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Saturday, June 02, 2012

Do landlords need letting agents?

Landlords have an uneasy relationship with letting agents.  Many of us get tired of paying large fees out for no real apparent service.  I'm talking in particularly about management fees paid to letting agents employed on a managed service where letting agents are allegedly responsible for managing all aspects of the tenancy including dealing with maintenance and non payment issues.

A recent survey carried out by the NLA suggests that over a half (55%) of landlords engage the services of a letting agent, with 66% are either very or quite satisfied with their agency.  Are you satisfied with your letting agent or do you feel you are being over charged and under served?

My experience to date is that I found letting agents very useful for the letting of my properties.  They seem to be able to do it more quickly than using some of the free and paid for advertising property portals. This could just be that my letting agent is pretty good or maybe it's a function of the current market where there is a shortage of reasonable quality property to let.  I've tried a full management service by letting agents but found that I was shelling out hundreds of pounds for not much.

Do landlords really need letting agents?  It would be interested to here from both sides of the debate...

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Anonymous said...

I have sourced tenants myself and have also used a letting agent, I think it is quicker to find a tenant using a letting agent however their charges for their searches are not in my mind thorough enough for what you are charged for 'their finders fee'. Recently I have used a letting agent to find a suitable tenant from the second month of the tenant being in the property I am having problems with late partial rent payments, I decided to do a little digging of my own about my tenant and within 15 minutes found out he had been sacked from his employer for claiming sick pay from his previous employer whilst being employed via his new employer ...fraudulent act you might think, it didn't stop there it also came to light the tenant has been to prison for defrauding a bank for 25k. Now what did I actually get for my 530.00 finders fee! I personally feel you can do much thorough checks yourself.

JaneT123 said...

I was told by my property manager not to worry about not referencing the tenant. I was told that with 2 months deposit we could "kick her out" and it would all be OK. As someone who was new to this game, and as I was asking for a fully managed service, I thought that they knew what they were doing! I also started I wanted no DSS. 3 months later I found that the tenant was on housing and that I no longer had valid insurance re legal fees/ eviction. So now I am trying to remove her for non-payment of rent I am really struggling to get any cooperation. I did expect some level of reliability in the service and that I could be confident in their advice. I also expected that my requirements be upheld. Any advice would be great!

Anonymous said...

Wow you two have been stung. As a letting agent I can not believe you pay £530, most of the time tenants come to us and the only work involved is a viewing and referencing. I even use Facebook to see what potential tenants are like.
There are two types of Landlords ones that are hands on and want a say in what we do or ones that do not care, they give you a property and say go for it. We have both kinds in our business and I know that all letting agents want the laid back do what you will type of Landlords, that is the problem with other (not all) letting agents, they do not care when things go wrong.
One piece of advise I would give to landlords looking for letting agents is to call your local council, they usually have a private sector renting team and if anyone knows the Letting agent's reputation it's the council.

Always ask for a breakdown in charges. I have seen Landlords get sucked into these sneaky hidden fees i.e cost's for printing tenancy's can be £100 for a 10p piece of paper.

Also just encase you were may be wondering our letting agent charges £100 for finding a tenant and all of our tenant's have been completely referenced and in the 11 years we have been a letting agent we have only had to evict one tenant.

Anonymous said...

I always think its better to meet the tenants before you let a property to them. At least that way you can lay the law down. Let them know what you expect from them before they move in. It saves a lot of misunderstanding later on.

Anonymous said...

We had a similar situation - £480 'finders fee' for a tenant who ran off without paying rent after month six, leaving letters containing a mountian of evidence of bad credit - including thousands of pounds of back council tax owed to the local council. I wrote a strongly worded letter re fraudulent billing to the letting agent and said I could have found a tenant myself with such a poor credit history on any street corner - result.. complete refund of my finders fee - which went some way towards paying the back rent. Then we employed an alternative finder to source our next tenant after asking a few pertinent questions before signing on the dotted line. Lesson learned!

Margo Leadbetter said...

Jane for more detailed help. Post any specific legal questions on our Landlord Legal Forum.
Just click on the Forum tab in the menu bar.