Using A Letting Agent - Pros And Cons

Many landlords looking to let a home prefer to use a letting agent who can deal with a tenant directly, can help find a suitable tenant and deal with financial matters such as handling a deposit. They do, however, charge fees for this service. When choosing a letting agent it is vital that they are members of one of the main trade bodies for the property rental sector: Association of Residential Letting Agents, National Association of Estate Agents and the Safeagent, formerly known as The National Approved Letting Scheme. This ensures that they abide by a strict code of conduct.

Please see our Letting Agent Directory.

Advantages of Using a Letting Agent

  • The letting agent can tailor a service to best suit your needs, including finding and checking the suitability of a tenant, managing the property, dealing with repairs and organising insurance.
  • Letting agents that are registered with a trade association also have to ensure their staff are well trained and that they will offer a prompt, efficient service.
  • Letting agents can provide tenancy agreements and handle advertising for the property.
  • Letting agents that are members of the above trade bodies are signed up to The Property Ombudsman scheme, which gives the landlord a right of redress if the letting agent acts unfair, maladministration occurs, or disputes arise with a tenant.

Disadvantages of Using a Letting Agent

  • Fees can be prohibitive for some landlords, who may feel that they can carry out tasks such as finding a tenant and drafting a contract on their own. A typical fee charged by a letting agent for managing the property can be around 10% to 17% of the monthly rent.
  • Using a letting agent can create an extra layer in the relationship with a tenant, slowing down communication at times. One online survey by the Citizen's Advice Bureau found that 73% of tenants were dissatisfied with the service provided by their letting agent. This increases the risk of a tenant preferring to move out and find another home to rent.
  • If you do not use a trusted agent and the agency goes bankrupt, then the landlord will still be liable to the tenant for any outstanding money due to the tenant, such as their deposit.

See also: Rental Search, Letting Agent Directory