London landlords are being urged to ensure they choose only those lettings agents who are fully independent and who regard property as their ‘core’ business – to do otherwise risks them being left high and dry by agents with other interests.
Some agencies have recently lost their ‘independent’ status after being taken over by larger firms, including some in the banking sector. The result has been that some landlords have been left disillusioned by falling standards and rising fees.
“Since summer we have seen landlords defecting to us from agents allegedly offering a poorer service and working to other priorities after their firm ownership changed. The London market is highly competitive now so agents who are clearly professional, dedicated and client-focussed are as valuable as pure gold” explains Benham & Reeves Residential Lettings’ managing director Anita Mehra.
She says there are three key reasons why landlords must be able to rely on the unimpeachable credentials of their agents.
“Firstly, marketing must be focused on maximising income and minimising voids.
Corporate lets are best: City professionals treat properties with respect. We target this clientele with our e-marketing, and our two main websites attract 17,000 unique visitors each month. We run a dedicated call centre for web enquiries so we give landlords full data on the effectiveness of different marketing techniques” she says.
“Secondly, detailed market information is critical. Right now demand far outstrips supply in all sub-markets in London, particularly apartments in the £300-£500 per week price band. Only specialist agencies like ours can produce such a fine grain of market data for landlords” explains Anita Mehra.
“Finally, agencies must have time and expertise to help landlords when regulations change – as they do frequently” she says.
For example, a new law introduced this week gives most London tenants Assured Shorthold Tenancy status. This means landlords must hold tenants’ deposits in one of two deposit schemes and provide proof that their deposit has been registered – failure to do so within 14 days could result in a compensation claim by tenants.
Anita Mehra says: “Failure to comply means landlords face fines and can lose their right to make a tenant leave a property. There is only one sensible solution to this and similar issues - use a lettings agency with experience and expertise. Choosing one that is not concentrating 100% on lettings can lead to inconvenience and loss.”
Phone:020 7433 6670
With 10 offices in the prime residential areas of London (and overseas offices in Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai and India), Benham and Reeves Residential Lettings is recognised as a leading, independent London lettings agency They are also one of the only lettings agents to offer an interior design, refurbishment and furnishing service for investment properties through their sister company In:Style Direct.
The company is part of established property group, The Complete Property Investment Solution, which offers a complete range of services to help clients maximise their return on investment. With a leading sales and acquisition agent, interior designer and furnishing company within the group, The Complete Property Investment Solution can manage all aspects of property investment.
51-53 Heath Street,
T. 020 7433 6670
F. 020 7433 6671