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Shamplina Speaks: Letting agents are landlords' allies today

In the recent landlord sentiment survey conducted by the Property Redress Scheme, it came as no surprise to me to discover that a significant 65% of landlords still opt to self-manage their properties. Therefore, what I am about to say might be somewhat unpopular, though it is a sentiment I stand by.

It is time we cast a spotlight on letting agents and the invaluable contributions they bring to the table when navigating the complexities of property management. In a landscape where the constant proposals of new regulations seem to change faster than you can say "Section 21", it is crucial to recognise the pivotal role that letting agents play.

Most recently, I've observed three categories of landlord: those that remain unaware of impending changes, those who are understandably perplexed by them, or, commendably, some who are taking proactive steps to safeguard their interests. I firmly believe that in today's climate, the majority of landlords (who do not ‘landlord’ as a full-time profession), require more than mere intuition or DIY efforts to thrive; they need the guidance and expertise that reputable letting agents can provide. However, in reality it would appear (and most likely for cost-saving reasons) the number of landlords self-managing is actually increasing rather than decreasing (65% in 2023 compared to 56.3% in 2022 according to the survey).


Letting agents can serve as the guiding hand that many landlords are hesitant to assume. While it may require some financial investment, isn't it a worthwhile expenditure when weighed against the consequences of noncompliance or throwing the towel in (assuming that is a last resort for you)?

Now, more than ever, the role of letting agents in ensuring compliance, maximising returns, managing often challenging tenancies and providing peace of mind cannot be overstated. Whether opting for a full management service or adopting a hybrid approach, as 19% of landlords do, engaging with letting agents represents a prudent investment in long-term success.

In the face of evolving regulations and mounting complexities, let us recognise the value of letting agents as indispensable partners in the journey of property management.

In my decades of experience in the field, I've seen it all. From DIY landlords struggling to keep up with the ever-evolving legal landscape, to horror stories of rogue letting agents leaving their clients high and dry, I've witnessed the full spectrum of property management nightmares, so I fully understand the trepidation. But in this cloud of uncertainty, reputable letting agents are poised to shine brighter than ever before.

With the impending changes in legislation, such as the ban on Section 21 and the introduction of periodic tenancies, the stakes have never been higher for landlords. The overwhelming majority (67.5%) of landlords indicate that legislation is the biggest challenge they face (PRS 2023 sentiment survey). This is a steep increase compared to the 2022 survey, when legislation was a top concern for well under half (39%) of landlords. This contradicts why the majority of landlords still choose to self-manage. Now, more than ever, landlords need to rely on the expertise of letting agents to navigate these choppy waters.

Whether you're a seasoned landlord or just dipping your toes into the world of property investment, the message remains the same: let the professionals handle it. Sure, you may have had a bad experience with a letting agent in the past, but don't let that sour you on the idea of full management. The key is finding a letting agent who truly understands your needs and has the expertise to deliver results.

When it comes to choosing the right agent, it's all about professionalism and communication. Letting agents should demonstrate their deep understanding of the local market and how regulatory changes will impact you as a landlord and your investment. It’s down to letting agents to instil confidence and peace of mind in landlords who may be feeling overwhelmed by the complexities of property management.

Furthermore, while it has been nearly five years since a report by Lord Best recommended setting up an independent regulator for property agents, last week the House of Lords Industry and Regulators Committee called on the Government to take immediate action to act on existing plans for more regulation of property agents to protect landlords, tenants, and other stakeholders.

This long-overdue move towards professionalising the industry will not only protect landlords from unscrupulous behaviour, but also elevate good letting agents to the status of respected professionals they deserve, giving landlords the confidence to work with them.

Landlords, in these uncertain times, letting agents are your allies and partners in property management success. Embrace the expertise, lean on their knowledge, and together, weather the storm.


Paul Shamplina has joined forces with the National Landlord Investment Show to offer a dynamic educational day designed to empower landlords in efficiently managing their property businesses. This event ‘Landlords - How to Survive and Thrive in 2024’ taking place on Wednesday 5 June 2024 at Hamilton House, London, is designed by a team with decades of experience at the ground level of how to survive and thrive with constant changes in the economy, the rental market, regulation, legislation and taxation. https://www.landlordinvestmentshow.co.uk/landlord-plus  


Paul Shamplina is founder of Landlord Action, Chief Commercial Officer at Hamilton Fraser, and is on Channel 5's 'Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords' * 

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    I read this article with interest. I am a small residential property owner, three properties (although a larger commercial interest) I had always managed the one residential property because I live next to it. When I bought the other two last year, I appointed the estate agent to manage them for me. They are an old established company, very well known. I was confident they would do a good job for me. I was wrong. I ended up doing their job, I could never get hold of their lettings department, nor could my tenants. All that was happening was that they were taking their almost 10% fee. I have, therefore, cancelled my management contract with them. Perhaps others have had similar experiences.


    Estate agent? First mistake. Always use a dedicated Letting Agent and ideally an independent. The NALS/Safeagent website gives you potential agents in your area and their members have to jump through many hoops annually to stay members. I know, because I jump through them! 😂

    Expecting all agents to be perfect is as impossible to expect all landlords to be perfect and we complain when every bad one is revealed that “not all landlords are like that”.😊 Well, not all agents are like that one either.😉


    Use a local independent, the big nationals are a waste of time they employ wet behind the ears boys and girls fresh from uni who haven't a clue


    Well said, Andrew.


