Warning over lettings
Letting specialist Leaders are urging the public to take care when choosing a letting agent because of the complex nature of lettings, and the crucial role the letting agent plays...
From valuing the property and setting up the tenancy correctly, to serving the correct notices in the right way and ensuring a smooth handover at the end - it is vital to carry out every element of the process accurately.
Getting it wrong can have dire consequences; including huge legal expenses, loss of rent, long void periods, loss of tenants' deposits and serious penalties for not complying with legislation. For tenants it can literally be a matter of life and death if legislation regarding the safety of the property and its contents is not complied with.
Commenting, Andrew Oulsnam of Robert Oulsnam & Company said: "We are disappointed but not surprised by the significant increase in problems with lettings reported to the Ombudsman.
"Over the last year the property market switched emphasis from sales to lettings in response to the slowdown and we saw an increase in landlords coming into the market who were letting out their homes as they were unable to sell. Alongside this there has also been an increase in agents providing a letting service for the first time.
"Our advice to the public is, and has always been to use an ARLA or RICS qualified agent who are experienced and well established in the industry, have an in-depth knowledge of the lettings market and a thorough understanding of all the many regulations that apply to lettings."
At present, letting agents and landlords are not formally regulated, although the Government has proposed plans to address this.