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. We 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 out with 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.
2. 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 effect 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.
3. 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 Clan Gordon, we are experienced in taking over management from other letting 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 6 monthly, unless we identify an issue that requires more regular inspections.
4. 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. There are currently over 200 letting agents operating in Edinburgh city centre alone. One way to gain insight into how an agent performs is to read their online reviews from actual landlord and tenant clients. We currently have a Google rating of 4.7 stars (out of 5 stars). To read our reviews search Google for ‘Clan Gordon’.
The main variables between letting agents, ones which can lead to the success or breakdown of the landlord-agent relationship, include:
Check that the agent is qualified to manage your property. Everyone at Clan Gordon either has achieved, or is working towards, their NFoPP (National Federation of Property Professionals) Technical Award in Scottish Residential Letting and Property Management.
The introduction of the Letting Agent Code of Practice in 2018 will enforce regulation for all letting agents. Until then, the industry remains largely unregulated putting landlords and their assets at risk. Regulated letting agents must adhere to a strict code of practice, encouraging professionalism within the industry.
At Clan Gordon, we are regulated by ARLA and RICS. Read more about our regulation.
Lack of communication is one of the most common complaints from landlords looking to change letting agent.
At Clan Gordon we use a cloud based communications software so all communications are linked to the property and can be accessed by everyone in the team, meaning that landlords have 1 point of contact. Our 2016 Client Satisfaction Survey found that 99% of landlords are happy with our level of communication, and 94% of tenants are satisfied that their queries are dealt with in a timely manner.
Landlords trust letting agents to manage their most important assets, and so it is important that agents are completely transparent in everything that they do. At Clan Gordon we believe in always being honest with our clients and working in their best interest, even if it means less profit for us.