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Landlords Not Using Agents - view from a former ARLA president

How can letting agents attract new landlords when they’re all selling their portfolios?

That’s a major question for the lettings industry – but in reality, property guru Sally Lawson says there are landlords and agents can grow their businesses despite the challenges within the industry.

 “For a number of years, we’ve seen increased concerns around the number of landlords out there,” says Sally – a former ARLA president who now runs Agent Rainmaker to support those struggling to expand their agencies.


“Near the beginning of my career in the 1990s we used to advertise we had ‘over 100 properties available’ but now it’s reported (by statistician Christopher Watkins) there are just 186,000 rental listings across 14,800 registered agents in the UK, meaning an average of just 12 per branch.

“And we’re also seeing an increase in landlords opting to sell some or all of their portfolio due to challenges such as Clause 24 and rising interest rates which have in some cases wiped out all of the profit they previously made.

“But in reality, private rentals make up a much higher proportion of the market than they did back when we were proudly advertising 100+ properties at a time. Around 19% in fact, compared to just 7% three decades ago.

“And we’re also still seeing a very healthy interest from landlords wanting to expand their portfolios which is counteracting the impact of those selling up – in fact, this represents a real opportunity for those agents who offer services to support landlords buying or selling too, as they’re potentially able to support both investors through the process and keep their lettings portfolio at the same time!

“As well as revealing that there are landlords out there, the facts and figures we have available also display where the problem lies.

“A Government white paper released last summer showed us that 82% of landlords were not using agents for property management. This means it’s not truthful to say ‘there are no landlords out there’ but it is true that the majority are either going it alone or under-utilising their letting agent.

“To change this, agents need to focus on how to get those self-managing landlords to sit up and take notice!

“This requires a review of services: is the agent already offering the type of services which overcome the challenges faced by landlords or do they need to be introduced?

“And there’s no use having these services if landlords keep ignoring the need for an agent, so a review of all marketing and communications is needed too.

“Do the agency’s adverts, social media content, website, videos and all other marketing materials effectively portray how using a management service will make a landlord’s life easier (and minimise the risks associated with non-compliance)?

“Does all of the above highlight how much simpler being a landlord is if an agent is handling the day-to-day tasks, the regulatory issues – freeing the landlord of the time and research it takes to try and do it themselves?

“If not, then agents can continue saying ‘there are no landlords out there’ but in actual fact, what they’re saying is ‘I’m not attracting the attention of the landlords out there’. And if they’re not reaching their target audience with their messages, frankly it doesn’t matter whether there are ten or 10 million landlords.”

* Sally Lawson runs Agent Rainmaker *

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  • Ian Deaugustine

    If agents want to manage more rental properties, the solution is straightforward: 1) they have to charge fewer landlords, and 2) they have to offer a decent level of service to both landlords and tenants. Easy as that.

  • icon

    Have to be so different to how they are now. There made some that are good. But others are terrible. They run tough shod . Don’t keep landlord informed of anything. Run up Rent arrears. Don’t get more than one quote for a repair. Pay the tradesman prompt . This sends a message to him. And good payers might get a better price next time. Then you can - Quibble a bit on the price don’t take it for granted. Burchell Edwards are poss the worst agency around. Sone really dumb idiots work for them. But Diamond Dolls Excellent .


    Soencer Ward in Norwich are very good and offer a good service to both landlord and tenant


    Try BRPL in Bristol - rents less any deductions paid to landlords usually the next worjing day. HMRC approved statements for every payment to landlords and contractor invoices paid upon receipt of rent, deposits transferred to DPS custodial at no charge to landlord.

  • Ian Deaugustine

    My ESTATE agents are just an obstacle between me and my tenants. Unfortunately, I am forced to use estate agents due to the Rent Smart Wales nonsense. The most minor tenant issues handled by an agent become a mess, while if I take responsibility for it and act, in 24 hours, all is sorted out, and tenants are happier than ever.


    I do not have properties in Wales and wouldn't while Drakefool and his mates are in charge. Why do you have to use this particular agent? Can you not pick a Lettings agent of your choice?


    All my tenants have my contact details and are free to contact me direct if they want to


    @ Andrew - if you have a good agent, your tenants should not need to contact you direct.

  • Peter  Roberts

    I only ever used Letting Agents for Tenants Finding and start of tenancy paperwork.
    The rest I did myself.
    But as I won’t ever let another property when they become void, selling up, I will never have the need to use a letting agency again.
    So to all these people who are trying to bully up BTL, it is only an attempt to try to tell potential BTL Landlords that it’s a good business to get into.
    It was, but the Government, Councils and the likes of shelter have ruined it all.
    Now the Councils will become Landlords and they have very few properties to let to families.
    B&B, Cheap Hotels and Tent Manufacturers will be the winners and Government/ Councils will be the big losers.
    They should have let well alone and let us continue providing a good service to our local communities.
    But no they had to interfere and now they have got there fingers very badly burnt.

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    • K B
    • 18 November 2023 12:49 PM

    Let down so badly by my Agent, no termination clause in the AST so now arguing with tenant about how much notice to give for a Statutory Periodic Tenancy Agreement, Agent giving tenant incorrect information and I’m unable to get a copy of the inventory for the checkout. Definitely selling


    Make a formal request for the inventory and state that if you do not receive it within seven days, you will complain to the Property Ombudsman. That should get them moving. You have paid for the inventory in one way or another and are entitled to see it.

    I am amazed so many agents are hopeless like yours and I speak as an agent and a landlord.


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