Seven benefits of using a letting agent

There is a certainly a lot for landlords to consider when the time comes to let out a property. Even if you have gone through the often agonising process with other properties in the past, it never gets any easier to do it right - especially if you're going it alone. From time management to organising finances, finding tenants to fixing boilers, as a property portfolio grows so do the responsibilities.

Increasing a property portfolio could be compared to paternity leave. A landlord prepares each property as much as they can, but when the time comes to have to go back to work they often hire someone else to help look after them day-to-day.

But a quality letting agent isn't just a glorified 'nanny' for your property children - it can be so much more. There are plenty of good reasons why landlords work with letting agents, regardless of whether they own one property or 21. Here are just seven benefits of using a letting agent.

1. You'll ALWAYS get your rent

Although there are things a letting agent will do before you get to the rent stage, it's often the biggest worry for landlords. If your tenant is not paying rent or bills on time, your cash flow can be interrupted and it can affect other aspects of your life.

In a let only arrangement with an agent, you will always have the tenancy agreement drawn up and the deposit and first month's rent collected for you. However, in a fully managed service a good letting agent should guarantee that rent is paid to you no matter what. Even if they are in the process of finding new tenants for your property, you will still receive rent 52 weeks of the year.

2. Your legal requirements are taken care of

Before you can think about letting your property out to a tenant, there are certain legal requirements that must be met, including gas and electrical safety, fire and safety regulations and Energy Performance Certificates.

Regardless of whether you have a let only or fully managed arrangement with your letting agent, they will shoulder this burden for you and always keep up-to-date with any law changes, ensuring that your property adheres to them. Often the small changes suggested by a letting agent can make all the difference, and can help you get your property ready to let. With a managed service, all legal costs will be covered.

3. The most suitable tenants will be found

Not only will an agent be able to find potential tenants faster due to comprehensive marketing of the property, they will also be able to find the most suitable tenants through an extensive screening and referencing process. It's impossible to completely eradicate potential problems down the line, but it gives you the best opportunity to rest easy.

Through experience they will also be able to recognise the common signs of potentially-troublesome tenants, and may even have had experience with a tenant previously. If you have a fully managed service, the collection of re-let fees and the costs of tenancy renewal negotiations should always be included.

4. A proper inventory will be carried out

It's essential these days that an in-depth inventory is carried out prior to anyone moving in. If the process is rushed and certain factors are overlooked, a landlord has little chance of winning if taken to adjudication by tenants.

A good letting agency will always provide specially-trained staff who can carry out this work for you, resulting in a full APIP written and photographic inventory. Given that your inventory will have been drafted up by an independent third party (your agent in this case), it will also be given more weight by an adjudicator than one a landlord has drafted themselves.

5. Regular property checks will be actioned

To ensure your property is being looked after, a letting agent will perform frequent visits. This not only puts your mind at ease but also prevents any mistreatment of your property from reaching a critical stage, such as infestation or garden overgrowth, should you ever need to find new tenants quickly.

The inspection process allows your letting agent to act as a middle man between you and your tenants by gaining access to the property on your behalf. If the property is temporarily vacant at any stage, management fees should be paused until new tenants are found.

6. You'll never need to call a handyman

If your property is fully managed letting agencies will include a 24 hour emergency call-out service, so you will never have to worry about being woken up in the middle of the night because of an overflowing washing machine or a boiler breakdown in the middle of winter.

All repairs and maintenance are taken care of in the service, sparing you from having to keep a plumber, an electrician and a builder on call.

7. You're guaranteed peace of mind

Your time is precious, but so are your properties. If it's your first property, you may want to use a letting agent so that you can focus your time on expanding your portfolio. If you already own multiple properties, you can feel safe in the knowledge that each one is being carefully looked after by professionals.

"Letting out a property is a gut-wrenching task for landlords," says Atif Javid, Managing Director of Intire. "Some are hesitant to use a letting agent at first because of expenses, but they soon realise that great service far outweighs the cost.

"It's the commitment to customer satisfaction and achieving excellent results that is the major factor landlords should consider when deciding to use a letting agent. For instance, Intire offers a 100 per cent satisfaction guarantee for the first three months in our managed service.

"At the end of the day, a good letting agent offers complete peace of mind and makes landlords happy."