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Ian Woodhouse-Smith, Lettings Manager

Is it better to rent out a property privately or use a letting agent? If you have an investment property to rent out, this is likely to be a question you’re asking yourself.

In this article, we outline the main drawbacks of renting privately and the benefits of letting through an agent.

Renting out your property privately

The biggest disadvantage of being a private landlord is that you must keep up to date with the latest legal letting requirements. For example, you must produce a fair and legally compliant tenancy agreement, provide copies of the property’s Energy Performance and Gas Safety certificates and electrical certificate, and place your tenant’s deposit in a government-approved tenancy deposit protection scheme within 30 days of receiving it. Failure to comply with the legislation may mean that you cannot service notice on your tenant, or at the very worst you end up with a hefty fine or prison sentence.

As a private landlord, you will be on call 24/7. Tenants will contact you directly with problems, and it is your legal responsibility to have them fixed within a reasonable time.

You must arrange everything yourself, from organising property viewings to finding and referencing tenants. You are also responsible for chasing rent arrears.

Renting through a letting agent

Renting your property with an agent takes the hassle out of being a landlord. Your lettings agent can market the property, arrange viewings, and find and reference-quality tenants for you.

To make your life easy, the letting agent will manage most of your landlord responsibilities. At the beginning of a tenancy, the agent will ensure all legal requirements for renting are met. This includes checking that your property complies with all relevant legislation, including the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard, Energy Performance Certificates, Gas Safety Certificates and electrical certificates.

Most agents can arrange for an independent inventory to be drawn up too, which is essential to get right and can be time-consuming for you to organise yourself.

Rent collection and property inspections will be taken care of for you, and agents can arrange for problems to be fixed without you needing to find tradesmen to carry out any repairs. Letting agents often have good relationships with trusted local tradesmen that are fully insured and, where required, are members of their regulatory body that can be called out for maintenance jobs in your property.

Many letting agents will have a dedicated property manager, so a member of the team who knows about your property will be on hand to deal with any problems.

If you decide that renting your property with an agent is the better option for you, there are different levels of management to choose from. At Hellards, we offer a Full Management Service, a Rent Collection Service and a Let Only Service for landlords to choose how involved they want to be in the management of their investment property.

Get in touch today to discuss your rental property requirements.