A letting agent is a term used in the United Kingdom for a real estate agent who deals with the rental side of the business. The role generally involves valuing properties for the rental market and finding tenants on behalf of the client who owns the property.
Letting agents deal with a range of properties from houses and apartments to offices, stores, leisure facilities and even hotels. Typical day-to-day activities may include vetting potential tenants through both references and credit checks and overseeing that a property adheres to health and safety regulations with regards to gas and electricity safety certificates. They may also be responsible for drawing up tenancy contracts and collecting the rent on a monthly basis. If there are any issues with regards to the state of the property, it is the letting agent who is contacted by the tenants and has to deal with the inquiry.
Increasing competition within this industry has meant that more and more people are being employed with bachelor's degrees. However, this isn't an essential requirement for a job as a letting agent. A foundation degree in surveying, estate management, urban and land studies or civil engineering can also give candidates a head start in landing a job within this sector. Those who have a background in sales are also more likely to be hired.
Letting agents work both in the office and in the field showing clients around rental properties. They work on average a basic 39-hour week, although some may be expected to work longer. Hours can be unsocial, with weekend and evening work common occurrences. Travel throughout the day is also common, so most letting agents will be expected to have a clean driving license.
Those who work for large multiple branch estate agencies have the chance of moving up to more senior positions after they have gained experience in both lettings and sales. This might, however involve moving to a different branch or to a different company. Letting agents working in smaller agencies can move on to become branch mangers, although after this promotion opportunities are small. There is also the possibility for those with a large book of contacts to go freelance and set up their own business.
According to Prospects, the typical starting salary for a letting agent was around £10,000 to £20,000 a year in 2009. With experience it rose to between £25,000 to £50,000, plus commission and bonuses. The potential earnings of a letting agent depend on where in the UK they are based. Benefits normally include a company car or a car allowance.