WITH changes looming to the fees that tenants pay to estate agents, one local agent wants to assure customers that they will still get the same professional service when the law changes.

Buy-to-let second homes is big business these days. Investing in property to let is usually a safe bet, with a rate of return nearer 10 per cent, rather than the, often, less than 1 per cent when tying your money up in a building society.

If you’re thinking about becoming a landlord, it pays to speak to an established estate agent, like Robinsons, which is registered with the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), and has the expertise to guide you through what can be quite a maze.

It’s important to fully understand what you are committing to, and the law surrounding buy-to-let, which can be loaded with jargon, and which changes periodically.

Employing a professional agent, like Robinsons - which is governed by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) - to advise and direct you, will take a good deal of the worry and uncertainty out of the process.

The government has recently changed the rules about the letting fees that tenants pay to the agent, which will come into effect on June 1, 2019.

Tenants currently pay a fee – often non-refundable - to cover admin costs such as drawing up the lease, obtaining credit references, and viewings. Following petitioning by action groups, the government is banning the fee, partly because it is preventing people on lower incomes from being able to afford to rent somewhere to live.

Some smaller estate agents rely on these fees as part of their income, and the new rules could have a significant effect on them, including large fines if they don’t adhere to them.

The bigger agents don’t have the same reliance on these fees, and will continue to offer a complete and professional service after the changes in the law.

Simon Wright of Robinsons, which has offices in Darlington, Middlesbrough, Stockton, Ingleby Barwick, Bishop Auckland, Crook, Spennymoor, Durham, Chester-le-Street, Hartlepool, Sedgefield and Coxhoe, says: “It is still a buoyant market for landlords to buy and let, and is still a good way to invest your money.

“At Robinsons, we can guide potential landlords through everything that’s involved in buying a second home, and can help them to advertise their property, as well as with managing the property once it is let.”