Is it worth using a letting agent?

There are many reasons why a landlord should consider using a letting agent.

A letting agent works day and night to help you stay compliant

If you’re contemplating on investing in a buy-to-let property, such as a house in multiple occupation (HMO), and becoming a landlord, hiring a letting agent is absolutely necessary, particularly if you don’t have time to find tenants let alone manage the property. This decision can have a tremendous impact on your profit margins, so ponder the decision carefully. As a landlord, you should take every from the very get-go to make sure that your investment is protected in case something goes wrong. You could self-manage, but it all comes down to how well you know yourself and taking account of money, what you enjoy, and how confident you feel.

HMO licences exist to keep residents safe

You have to have a licence to rent out your property as a house in multiple occupation in England and Wales. Failure to apply for a license constitutes a criminal offence and you can incur a civil penalty or an unlimited fine. The letting agent can get the license on your behalf and ensure that the property is safeguarded. The application for an HMO licence needs to be made as soon as the property is occupied. It’s granted following various checks. Attention should be paid to the fact that the council can conduct inspections at any time during the five-year term. Before the end of the licence period, you need to apply for a new one.

If you already run a licensed house in multiple occupation, you’ll require a separate licence for each property that meets the criteria, whether under the mandatory or the additional licencing scheme. If you commit a mistake and fail to meet your statutory duties, an expensive error can arise. As stated above, you can be the licence holder, even if you don’t exercise the granted right, or transfer the licence to someone else.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when investing in an HMO is using the wrong letting agent

Preferably, you should use a letting agent who is local to the area. This is important for several reasons. They have a good understanding of the real estate market as compared to others, so they’re in a far better position to provide advice. What is more, they’ll be happy to meet you face-to-face. Staying local is a much better option owing to the fast response time and local knowledge. Not all letting agents have experience dealing with HMOs, and if you’re really not sure, you shouldn’t proceed with the collaboration. If the letting agent’s terms of business clearly state they don’t take on the responsibility for licencing, you’re personally responsible.

Walton Robinson
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