Check that the agent is a member of one of the Government approved redress schemes. New legislation has been introduced which means that from 1 October 2014 it is a legal requirement for lettings agents and property managers in England to join 1 of 3 government approved redress schemes.
The three schemes are:
Look for the SAFE kitemark. All SAFE agents have client money protection and your money will be protected if the agent goes out of business.
Ask whether the agent is a member of a professional body such as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the Association of Residential Letting Agents, the National Approved Lettings Scheme or the Property Ombudsman - agents who belong to such organisations have to sign up to certain standards of practice and you will have access to an independent complaints procedure should things go wrong.
Have a written agreement with your agent so it is clear what responsibilities the agent is carrying out on your behalf.
In majority of circumstances it is the responsibility of the landlord to ensure that the laws relating to the letting of their property are being complied with, these are not deferred to the letting agent. It is for this reason it is important to ensure you choose your managing agent carefully.