The biggest challenges to overcome as a letting agent

by Gary Whittaker

With both stock and demand in the rental sector higher than they have ever been before, letting agents are some of the busiest people in the world of property. Having to play the role of middle man between landlords and tenants, agents are often dealing with requests from both sides, and it can get quite complicated, meaning agents need to be switched on, composed and ready to deal with anything that arises. 

Here, we take a look at just a few of the most common issues that can arise in the rental market for letting agents, and discuss how they can best deal with these difficult situations. 

Tenant who doesn't pay their rent

The primary role of any letting agent in the tenancy process is to make sure that the tenant pays their rent to the landlord each month, as agreed. However, while this is a simple task, there are some occasions where the tenant does not keep up their end of the deal. Whether it's because they can't afford it, because they're unhappy or for another reason, there are times when letting agents will have to deal with arrears, and it can be particularly tricky. 

In any such situation, the first reaction is always to open a dialogue with the tenant. Whatever the reason for someone not paying their rent, you need to know early. This way you can help them, and help formulate a solution before the problem gets worse. So as soon as you see a missed payment, it's always a good idea to get in touch and assess the situation. If the tenant does not appear to want help, you should always look to get legal help early. It can take months for an eviction to be enforced, so legal backing should be sought as early as possible if someone refuses to pay. 

Unresponsive landlords

The nature of property and lettings means that from time to time things need fixed, whether that's something major like a boiler, or small like a light bulb that needs changing. The role of the letting agent in these situations is to make sure the tenant is happy and their queries satisfied as soon as possible. But from time to time, landlords can get in the way of progress. 

Because letting agents nearly always have to wait for the green light from the owner to have work carried out, there are times when slow replies from landlords can cause issues. When you have a frustrated tenant breathing down your neck, it can be infuriating to have to chase the landlord time and again. For this reason, it's a good idea to have a set of rules in place. Try to come to an agreement with the owner that they have a set amount of time to get back to you on work, and if they don't, then it just gets started. That way, you make sure the tenant is never left waiting for work for too long. 

Tenants who are out of touch

From time to time, there will be things that you need to get in touch with your tenants about, whether it's renewal of their lease, an attempt to book a property inspection or just a general check to see how they are doing. But it can be frustrating when that tenant seems completely incommunicable. 

Every agent will have had that one tenant who they can never get in touch with, no matter how often they phone, email or send letters, and it can be tough, particularly if you are waiting on them to confirm something. In these situations, however, it can sometimes be a good idea to use other means of communication. Particularly if you are working with young people or students, texting can be a good idea, as people are more likely to read them than emails, and more likely to get back to you than they would with a phone call. 

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22-September-17Property Management