Prominent landlord Liz Hodgkinson has hit out at the allegedly-high fees of letting agents who offer full management services, claiming their use of favoured contractors can lead to excessive charges for repairs.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Hodkinson says: “Many landlords find that full management actually creates headaches rather than removing them. Because so many agents these days use their own contractors, you cannot get the best price for the job. You often get charged top whack – plus commission.”
Hodgkinson, a landlord for over 20 years and a prominent contributor to property conferences and the media, says she has never bought into full-management.
“I take the vastly cheaper lettings-only option and then self-manage. Agents will do their utmost to persuade you to go for management, but this is not compulsory. My agents just find me the tenant and then it’s up to me” she says.
“This means I protect the deposit, I collect the rent, I arrange for certificates and safety checks, and I see to maintenance and repairs, using my own contractors and handymen. I also write out my own inventory, check the tenants out and return the deposit to them. Yes, it does mean extra work, but it hardly requires a PhD in estate management.”
Hodgkinson claims that landlords are generally unscrupulous, as they are sometimes depicted, but are often lazy and fearful.
“The fear is often engendered, it has to be said, by letting agents who do their utmost to make the process sound more complicated than it actually is. Those landlords who just want the money, but don’t want to be bothered either with tenants or maintenance, are sitting ducks for wily letting agents” she claims.