A letting agent manages properties for private landlords. Responsibilities range from sourcing tenants and collecting rent, to full responsibility and management.
It is common for students to find properties through letting agents. Agencies have a wide range of properties and it can be safer than viewing properties with individual landlords.
Important to know: Letting agents work for the landlord, to secure the maximum rent possible (and also a higher commission for themselves); they do not work for you. Just because you are using a letting agent does not mean you cannot negotiate on certain terms. You can always try negotiating any deal – whether for a lower rent or some extra/nicer furniture.
Are letting agents regulated?
By law, every letting agent should be a member of a redress scheme. This means that if you have a complaint about your letting agent that you are unable to resolve directly, you can contact the redress scheme as an independent body.
The two redress schemes are:
We recommend you only deal with agents who are members of an accreditation scheme. Accredited agents subscribe voluntarily to additional rules and standards above the legal minimum and so you can expect a higher level of service.
You can also use these sites to find letting agents in the areas you wish to live:
- Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA)
- NAEA Propertymark
- National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS)
- The Property Ombudsman (TPOS)
- ULHS Code of Good Practice
You can check whether your agent protects landlords’ and tenants’ money through a client money protection scheme through SAFE Agent. You may be at risk of losing your money if the agent is not part of a client money protection scheme.
Individual landlords can also sign up to voluntary accreditation schemes. You can check to see if your current or future landlord is accredited at London Landlord Accreditation Scheme.
What fees can letting agents charge?
Letting agents cannot charge you anything just to register with them, or to show you a list of their properties. Many of the fees that letting agents charged were banned by the Tenants Fees Act.
To find out more about what you can and can’t be charged when renting, please read our article What fees can I be charged when renting in the private sector?