Letting Supermarket provides massive cost saving opportunities for private landlords


Mark Alexander - Published on 29/05/2013
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Letting Supermarket provides massive cost saving opportunities for private landlordsI am a non-exec Director of Letting Supermarket, an ARLA member letting agency which we have been recommending to Property118 readers since the end of 2012.

The feedback received from landlords we’ve referred has been superb with savings of 50% or more being reported when compared to other ARLA member letting agents.

Letting Supermarket achieve these savings by centralising their administration and appointing qualified inventory clerks to arrange viewings and of course inventories, check in and check out of tenants.

Savings are important of course but so is service and that’s why I’m so very pleased to be associated with another business which has the same outlook as I do in terms of providing service excellence. The similarities in the core values of the owners, as well as the growth prospects for the Letting Supermarket business, convinced the partners of Property118 that acquiring a 26% stake in Letting Supermarket was a very worthwhile investment.

Letting Supermarket’s most popular arrangement, for landlords who prefer to outsource their property management, is a fixed fee service priced at just £25 per month per property plus VAT and includes:-

  • Visiting your property, taking particulars and floor plans.
  • Setting up an online account to store your documentation so it can be accessed at any time
  • Advertising your property on the major property portals (Rightmove, Zoopla etc.)
  • Viewings and periodic property checks
  • Referencing tenants and guarantors
  • Inventory and schedule of condition prepared by an AIIC qualified inventory professional
  • Tenancy and Guarantor Agreements
  • Taking meter readings on check in and check out and informing utility companies of tenancy change over
  • Deposit protection registration with DPS
  • Rent Collection with payment forwarded to your account by BACS and monthly rental statement
  • Check out inventory at the end of the tenancy

Note that HMO’s are priced slightly differently but fees are equally competitive.

No up front fees are charged to landlords whatsoever if a full management arrangement is agreed.

Letting Supermarket also provide a let only package for landlords in England and Wales which includes advertising on all major portals, tenant referencing and 12 months rent guarantee insurance for just £97 + VAT. This package has been particularly attractive to landlords who prefer to self manage.

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Comments

  • Does this not compromises your and 118’s position as an independent adviser to others?


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  • To a certain extent I suppose it does Don, on the other hand it also gives me an alternative perspective of the industry and the discussions on Property118 help me to add value to the Letting Supermarket offering. My non-exec Directorship with Letting Supermarket isn’t my only one. Please remember, Property118 is a free resource to enable landlords and letting agents to share best practice. In addition to that, I have significant experience in business and in marketing which I am happy to share in return for payment. I also provide consultancy on SEO for example. In the case of Letting Supermarket, I am very confident in their business model, as are my business partners. Accordingly, we have acquired a share in the business.

    So far as Property118 goes, we will continue to facilitate the sharing of best practice and letting agents such as your good self Don are very welcome to join in discussions. We will also continue to invite agents with good local knowledge to provide buy to let property hotspots articles, just as you did. There is no “one size fits all” and some people will prefer to deal with a letting agent where they can pop into the office for a chat and a coffee. Horses for courses I suppose. I believe you did very well out of that article? It didn’t compromise us though did it?

    I doubt we will have many online letting agents using the Property118 website as a result of this but to be fair, we never did anyway.

    Thanks for taking the time to raise the question. I suspect several others will have been thinking the same thing.
    Mark Alexander recently posted…Building my property portfolio – your thoughts please?My Profile


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  • Hi Don,
    I am Mark’s business partner, but as you can tell a bit shy of the limelight compared to him.
    Recommending and partnering with LettingSupermarket was a decision that I felt was right for our readers as we have worked with Tony and Chris for some time now. You can’t really be independent and give advice as you never get to know a company well enough to do so.
    Letting SuperMarket are ARLA members with client money protection, and offer a very cost competitive service. They have a quality inventory service which stops a lot of the more common disputes and with so much talk about regulation of the industry I really felt it was best to offer a point of contact to readers where we knew all the boxes were ticked.
    It would be easy to accept paid for advertising from many online letting agents, which is now not an option, but I prefer to think that if someone needs help they can go on Property118 find our lettings tab and I know they will receive a good service. That does not mean that there are not many great Letting agents out there, but we have one of them that we know is.


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  • I am interested to hear of any landlords experience of using this company.

