Half of private landlords not using letting agents

Half of landlords do not use agents, new research from an independent marketing consultancy has said.

While other estimates put the proportion of private landlords using agents at 60%, the BDRC Continental Landlords Panel puts it at 50% – suggesting the possibility of significant more growth for agents.

The average landlord pays 7.3% of their letting income to an agent, says the research – reflecting a mix of landlords who use full management services, let-only, or a combination of services.

For landlords using an agent, the choice tended to boil down to professionalism, with one landlord saying: “Letting agents know how to pitch things. They can show flats at required hours. They invariably have a web presence and reputation / brand. They’re clued up on ‘closing a deal’. I live abroad and so can do none of these things.”

Another said: “The agent knows far more than I do about the law, about the market level of rents (she runs several of her own properties), and about what to do with awkward or neglectful tenants. One day I might be able to do all of this, but not yet. So, in a word: experience.”

Landlords choosing not to use agents had equally clear reasons, and said they were more able to offer tenants a personal service. One said: “I also act promptly. I do not rip tenants off, charging more for referencing than it costs or charging any admin fees. I find agents double-dip and charge both landlord and tenants fees when they let property.”

Another said: “I can only speak for my own service, but it is bespoke. My tenants can always contact me and receive a personal approach. Because I do not have the additional expense of using an agent I can pass on the saving to my tenants in the form of reduced rent, which makes me more competitive than letting agent managed properties.”