Landlord versus letting agent – it’s war

Landlord’s today don’t need to use letting agents but moreover, they shouldn’t use them. Here’s why.

We all know that letting agents make up some of the most repugnant, abhorrent and deplorable people in the world. It’s just fact. But have you ever really thought about why? Below we list the 5 reasons why you shouldn’t sign up with an agent:

  • Fees – Letting agents will charge exorbitant fees to both you and your tenant. They will charge for referencing, processing, BREATHING if they can get away with it, and they can. Because you didn’t bother to read the small print of that shockingly long contract they asked you to sign. Because you just wanted to get a tenant into your property and you thought that you could trust a service provider, in the UK, in 2014.  Nope.

Seriously – you are looking at paying a finder’s fee of anything from between £250 and £2,000 – I guess more in some circumstances. Then you get to give 12.50% of your income away every month PLUS VAT (check that sneaky small print). Your tenants don’t get away lightly either. I’ve heard of some being charged over £200 for a reference check – something that can be done for as little as £10! Also, heard of the £500 fee to move out? This apparently covers the agent’s time and a deep clean of the property. No wonder landlord’s have a bad name.

  • Poor service – We found our agent to be beyond useless. They didn’t complete the inventory list, even though they charged us for it. They didn’t put our tenants deposit in the DPS scheme, even though it’s a legal requirement (come-on guys) and when things went wrong with the property, they didn’t answer our tenant’s calls, meaning that WE DID.
  • Regulation – There are currently no regulations or qualifications required to be a letting agent. What?! But you’re handling MY LIFE.
  • They lie – We’ve all been on the wrong side of an estate agent’s deception, sorry – distortion of the truth, to use the technical term. “We have lots of viewings lined up”. “We already have two offers on the table”. “We’re decent people”. It’s straight up fact that 98.6% of letting agent’s speech is composed of lies. They can’t help it. It’s letting agent 101. You just never know where you stand with them. We got sick of being told that something had been done, or would definitely be done tomorrow, only to find out that they had done nothing. GAAAAAAH!
  • Even letting agents hate letting agents – Don’t believe me? Next time you speak to one mention their competitor down the road and how they are charging a smaller commission. Watch how quickly your letting agent will denounce this competitor, swearing him off as a conniving, fickle, jackass. When we sold our house under tender which meant we didn’t pay commission, one competing letting agent told me to sue my agent for acting illegally. You can’t make this stuff up!!

 So, we’ve decided to dispense with the services of our letting agent. But don’t we need them? No. Below is a list of resources to enable you to be your own letting agent.

Open Rent

Open rent allows you to be your own letting agent. Using this website you are able to get your property listed on all major rental sites like Rightmove and Zoopla, find a tenant, have them referenced, have contracts drawn up and signed AND deposit and first month’s rent collected.

We’ve used the site several times and  can vouch that it really is that simple, and really that great. And with packages starting at £Free up to £49 – you’re not getting ripped off here. This should be your go to website.

Property Hawk

These guys offer loads of lovely freebies for landlords, from legal agreements to landlord software to help you manage your properties. Definitely worth a visit.

Property Blog

If you need a bit of light relief check out this blog by “the Landlord”. He touches on all property subjects in his individual style of rant plus humour which is often very welcome after a tough day of landlording. My favourite page is his about page, it’s hilarious.

Smart Property Manager

With free and paid versions, this web-based property portfolio manager makes keeping track of your rental business a breeze. You can manage your finances, multiple properties, tax, several reporting tools and tenancies including tenancy documents.

Keep the Government Happy

This tells you all your responsibilities as a landlord. Taking the time to review this in depth will save you a lot of trouble in the long term.

Ok guys, now you’re armed with all the tools you need – look you’re a letting agent! At this point you probably know more than most high street estate agents so don’t waste your money on their services, do it yourself and get better results.

Got any letting agent stories? Are you a letting agent and want to refute the whole article? Let us know in the comments below.

Caroline Engstrom

Caroline Engstrom has a passion to help landlords and tenants by providing helpful tips and advice regarding real estates.

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