Looking to rent a property but want to make sure you're going to have a Letting Agents who will work for you? Here's some tip on how to find a good Letting Agent!
Check that the Letting Agent is Registered
All letting agents in Scotland must be on the Scottish Letting Agent Register. It’s against the law for them to let property to you if they aren’t.
Look for a Reliable Letting Agent
The best way to find a reliable letting agent is by doing a quick Google search to see what the reviews are, once you find one with good reviews look to see if the agent is a member of a registered trade body. A membership of one of the professional associations allows you to feel confident that they are professionally approved and must follow a Code of Practice.
Check the Area that the Agency Cover
Letting agencies usually operate in specific areas so if you are looking at properties from different places it is important to see what area your chosen agent covers. Choosing a property in Edinburgh when the letting agent is in Glasgow makes it inconvenient and could be difficult when it comes to carrying out maintenance or repairs.
Check the Agency’s Specialism
Each letting agency will have their individual specialism, some may focus on family houses or modern flats. You will be able to get that by looking on the letting agent's website. This can help you chose an agent who will be the best fit for you.
Make Sure the Agent isn’t Charging any Illegal Fees
Letting Agents in Scotland are only allowed to charge you rent and deposit, so they shouldn’t be charging other fees. Sometimes there are optional charges such as contents insurance through the agency, or an agency might recommend that tenants provide their references through a specific organisation that they prefer, but they can’t legally require this. Check out the 'Will I have to pay a fee?' section of this Shelter guide.
Ask for Out-of-Hours Call Out Details
When a letting agents manage the property, not all agencies offer an ‘out-of-hours' service so if the boiler were to break or the roof were to leak on a wet weekend, you need someone to call. If this service isn’t in your package, you might need to look elsewhere.
Check that the Agent Protects Deposits in a Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme
An agent must protect your deposit in one of three government-authorised schemes: Letting Protection Service Scotland, Safe Deposits Scotland or My Deposits Scotland. You should then receive a receipt with confirmation that it has been lodged with one of the schemes. Your agent needs to do this within 30 working days of your tenancy starting and if not, they will be breaking the law.
Maintenance and Safety Checks
If the agencies want to conduct checks on the property, they must get permission from you with at least 24 hours written notice. If you have a private residential tenancy they must give you 48 hours notice, unless you agree a shorter time with them. A gas safety check must be completed every 12 months which will be arranged by the letting agency. When you move in you should receive keys, an inventory list of items in the property, and shown where to turn off the water supply and the electricity.
Check that the Staff are Knowledgeable
A good letting agent will ensure that all their staff have been trained up and can deal with any questions or concerns you might have.
Find out more about Private Renting by heading to the New Digs page