If you have decided to move out of your W12 area property you may be considering what it is you are going to do with the house, you have 2 options available to you, you can either sell it or rent it out. You can rent your house yourself, you can advertise for a tenant and have a contract produced etc. However, if you don’t have much knowledge in terms of your legal duties as a landlord, you may find this idea to be a little scary and overwhelming, furthermore you may make yourself open to have lawsuits against you for not fulfilling your duties as landlord. This is where a letting agent comes into play. What is a letting agent? This is a company that specialises in renting properties. They will speak to you, the landlord and agree their fees for looking after the property, they will then advertise the house for you and set up some viewings. The main aim of a letting agent is to find you some suitable tenants, and help to take the pressure off this. The letting agent will help the tenants and you, come to an agreement over rent etc. and will have a tenancy agreement drafted up which both landlord and tenant need to sign. Most letting agents will collect rent on your behalf as well as the deposit. Are letting agents able to offer any additional services? Yes: • Some letting agents will be able to undertake reference checks from the tenant to ensure that they are suitable, are good payers and have been considered as good tenants in the past. The charge for these checks will usually be included in the price quoted by the letting agent, however, if there was an additional charge for this, the fee is usually paid for by the tenant not the landlord.• Inventory taking: letting agents will sometimes make a note of all the furniture and appliances that have been left in the house for the use of the tenant(s), whilst also making a note of the condition that it is in. Once a tenant has moved out, they will then check the property and everything in it and if anything is damaged they will use some or all of the deposit from the tenant to fix the problems. • Management Services: most letting agents now offer a full management service in which they will collect the monthly rent, collect the deposit, produce tenancy agreements, renew and/or review tenancy agreements, undertake maintenance and repairs on the property, deal with all of the tenants needs and deal with any professionals (such as electricians etc.)How do I find a good letting agent? The first place that you should look is on the website of the Association of Residential Letting Agents, on there is a database of all of the letting agents that are members of this association, and are therefore reputable and well-established companies. Alternatively you could try talking to other landlords who own property in the local area and rent using a letting agent, if they can recommend a letting agent to you this gives you peace of mind that they are good. Make a shortlist of all the letting agents available to you and call around for some quotes, ask them some questions to ascertain how experienced they are, how their process usually works and what they are likely to charge you for managing your property. Once you have called around all of the letting agents you can make a shortlist and research these on the internet to find some real customer reviews. Choose the letting agent that best suits your needs, not your wallet.