Most landlords in Swansea recognise the benefits of employing a professional letting agent. However, as there is no industry-wide standard or service charge, it can sometimes be difficult to gauge whether letting agents fees for landlords are a good deal.
Before considering the letting agents fees, the first step for a landlord is to check if the agency they are planning to work with is a member of an accredited organisation such as the National Approved Lettings Scheme, ARLA or RICS and the Property Ombudsman. All of these have a code of practice which members have to adhere to. The letting agents should also hold Client Money Protection Insurance to ensure the landlords’ funds are fully protected.
So how much are Swansea letting agency fees? They generally fall into two categories: let-only and full management (although what the activities the agent will undertake for each service will vary from agent to agent).
Let Only Agency Fees
A let only service is aimed at landlords who understand their legislative requirements and who are in a position to deal with property and tenancy issues day and night.
A dedicated letting agency will normally include the following activities within a let-only fee structure:
- Providing a rental assessment – i.e. advising how much rent a landlord could charge based on condition of the property, market trends etc.
- Creating a professional advertising brochure with high quality photos for use across all marketing platforms
- Submitting adverts to on-line portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla
- Carrying out viewings with potential tenants
- Tenant referencing and credit checks of the prospective tenants
- Providing a tenancy agreement
- Arranging an independent inventory
- Taking the tenant’s first payment and setting up any direct debits
- Informing the relevant utilities about the readings at check in
- Checking all the relevant certificates are in place
- Transferring tenant deposits to the Deposit Protection Service.
Landlords should be wary of letting agents that offer a minimum let only service but add extra fees for some of the key services listed above. In some instance, landlords may have to pay letting agent admin fees for specific services from external organisations such as an EPC certificate.
The landlord agency fees for a ‘let-only’ can vary massively across the lettings industry, though most professional and experienced letting agent will usually charge around 60% of the first month’s rent for a six month rent and 90% for a 12 month let including VAT.
Full management service fees
Landlords that choose a full management service will benefit from all the services detailed above along with the ongoing management of the property. In other words, the letting agency takes the head-ache out of the whole process by managing all property or tenant-related issues – usually 24/7.
A landlord opting for a fully-managed letting agency could also be offered Free Rent Guarantee and Legal Expenses cover plus a host of other services including dealing with all matters at the end of the tenancy.
Some letting agencies offer landlords a couple of options when it comes to a fully-managed service. For example, they could opt for a tenancy set up fee or an average of 30% of the first month’s rent. The ongoing fees are normally 15% of the rent due including VAT.
These fees are deducted straight from the monthly rent.
Letting Agency Fees Comparisons
It should be easy for landlords to make letting agency fees comparisons as, to comply with the law, all letting agents must now publish full details of their fees and charges, like those published on the website of Swansea-Based McCartan Lettings. These should be easy to find on a letting agent’s website or prominently displayed in their offices.
However, some letting agents’ websites do not make it easy for you to see the fees they are charging.
The description of what each fee covers and how it is calculated must be stated so you can understand the service and costs covered.
The published amount must include VAT. If the amount of a fee isn’t known in advance, the agent’s list must say how the fee is calculated say as a percentage of the rent.
If a letting agent doesn’t show its fees or make them clear you can contact the local authority who are responsible for enforcement with fines on the agent of up to £5,000.
Hannah McCartan, Managing Director at McCartan Lettings, explains more about Letting Agency fees in this video:
For further information about McCartan Lettings landlord fees, call us on 01792 430100.