First-time landlords should consider using a lettings agency

This article first appeared on the Total Landlord Insurance website.

Those entering the buy-to-let business for the first time have been advised to use the services of a lettings agency.

An agency can help inexperienced buy-to-let property owners understand their options when it comes to paperwork and organising financial protection such as contents insurance cover.

With the current housing market making it difficult for many who would like to sell their home to find a buyer and the soaring demand for rented accommodation, a large number of people are instead opting to let out their property as a profitable alternative to selling.

However, those who take this option will often have no experience of being a landlord and will have limited knowledge of the practical and legal considerations that need to be made.

Therefore, according to Dominic Preston, barrister and housing law specialist with Doughty Street Chambers, it is often a good idea to use the services of an agency.

Speaking to the BBC Money Box podcast, Mr Preston said: “The one piece of advice I would give somebody if they are really entering into the market right at the beginning is to use an agent. As time goes by you might think that an agent isn’t worth it and that would be a matter for you.”

“Firstly an agent will have a contract that is available for you, they will know what certificates are needed, they’ll give advice on how to furnish and what’s good in that market area. I would take advice and the best advice is from a decent reputable agent in your area. It also gives you the opportunity of ‘learning on the job’ if that makes sense.”

The government recently published a series of factsheets offering advice to both landlords and tenants in the private rented sector.

They include tips on finding a suitable lettings agency, as well as information on legal requirements and advice on how to resolve disputes with tenants.

Posted by Lisa Evans