Helping hand for landlords

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WHILE renting out a property can be a great investment – there are many responsibilities that come with being a landlord.

Meeting safety standards, making sure the rent is paid on time, maintaining the upkeep of the property and securing the perfect tenants are all included on the lengthy checklist.

However, landlords need not go it alone when it comes to the rules and regulations surrounding renting – using a letting agent which is a member of ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents) can take the hassle out of letting your property.

Ashley Taylor is Harrison Murray’s lettings co-ordinator for Cambridgeshire, covering the Chatteris, March and Wisbech branches.

He said: “Ultimately, using a letting agent, and particularly an ARLA member, gives you peace of mind. If you have invested in a property and want a return on it, then using a professional service means you can enjoy all the benefits with none of the stress.”

Here are a few benefits of using an ARLA member letting agent:

Deposits. The deposit must be registered with a regulatory body who will have a dispute service should there be any damage caused by the tenant which is discovered at the end of the tenancy. A letting agent will deal with that dispute on your behalf.

Property checks. To ensure your investment is being looked after an agent will carry out regular checks on the property and forward an inspection report to you – and with your permission, arrange for any repairs to be dealt with on your behalf or quotations organised.

Professional Inventory. This is an absolutely essential document that details the fixtures and fittings and describes their condition and that of the property generally. An inventory can prevent a lot of disputes between tenants and landlords and should ideally be professionally compiled

Legal requirements. When letting a property there are certain legal requirements that must be met. These regulations are constantly being reviewed and an agent will be aware of these and be able to advise you accordingly. These will include complying with gas safety and electrical equipment regulations, and fire and furnishings (safety) regulations.

Rent. A letting agent will collect the rent from a tenant on your behalf, and actively chase a tenant who hasn’t paid, thus alleviating any awkwardness between landlord and tenant. Some agents may have effective payment protection warranties in place on their landlords properties which enable the landlord to receive rent whilst the tenant is pursued through the courts

Repairs. The last thing you want is a call in the middle of the night from a tenant reporting a leak or a broken boiler. A letting agent will deal with any reports of faults on your behalf and give you the option to instruct your own contactors or use the agent’s own approved contractors.

Finding suitable tenants. The agent will search to match a suitable tenant with your property and accompany any prospective tenants on a viewing. Credit and employment checks will be carried out on your behalf together with previous landlord reference checks and you will then be given the necessary information to enable you to make an informed decision about whether to accept the potential tenants.

Harrison Murray Lettings are long-standing ARLA members. For details, visit the website or call into your local branch.