Whether you’re new to letting property or have a whole portfolio of rentals, employing the services of the right Letting agent is crucial.

Here is guide to things you need to ask before instructing an agent.

1. Reviews

Start by doing some research online and getting recommendations from friends or family who have used services in your area. Check out the websites of local agents to see what services they offer and read their reviews to get an idea of the quality of service they provide.

2. Service

Once you have narrowed down a few options try to meet each agent so that you can get an idea of how they operate and whether they will be able to meet your needs. Ask lots of questions about their fees, services and experience in the industry and make sure that you are clear on what is being offered.

3. Accreditation

As of April 2019, all Letting Agents must be covered by a Government approved Client Money Protection (CMP) Scheme and be a member of a certified redress scheme. Information on their membership should be clearly displayed on their website. As a licensed member of ARLA Propertymark and The Property Ombudsman Hartswood we protect our clients’ money.

4. Insurance

While CMP goes a long way you still need to ensure your letting agent has the correct insurance. Make sure they have Professional Indemnity Insurance and to what level they are insured. Regardless of the agent, you choose to work with, when renting out your property, it’s a good idea to take out landlord insurance.

5. Legal Stuff

Renting out your property is not as simple as finding a tenant and drawing up a Tenancy Agreement. There are a whole host of legal requirements a Landlord has to fulfil; The Gas Safety Regulations 1998, The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector Regulations 2020, The Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations 2022, the furniture and furnishings fire safety regulations 1993 to name a few. Finding a letting agent who can take of them for you is essential so that you can be 100% certain you are compliant.

6. Where will your property be Marketed

No Landlord wants an empty property, so it is imperative your Letting Agent does everything they can to find suitable tenants. Will your property be advertised on just one of the property portals or will it be advertised across a multitude of platforms as well as social media. Will they use top-quality high-resolution images of the property as well as floorplans and more importantly will they include a 3D virtual tour.

7. Referencing

Unfortunately, there are just as many bad tenants as there are good ones and although achieving the best rent possible is important this should never be the sole focus when you are looking for tenants. At Hartswood the quality of the tenant will always be the most important thing to ensure the property is looked after and rent is paid on time. We fully reference all tenants through an independent referencing specialist who collate a full financial profile of the tenant as well as confirming employment details and obtaining a current landlord’s reference.

8. Fee’s & Charges

Agency Fee’s can vary dramatically so it is important you have a full understanding of all the fees you might incur. In May 2015 it became a legal requirement for all Agents to publish a list of all their fee’s inclusive of VAT both in their office and online. The legislation was intended to create full transparency to enable Landlords to ascertain exactly how much they will be charged. If the Agent does not openly publish their fees, you must ask yourself if you can trust them to be open about other charges they may look to implement during the tenancy. When considering fee’s it is also important to look at the bigger picture as agents offering the cheapest fee often have to cut corners which in turn means their service will suffer. As with so many things in life you often get what you pay for.

Carrying out the above checks when choosing a letting agent will help you make the most informed decision. If the agent satisfies the above points and you feel you can work with them its probably safe to assume you will have a positive experience. At Hartswood we always put our Landlords needs first, but we also look after our Tenants like no other agency and this is the reason why we continue to go from strength to strength. If you live in Richmond or Chiswick and are thinking of letting out your property get in touch.