What Sort Of Service Do You Deserve When Renting A House?

Date Published 19 May 2015

The number of people in private rented accommodation continues to rise, according to the latest data from the Department of Communities and Local Government an increase of over 60% between 2005 and 2011/12. Many of these properties are let and managed by estate agents and letting agents, but what service do you really deserve? The landlord has invested significantly in a vehicle to either deliver an income or create future wealth; most tenants just seek somewhere convenient and comfortable to live in. Generally the transaction is simple and straightforward, but with the investment required it is fair to expect an excellent level of customer service. But what could this mean to you?

Valuations: One of the biggest challenges an investor can have is rental voids. It is crucial that any property is priced at the right level to ensure that a tenant is attracted. Equally it is important to avoid under-pricing and losing income for the six or twelve month tenancy. A good agent will come equipped to show comparables and ensure that the landlord is suitable informed when making a pricing decision. The condition of the property will impact on both the rental return and type of tenant attracted. Excellent service would mean offering unbiased advice on the potential cost and return of refurbishing all or part of the property.

Marketing: One of the ways an agent can offer excellent customer service is to ensure that your property is marketed rapidly and well. They say pictures are worth a thousand words, and sufficient well taken photos will always improve the interest levels of a property. If the agent promises to get you on Rightmove and Zoopla that day, the least you should expect is that the right details are uploaded, but there is an opportunity for a great agent to send you the link as peace of mind! Erecting boards can cause friction, it is fair for the agent to seek permission before getting one erected and never to try and force you to take one. Boards are a great way to ensure that prospective buyers are aware that you are on the market, and certainly recommended, but it is your property and your decision.

Viewings: The right marketing will certainly generate interest, but the best agents ensure that those that come to your property are well qualified in advance. It is completely justified to become frustrated by a succession of people coming to your house and all commenting that they wanted something with bigger garden/bedrooms or in a different area. A great agent will do their best to make sure every viewing knows what they can expect from the property, and they should be at the property during the viewings. It is fair to expect an agent to accompany those visiting your house, and be in a position to handle any questions or to take the buyer through the process.

Negotiation: The primary reason for engaging an agent is often for their skills and expertise in managing the process of negotiating the rental. It is important for both parties that the agent is open and transparent, but great service means staying regularly in communication, and ensuring that the tenant can afford the property (pass the referencing) and knows what is required. A great agent will make sure the tenant will understand what they are committing to, the costs and challenges before taking and application fee. This will ensure that no one pulls out because of a lack of information, and the process is painless. With empathy an agent can often find creative solutions to find the right tenant, even if they don't fit exactly on paper to the specification.

Inventory and check in: The inventory offered by some agents is woefully lacking in detail and pictures. To protect your investment, and your tenant great service includes clear photography outlining an accurate condition of the property. The agent should be at the property when the tenant takes it over, to go through the inventory in detail, and ensure the tenant is aware of meters, stopcocks and trip switches. A great agent will go out of their way to ensure that the tenant is aware of every facet of the property.

Managing the letting: A fully managed service should mean exactly that for all parties. To ensure that the property remains in a good condition should include a comprehensive visit, not a cursory look. The landlord should be kept informed, but not troubled when the property needs repairs, the tenant should be able to contact the agent without problems and have repairs carried out in a timely and stress free manner. A great agent will not only have the right contractors in place, but also keep both parties informed about what is happening, and when it is resolved. The best customer service is achieved when the agent looks to offer the landlord best value, great agents will find the best contractor, not the one that offers the best margin!

Checkout: This is the point of the tenancy which can cause the most friction. The tenant is keen to protect their deposit and the landlord their property. A great agent will have conducted regular inspections, and the tenant aware of any outstanding issues. The agent will have informed the tenant of their responsibilities in advance and there should be no nasty surprises on either side.

Does this great agent exist? Having been voted the UK Agent of the month for customer service in April 2015 by Rateragent , beating both local and national agencies to the award, it is clear Distinct Estate Agents are offering excellent customer service. In addition Distinct Estate Agents always strive to achieve the standards of great customer service, every time. To find out more email