Make sure your let­ting agent mea­sures up to ap­proved stan­dards

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

WITH more and more peo­ple rent­ing, the Na­tional Ap­proved Let­ting Scheme ad­vises ten­ants to ex­er­cise cau­tion when se­lect­ing a let­tings agent.

“You can’t be too care­ful when choos­ing your let­ting agent, and it’s es­sen­tial to be as­sured that the agent you’re work­ing with is rep­utable, trust­wor­thy and ac­count­able.

“Luck­ily, there are a cou­ple of sim­ple checks you can do to make sure you only get the best pos­si­ble ser­vice,” ex­plains Caro­line Pick­er­ing, Na­tional Ap­proved Let­ting Scheme (NALS) Chair. 1. Look for the kitemark. Do your home­work first – good agents should be part of a li­censed scheme, such as NALS – make sure you ask if they be­long to one. A sim­ple sign or kitemark will clearly demon­strate the let­tings com­pany is com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing a high qual­ity ser­vice. If the agent claims to be with a scheme, check with the scheme it­self as to whether they are reg­is­tered. 2. Ask around Speak to other land­lords and ten­ants to find out who they work with and who they rec­om­mend. If you have a spe­cific agent in mind, ask to speak to some of the ten­ants or land­lords on their books to see if they are sat­is­fied with the ser­vice they are re­ceiv­ing. 3. Help when things go wrong En­sure your li­censed agent is part of an in­de­pen­dent re­dress scheme. NALS part­ners with the Prop­erty Om­buds­man Scheme ( TPOS) to en­sure im­par­tial­ity and early res­o­lu­tion to any is­sues. This will be in­valu­able should you have a dis­pute with your agent and need in­de­pen­dent as­sis­tance to help re­solve the mat­ter. 4. Don’t be swayed by cheap fees We all know, the old adage “you get what you pay for”, and a qual­ity ser­vice can of­ten be re­as­sur­ingly ex­pen­sive. With this is mind, don’t com­pro­mise on your agent be­cause you may re­gret it in the long term if you have a prob­lem. 5. Don’t be fobbed off Agents should be able to com­pe­tently an­swer any ques­tions or con­cerns. If an agent seems un­com­fort­able about the ques­tions you ask, or at­tempts to fob you off, don’t be afraid of walk­ing straight out the door. 6. Safety first Any rep­utable agent will have copies of safety cer­tifi­cates for po­ten­tial prop­er­ties; ev­ery­thing from a Gas Safety Reg­is­tra­tion (for­merly known as CORGI) to an En­ergy Per­for­mance Cer­tifi­cate, so ask to see them to en­sure your home meets re­quired stan­dards. 7. Spe­cial­ist knowl­edge Try to find out how much spe­cial­ist knowl­edge an agent has. Look­ing for agents which have in­vested in train­ing can be a good in­di­ca­tion. 8. Pro­tect your de­posit En­sure your agent has signed up to a manda­tory Ten­ancy De­posit Pro­tec­tion Scheme. En­sure you know which scheme your de­posit is with, and who is tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for set­ting it up, your agent or land­lord. If the agent is hold­ing, check it goes into a sep­a­rate ac­count.

Since April 6, 2009, the Ten­ancy De­posit Scheme ( TDS) has only of­fered de­posit pro­tec­tion ser­vices to let­tings and man­age­ment firms that are mem­bers of in­dus­try or­gan­i­sa­tions such as NALS.

It’s also im­por­tant to check that your de­posit money goes into a sep­a­rate client ac­count to keep your money safe. 9. Read the small print Read any pa­per­work thor­oughly; in­clud­ing the terms and con­di­tions en­sur­ing you fully un­der­stand what con­trac­tual agree­ment you are en­ter­ing into. En­sure you have a clear un­der­stand­ing of re­spon­si­bil­i­ties con­cern­ing re­pairs, and keep your own copy of con­tracts and in­ven­to­ries. 10. Keep an eye on what’s go­ing on Keep abreast of leg­isla­tive up­dates and any changes to re­spon­si­bil­i­ties so you don’t get caught out think­ing your agent is tak­ing care of ev­ery­thing, it maybe that you need to ac­tion cer­tain el­e­ments.

For more ad­vice, visit the NALS web­site: www.nalscheme.co.uk

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