’t want the hassle of switching agent

Changing letting agent – whether at the end of or during a tenancy – really is a straightforward process for landlords. Once a landlord has given their agent written notice that they would like to leave, the new agent will (in the majority of cases) handle all aspects of the switch on behalf of their client.

At Orchard Lettings, we are experienced in taking over management from other letting / estate agents and make the process as straightforward as possible for our clients. We will:

 

  • Contact the Tenant
  • The first step for us is to get contact details for your tenant. We liaise with the tenant directly regarding the changeover, letting them know who we are and when we will be taking over the property.  We ensure that the tenant knows who to contact in the event of any maintenance issues, and has the correct bank details to make rent payments.

 

  • Obtain Tenancy Documents
  • Including the Tenancy Agreement, proscribed information, referencing reports, deposit details, and check-in inventory.

 

  • Obtain Property Documents
  • Including safety certificates and warranties. We will check that your property is fully compliant with current safety legislation.

 

  • Collect Keys
  • We will collect all sets of keys held by the previous agent on behalf of the landlord.

 

  • Arrange a Property Inspection
  • Our initial inspections are scheduled in the first 6 weeks from taking on the property. Inspections are then 3 monthly after that.

 

  1. All letting agents are the same, it isn’t worth the hassle of changing

 

While most letting agents – on paper anyway – offer similar lettings and property management services, the way in which these services are carried out can be very different. Poor service to Landlords via companies carrying out lettings is on the increase.  In part, this is because there are a large number of estate agents who have set up a lettings service to help their cash flow while sales are bad!  The result being that completely inexperienced people with little training are often running lettings businesses and as a result giving you the Landlord a bad service.

We only do one thing here at Orchard Lettings and that’s rent property, our aim is to look after your property as if it was our own. Our experience speaks for itself, I myself have been a Landlord for over 20 years, and we’ve been looking after other Landlords properties since 2007.

 

I would love to hear from you if you are thinking about switching from your current letting agent. Contact me on 02838 355100 or email me gavin.boyle@orchardlettings.com to arrange a free, no obligation chat.

 

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