Agents – Best to stay or run away?

Agents – Best to stay or run away?

9:40 AM, 18th June 2024, About 4 weeks ago 11

Text Size

Back in August 2022, I became an accidental landlord and it’s been an interesting learning curve. I’ve been quite lucky that I’ve had good tenants and the property is still in good condition. However, the issue has been the letting agents with which I’ve had consistent issues.

I decided to use agents because we were moving home for work and we weren’t going to be anywhere close to manage the property, so wanted someone to manage it to take some of the stress away.

Unfortunately, it’s been nothing but hassle from them. They ordered work on the property without authorisation. They used their own contractors even though I had expressed instructions to use my own. Along with a couple of other issues, I decided to file a complaint with the Property Ombudsmen who ruled in my favour, all of which occurred over 2022/2023.

Back at the beginning of 2024 they decided to increase the charges. We deliberated leaving at the time but in the end decided to stay, as my partner and I have a busy year planned, and managed to get the fees renegotiated.

Following this, they are allowing us to have a 6-month review so if we want to leave we can do without penalty. We discussed a nominal rent increase (£25) as there hadn’t been an increase since the beginning of the tenancy. Three months on and the increase still hasn’t taken effect, although they have been happy to deduct the fee for the admin for it. We are now back to deciding on whether to stay or leave the estate agents.

I wanted to know what experience people had with agents and without them. Our concern is the distance between us and the property as well as the potential changes that may come from the government. I’m not concerned about the tenants but if I leave the agents we lose the zero deposit scheme the tenants used when they first arrived.

Any past experience or guidance would be appreciated so I can try to make the best decision.

Matthew


Share This Article


Comments

Steve A

Become a Member

If you login or become a member you can view this members profile, comments, posts and send them messages!

Sign Up

10:26 AM, 18th June 2024, About 4 weeks ago

My agent is worth every penny. I can't imagine what I would do without him. He has a waiting list of Landlords wanting his services. I think the difference is he owns the business, he's not an employee of a national chain. He doesn't have upselling targets or commission driven sales. The only downside is he does occasionally take holidays (I know, how can he?) and the person in the office who covers for him isn't as proactive on problems.

GlanACC

Become a Member

If you login or become a member you can view this members profile, comments, posts and send them messages!

Sign Up

10:34 AM, 18th June 2024, About 4 weeks ago

To be honest, I used agents for the first couple of years until I had learnt the 'ropes'. After that and several years later I had 18 properties and only used agents as tenant finders. On 18 properties I would have been shelling out around £900 a month so i saved myself a lot of money.

I know everyone hates the NRLA but its worth it just to access their advice and documents library (up to date ASTs etc, S8's and S21's and flowcharts).

Cathryn Smythson

Become a Member

If you login or become a member you can view this members profile, comments, posts and send them messages!

Sign Up

10:36 AM, 18th June 2024, About 4 weeks ago

I travel extensively so need an agent. I have just sacked the first one, who was terribly slow at dealing with problems, and this enabled me to negotiate a better deal with the new one. If you have an alternative, worth exploring.

Just Be Happy

Become a Member

If you login or become a member you can view this members profile, comments, posts and send them messages!

Sign Up

10:58 AM, 18th June 2024, About 4 weeks ago

Depends on your lifestyle, but if you are busy doing other things (job/travel etc.) then you really want an agent, who as well as managing day-to-day issues with the tenant will also be up-to-date with all the changes in the law and regulations. The last thing you want if self-managing is a call on Christmas Eve because your tenant has locked themselves out, or the boiler's stopped working!

Having said that, you really need to get the right agent - get referrals, check online reviews, and ask plenty of questions to see if they are going to have your interests at heart. See who you click with best.

Finally, don't be afraid to ask for their "best rate" on management fees and set-up fees. Check whether set-up includes inventories, deposit scheme etc. And check the contract terms and conditions - minimum term, cancellation fee, fees due on tenancy renewal - many things can be excluded or negotiated.

Reluctant Landlord

Become a Member

If you login or become a member you can view this members profile, comments, posts and send them messages!

Sign Up

13:37 PM, 18th June 2024, About 4 weeks ago

Use of an agent works for some people and that's understandable. Accepting a bad agent that does not do what they are contracted to do is quite another.

You can either keep reminding them to do what they need to do and accept this and stay with them, or move to another agent. They seemingly have shown no real incentive for you to stay. I think its a black and white decision to be made here.

Personally I'd look for another agent. Vote with your feet. You are paying for a service they are not delivering on.

Michael Booth

Become a Member

If you login or become a member you can view this members profile, comments, posts and send them messages!

Sign Up

15:25 PM, 18th June 2024, About 3 weeks ago

Find another agent who does what you ask .

GlanACC

Become a Member

If you login or become a member you can view this members profile, comments, posts and send them messages!

Sign Up

16:22 PM, 18th June 2024, About 3 weeks ago

Also, specifically ask the agent that if you sell the property to the tenant they don't expect a 2% or 3% 'introduction' fee .. I have seen this on several agents contract terms.

A fedup landlord

Become a Member

If you login or become a member you can view this members profile, comments, posts and send them messages!

Sign Up

20:04 PM, 18th June 2024, About 3 weeks ago

I wouldn't use any agent, they are more trouble than it worth, if there's any repairs needs doing, they still need to get your approval, so what's the point to have a middle man. another problem is with rent payment, if you have a reliable tenant, your rent will be in on the same day each month, with an agent, there is never a fixed date for rent, you end up spending more time managing the agent and chasing for rent. one of my property is far away but I manage it myself, Luckily I always had a good reliable tenants there, they even did a property handover during covid without me being there, while I vet the new tenants myself, my existing tenant did viewing for me. I have never met my current tenant in person, only online when I did required checks. I would say the key for your decision is to find a reliable tenant, someone who respects your house and treats it as their own.

DPT

Become a Member

If you login or become a member you can view this members profile, comments, posts and send them messages!

Sign Up

20:29 PM, 18th June 2024, About 3 weeks ago

If you havent already, join the NRLA and do their foundation training before attempting to self manage.

Rob Crawford

Become a Member

If you login or become a member you can view this members profile, comments, posts and send them messages!

Sign Up

16:19 PM, 19th June 2024, About 3 weeks ago

If you don't have the time / confidence to manage the property yourself, do your homework on deciding what agent will suit you best. Ask yourself: are the agents employees qualified? (they are often students or low paid with no experience, these depend on software prompts rather than real knowledge and experience), seek recommendations from the agents existing landlord clients (and tenants), ask questions ref possible changes in regulations (they should be on the ball), do they have a passion and show respect in what they do and in the manner they address you), how big is their client portfolio (is it too big to be managed effectively and correctly)? What are their fees? Is their complaints process and terms of business acceptable? How much do they charge and does this fee correlate to the labour / materials required to manage your property correctly / efficiently? I personally believe that most agents fees are too low, hence you get a poor service (with low fees they need more properties to balance the books, too many to effectively manage!). It sounds like, in your case, you have been quite specific in some requirements and that these have been accepted by your agent but not acted on. If so this is unacceptable and hence I agree you need to change agent. Good luck. I add, I have yet to find an agent that I'm happy with!

1 2

Leave Comments

In order to post comments you will need to Sign In or Sign Up for a FREE Membership

or

Don't have an account? Sign Up

Landlord Tax Planning Book Now