Google Rating
3.3
Based on 24 reviews
×
Skip to content

How do I Change my Letting Agent Mid-Tenancy in Scotland

Tim Williamson
Tim Williamson
property management word grid

If you’re experiencing problems with your letting agent then you are not alone.

In the last 16 months we have had tenanted properties switch from Martin & Co, Donald Ross, Murphy Scoular, Lomonds, Trinity Properties, Property Matters, Homesure, AMD Lettings and KA Homes to Key-lets.

Moving tenanted properties from your current letting agent is not hard, but there is a process Landlords in Scotland need to be aware of. The following article explains the process of switching from a problem letting agent to one that works for you.

Key-Lets are primarily an Ayrshire letting agent, although we manage properties in Glasgow and Renfrewshire as well. What follows is our experience of 25 years switching let properties from other agents. The solutions I offer should work for any landlord in Scotland wanting to change agent with a tenancy in place.

A quick trawl of the web gives you little real advice on how to a change letting agent in Scotland. What is there is either English related or out of date.

The purpose of this article is to address, with full disclosure, the 3 Steps to changing a problem letting agent mid tenancy.

At Key-Lets, we are passionate about the benefits of successful property investment. In fact, we have made it our goal to become the best letting agent in the world. 25 Years of lettings has given us an intimate knowledge of the good, the bad, and the ugly of renting out property.

No, every rental has not gone perfectly. But because of the sheer volume of lets managed and scores of conversations with Landlords, we can share our knowledge and experience with you in the hope you’ll never end up in one of those online landlord forums – pleading for help.

Your 3-step solution to changing letting agent.

STEP #1: Be Prepared

Before anything else check your management agreement for any termination clauses should you want to change letting agent. These will tell you the notice period and financial penalty your agent can demand if you jump ship.

50% of recently transferred Landlords to Key-Lets did not have signed management agreements.

Do you have a copy of the lease your tenants signed, together with pre-tenancy notices? Your lease gives your tenants names, and in a Private Residential Tenancy (PRT) the tenants phone and email addresses. This information will be of use later.

30% of leases we see are incorrectly set up, putting the landlord at risk.

STEP #2: Demand Answers

Before confronting your letting agent I suggest you do two things.

1. Sound out other letting agents to get their take on your concerns. You will quickly root out those agents with experience moving tenants and properties. Others will give a glib sales pitch with concern of why you are moving mid tenancy.

2. Good tenants are always worth keeping. Visiting your tenants unannounced at the property gives you a chance to introduce you to them. Fix a time to visit and mention you have concerns about your current agent. Ask them to give you feedback. This will suit some landlords and not others.
60% of recent transfers did visit tenants and found out more than what they were told by their agent. You do not have to do this but it can give a handle on your tenants and how they look after your property.

Put your complaint in an email to your letting agent. This gives you a paper trail of what is said by you and your agent. Put a deadline of a few days for each response and specify contact has to be by email.

You need evidence of your complaint should you choose to take any loss caused by your agent to a Housing Tribunal. The First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) has replaced the Sheriff Court in these matters and are free to use.

They enforce complaints against letting agents who do not adhere to the Letting Agents Code of Practice.

You now have a BIG decision to make depending on how badly your agent has done their job.

Concerns over excessive maintenance bills or late payments usually result in promises to do better in future, lower commissions / money back and crocodile tears of remorse.
Some landlords have succumbed to these entreaties, other not so.

Landlords MUST move where the letting agent has failed to issue correct leases, not protected deposits, failed to ensure a property is compliant in electrical and gas certificates, or some other major failing such as maintenance issues.

These are all areas tenants can go to the Housing Tribunal against a landlord and benefit financially from you. Blaming your letting agent may help, however you will still be fined and where applicable, criminal action taken against you.

STEP #3: MOVE

Formally notify your letting agent you are cancelling your management agreement with them and moving your property to letting agent X. Give a deadline for the transfer.
Make the deadline short where the agent has no signed management agreement or has failed in a major way. Raise the prospect of a complaint to the Housing Tribunal and, if a member, to ARLA/RICs if the agent tries to lock you in.
This is especially true where a management agreement has harsh penalties for leaving.

Such charges could be seen as unfair clauses and covered by the Letting Agents Code of Practice.

Request in an email the following has to be transferred to your new letting agent.

These lists will depend on whether or not your tenants are on a Short Assured Tenancy (pre 1st Dec 2017) or the Private Residential Tenancy that replaced the SAT.

SAT

Original documents required:

  • Tenant/Guarantor application forms and references
  • Current signed lease and front pages of all previous leases issued from 2015
  • Signed pre-tenancy AT5 notice on first tenancy and any subsequent renewals,
  • Signed and dated Repair Standards Notices on first tenancy and any subsequent renewals
  • Tenancy Deposit Scheme Certificate
  • Prescribed Information Notice for Tenancy Deposit for all tenants
  • Signed and dated acknowledgement of Prescribed Information for Tenancy Deposit or proof of serving
  • Signed and dated Tenant Information Pack acknowledgement or proof of serving
  • Current safety certificates for gas, EICR, PAT and Legionnaires Test certificates
  • Signed and dated inventory
  • Full Rent Schedule for tenancy
  • Current warranties for new appliances bought during tenancy
  • Most recent cleaning receipts (general and carpet) for property
  • All keys held for the property

PRT

Original documents and items required:

  • Tenant/Guarantor application forms and references
  • Current signed PRT lease
  • Proof of serving Easy Read Notes on tenant
  • Tenancy Deposit Scheme Certificate
  • Prescribed Information Notice for Tenancy Deposit Scheme
  • Signed and dated acknowledgements of Prescribed Information for Tenancy Deposit or proof of serving
  • Current safety certificates for gas (CP12), electrical (EICR, PAT) and Legionnaires Test
  • Full Rent Schedule for tenancy
  • Signed and dated inventory
  • Current warranties for new appliances bought during tenancy
  • Most recent cleaning receipts (general and carpet) for property
  • All keys held for the property

Your new letting agent will work with your tenants to organise a smooth switchover.

Key-lets always issue new leases and sort out all the areas missed by the previous letting agent. We correct any deficiencies and organise any remedial work needed to protect the landlord’s interests.

We make no charge for property transfers, other letting agent do so check your new letting agent’s management agreement before engaging them.

Landlords, who are at risk of a financial penalty, should get an indemnity from their previous agent against future Tribunal decisions.

You could also seek the return of any fees and commissions paid to your agent for the time they have managed your property.

In Conclusion…

Moving letting agent mid tenancy is not difficult. January 2018 has turned out to be a turning point for switching as more and more landlords recognise the impact of the Housing Tribunal and ease with which tenants make claims against landlords.

Not only have more landlords changed to us but more self-managing landlords have moved to Key-Lets too.

This is a trend we see continuing as the Scottish Government squeezes the private rented sector. It is very easy for a landlord NOT to comply. Increasing legislation and regulations will continue to bite into property management.
Legionella checks, revised detector requirements, new EPC standards and a ‘requirement to disclose late deposit payments’ put on tenancy deposit schemes are the more recent upgrades.

A Letting Agent competent in this new world (judging by the transfers we see) are far and few. Now is the time to review your letting agent and ask direct questions. Do not put it off.

You have been warned.

Call Tim on 01292 289289 or Email: [email protected]

We have a number of helpful videos on our YouTube channel.

You can message me through Linked In.

tim signaturetim signature

TIM WILLIAMSON

fill out form link
- Fill in the form and I’ll call you
Share this post...
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Featured Post

Topics