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Law expert urges landlords to use not-for-profit agencies, not private ones

A housing law expert says landlords should consider using not-for-profit letting agencies, claiming they have “no big overheads” and have a strong record of vetting tenants accurately, reducing void periods and guaranteering rent income. 

Julie Ford, who has over 15 years experience advising landlords and tenants in the private rental sector, says landlords and agents are increasingly choosing ‘safe’ options by not considering benefit claimant tenants. 

But she says there is an alternative. Social lettings agents are not-for-profit so have no big overheads to cover; we don’t advertise on all the big portals and we have the tenants vetted and ready to move in so you have no void period” she says.

“The main benefit of social letting agents is the rent guarantee lease option which pays you an agreed rental every month even if we don’t receive the rent. Social lettings agents will also cover maintenance costs and with no renewal fees or added hidden extras the savings just keep coming” claims Ford on her blog.

She suggests not-for-profit agents charge less than the average 14 per cent to 20 per cent she claims is the norm for private agents. In one example she quotes, a not for profit agent offers full management at only eight per cent “with no added extras - you will receive your rent each month in full and on time and we will look after the maintenance for your too.”

In recent weeks Letting Agent Today has reported on a council-run not-for-profit agency, Move 51⁰ North, set up by Haringey council in London. 

Several weeks after its launch it has no properties for let on its website - up to late yesterday - despite a special offer of 50 per cent off the initial 12 months’ management fees for the first 25 landlords. The one property is had recently advertised is now described as being let.  

A BBC report into Move 51⁰ North claims the council in question anticipates the agency will cost £1.37m before it makes a surplus, predicted for 2019.

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