This guide explains the basic legal and practical issues involved in letting a flat or house. It also explains how RICS letting agents can help if you need any professional advice.
Many letting agents throughout the UK are RICS members. Here are the advantages of using an RICS regulated firm:
- they give you clear, impartial and expert advice
- they act professionally
- they are tightly regulated and must follow strict rules of conduct – including having in place client money protection and appropriate insurance
- RICS members have a specific set of rules and best practice guidance, the RICS UK Residential Property
- Standards designed to help ensure RICS letting agents provide exceptional service
- RICS members must update their skills and knowledge throughout their careers, so you can rely on their expertise
- you are protected by a complaints procedure and access to independent redress, for example through an Ombudsman scheme.
Look out for firms that are ‘Regulated by RICS’ and that follow the standards set out in the RICS UK Residential Property Standards. Agent firms that are regulated by RICS are easy to spot as they use ‘Regulated by RICS’ on their stationery and promotional material.
Once you have your property to let, it is worth remembering that it could take several weeks for a suitable tenant to be found.
Choosing a letting agent
You can advertise and manage your property yourself, but it can be stressful and requires specialist knowledge. Therefore, many landlords use an agent to market and/or manage their property.
An RICS agent will provide written confirmation of their terms, conditions and costs for acting on your behalf. Ensure you have these from your chosen agent before signing anything.
RICS agents must follow strict rules of conduct and be part of an approved redress scheme. They also belong to a client money protection scheme.
Most tenants look for properties through letting agents. Agents who are RICS members follow the correct legal procedures to find a suitable tenant.
In general, an RICS letting agent will:
- advise on the current length of tenancy and rent to charge
- advise whether to let out your property unfurnished, partially furnished or furnished and whether minor improvement can be made to increase the rental value
- promote your property to potential tenants
- handle the letting process
- prepare the tenancy agreement
- belong to a tenancy deposit protection scheme to safeguard the tenant’s deposit.