Letting Agents: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

If you are considering renting your property in Scotland there are two obvious routes to go down. One is to manage the rental yourself and the other is to have a letting agency manage it for you. If you decide to manage the rental yourself, then there are many regulations that you need to know about and adhere to. This is quite an overhead and it may be simpler to outsource the headache to professionals who know the industry inside and out.

If you Google for “letting agents” in your town or city, you’ll see many companies listed and it is a daunting task to choose one that is right for your property and budget. So how do you choose?

The Good Letting Agency

A good letting agency is one which is there to serve its landlords and tenants fairly and professionally.  It should be able to answer your questions quickly and knowledgeably. Does it know current legislation? Does it train its staff? Here are a few points which we believe are essential when choosing the best letting agency for your property:

  • Staff should be fully trained and have professional industry qualifications. Ideally all should be Members of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (MARLA). Having professional qualifications means that there will be no gaps in knowledge and all queries can be responded to quickly and knowledgeably.
  • Staff should be continually trained and developed to maintain that knowledge – the industry changes regularly as a result of new legislation.
  • Your letting agency should take care of all tenant issues before escalating any issues to the landlord. This is why you pay them a monthly fee.
  • Their fee should include all aspects of property management including inspecting the property regularly, checking out tenants properly and maintaining the property for new tenants. We have collated a list of what we consider best property management practices.
  • Ideally the letting agency wouldn’t be involved in other business areas like sales, factoring, development, mortgages, investment as that would possibly mean distractions and perhaps some business conflicts.
  • A good letting agent will be your partner. It is in their interest to get a high rental return and to keep the property in good condition. They should be able to advise you on possible issues and protect your investment.

The Bad

A bad letting agency is one where there is:

  • A high turnover of staff leading to gaps in knowledge and possible confusion around current legislation.
  • Few of the staff is trained due to lack of investment in this essential area.
  • There may be no checks on properties from one rental to the next leading to deterioration of the property and a drop in rental value.
  • The office is understaffed and your calls don’t get returned.


The Ugly?

We don’t want to be too cruel, but if their vehicles are dirty and their property managers turn up unkempt and disorganised to meet you – you’ll imagine that their business might not run as slick as you’d want!

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