Some landlords use lettings agents to find tenants for their property and/or property management agents to manage the rental (including rent collection, repairs and maintenance checks).
Agents who are members of a professional organisation are required to operate to standards recognised by their organisations. These include the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the Association of Residential Letting Agents, the Incorporated Society of Valuers and Auctioneers, and the National Association of Estate Agents.
Landlords should be aware that any agent they appoint will be bound by the actions of their agent if they act within the authority given to them. Landlords should ensure their agent is reputable and that there is a clear agreement of what they are authorised to do.
Letting agents in Scotland must comply with a Letting Agent Code of Practice and join a Register of Letting Agents. The Register of Letting Agents is administered by Scottish Ministers to ensure that every letting agent is suitable to do the job and has met minimum training requirements.
From 1 June 2019, neither agents nor landlords in England can charge tenants certain fees in relation to a letting. A similar ban has been in effect in Scotland since 2012. Seefor more information.
Lettings agents and property management agents in England must be members of a redress scheme. The scheme enables landlords and tenants (who have an assured tenancy, including an AST) to make complaints about lettings agents, and/or property management work.
Some housing associations lease property from landlords for periods of at least 2 years and/or manage the property (and charge a fee to cover their management costs or deduct the costs from the rental income). They may be able to provide help with the cost of repairs to bring the property up to standard for letting – for more about housing standards see.
For more information, get in touch with the housing department of the local authority for where the property is located.