14 Questions All Landlords Should Ask Letting Agents
The role of a letting agent is to make renting stress-free for the landlord. Letting agents exist to ensure you have a positive experience when renting out your property, taking the task of managing and marketing the property off your hands.
Yet, two-thirds of landlords have said they’re unhappy with their letting agents, reports Mashroom. Humble brag but our landlords love working with us, and that’s why our landlord churn rate is 0.01%.
We know choosing a letting agent is a big commitment. So this blog is to help you make the right decision with 14 must-ask questions to ask letting agents as a landlord.
Whether you're a new landlord or appointing a new agency, use these questions to ask letting agents and find the right people to manage your property. Or, email our landlord team directly - we're always happy to answer any questions you may have.
14 Questions to ask a letting agent
1. What accreditations and reviews do you have as a letting agent?
Starting with a very important, maybe obvious, one - always ask about a letting agent’s accreditation. If they are credible, they will willingly share this information with you.
Read online reviews to help you choose a letting agent. You can often check their Google reviews to gauge a letting agent's accreditation and whether they have a good track record with other landlords or tenants.
Naturally, you’ll be influenced by price and need to find an option that suits your budget but don’t turn a blind eye to bad feedback. You may see negative reviews online and ignore them as they are marginally cheaper, but a lousy letting agent could cost you more in the long run.
2. How much will my property earn in monthly rent?
When deciding what questions to ask a letting agent, you’ll want to get a feel for their understanding of the market.
Asking a letting agent to estimate how much your property will earn in monthly rent shows they’re knowledgeable in your area.
3. How do you attract new tenants?
Here is an opportunity for letting agents to showcase their proactive tactics to finding tenants for your property. And to reassure you that they can fill your rooms fast.
What platforms do they advertise on? Do they use social media? What’s the turnaround time? Think of it as a series of letting agents interview questions - it’s your chance to understand how successful they are at renting properties in your area. And an opportunity for them to showcase their ability to fill your property with tenants.
4. How do you find the best trades support for fixing issues?
One of the biggest concerns with appointing a letting agent to manage your property is that it won’t be treated with the same level of care. And if there’s an issue, such as a boiler breaking, the letting agent will go for a quick-fix solution.
When choosing a good letting agent, remember this and ask what trade support is on hand and how they look for the best deals.
5. What details do you need from me, as the landlord?
Most letting agents will have their own vetting criteria for the properties they represent. It's a sign of a credible property manager if they ask questions such as proof of ownership, details of the mortgage agreement and consent to let.
6. What do you do if I need a replacement tenant?
When choosing a letting agent, remember to ask this question - it’s a big one. If something happens and a tenant needs to leave the property, it can cost you a significant amount as a landlord.
7. How do you deal with tenant issues?
Tenant issues will happen - hopefully, they are small, but you want your letting agent to be prepared. Ask how they deal with tenant issues, what their process is, what issues they support, and which are out of their control.
For example, if there's damage to the property. Do they organise quotes and tell you, or manage the repairs from start to finish?
8. Which tenancy deposit protection do you use?
Securing a tenant's deposit in a tenancy deposit scheme is a legal requirement. When choosing a letting agent, it's essential to understand what they provide - especially if you need a deposit scheme.
9. Will I get a breakdown of how letting agent fees are spent?
We know the main concern for any landlord will be the return on investment for appointing a letting agent. So when choosing your letting agent, always include the question about the breakdown of costs and what you get in return.
At Hybr, we know the importance of transparency regarding fees. That’s why we never charge landlords unless they are happy with our service and we’ve found them great tenants to rent their homes. You can read a full breakdown of our costs here.
10. How many rentals does each property manager look after?
A common question to ask estate agents when letting is how many properties they manage. The purpose is twofold. Firstly, it's to understand the credibility of a property manager and see if other landlords trust them. Secondly, it's to see how much resource they have available to manage your property and how personal the experience will be.
11. How do you screen and reference potential tenants?
In our opinion, the most important question to ask letting agents is about finding quality tenants. At Hybr, we verify tenants, give you direct access to a personalised bio of each tenant, and manage the relationship throughout the year (at no additional cost). You can read more about how we screen tenants here.
12. How do you deal with tenants in rent arrears?
When deciding which letting agent to choose, you want to consider any potential financial risk - such as rent arrears. If there is a missed payment from the tenant, what happens? Does the letting agent help solve this problem?
13. How quickly do you respond to tenants' queries?
A sign of a good letting agent is how quickly they respond to tenants’ queries. We know that a fast turnaround is the best and easiest way to maintain a good landlord and tenant relationship.
When choosing your letting agent, check whether they give guaranteed response times to tenant and landlord queries.
14. Where is all the tenant information stored?
As landlords, you store a lot of tenant's personal information (e.g. name, email, number), which means under the Data Protection Act, you must register with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). When involving a letting agent, this becomes their responsibility, so ask about what process they follow for data protection.
Choosing the right letting agent
We know that letting agents sometimes have a negative reputation, and landlords are naturally risk-averse to getting someone to look after their property, but we hope our blog on helping you find the right letting agent shows our commitment to transparency within the rental market.
In fact, Hybr exists to ensure you have a positive experience renting and can be as hands on or as hands off as you like. We connect you with vetted young renters and guide them through the tenancy. We ensure your property is loved in the way it deserves and we partner with full management providers who meet our Hybr standards and can offer you an excellent service. We are proud to say our unique approach has been acknowledged in several industry awards from Montague Evans, Natwest, and the Landlord Zone.
Book a chat with our head of landlord partnerships today to find out how we can optimise your experience as a landlord.