DJ Alexander is the largest agency in Central Scotland. Here, its Associate Director Rob Trotter guides you through how agents can save you money and significantly reduce the burden that leasing often brings.

Every landlord needs a tenant, so having the backing of an agency that can attract high quality tenants is invaluable for any rental venture. When selecting an agent to work with, landlords should look for an organisation that has a strong reputation in the market. A good agent will also be willing to provide advice on what changes could be made to a property to increase its rental value, and attract the highest quality tenant.

Agents are employed at the pleasure of landlords, so property-owners should work with agents who always have their best interests in mind. Good agents will scrutinise any expense to the landlord and evaluate whether they are necessary or not, and whether the landlord is likely to see a return on investment in non-statutory expenditure.

The relationship between all three parties in a landlord-agent-tenant arrangement is trust. The landlord should trust that their reputable agent is managing their property and finances well, and their ability to attract and keep tenants. Tenants need to feel like their concerns or issues are being listened to and acted upon. By fostering and developing these relationships, the risk of dilapidations throughout tenancies is likely to be reduced.

Although the agent will handle day-to-day management on behalf of a landlord, the best agents will also provide advice; whether it's on incoming legislation, or tips to improve the potential rental income of a property.

When considering whether to work with an agent or not, landlords should consider who will deliver the best service and advice, not simply the cheapest or the first one they meet.

Four Common Mistakes That Landlords Make

  • Settling for substandard agents

  • Landlords often choose agents because they don't have time to manage a property, and often they settle for the cheapest or first agent they find. Good agents will be able to advise landlords on how to maximise returns and avoid unnecessary expenditure, so paying for a better service will result in better returns.

  • "It's only for rent"

  • Some landlords often cut corners in the decoration or maintenance of rental properties that they wouldn't cut in their own property, because "it's only for rental". However, this can be short-sighted. Agents with expertise in the field can offer advice and recommendations on improving a flat's position in the market.

  • Losing the human touch

  • When working with an agent, some landlords can become disconnected from their property, seeing it as an investment and collection of incoming and outgoing expenses rather than a home for their tenant. Less courteous landlords may face higher rates of dilapidation than those willing to compromise.

  • Poor communication

  • While agents are there to manage properties on a day-to-day basis, they work on behalf of the property-owner, so the landlord should communicate regularly with their agent. Landlords should be easily contactable and ensure that their agent is delivering for them.

    This update is an extract from the latest issue of our magazine, Deposits in Scotland, the new magazine for everyone in the Scottish private rented sector. You can view or download Deposits in Scotland for free on our website.