Landlords, have you been fully informed with all you need to know about letting your property?
Time and again I meet property owners who are blissfully unaware of the many hurdles that come with residential lettings.
I am frequently asked: “do I need a gas check?”, “what happens if I move abroad?” or “do I still need to carry out repairs?”
These are just a few of the questions most first-time landlords have when deciding whether to enter what can be a very stressful and confusing game.
For most property owners, renting out their investment or former home is hugely daunting.
And when this is often coupled with the stress of relocating, the worry of whether their property has been left in good hands can be overwhelming.
This is where choosing the right letting agent is vital.
With so many property scams, rogue agents and bad practices hitting the headlines these days, I am still amazed at how many people continue to place their properties in the hands of people who have no intention of playing by the rules.
It is important to take time out to fully investigate who you are planning to hand your property to. Are they an accredited agent?
This means they should belong to at least one official body such as the National Approved Lettings Scheme or the Association of Residential Lettings Agents and ideally also be members of the Property Ombudsman Scheme.
Being a member of these bodies means the agent complies with strict codes of conduct with a clear complaints procedure.
Another important question is: What happens to your money if the agent ceases trading? As long as you choose an agent with recognised Client Money Protection such as those registered with SafeAgent, you can rest assured you will never fall victim to anyone running off with your cash.
There are many more questions, which is why I often spend extra time on my client visits as I like to make sure I leave them with all the knowledge they need.
For those with more questions, Northwood is holding a landlord information day in November with local law firm Edward Hands & Lewis and Elsby & Co accountants so anyone seeking guidance can drop in for a chat.
It will include a series of short seminars aimed at providing legal, financial and property information and promises to be hugely informative. Keep an eye on our Twitter feed @NwoodHarborough for updates.
Market Thoughts column by Andrew Le Mesurier
Mr Mesurier is the manager of Northwood in Market Harborough, based at Harborough Innovation Centre.
For more details about the firm, see its website at www.northwoodharborough.co.uk.