How do you find a (good!) letting agent

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  • How do you find a (good!) letting agent

    I have been contacting various letting agents in the area where I want to rent out my house. They are answering my questions, but what I really need are landlords opinions on the good, and not so good agents. The area is West Suffolk / Norfolk, specifically Bury St. Edmunds, Newmarket, Mildenhall, Thetford (OK Newmarket is technically Cambridgeshire but it's often thought of as Suffolk!!)

    Any Landlords with knowledge of these areas please post here, anomity guaranteed

  • #2
    I would try the ARLA website as a first stop, its not guaranteed but at least they will have shown willing to be regulated, so going with someone with Client Money Protection in place is a no brainer.

    There are a lot of very good unregulated agents out there but there are an awful lot of bad ones too and most of the time you find out which they are until they owe you money!
    My advice is not based on formal legal training but experience gained in 20+ years in the letting industry.

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    • #3
      Look on the ARLA website and find out which agents are licensed in the area. Then go onto www.propertylive.co.uk and see which of those deal with the most properties and your type of property.

      Talk/invite on valuation 2 or 3 of them and the one or ones you think you can work with, ask for clients of theirs that you can call. If in Hindhead, Liphook or Haslemere I would have advised Kelway Law!

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      • #4
        Oaktree / Kelway - Thanks for that, I've seen ARLA mentioned but it never occured to me to check their web site, much obliged

        Originally posted by oaktree View Post
        most of the time you find out which they are until they owe you money!
        Yes, that is what I want to avoid !!!

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        • #5
          Although you tend not to get much in the way of 'recommendations' on here (against forum rules?), recommendation is by far the best route to finding a reliable and reputable agent. Maybe there is a 'landlords association' in your area who between them will have tried all the agents!

          I was using an ARLA member, but I know that some of their 'practises' were dubious, and some of their advice was downright wrong. Not all ARLA members will be like that, but just be aware that whilst ARLA is better than nothing, it doesn't equate to a guarantee of a good agent.

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          • #6
            Snorkez, thank you, as it happens one of the LA's I was talking too recently appears to not be an ARLA member, she was ticking all the boxes up to when I checked the ARLA website. As you say there is no substitute for independant, unbiased, recommendations, I am in no rush so I think I will do a bit of detective work and try to speak one to one with a few LL's in my area of choice.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Losos View Post
              Snorkez, thank you, as it happens one of the LA's I was talking too recently appears to not be an ARLA member, she was ticking all the boxes up to when I checked the ARLA website. As you say there is no substitute for independant, unbiased, recommendations, I am in no rush so I think I will do a bit of detective work and try to speak one to one with a few LL's in my area of choice.
              From my recent experiences:

              Ask if you will get to see the tenants full references and credit checks (un edited) before you accept the tenant. My favourite trick question is "I don't want it sub-letting - what would I/you do if that happens?" If the answer includes the phrase "section 21" or "section 8" then reconsider.

              The reason for this is section 21 & secrion 8 only apply to assured (shorthold) tenancies. If your tenant doesn't live there, it can't be an AST.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                From my recent experiences:

                Ask if you will get to see the tenants full references and credit checks (un edited) before you accept the tenant.
                Agent is not in a position to refuse to communicate the complete information he received. And obviously a landlord should not accept a tenant before he sees it.
                So clearly an agent replying negatively to this question is either incompetent or seriously dodgy...

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                • #9
                  Actually, having investigated this, the agent may not provide that info to the landlord without the tenants permission. If you have an agent who bothers to get such permission (tick box on application form) then it is easy for landlords to 'discriminate' against those who refuse to let the agent pass the info on.

                  http://www.ico.gov.uk/for_the_public...landlords.aspx

                  and jjlandlord - it was you who provided me with that link!!!

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                  • #10
                    Yes it was

                    However my (current) understanding is that this is a best practice to ensure the prospective tenant is fully aware of who has access to the info, and not a legal obligation, as there is no 'separation' between the landlord and his agent.

                    In any case, an agent should take necessary steps to ensure the landlord is provided with all the information he receives. If he does not that's a red flag.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jjlandlord View Post
                      If he does not that's a red flag.
                      I agree......

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                      • #12
                        This is developing into an interesting thread, I'm taking notes

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I see the site referred to above says this:

                          Can landlords see references which were provided to the letting agents?

                          The agent can pass this information to the landlord, as long as, when the reference is asked for, they make clear to the tenant and the referee that this will happen.


                          I should be interested to know how that is derived from the Data Protection Act.

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                          • #14
                            Yes, LC. That's why we were discussing about asking for T's permission before sharing information with LL.

                            My (un-expert) understanding is that the agent and the landlord are basically one with respect to dealing with the tenant, so that there's no such requirement.
                            But it can be seen as a best practice to inform a prospective tenant about that.

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                            • #15
                              jjlandlord - As you can see from my original question I am no expert either but it seems down right daft for the Data Protection Act to restrict Landlord from seeing references. However as you say there can be no harm in informing the tenant that both LA and LL will see the references. The world must have gone completely mad if the Data Protection laws prohibit that

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