    After 33 years as a landlord, I can safely say the majority of letting agents are useless. They do not realise the landlord is the client and tenants are just tenants. Their priority is always get a new tenant in quick.. Which is fine.. provided you are not a fussy landlord.. Most agents have no sympathy with you being "fussy" and the amount putting in bad tenants shows a "scatter gun" approach.. If a small agent has (say) 600 properties...One or two not paying is not a problem.. They think it better to let out all 600 and risk default rather than have properties empty. However, for a small landlord, one or two defaults is a disaster. I firmly recommend that all landlords carefully check tenant references and ask for more info.
    Eg confirmation of previous landlord, work reference confirming full time contract, credit check and bank statements and pay slips. Previous registered on electoral role (or good reason why not)... Previous Council Tax record. No photo copies

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    I self manage and won't /dont use any Agent. Agents dont have 'skin in the game' they are peripheral actors driven by the need to generate commission on rent and secondary services. They dont have legal accountability unlike the LL who certainly does, and in my experience are too frequently ignorent of tenancy legislation.
    IMHO they are an active risk and provide poor value for money generally.


    Sorry you feel that way and choose to gerneralise. No doubt SBR would generalise and class you as a "rouge" landlord and JT would just string you up from the nearest lampost.b As an agent AND landlord I can assure you that I have "skin in the game" and manage all properties as if they were my own. Unfortunately not all landlords take my advice and, when it inevitably goes wrong it is, of course, my fault.

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    I self manage but on occasion I have used some Agents, the 20% vat tax on top of the fees is a killer, now that they have invented so much more administration and with
    licensing costs added + Deposit Schemes, now they are determined to prevent you
    from self managing. All this extra burden is designed to stop us. That’s why I gave up taking Deposits when they made it a liability instead of a protection back in 2007, that’s one thing out of the way. Now here they come with a redress Scheme what for and to Redress Whom we are the ones with the property with most to loose so do you want us to Redress some them as well.
    I know what’s wrong Computerisations gone to your heads we didn’t have any of this nonsense before. Sorry to say you are all doing non-jobs take the buttons away and you are finished. How did we manage for Decades before.
    M Foley 46 years a Landlord and Campaigned from 1978 to 1988 to have Section 21 introduced and only for Sir George Young a thorough gentleman it might never have happened and none of would be sitting there calling all the shots or there wouldn’t be any Private lettings either to rob & destroy so think on.


    choose a small agent who does not meet the VAT threshold.

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    I had used a letting management Agent a subsidiary of a large Company that went bust by siphoning off the money to do Development work and got away with it.
    They Bankrupted the Company and didn’t have to pay back. They got well behind with my rent when I applied pressure they sent me 2 cheques that bounced. I went to their Office in Earlsfield locked with the door slightly open on a chain and girl talking out to about 30 angry people Tenants & Landlords alike, so I knew the game was up and went home.
    No one got their money back the Receiver got £20k there was £4’600. left over which went into a Residuary Body in Birmingham (a black hole) I was told I might be able to claim something from there, some chance.

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    I used a national agency to do tenant find only, they decided to do it as managed, even though all documents were find only. When they had all documents sorted I asked why I was missing a copy of the dps receipt, oops sorry we forgot to protect the deposit!! Why would I want them to manage full time, what a joke!

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    "I used a national agency" - that was your first mistake. Never use a corporate agency and yes, I used to work for one. Very rigid, no flexibility.

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    I had an Agent come to look at my property posing as a potential Tenant had secretly taken a photo I didn’t know any difference until I looked in a relatively new Agents Window by chance to see how the market was . I couldn’t believe my eyes when I seen my house in there I suppose giving the impression he had more to let than he had.
    I had another agent opposite Ealing Broadway Station that seen my property advertised and rang me to know if I would use him but no deal was done and I let it myself, the Tenants moved-in.
    A week later 3 girls from Leicester arrived at the House, my Tenants answered the door, they said we come to move-in, my Tenants said we are renting this place you can’t move in here.
    They went back to the Agent who had closed and disappeared with their Deposit & one months rent it made front page of the local News Paper at the time I still have the cutting somewhere.
    We could write the book but now we are required to learn how to be a landlord by Digital Academics or else.

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    Whilst most of the advice and content here is sound, from a purely personal viewpoint, it's not at all valid.

    Firstly, no agent cares like I do. I have six properties which we renovated ourselves to a high standard and we carefully choose our tenants. The entire process, from their request to view, their actual viewing and all the references form part of picture of who is renting... and then in the final selection we view where they currently live. In doing so we've drastically reduced the odds of bad renters, such that we've never actually had a horrendous story in 20+years.

    Secondly, property knowledge. It's not just the agent costs but the ancillaries on who they appoint to fix things. Since we did the renovation, we know everything about our properties and all agents are at best a disadvantage and at worst learning at our expenses.

    Thirdly, cost. I would be more than happy to pay for value added or hassle reduced... but since the agents don't vet as well, don't know the property as well, and don't have a relationship with the neighbours (as we do) they offer little in the way of value and they add to costs. Moreover, I don't accept they know the legal changes any better. Their source of such information comes from their associations, forums and public sources, which are freely avalable to landlords. Granted agents sole business involves such complexities and landlords might have other interests, but it's not that difficult to read, subscribe and keep up.


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