Landlords usually find that using a letting agent saves them time and worry once they have more than a couple of rental properties in their portfolio. Letting out a property is not simply a matter of finding a tenant and handing over the keys; there is a whole raft of legislation that is attached to any rental and in this there are a lot of health and safety issues which must be followed or there can be quite severe penalties. There are also guidelines which a good letting agent will always look into, to ensure the safety of the tenant and the peace of mind of the landlord.
Any gas appliances must be checked annually for safety but the best letting agents will make sure that a check is carried out when the tenant changes as well, to make sure that there was no negligence or deliberate damage that might cause the appliance to malfunction. It is essential to take care with all gas appliances to ensure that there is complete combustion because otherwise carbon monoxide can build up in the room. CO is not called the silent killer for nothing. Odorless and colorless, this gas takes the place of oxygen in the blood and slowly suffocates the victim. It causes no symptoms that would cause anyone to wake up and so it is frequently fatal.
There are generally fewer electrical appliances in a home when it is rented, unless the kitchen is fully fitted. However many or few there are, the best letting agents will get them PAT tested at the end of every tenancy to make sure they are safe. Heating that is fitted must also be checked and this applies in particular to any heaters – especially if they have naked elements – which are to be used near water. This would include bathroom heaters and kitchen radiators in particular. With the advent of longer-life light bulbs, light fittings come in for less wear and tear these days, but if a tenant has given any cause for concern in the way they have looked after the property, these should all be checked, or nasty shocks might await the next person who changes an bulb.
Any landlord or letting agent has the right to assume that any tenant will us a property sensibly and in particular that they will alert the agent to any problems that crop up such as loose floorboards or leaks in the roof space. Trips and falls which are caused by structural damage that has not been reported and is remains a problem at change of tenancy could result in a compensation claim and so it is the job of a letting agent to make sure that the whole house is checked out for problems such as this as well as making sure that any complaint by a tenant in residence is checked and dealt with as quickly as possible, for the sake of the tenant’s safety and the landlord’s profit margin.
Rob Stern is a Freelance Copywriter who often writes for ADM Residential.