Moving has all the usual affairs that you expect: heavy boxes, moving men, a few mishaps with shipping and handling here and there — but something that will be present is paperwork. There’s a legal system in place that clearly defines the expectations between tenant and landlord, which makes life so much easier for both parties once the paperwork has been signed.
Of course, just signing everything that’s put in front of you is a ridiculous idea, so that’s where letting agents come in. They’re present in almost every urban area of the country (like the letting agents in London’s Canary Wharf), and while you might not have much knowledge of what exactly can they do, they’re still essential to the moving process.
What is a letting agent?
A letting agent’s role is simple: to facilitate the paperwork between landlord and tenant over the unit that will be occupied. It’s more common to run into letting agents if you’re looking to move into a commercialized property, like a building or condominium, where the landlord might either be too busy or have a hands-off approach to management. In this case, the letting agent acts as your middleman between you and building management.
What can they do?
There are some broad areas of building management, but in general, letting agents are in charge of making sure that all the administrative parts (like rent, applications, or check-ins) are conducted well. Generally speaking, they’re much more for the landlord’s benefit than yours, but they can still function as a liaison between you and building management if you have a complaint.
Many landlords give their letting agents a flexible role in the running of their property. It’s not entirely unreasonable to expect that you’ll be running into your letting agent more than your actual landlord, especially if they fully manage the property on their behalf.
What fees am I expected to pay them?
There are four fees that you need to pay once a letting agent is involved:
Administrative expenses – to cover the administrative duties they execute on your behalf
Inventory fees – to cover initial costs of inspecting your property
Exit fees – to cover the last inspection when you move out
Renewal fees – to cover the paperwork needed if you renew your contract
These might sound like a lot, but the letting agent’s role in making sure that your stay in your new home is critical to your peace of mind. Not only do they take care of the paperwork on your behalf; they can also be counted on to have a comprehensive knowledge of your new home and can answer most questions about the neighborhood.
In the end, dealing with a letting agent isn’t always a certainty; there are plenty of landlords who want to be more hands-on with building management, especially with smaller properties. But if you do run into one in the process of relocating, you should remember that they’re there to help you settle in your new home.