    Thanks.


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  • From a tenants perspective. They charge 200 pounds plus vat.

    On their website, I think the fee is slightly misrepresented ie :-
    Setting up an online account to store your documentation so it can be accessed at any time
    Full referencing of tenants and guarantors – this includes writing to your previous landlord or mortgage company, lifestyle referencing, credit scoring, employers or accountants references. Some landlords also request sight of three months bank statement and proof of identity and residence (e.g. driving licence, passport, utility bills)
    Inventory and schedule of condition prepared by an AIIC/APIP qualified inventory professional on check in and check out
    Tenancy and Guarantor Agreements
    Taking meter readings on check in and check out and informing utility companies of tenancy change over
    Lodging your Deposit with DPS and issuing a deposit protection certificate
    Unprotecting and refunding your deposit on check out
    Providing a valid Gas Safety Certificate
    Providing a valid EPC (Energy Performance Certificate

    Are not the last two paid for by the landlord? You’re not taking payment for these twice?

    I don’t mind trying to switch but I would prefer the tenant pays a lower fee without these added on to the initial application/referencing charge?
    Can this be done?


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  • These charges do not sound unreasonable. A local agent’s fees are a bit more:

    GUIDE TO TENANTS
    You will want an estimate of the costs of renting thorough us. Here is a guide to standard costs (including VAT) payable to us as your landlord’s agent. Some of these will vary dependent upon our client’s instructions, the size of the property and the agreed terms of the tenancy agreement you sign.
    Once your offer on a property is agreed, our fees upon your application:
     Applicant administration fee: £160 (for each prospective tenant)
     Guarantor administration fee: £160 (for each prospective guarantor)
     £80 (where responses to reference checks not provided within 30 days of
    application date)
    Fees Before you move in:
    Where a credit card is used: 2.5% of the transaction amount.
    Fees During Tenancy or Before Tenancy is Renewed:
     Administration fee: £34 (on each occasion where rent is not paid by standing order)
     Tenancy renewal fee: £99.96 (plus £49.98 per tenant should the landlord wish to re-reference), or £49.98
    where a tenancy becomes a statutory periodic tenancy for whatever reason
     Re-presented cheques: £75
     Gas and electrical safety appointment: £90 per hr (where tenant requests CGEAL to attend in place of
    the tenant)
     Tenancy Agreement Renewal: £75 (where a re-issue is required due to tenant providing inaccurate
    information)
    Fees when you vacate:
     The amount of the independent inventory clerk’s invoice for conducting the check-out if so stated in the Tenancy Agreement. See the Vacation at End of Tenancy and Deposit Disbursal section in this guide for how much. Any price quoted can be expected to rise by the amount of inflation over the term of the tenancy.
     If stated in the tenancy agreement, the cost of having the property and its contents professionally cleaned. The cost will depend on the size of the property and the amount of cleaning required.
     The amount of any agreed compensation for not returning the property in the condition it was at the start of the tenancy fair wear and tear excepted. See the Vacation at End of Tenancy and Deposit Disbursal section.
     Early termination (where agreed with the landlord): 3 weeks’ rent (plus VAT) (these are our fees for acting for you to find a new tenant: you can make your own marketing arrangements); £160 towards the landlord’s administration costs of setting up a new tenancy; and £19.98 towards the landlord’s administration costs of registering the deposit with the TDS (Tenancy Deposit Scheme) should the landlord be registered with this scheme.
     Administration fee for mid-tenancy swap of a tenant: £99.96 (for the landlord’s administration fee, payable by the tenant)
     Administration fees for tenancy swap: £99.96 per existing tenant or guarantor when referencing required; £49.98 per existing tenant when referencing is not required;
     Administration fee to refund payments: £34.50 (where a tenant fails to cancel their standing order and pays rent not due after the end of the tenancy)
     Administration fee for arranging contractors: £34.50 for each individual contractor arranged.
     Reference request fee: £18.
    Other charges for non-compliance with the terms of the tenancy agreement are set out in the following guide in the relevant section.

    http://www.rbbproperty.co.uk/pdf/guidetotenants.pdf


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  • It’s not whether they are unreasonable…
    it’s whether they misrepresent what the charges are for.

    Tenants do not pay for the gas certificate etc


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