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14 May 2021

The UK Government set out in the Queen’s speech on 11 May, its legislative plans for adult education and training for the next parliamentary session with a proposed Skills and Post-16 Education Bill. Read More...

Commonhold Council launched

14 May 2021

An advisory panel of leasehold and industry groups has been launched to inform the UK Government on the future of commonhold homeownership. Read More...

Leasehold Reform Bill published

13 May 2021

The Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill has been published today, 13 May, and when implemented aims to help tackle inconsistency and ambiguity of ground rents for future leaseholders. Read More...

Changes to notice periods for evictions

12 May 2021

The UK Government has announced that from 1 June 2021 notice periods in England that are currently six months, will now be reduced to four months. Read More...

Virtual Right to Rent checks extended

12 May 2021

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The Letting Partnership commend agents on the crucial service they provide

Tuesday 19 January 2021

Propertymark Industry Supplier, The Letting Partnership, a specialist provider of client accounting and Client Money Protection services, outlines why letting agents should stand proud as we begin 2021and take stock of the vital role they perform during the challenges presented by the pandemic.

The Letting Partnership pays tribute to the industry for responding quickly to new legislation, which has been changing constantly throughout the pandemic, and for working so hard to allow many people to safely move home. Agents have a challenging job and should champion their hard work during such a difficult year.

House moves are still permitted in the latest lockdown and agents can continue to work as long as they follow the national guidance on moving home safely, due to the value the Government places on the property sector.

Operating safely means they must protect everyone, including staff, landlords, and potential tenants. This has presented them with fresh challenges which agents have bravely taken on.  

Quote mark

The industry should stand proud as we head into 2021. Agents play a pivotal role in helping people to find a home, but we think sometimes the incredible service they provide can go unnoticed.

When landlords entrust their home to a letting agent, often it is a property where they have invested time and emotion and it’s frequently their biggest asset. So, when they turn to letting agents for help, it’s because they provide them with the reassurance that all rules and regulations are complied with and the knowledge that their investment is in safe hands.

Gill Waller, Compliance and Development Manager at The Letting Partnership

Saying goodbye

Handing over the keys to your home to a stranger can be the cause of immense stress and worry for some landlords and renting out a property always poses a risk.

Once the tenancy has started, landlords lose the right to enter the property except in extreme circumstances. They must ensure that they comply with an ever-growing list of regulations, or risk financial or even custodial penalties.

Advertising the property, carrying out COVID-safe viewings, and finding a suitable tenant is only the beginning. Letting agents must carry out checks to ensure the property is ‘fit for human habitation’ and provides a safe and healthy environment.

This includes possessing an understanding of safety regulations such as the Furnishings (Fire and Safety) Regulations, Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations, Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations, and The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations for England.

Fount of knowledge

When a tenancy is agreed, the agent must ensure they provide the tenant with statutory documentation such as a current EPC and a Safety Certificate (if applicable). Failure to serve all of the correct documents at the start of the tenancy could jeopardise their chances of taking back possession of the property at a later date.

Agents are also required to provide a detailed inventory and schedule of condition, which records all of the contents, fixtures, and fittings of the property and their state of repair. It is crucial this is carried out thoroughly as any future claim on the deposit for dilapidations will rely on it as evidence.

During the course of the tenancy, the letting agent will monitor the condition of the property and will liaise with the tenant over any repairs. Letting agents have a duty of care to both landlords and tenants, often acting as mediators between the two parties and calming the waters where necessary.

Removing stress

All money received from the tenant must be handled correctly to protect the interests of both the tenant and the landlord, and an audit record kept.

If landlords live overseas then, as well as management of the property, there is also the Non-Resident Landlord tax to consider. Without an agent, it would fall to the tenant to operate the scheme!

The agency must also comply with all of the relevant regulations, such as having Client Money Protection to protect landlords and tenants, while making sure the client accounting runs like clockwork. They remove all the stress for landlords of chasing rent, reconciling payments, paying contractors, and tax. Agents are also on hand to guide landlords through the processes around the end of the tenancy.

Gill Waller added: “There is a very strict process that must be followed to legally obtain possession of a property at the end of a tenancy. The rules surrounding this have been changing constantly over the last year as a result of the pandemic – sometimes on a weekly basis! Letting agents have had to keep up to date with these regular changes.

“The work involved in letting and managing a residential property has never been so involved and yet so underrated, while the role of the letting agent is incredibly important. As we head into this fresh lockdown letting agents should take stock for a moment and allow themselves to feel a sense of pride.”

For more information visit The Letting Partnership's website.