With landlords’ purse strings being squeezed by tax and regulatory changes, a growing number of buy-to-let investors are opting to ditch letting agents to find or manage properties, and are instead going it alone, new research shows.
Self-management increased in the fourth quarter of 2019 as landlords reject letting agent price increases, according to a survey of the National Landlords Association (NLA) members.
The study found that the proportion of private landlords shunning letting agents in favour of letting and managing their own properties increased to 43%, up from 36% in Q3 2019.
The research found that growth in the number of landlords going it alone reflects the mounting dissatisfaction with the charges many letting agents are levying onto landlords following the ban on fees to tenants which came into force in June 2019.
The NLA Q4 2019 Landlords Panel Survey reported that a typical landlord spent around £3,221 last year on letting and management fees. This was up from £2,026 reported in Q4 2018 and represents a 59% increase over 12 months.
Richard Lambert, chief executive officer of the NLA, said: “The tenant fee ban was always going to lead to agents trying to charge landlords more in order to recoup costs and maintain their margins. The only question was how much of a hike landlords would be prepared to accept.
“Landlords are voting with their feet and opting to forego paying inflated fees for the services of letting agents. This goes to show that landlords will only pay what they believe the service is worth and no more.
”A good letting agent can provide a great deal of value to landlords who do not wish to manage their own properties, but this shows that it is not essential to an increasing number of landlords.
“Responsible landlords can, and do, self-manage, saving themselves thousands of pounds.”