Find out the average letting commission charged by estate agents in your area

How do I let my property?

Woman holding the keys to rent out your property

Making the decision to let your property can be a daunting one. Whether it is an investment property or a property you have lived in and vacated, you’ll want to ensure that you protect both yourself and the property, whilst getting the best possible return.

A Letting Agent’s Role

A Letting agent’s role is not just to collect the rent. They can provide a comprehensive property management service, which may include the following:
  • Provide advice on rental value
  • Help you to comply with the 70 pieces of legislation
  • Advertise to find tenants
  • Screen potential tenants and lease the property
  • Provide a Tenancy Agreement
  • Collect and lodge the bond
  • Collect the rent
  • Compare and check property inventory
  • Inspect the property
  • Pay utility accounts
  • Provide regular financial statements
  • Attend court on your behalf in the case of dispute with tenants
  • At the end of the tenancy, finalise bond and inventory with the tenant
This of course comes at a fee – A typical ‘let only’ fee will be somewhere around 10% of the weekly rental figure, whereas a full service fee is usually up around 15%. Remember that for both of these options, you’ll probably still also have to pay a ‘set up charge’ of a few hundred pounds and you may be hit with other fees or ongoing costs. Certain online letting agencies offer a much cheaper ‘one off’ letting charge just to find a tenant, but they won’t provide any ongoing support.

Appoint a Letting Agent

When you do decide to hire a letting agent, then the selection process is similar to an interview. Sellmycastle.co.uk can help you create a shortlist by comparing estate agents in your local area; you can request your personalised comparison here.

Making sure to ask the right questions will help you to compare the different services offered by competing agencies and will ensure you are informed about their role. The level of service can vary significantly, so it is very important to find an agent that you are happy with.

Make Sure You Have Landlord Insurance

Letting your property involves a big financial risk. If you have previously called the property ‘home’, you may also have an emotional attachment. No doubt, you have heard the many horror stories of nightmare tenants. Of course, most tenants don’t fall into that category, but it pays to protect yourself and your asset in the event that something does go wrong.

If this is your first time renting your property, you may not know about landlord insurance. It is designed to cover the aspects of renting your property that building & contents insurance generally don’t allow for.

The common features covered in the insurance are:
  • Malicious or intentional damage to the property by their tenant or their guests
  • Theft by the tenant or their guests
  • Loss of rent if the tenant defaults on their payment
  • Liability, including claims against you by the tenant
  • Legal expenses incurred in taking action against a tenant
It’s important to remember that not all landlord insurance policies are the same. Your letting agent will have one that they recommend or you can do your own research to find the right policy for you.

Speak to Your Accountant about Tax Issues

Letting a property is likely to have tax implications. Make sure to advise your accountant of your intention and to discuss the possibility of getting a depreciation schedule organised if you don’t already have one.

Work with Your Letting Agent to Decide on the Rent

You might have an idea of how much rent you would like to receive, based on what your ownership costs are, but unfortunately, the local market determines the actual rent you can charge. Your letting agent will be best suited to advise you on this. Don’t just take their word for it though – you can do your own research with online listings websites (such as Rightmove, Zoopla and PrimeLocation). A good place to start is to search for similar suburbs and properties to your own to gauge the market.

During your interviews with letting agents, they should be able to provide with you a list of their most recent successful rentals that are comparative to your property.

Decide on a Marketing Plan with Your Letting Agent

One of the most important ways your letting agent can help you to rent your property is by marketing it to prospective renters. Ensure the best results by comparing your property’s online listing with those of similar properties in the same area.

Check the following four key factors:
  • Has your agent included several good photos in the online advertisement?
  • Did they have the property cleaned before taking the photos?
  • Is the advertising copy (the written description of the property) compelling?
  • Are they properly screening applicants against a national tenancy database, and also checking credit, employment, references and criminal history?

Letting Your Property!

Now that you have completed these steps, you are ready to let your property, safe in the knowledge that you have made an informed choice selecting your letting agent.

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