1. Agent choice
Choosing a regulated and accredited agent, certified member of ‘The Property Ombudsman’ (TPO) is important so that you are protected in the event that anything should happen to that agent. As a minimum they must be a member of a recognized redress scheme with Client Money Protection insurance in place. Choosing the wrong agent could cost more than just lost rent, it could cost you your property.
2. Market appraisal
Empire Estates carry out a full market appraisal free of charge. We will critique your property in a constructive way, and advise you on current market rent level and any work that we feel you may need to address before bringing your property to the market. We will discuss your expectations, potential tenants and answer any questions you may have about letting your property.
Effective marketing is the key to finding the right tenant for any property. At Empire Estates we have our own website plus we advertise on some of the industry’s top portals including Primelocation and Zoopla; anyone searching property to let in North West London will see our advert as soon as they enter either of those search terms.
We use full colour window cards, 2D floor plans and social media feeds to attract quality tenants to your property as well as maintaining good contacts within the big name companies in North West London.
4. Tenant’s references
Empire Estates put all applicants through an independent referencing agency to confirm their identity, check their employment status, their credit history and any other relevant checks depending on the type of tenancy they are applying for. Applicants must pass the reference criteria to be acceptable. We will always confirm the results of the reference checks with you before proceeding to the next stage.
Housing Law is a complex area of law; it is imperative therefore that an agent has a robust tenancy agreement to protect your interests. At Empire Estates we review the agreements we use at least once a year, sometimes more often, and make any changes required to keep abreast with the law as it changes. We will advise on the best type of tenancy agreement to use at the point we source a tenant for you; individual or company. We will also provide an agency agreement between you and Empire Estates.
Only the tenancy agreement is more important than the inventory, yet many landlords fail to address this vitally important area. Without an inventory the landlord is unlikely to succeed in a claim for deductions from the deposit, nor prove the pre-tenancy condition of the property. We use an independent company to prepare comprehensive inventories, including a selection of photographs, meter readings etc which is given to the tenant at the start of the tenancy to check and sign for.
Empire Estates take a deposit of six weeks rent from tenants as a financial bond against a breach of tenancy by the tenant. Deposits from AST tenancies are protected in a government approved tenancy deposit scheme; The Deposit Protection Service or DPS for short.
8. Rent arrears
It happens from time to time so be aware of any agent who says they never have rent arrears! It’s how its dealt with that defines the agent. A robust rent collection system is a must, as is a set procedure for dealing with debt as soon as it occurs; in most cases a polite but firm letter is sufficient to remedy the situation on the rare occasions it happens.
9. Legal obligations
The agreement to rent a property places legal obligations upon the landlord; these are covered in our tenancy agreement but please ask if you have a specific question.
We believe in transparency when it comes to fees, so we provide all landlords with our fee structure at the outset. Our fees are competitive in the local market when comparing service for service, but think very carefully before choosing an agent on cost alone, it may cost you a lot more than you save in the long run.