Letting agents act on behalf of landlords.
What do letting agents do?
There are various different types of letting agencies. Some just find tenants for properties (these are often known as accommodation agencies). Others manage properties on behalf of landlords and the tenants may never have any direct contact with the landlord. It is common for estate agents to have a lettings department.
Letting agencies often:
- find a tenant for a property
- collect rent
- manage the property for the landlord
- arrange repairs
- provide tenancy agreements and inventories.
Choosing a letting agency
Check if the letting agent or estate agent you use is a member of a professional body. It shows the agent has agreed to a voluntary code of conduct and professional standards.
The main professional bodies are:
- the Property Ombudsman Scheme (TPOS)
- the National Approved Lettings Scheme (NALS)
- the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA).
Each of these organisations lists its member letting agencies on its website.
If your landlord uses a letting agent to manage its’ properties, then the agent must be licensed under the Rent Smart Wales scheme. Don’t be afraid to ask the agent if they have a licence. If they do then they must keep to the requirements of a Code of Practice and can face penalties if they don’t comply. See our pages on Landlord registration and licensing for more information.
How do letting agencies work?
You need to register with a letting agency before they offer you any accommodation. You can register with more than one agency at a time. They will need to know what sort of accommodation you are looking for and how much you can pay.
Once you are registered agencies normally let you know when suitable accommodation becomes available. When a property is found arrange to view it as quickly as possible.
What should I ask the letting agency?
Before agreeing to take accommodation from a letting agency find out:
- what the agency does on behalf of the landlord
- if they have a licence (or have applied for one) under the Rent Smart Wales scheme
- what sort of tenancy agreement they are offering
- how long you can stay
- what charges you will have to pay before you move in
- how much the rent is and how often it’s paid
- how the agency wants the rent paid (for example by cheque or standing order).
What do agencies charge?
Some agencies charge letting fees. These might be for drawing up tenancy agreements, providing inventories or perhaps to hold a property for you whilst they are checking references.
Most letting fees for tenants in Wales are banned from 1 September 2019. This means that it is an offence for landlords and letting agents to charge them for any tenancy that starts after that date. Find out here which fees are banned and what you can do if you are charged a banned fee.
If your tenancy started before the 1 September 2019 the ban probably won’t apply but letting agents must still display any fees they charge clearly and include a description of each fee.
Don’t pay any fees until you’ve been offered a place.
We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 0345 075 5005.