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In recent weeks there has been a call for regulation of the lettings industry, fueled by various warnings of rogue agents.
A number of reported cases have shown us how badly these agents are treating both landlords and tenants. There’s no bond registration, keeping rent payments for themselves, and in the worst cases, shutting up shop and heading off into the sunset with your money.
Imagine having to make up your tenants deposit out of your own pocket and then ensuring it’s correctly protected. Of course this is something you would want to avoid happening.
Unfortunately, as the rental sector is unregulated, anyone can set up shop as an agent or even become a landlord.
One of the best ways is to ask for at least three numbers of landlords that they are working with that you can contact. You want to ask the landlords questions like, when does the money get transferred into your account from the agent? Is it as soon as the tenant pays, or will you be waiting weeks for it? Also, ask if they have ever had any issues with bad tenants being put into their properties and whether they’ve had any disputes with the agents about contractors, payments or their tenants’ deposits. If the agent isn’t forthcoming with at least three numbers then you may want to look elsewhere.
Other warning signs of bad practice include:
- Landlords offering property for much less than market rents
- advertising properties with no deposit to pay
- deposits required before the tenant has visited the property, (supposedly in order to seal the deal)
Also the internet can prove to be a very lucrative platform for rogue letting agents. Simply anyone can post adverts for rentals online. Therefore, trusting online advertisements alone, you never really know who you are doing business with.
We here at our letting agency in Newport have even heard of new agents working from their own homes or even telling landlords they’ve rented their property, but actually setting up shop there themselves! Always be wary if your agent doesn’t have an office.
Most lettings agents you deal with are likely to be genuine. However, always be very cautious. If it doesn’t feel right – then be on your guard.