How to choose a letting agent to manage your property

As a property investor or landlord, one of the most important decisions you have to make is which letting agent to choose.

When you hand over the keys to your property, you need to feel confident. You need to feel assured that the letting agent you choose is going to produce the goods.

That they’re going to find the right tenants. Take care of any maintenance issues that may arise. And pay your rental money on time.

But how do you choose a letting agent you can trust?

Our Top 12 Tips will help you decide on the right agent for managing your property.

Let’s dive right in…

choose a letting agent

They all look amazing and have lots of tasty offers. So how do you decide which letting agent is right?

1. Check the level of service they provide

This is number one on our list of tips for landlords on how to choose a letting agent for good reason.⁠

Because not all letting agents are equal.

Some will only offer tenant find or rent collection services.

But if you’re a landlord who wants a hands-off solution to property management you need your letting agent to provide full property management.

This is where you hand the keys of your property to your letting agent and they take full control.

They will take a percentage. But you don’t need to do anything.


If you live a long way from your property, full property management is probably the best option. Moreover, if you’d rather your letting agent take care of any maintenance or tenant-related issues that may arise, then full property management is also for you.

Good letting agents will offer all three levels of management. Tenant find, rent collection and full property management.

The crucial thing here is to ask for a breakdown of what’s included in each package (and what’s excluded!).

But make sure you know, beforehand, exactly what you want your letting agent to do on your behalf.⁠

At HYPE, we’re absolutely transparent about our landlord packages. Your letting agent should be, too.

how to choose the right letting agent

Can you hand your letting agent the keys to your property and let them take care of everything?

2. What are their fees?

With most things in life, you get what you pay for. And more often than not, paying cheap means paying twice.⁠

As Red Adair once said: “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.”⁠

Property management is no exception.⁠

When choosing a letting agent, don’t be influenced solely by cost. If an agent is drastically cheaper than another, it may be because the level of service is inferior.⁠

Letting agent fees for landlords do vary, of course. But you can expect to pay anything up to 20% for full property management.⁠

Just make sure you’re comparing apples with apples.

Following on from the first point, the fees should reflect the level of service. So, again, ask for a full breakdown of what’s included in your package.

For an idea of our letting agent fees, you can visit our landlords page.

how to choose a letting agent

Cheaper is rarely better. Check what bang you’re going to get for your buck.

3. Make sure they’re compliant

Due diligence is crucial when choosing a letting agent.⁠

You need to be absolutely certain the team that manages your property is doing things by the book. Moreover, that you and your tenants are protected in the event of something going wrong.⁠

Check that your letting agent is credible and part of all the relevant schemes.⁠

There are four main areas that need to be covered.

Firstly, your managing agent should be part of a tenancy deposit protection scheme.

The Deposit Protection Service (DPS) is probably the best known deposit protection organisation.

Since deposit protection was introduced in 2007, landlords (or their managing agent) must protect the deposit they receive from their tenants.

If they don’t, they could be liable to repay the full deposit to the tenant. Plus, up to three times the deposit amount.

It doesn’t end there, however. If the deposit isn’t protected and the landlord (or their letting agent) wants to evict a tenant, they may not be able to.

Hence, deposit protection is a biggie.

Secondly, your letting agent should be part of a redress scheme.

The Property Redress Scheme is a great example.

Such a scheme is designed to resolve or settle unresolved complaints from consumers who have suffered a loss as a result of the actions of the member.

Customers can also escalate a complaint they have against the member of the scheme.

Thirdly, they should also be part of an organisation that actually keeps them compliant.

UK ALA, for example is an organisation that promotes best practice and seeks to improve standards within the industry.

Finally, your letting agent should be a member of an organisation that helps keeps information safe.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is one such governing body. It is the UK’s data protection watchdog and aims to uphold information rights.

Credibility is a major factor in helping you choose the right letting agent. Your chosen agent should be able to provide evidence of the organisations they’re part of.

So, for peace of mind, ask them.

how to choose a letting agent

A letting agent that isn’t compliant can land you in hot water. Ask to see the evidence that they’re members of the relevant governing bodies.

4. They should check your property is compliant

The safety and welfare of your tenants is paramount.⁠

Your property, therefore, needs to comply with legislation.⁠

If you have a HMO, do the rooms meet the required minimum size?⁠

As a landlord, you should already know this. However, we have first hand experience of a landlord who didn’t.

He asked us to manage his HMO – until we told him that was impossible because the bedrooms weren’t big enough.

The property is now marketed as a single let.

Hence, why you should also have the right team to convert a HMO in the first place.

Moving on…

Are the necessary fire safety methods in place? (fire doors, fire resistant partition walls, interlinked smoke alarms etc.) These vary between properties. HMOs of a certain size will need a fire alarm, for example.⁠

Is the property gas safe?⁠

Do you have an electric certificate (EICR)?⁠

A good letting agent will make sure everything is in place before tenants move in.⁠

But, in order to do that, they must be fully au fait with the regulation themselves.

Make sure you ask your letting agent the right questions. Likewise, make sure they’re asking you the right questions.

how to choose a letting agent

A property isn’t fit for let until it meets certain criteria. Has your letting agent checked that yours is up to standard?

5. Is the agent moving with the times?

Your letting agent should embrace new technology.⁠

Virtual viewings are essential these days, especially for overseas tenants. Or students who aren’t local to the area. Make sure your agent offers virtual viewings to maximise potential sales.⁠

Now then. This is a BIG factor.

Are they geared for business continuation?

