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Thousands of landlords ditch letting agents and go it alone

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.”

Want to comment on this story? If so...if any post is considered to victimise, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group of individuals on any basis, then the post may be deleted and the individual immediately banned from posting in future.

Poll: Do you tend to use a letting agent or prefer to go it alone?


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    • S S
    • 26 February 2020 11:40 AM

    Self-managed LL can save money in the short term, but as regualtions increase, and qualifications are introduced, it may become more difficult. If all LA need to have qualifications to work in the industry, then any self-managed LL should as well. How can tenants be sure of quality of service/standard/legality if a private LL isn't qualified to work in the industry. And when things go wrong suddenly the self managed wants the help of an agent. Its a tough industry as everyone thinks they can do the job in residential letting and little respect is given to the LA, who works hard, attends professional training, keeps up-to-date with regualtion and legisalation etc - and who only earns if the job is done and done well, yet the LA is considered to be a pariah who doesn't doo anything for their charges. Lawyers get paid regardless of outcomes and in the commercial letting world, many LL wouldn't dream of doing anything with an agent. I just wish that the media would encourage a more positive view of the LA so that LL really understand the benefits rather than simply thinking that thy can do it simply because they have a house, and that tenants have the knowledge that a good LA provides protection for them.


    I decided to self manage my properties because when anything went wrong or needed doing, the agent would contact me and I would have to sort the matter out myself.
    Instead of the agent acting as an intermediary, the tenant contacts me directly to report anything that needs attention.
    In that way, I am saving 10% plus VAT every month and with all the new regulations coming in to which we have to comply, every penny is vital to our survival.
    I do use agents for 'tenant find' purposes, but I will have to review this practice, if it proves to be too expensive.
    Fortunately, I haven't had a property become vacant since the tenant fees ban, so I am not sure what the cost would be of employing an agent to carry out this function when the need arises.

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    You're missing the key point! It shouldn't be beyond someone of integrity and reasonable intelligence to manage the process of finding and keeping good tenants. Instead of everyone vilifying all involved in PRS, it should be recognised the added complexities only work against decent tenants and landlords alike, providing undeserved protection to rogue tenants and ignored by rogue landlords.


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