Many landlords think that changing letting agent is a bit like changing your bank. That the process will be a real ‘faff’, it will be expensive and there is no guarantee that the new letting agent will be any better than the previous one. ‘Better the devil you know’ as the old saying goes – but it is not the case!
The significant changes underway in the Scottish rental sector have caused a significant increase in the number of landlords changing their managing agent. We’ve taken on 2 portfolio landlords a month since the turn of the year as well as several individual landlords who have made the decision to change letting agent. If this is something you’re considering then here are some tips;
Changing letting agent in between tenancies – this one’s easy. If the current tenancy is coming to an end then this is a great time to change letting agent. Ask your current agent to pull all paperwork together along with all sets of keys to your property and arrange to pick this up or for everything to be sent out to you and you’re free to proceed as you like.
Changing letting agent as a tenancy is coming to an end – If you receive an email from your current agent to let you know your tenant has served notice to vacate and that they’ll re-market the property to find a new tenant then this is a great chance for you to change things up. You can let your agent know that you’ll be changing agent once the current tenancy vacates. Let them know that they’ll be hearing from your new agent who will need the current tenant’s contact details, a set of keys so that they can visit the property to take marketing photos and description (we also prepare a floorplan ;)). The current agent can complete the tasks relating to the existing tenancy (checkout inspection and deposit refund) while your new agent can concentrate on finding a new tenant with a minimum void period between tenancies.
Changing agent mid-tenancy – Contrary to what some agents will tell you this is possible and should be a straightforward process. The first thing to do is check your management agreement with your current agent to see what notice period you are on (could be anything upwards of 1 month and some agents will try hold you to the end of the current tenancy). If it’s a short notice period then it’s easy. Contact your existing agent notifying them of your intention to change letting agent and ask them to release any information or paperwork requested by the new agent to ensure a smooth handover. If it’s a longer notice period (say the end of the current tenancy) then its worth looking at the management agreement to see if your agent has failed to deliver the service they agreed to. The tenancy agreement is a contract between the landlord and the tenant with the agent acting on behalf of the landlord but they are not required to remain in the relationship for the contract to remain valid – i.e. if the agent changes, the contract still stands. Your new managing agent can arrange a time to meet with the tenants, explain the change of agency and give them the details they will need for paying rent of reporting any property issues.
Paperwork and other things to hand over – if you’re changing letting agent the following bits and pieces will need to be transferred over;
- Tenancy paperwork and tenant contact details
- Tenancy deposit – this can be transferred between agents’ without leaving the cover of the 3 Tenancy Deposit Schemes
- Certificates (including EPC, Gas safety certificate, EICR, PAT, Legionella Risk Assessment, HMO license [if applicable])
- Warranties/instructions – any other paperwork will need to be passed over
- Ongoing maintenance – details of this will need to be passed over
- Insurance details – if your property is insured under your current letting agent’s block policy, a new policy will have to be set up (hopefully with your new agents block policy) and your old policy cancelled
- Keys – Normally an agent will hold at least 1 set of keys for maintenance which will need to be passed over
Changing letting agent can be a smooth, pain-free experience. If you’re considering changing letting agent please get in touch and we’ll talk your through your options and our experience of working with different Edinburgh agents. Once you’ve made the decision to change agent it should be as simple as you sending a quick email to your agent intimating your intention to change agent, copying us in and we’ll do the rest!