Changing your letting agent

publication date: Feb 24, 2020
 | 
author/source: Guest article by Rent Round

Changing letting agent

Rent Round - Changing letting agent

For landlords it’s a big risk and responsibility to let letting agencies take care of your tenants and your property. It can be hard to find the right letting agent. If the services you’re receiving aren’t up to scratch, then you’re going to want to look into changing your letting agent.

 

Although you want to change your letting agency, you may put it off thinking the change will bring hassle and stress.

 

Actually, changing your letting agency can be very simple if done properly.

 

There are a number of reasons for people to want to change their letting agency, and here are a few:

  • You’re paying too much in letting agent fees. When looking over how much you have spent on the management fees, it can make you realise that you are paying too much for little work. In some cases, it is as simple as asking the agency to lower that fee so you don’t have to leave.
  • You’re not satisfied that your property is being looked after properly. This could mean that you’re getting complaints from tenants. Making matters even worse, there could be breaches in the tenancy agreement. This can then lead to unpaid rent and exit terms with the tenant being void (ie. they can vacate your premises quickly!)
  • You’re not happy with the service. This could be that it’s hard to get in touch with your agent or them being unprofessional.

 

You need to make sure that you’re changing your agency for the right reasons. Sometimes it can be as simple as a talk with your current agency to sort out any problems.

 

Don’t make rash decisions

Also don’t make any rash decisions such as only wanting to change because another agency is a little bit cheaper.

 

There are a lot of bad agencies out there which can lead to further problems and even higher fees.

 

So if your main reason for changing is to save a small amount of money, you should reconsider. The cheaper fees could result in longer periods of rooms/properties being vacant and lower quality tenants resulting in property damage. This will cost you more in the long run.

 

It's best to make a pros and cons list to ensure you're making the right decision.

 

Preparation steps when you’re changing your letting agent

Those that fail to plan, plan to fail!

 

Avoid hasty actions when changing your letting agent. This may require parking your frustration and any emotion.

 

No one likes to be ripped off or pay for a service that is sub-par.

 

But with a rental property, a lot of money is at stake and you have tenants and families that could be affected.

 

Ensure when changing your letting agent that you go through preparation steps so the transition is as smooth as possible.

 

Find a replacement letting agent

Before getting rid of your current letting agent you need to find a replacement.

 

This is important because other agencies can help you during the transfer and this will make the process a lot easier for you.

 

When looking for a new agent, make sure you compare property agent fees and ratings.

 

Insurance and utility comparisons always help people find good deals. Rent Round can be used to compare the market and get a good agent in your area.

 

Change agents during the period of finding tenants

It’s easier to change and find a new agent when a tenancy agreement is expiring.

 

Usually when a tenancy agreement ends you won’t be tied into a specific contract with the agency. If you’re changing mid-way through a tenancy, then a letting agent may charge you exit fees.

 

Talk to your tenant before

You need to be aware that any major changes to the terms of the tenancy can cause the existing tenants to leave due to the disruption.

 

Talk to your tenant before and reassure them that this change will not affect them.

 

This will give them the opportunity to ask any questions and for you to alleviate any concerns.

 

Depending on the services you have undertaken with a letting agent, the agent may be collecting rent and in regular contact with your tenants.

 

Changing agent will mean new points of contact for your tenant, new telephone numbers in cases of issues & refreshed paperwork.

 

Ensure your existing tenants are well aware of the changes you are making.

 

You want to avoid the tenant's worrying that you’re planning to stop renting the property and looking to sell.

 

This may lead to the tenant looking elsewhere and moving out, which might leave you out of pocket.

 

How to easily change your letting agency

Once you’ve found a new agent, found the right time to move and prepped your tenants, it’s time to get the ball rolling on changing your letting agent.

 

Check your contract with the letting agent

The first thing you need to do is check whether there is a termination section in your contract.

 

This section will contain all of the legal processes that you would have to take into account if you were to leave.

 

In addition it will add clarity on notice periods & any letting agent exit fees.

 

As mentioned previously, if you’ve chosen to switch letting agent towards the end of a tenancy agreement, the process is likely to be easier.

 

However your contract with the letting agent (which is different to a tenancy agreement), may include wider tie-ins. For example you may have signed into an agreement that ensures you stay with that agent for two years.

 

This means that even though the tenancy agreements are expiring, you have a longer tie-in to worry about.

 

Give the letting agent notice

It’s best to give your letting agency and official written notice of why you would like to end the contact. This can be through letter or email.

 

Even if there isn’t a notice period or the agreement is expiring, it’s best to still write them a letter containing your reasons for leaving and changing your letting agency.

 

This will help the letting agent get started on handover activities.

 

Keep your tenant informed

As stated earlier, during these changes it’s best to keep the tenant informed.

 

So if you don’t have their contact details, then get them from your current agent and directly get in touch with the tenant.

 

Confirm and collect any paperwork

Ask the agency for an email or letter to confirm that you are leaving and to outline any exit fees.

 

After that, arrange the handover of keys, the gas certificate, files or any paperwork that are needed for your property.

 

Furthermore make sure the deposit is transferred securely and registered with your new agent or ensure it’s protected under your name.

 

Tell your new agent why you left the old agent

The last thing you want is for your new agent to be just as bad as the old agent.

 

If you’re leaving for a particular reason, explain that to the new agent.

 

Being upfront on why you’re going for a switch will add clarity to the new agent of things you won’t stand for. Knowing this, it reduces the chances of your new agent's annoying you.

 

Create a new landlord agreement

The last step that you need to complete is to create a new landlord agreement that contains the details of managing the property.

 

However you should learn lessons from your agreement with the agent you’re exiting from.

 

Let's say you had a long notice period and high termination fees with the old agent. In the new agreement, make sure you’re not getting re-tied into some of the stipulations you got burnt with previously.

 

Obviously it’s unlikely you’ll get an agreement with no notice period or termination clauses, but you should make sure charges and terms are reasonable.

 

Financing a buy to let -
Coreco
How to choose a letting agent -
Rent Round
Ten tips for a successful let -
Hunters

Financing a buy to let checklist 

How to choose a letting agent checklist Top ten tips for managing a successful let

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