If another lockdown or similar was to happen, could your agent still keep in touch with your tenants?⁠

At HYPE, we use VoIP phones. Which means that if our team needed to work from home, they could simply take their phone and computer with them and continue as normal from home.⁠

That’s massive. Because communication is key in this game.⁠

Speaking of which, ask what software they use.

Is it geared to keep you in the loop? And do they have a method of maintaining regular contact with tenants?⁠

how to choose a letting agent

Virtual viewings or video tours of a property are a great way to showcase your house to prospective customers. Here’s Henriette doing a video tour.

6. Check how they intend to market your property

Generally, people looking for rooms or properties to let head for SpareRoom or OpenRent.⁠

Therefore, advertising on these two should be standard practice for your chosen letting agent.

If you own a student house, there are also other more specific portals available.

For example, at HYPE Lettings we provide accommodation for Keele University students. Thus, we use Keele Studentpad to advertise these student homes. This is a highly trusted and reputable site that’s well known to Keele students and, therefore, magnifies outreach.⁠

Do they have a consistent social media presence? This can also open new doors (literally).⁠

Then, of course, there’s the agents own website. Do enough people visit it? Is it professional and user friendly? Moreover, is it geared for sales? Can a potential tenant easily book a viewing?⁠

All key considerations – and things that all good letting agents should be doing.

Make sure yours is.⁠

how to choose a letting agent

In order for your property to let, it needs exposure. Hence, the letting agent you choose as a managing agent should use all the major portals to market your property.

7. Are they located near your property?

If you’re a landlord who lives a long way from your property, it’s difficult to visit it on a regular basis.⁠

Hence, it’s a good idea to choose a letting agent that is within a few miles of your property.

So they can keep on top of things. ⁠

Property inspections, fire alarm/smoke alarm tests, maintenance issues, deliveries, and tenant lock-outs are all things that require your agent to be close at hand.

Moreover, if your letting agent is local to the area, they should have an excellent knowledge of the area.

Something that’s crucial in helping to let your property.

how to choose a letting agent

If your letting agent is close to your property, they should literally be better placed to look after it. Regular inspections and maintenance require close proximity.

8. Do they have their own maintenance team?

Good property management isn’t just about finding the right tenants and paying your rent on time.⁠

It’s also about being there for you when something goes wrong.⁠

Thus, if you choose a letting agent who has their own maintenance team, that can be a HUGE plus.⁠

You don’t want to think about things going wrong. But if they do, you want a reliable team to put them right.⁠

Not calling an emergency plumber or electrician at 3am.⁠

A good managing agent will have their own maintenance team.

Or, at the very least, have a list of reliable contractors they can call upon should your boat stray down that infamous creek.⁠

how to choose a letting agent

It’s inevitable that your property will need repairs at some stage. The quicker your letting agent can get someone to fix things, the happier your tenants will be. If they have their own team, that should be a given.

9. Do they have a good reputation?

Next on our list of how to choose a letting agent is reputation.

If a letting agent comes highly recommended, their reputation usually precedes them.⁠

Both landlords and tenants should be saying positive things about them.⁠

They should have a reputation for being able to find good tenants, deliver rent payments on time and deal with issues promptly.⁠

A good letting agent should be able to show you evidence of positive feedback.⁠ Moreover, show you evidence that their rooms are full.

Just ask.⁠

how to choose a letting agent

Reviews and word of mouth are very powerful. If people are saying good things about your letting agent, that’s a great indication that you’ll be happy with their service.

10. Are they approachable?

Our next tip for choosing a letting agent is relationship.

After all, it’s crucial to work with people you get along with.⁠

Because things can change and issues can arise in property. And it’s much easier to overcome obstacles if you get along with your letting agent.⁠

No doubt you’ll call a few agents before deciding on the right one to manage your property.

So, when you speak to them, how do they come across? Are they approachable?⁠

Do they have time for you? Do they fill you with confidence?⁠ If you’ve asked to see evidence of their credibility, have they been forthcoming?

It’s imperative to choose a letting agent you can trust.

how to choose a letting agent

Trust is built on strong relationships. And good communication is at the heart of that. Make sure the letting agent you choose is one you’re going to get along with.

11. Receiving your payments

Of course, actually receiving your rent is a priority.

Even if your letting agent has the rest of their house in order, if they fail on this one, you’ll be very concerned. To say the least.

Therefore, you need to check how they go about paying the rent received. Plus how additional charges (such as maintenance costs) will be deducted.

One of our landlords at HYPE, Paul Rye, joined us because his previous letting agent was letting him down badly.

And one of the reasons he gives as to why, is that he wasn’t receiving his rental payments.

You’re paying your managing agent to get this right. So get it right they should.

choose a good letting agent

Getting your rent on time is essential. Make sure you know when and how your agent will make payments.

12. Check the small print

When you’ve decided on a managing agent, you will, of course, have to complete a contract. It’s usually called a Landlord Management Agreement.

Make sure you read this thoroughly.

If your agent is managing your property well and they find great tenants, that’s all well and good.

However, if they’re not performing as expected, you might want out.

So be clear that you can walk away if you’re not happy. You don’t want to be legally obliged to stay if they’re letting you down.

Small print is often overlooked.

Don’t overlook it.

choose a good letting agent

Always read the T&Cs. You don’t want to be bound to a contract when your agent isn’t performing.

Want to talk to an expert?

If you’re looking for an agency to manage your property in Stoke-on-Trent and the surrounding areas, we’d love the opportunity to work with you.

Click the button below and tell us how we can help.

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