Property Patter: Property Services are Not Always as They Seem

Property Patter: Property Services are Not Always as They Seem

In the wonderful world of lettings, a property manager will usually offer a landlord two tiers of service depending on their needs and requirements.

As a landlord, it is possible to choose for a ‘self-service’ option, where an online agent manages your listing, and it’s up to you to do all of the legwork yourself; however, many people do opt for a full service.

A full-service is an instance where the property manager takes care of everything including professional photography, marketing, viewings, high-level credit and reference checks, inventory, contracting, tenant bookings, managing the property and all maintenance after move-in, regular property inspections, professional checkouts and professional deposit dispute management, among other tasks.

Beware the property service scam

In the name of transparency, I would like to let you, the landlord, know about the cowboy agents out there; those who offer services that look good on the surface but are clad with unsightly skeletons underneath.

The property service scam, as I have labelled it, is where an agent offers all kinds of services but does everything they can to cut corners. This usually comes in the form of:

  • Poor, DIY property photography
  • Minimal marketing efforts
  • Outsourcing viewings to pensioners with no property knowledge
  • Lack of property inspections
  • Poor in-house inventory checks
  • Offering short contracts to charge admin fees for frequent renewals

And it doesn't stop there. In a handful of cases I have been made aware of, an agency created fake reports to reduce costs and appease their landlords. Some agents even hire poor contractors at a low price, and charge their landlords a huge mark-up when it comes to handing over the bill. One landlord was charged £260 for a toilet seat - and no, it wasn't made from platinum or gold, just plastic. Outrageous, I know.

Some letting agents aren't members of an accredited body (always ask for an agent's credentials if you're not sure), and others outsource their customer services to a call centre to a land far, far away (sorry, I couldn't resist the Star Wars reference) - that's no good if you have a tenant issue to resolve on the spot.

The take-home message here is you should always do your research before handing over your money to a property manager. Check credentials, ask the right questions, consult online reviews and forums, and please, don't get caught out by the property service scam.

If you would like more information about our services or you would like any more information on what you should expect from your property manager, please do get in touch.

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