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Landlords reveal what they REALLY think of letting agents

A new survey from an experienced company in the private rental sector has revealed shocking findings about what landlords really think of letting agents.

More than four in 10 landlords claim their agents charge too much, and one in six has been hit with an unexpected fee according to the study of 1,205 UK landlords commissioned by Total Landlord Insurance.

While 57 per cent believe the fees they are charged by their letting agent are fair, a hefty 42 per cent think the reverse. What’s more, 18 per cent say the service they receive from agents is below average or poor. 


Sixty one per cent stated that they had never experienced a late rental payment, with the majority of those who have stating it was the fault of the tenant or another issue such as banking or technical problems. However, five per cent of landlords say they have had to wait for their rental income as a result of their letting agent. 

Sixteen per cent claim their agent has previously made unexpected deductions to rental income without discussing why before doing so. 

The most common reason given was for maintenance work on the property carried out by the agent's contractors, with additional management fees, a gas certificate, electrical safety checks and tenant finding fees also ranking high. 

Eddie Hooker, chief executive of the Hamilton Fraser Group - which owns Total Landlord Insurance - says: “I’m not entirely surprised by these results. Fees are always going to be a contentious issue, especially in the current climate, with many landlords still struggling financially from the impact of COVID on their tenants and added to this, now the cost of living crisis. 

“Many landlords have unfortunately had to foot the bill. However, while some landlords may feel that the fees charged by their letting agent are too high, this survey shows that the majority do believe they pay a fair price.

“This is undoubtedly due to the perceived value they feel their agent brings and there’s no doubt that the quality of service provided is an area the industry has improved on in recent years.”

Hooker says one of the most prominent complaints is unexpected charges made to landlords by their agent. 

He continues: “These disputes can quite often be avoided by clearer, more frequent communication. The majority of landlords don’t tend to dispute the charge itself, but the surprise nature of this reduction in rental income can often leave them in a problematic situation.

“Agents can help reduce these kinds of complaints by forewarning their landlord customers of any charges they may not be expecting. This will help landlords to manage their own financial obligations in advance and this in turn will prevent a dispute reaching the PRS redress scheme more often than not.

“And a final message is for landlords to routinely ask their agent whether their rental money is protected by client money protection insurance. Despite being a mandatory requirement for letting agents, many do not have this insurance which could leave landlords high and dry if their agent absconds with their rental monies.”

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.

  • George Dawes

    I’ve got shops and flats , I like my letting agents - Strutt and Parker , very efficient, friendly etc etc

    I can’t say the same about my commercials agents - chocolate teapot comes to mind


    I cannot comment about Strutt and Parker never used them, W H Brown are worse than useless, my little local independent, Spencer Ward here in Norwich are brilliant

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    I only use them for tenant find, and my vetting criteria is brutal, so I only accept the very best, reject far more than I think they would like 👍🏻. So for me they are good.

  • Matthew Payne

    Only about perception of value, not the expense itself. Generally, bad experience is driven 99% of the time by poor process as opposed to incompetance or negligence, and thats easy to control...if you know how.

  • Daniela Provvedi

    TBH I don't really care what people think of their Letting Agents. We can choose whether we want to use them or not.
    What I am interested in, however, is the fees LL pay their LA for doing (for example) a Full Management? @Andrew and @George, would you be willing to share what percentage your LA charge you?

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    My letting agent, concentric, charge 15%, including VAT. They increased their fees after the tenant fees act.

    Daniela Provvedi

    Thanks Edwin. It helps to know.

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    Daniela, my friend it’s a bit much to be asking personal questions. However in London generally find fee is 9% and might get full management for 15% worked out on a full years rent take basic, all plus 20% vat,(you may a local one cheaper).
    Its a difficult pill to swallow if you are not getting market
    rents and clobbered with Regulation’s, although you are probably better off with find only service as previously said, they will collect the initial rent and deduct their fees incl’ some other costs for Tenant checking etc. Then after that have the money paid directly into your Bank Acc’ by the Tenants. When LA do the collection service you start getting your money a month later and more even when they have received it. I had a one bed Flat with an Agent they managed to get seven thousand pounds late paying me even though the Tenant had paid, it was a battle royal to get my money of them. I have to doubt they intended to diddle me but it became clear I was going to take action then they coughed up, one of the advantages of having the money paid directly to your bank, it’s all provable.

    Daniela Provvedi

    Michael, my friend, you make me laugh.....
    On the one hand you think I'm asking personal questions but yet on the other hand you provide me with a whole lot of information (that I didn't ask for) ;-)

    It's not personal to ask what percentage your LA charges you. Mine, in London, is in line with what both yourself and Edwin Morris said, ie. 15%. I'm pleased that I'm not being taken for a ride. My LA is brilliant and deserves every penny of that 15% that she makes from me.

    You share a lot of personal information on this forum, Michael. If you didn't want to answer me, you didn't have to. :-)


    As I've said before I'm very happy with the agent I use and happy to pay their fee, also the rent is paid into my bank account the same day that they receive it, not all agents are the same, I know of one that pays their landlords quarterly + a month

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    Daniela. I must have misunderstood I thought you were asking George & Andrew to share what % they were paying. Sorry Daniela my humble apologies for that, as for myself I am not bothered what people know at me I am not hiding behind the bush. Best wishes.

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    I've also discovered that my letting agent takes a fee from its contractors !


    I know some take a fee both ways, (from the landlord and from the contractor) mine does not take a fee from either


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