Are letting agents still needed?

A letting agent’s job is to make the renting of a property easier for the owner. Letting agents generally provide two types of service for landlords: ‘let-only’ or a ‘full management’ service. You would think that finding a good letting agent would be imperative for every landlord, however with the introduction of online private renting platforms and the variety of services available, the need for letting agents is reducing. Information is easily accessible through landlord associations and online forums, meaning landlords can learn how to manage tenancies themselves.  

Why use a letting agent?

For new, inexperienced landlords, letting agents can be useful. Their knowledge of local areas can be key when negotiating what monthly rental income you’ll receive. Marketing will also be done for you, not only saving you time finding a tenant but more importantly avoiding void periods. For new landlords specifically, we suggest gaining as much knowledge as possible from the agents so that if you decide to go it alone, you’ll have the knowledge to do so without continuously relying on them to help grow your portfolio.

Letting agent fees for landlords

The fee you pay will depend on the service you’ve chosen. ‘Let only’ fees would usually cost between 8 -12 percent of your monthly rental income, a full management service can be up to 15 percent of the monthly rental income. London fees can exceed the average costs. Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 letting agents are required to display all their fees, so we suggest you read up on all possible fees.

Landlords should check whether they charge extra for services like inventories, rent reviews and renewals, gas safety certificates, vacant room charges and check-ins in their set fees. Certain contracts will also include a clause where the landlord will give a certain percentage to the agent if the property is sold to the tenant. Be sure to read the contract before you sign anything.

Using a letting agent if you live abroad

If you’re moving abroad and want to rent out your property, using a letting agent is probably a good idea. According to Experts for Expats, for agents to fully manage the property, it will likely cost between 10-15 percent of your yearly rental income. There are numerous other tax issues the landlord must consider. More information can be found here.

A trusted and reliable letting agent can be extremely helpful when finding a tenant and managing your property. Nevertheless, you should do your research to make sure you find an agent who will be able to fulfill your needs. With the wealth of information and services available online, landlords seem to prefer the digital option moving forward.


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9 January 2019 - 3:49pm
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