Understanding Property Agent's roles in a Rental Transaction

Landlords have a common misunderstanding that handling property maintenance is part of an agent’s job.  Very often, agents are expected to do everything and most landlords simply take agents for granted.  Some landlords even expect agents to be technically inclined to answer all repair questions and expect to go to the extent of getting the lowest quotes for the repairs. More often than not, agents acceded to clients’ requests out of fear of losing their business. Put it into perspective, handling property maintenance takes up bulk of agents’ limited time to do business.  Just to show you what maintenance issues can surface during a tenancy: Aircon, electrical, plumbing, flooring, waterproofing and appliances such as washer, dishwasher, fridge, oven and many more. Many agents go out of business doing property maintenance for free either literally or co-ordinating.

In the same way that property agents look out for their clients’ best interests, consumers should also be aware of their own responsibilities and understand the limits of an agent’s service listed below:

In a rental transaction, a property agent’s responsibilities end after the property has been handed over to the tenant…

…and if the agent renders any help during the tenancy period, it is out of goodwill, and should not be expected.

If you choose to handle your property transaction yourself (i.e. DIY, without engaging an agent), you should be familiar with the procedures and regulations involved….

…and should not expect the other party’s agent to help you with the paperwork or render advice.

Discuss and agree on the commission rate before the agent starts work…

…not during, not after.

Pay the agreed commission to the agent’s agency after the transaction is completed…

…promptly, and without further negotiation. Be fair to your agent for the service rendered.

Sign the prescribed estate agency agreement to protect the interests of both parties…

…instead of agreeing verbally, even if the agent is a relative or a friend.

If you have queries about matters such as property valuation or legalities, go to the subject matter experts for advice…

…and not insist that your agent advise on matters that are beyond their expertise.

Consumers are half of the equation to a harmonious relationship with their agents. Hence, make sure you are aware of where your agent’s limits lie, and be a fair and responsible client.

Remember – Agents are not superheroes! Though many will want to become Thanos!

Notes: Some information taken from Council of Estate Agencies article on Respect Property Agents’ Boundaries.