As a landlord you must ask yourself what sort of involvement you require from and are able to give your managing agent and this will often depend on the type of property you are letting and the type of tenants expected (of course the latter will not always be guaranteed!) Communication, as in many areas, must be the key here.
Most landlords make use of the same agency who let their property to also manage it, but many agencies do not focus their staffing skills in this customer service based area which is very different from the sales, target based skills which secured the tenants in the first place.
Are you a ‘business landlord’ whose property/ies are purely an investment and in place for maximum return? Or are you a ‘homeowner landlord’ who used to live in said property and are reluctantly letting out the home that your children grew up in due to circumstance, your top priority being that they do not damage it? Or of course you may be somewhere in-between the two. Depending on this, the levels of communication you expect and desire will vary greatly and so would the type of Property Management service that would suit you best. It could be assumed that the former may find it easier to find a managing agent that they are happy with, wanting little involvement themselves and simply requiring the figures at the end of the tax year with minimum fuss. This is not necessarily so though, as there is of course still the need to manage effectively in keeping costs down but tenants happy (maximum return) and also to make those executive decisions in such a way that would please the landlord, without having to bother them frequently.
Landlords often feel that it would be easier to keep all of the dealings for their property in one place, however the job of a managing agent is to look after the property and tenancy and so to a good one this should include ensuring a smooth transition and good communication between any Letting Agent and themselves, thereby alleviating any hassle in this respect. A good Property Manager by their very nature being in the job, is a problem-solver and so won’t let a small issue of dealing with another agency for you for Lettings cause issue.
If you don’t simply use the agency who let your property for you then how do you know where to find a good Property Manager? Recommendations, reviews and previous dealings are the best ways. Perhaps you dealt with someone else’s managing agent due to a leak into your property or suchlike and you liked what you saw, or perhaps your landlord had a managing agent looking after a property where you were a tenant and now you are a landlord who requires one. The London property world especially is a tiny place.
The cost of a managing agent is likely to be less than your SKY subscription and a personalised one focusing on Management only, even less so. Alas, even and especially when trying to maximise your profits, I am sure you will agree it is worth it. Talk to any prospective managing agent before you engage them to ensure that they can meet your needs.