It’s at times like this when you find out how good your agent really is. Sure, there are cheaper agents around be it online or high street. The question is will they be there for you when things like now get tough. Will they even be around in 3 months’ time?

RoPA (Regulation of Property Agents) is due to be implemented but no clear timetable has been set. The point of RoPA is to bring regulation, set clear standards and ensure your investment and tenants are looked after. Yes we have CMP (Client Money Protection ) but how many agents actually have it, display it ? We have REDRESS schemes but they have no resource to police the issues?

So, it’s down to Landlords to do their own due diligence. A flash haircut, sharp blue suite isn’t quite enough for me. To be fair I wear shorts all year round and like having my German Shepard at work. Also, during lockdown my 5-year-old has cut my hair for me, so I’m not the average agent.

Propp – MPU

Collecting the monthly rent and passing it over to the landlord is the easy part. It’s the legislation and everchanging compliance a good agent will help steer you through. ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents) is a good start. We must have qualifications, have our accounts checked annually and do continuous development.

Also, during times like this tenant selection is paramount. From our point of view (redbrick.uk.com) we look through bank statements to check for what seems like silly things that tell a story. No point earning £50k a year if you are constantly overdrawn with fast cash loans being paid out.

Last year one of our staff asked how much my pet insurance was, when I asked why, they said we had a tenant application with pet insurance of £35 per month, now not sure about you but that’s probably too big for a hamster.

Apparently, it was for a friend who couldn’t get pet insurance. Or the applicant who’d forgotten they had a £150K ccj. Its important your agent is at this level to ensure your asset is looked after.

So, some tips for during this difficult time:

  • Talk to your agent ask them how they are doing, how are they looking after your property
  • If you self-manage keep in touch with tenants and make sure they are ok, and rents are on time • Explain it is not a Mortgage holiday but a deferred payment.
  • Ask your agent about RoPA, are they even aware of it, if not take steps to protect yourself.
  • Ask for copies of all paperwork • Make sure you know where your bond is. If they hold it ask to have it sent to a Government scheme instead
  • After all this we will be entering a different market for all of us. Like car insurance, shop around for a good agent and a good deal but make sure your covered for that rainy day, as that rainy day is now here.

Patrick Alan Sullivan
Member of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (MARLA), Portfolio Landlord, Director, Inside Liverpool Lets, & MD of Red Brick, with branches in Coventry, Rugby, Brighton & Bristol.

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Patrick Alan Sullivan, MARLA
Patrick Alan Sullivan - MD, Red Brick

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