Switching letting agent is a very simple process yet very few landlords ever do it. The main reason for the low number of landlords changing or switching letting agent is to do with perceived barriers to switching. However, these perceptions turn out to be false in reality. Switching letting agent is actually a very straightforward process with the incoming agent usually willing to take care of all of the transition work as well as absorbing any fees or penalties from the outgoing agent.
Why switch letting agent?
The simple answer to this is that not all letting agents are the same, far from it. There are differences in fees, service style, levels of competence, breadth of offering and levels of communication to name a few. The main reasons I hear from incoming new landlords is any combination of these but at the heart of all grievances with their previous letting agent are communication and competence. It is very rare for fees to play a part in switching letting agent and most agents will offer the same service more or less. However, the way in which a letting agent carries out their management responsibilities and how transparent they are in their communications with the landlord are usually central to the success or failure of that relationship.
Why is switching letting agent easy?
Switching letting agent is easy because any tenancy agreement in place is a contract between the landlord and tenant where the agent is acting on the landlord’s behalf. If that agent is changed during the tenancy, it does not affect the legal rights or obligations of either party in the lease agreement. Some agents will try to penalise landlords who leave them by charging (say) three months management fees to end the relationship or a 3 month notice period. However, in practise, if the landlord has grounds to be unhappy then there is a good chance that the letting agent has not met their obligations as laid out in the terms of business signed at the start of the relationship then the landlord will be able to terminate their contract with the letting agent immediately.
How to switch letting agent?
Termination of a relationship with a letting agent will need to be done in writing. When we take on a landlord from another letting agent, all we require from the landlord is an email to their current agent notifying them of the change and we take it from there. We will then work with the previous agent to take over the current lease, rent payments, inventories, legal certificates and have the deposit transferred from the previous agent’s tenancy deposit scheme account. We then arrange a meeting with the tenant(s) to explain the situation (this is normally met with great relief also by the tenant), carry out an inspection of the property and give the tenant new bank details and contact details for any maintenance issues etc.
So if you are unhappy with your letting agent and put off at the perceived hassle of changing letting agent. Think again, it’s easier than you think.