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News: Portal boss talks up "huge opportunity" for agents to hike landlord fees

Mon, 04 Feb 19

The chief executive of a still-to-be-launched property portal says Christmas may have come early for letting agents because of the “huge opportunity” they now have to increase fees for landlords.

Antony Codling - the former City analyst whose clients at the consultancy Jefferies included Countrywide and Zoopla - is now the chief executive of Rummage4, a property portal said to be launching this year. 

He took to Twitter following the release of the government’s Private Landlord Survey with a message that echoed a theme he touched upon two weeks ago in his presentation to the Guild of Property Professionals - the chance for letting agents to levy higher fees on landlords for services, to compensate for the loss of other income.

Codling tweeted at the weekend: “Huge opportunity for agents to replace tenant fees with landlord fees. Government survey reports 52 per cent of landlords do not use an agent. Increase awareness of landlord responsibilities could increase use of agents. With snow on the ground has Christmas come early in 2019 for agents?”

The Private Landlord Survey, released by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, shows that 52 per cent of landlords do not use a lettings agent or management company to handle their portfolios.

On a sample of 8,000 landlords who responded to a survey, the MHCLG says only 34 per cent even use an agent for let-only and fewer than one in 10 use an agency to handle lettings and management.

In a summary of changes to the private rental sector since 2010, when the last Private Landlord Survey was undertaken, the document notes the raft of tax, stamp duty and regulatory changes that have been implemented and replays a familiar mantra: “These changes were made as part of the government’s wider efforts to make the housing market work for everyone and to ensure the housing market delivers the homes the nation needs.”

Despite these tax and rule changes, however, some 53 per cent of the 8,000 responded say they plan to keep their buy to let investment the same size as today while 10 per cent say they will sell some or all units and a similar 11 per cent say they will increase their buy to let investment.

As previously reported, government figures just released have also shown that 70 per cent of landlords kept their rents the same when they most recently renewed a tenancy, and the average length of time a private sector tenant had lived in their current home was up from 3.9 years in 2016/17 to 4.1 years in 2017/18, the most recent data available.

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