Light has been shed at last on the long-running uncertainty about why some landlords choose to use lettings agents and some do not.
A survey for Letting Agent Today and Landlord Today, run by industry supplier Hamilton Fraser, received enthusiastic response from both sectors and gives greater understanding than before about the link between the two.
The survey - conducted on Twitter - asked three questions and in each case attracted a significant response:
1. As a landlord, do you use a letting agent currently? (2,217 votes)
- Yes, fully managed - 27.3%
- Sometimes - 15.2%
- No - 48.3%
- Considering doing so - 9.2%
2. If you are likely to use a letting agent in the next 12 months, or if you currently use one, what is the main reason? (1,337 votes)
- More COVID-19 measures - 26.9%
- Increased Private Rental Sector legislation - 18.5%
- Lack of time - 35.7%
- Distance from property - 19%
3. As a result of the pandemic, are you more or less likely to use a letting agent in the next 12 months? (2,506 votes)
- More likely - 16.8%
- Less likely - 56.7%
- Undecided - 26.6%
“Over the past few years the changes to legislation have placed more and more financial burden onto landlords. For example, the tenant fee ban has meant that where letting agents traditionally and legitimately charged tenants for certain services creating tenancies, the new law has prevented them doing so” explains Eddie Hooker, chief executive of Hamilton Fraser, the parent company operating Total Landlord Insurance, mydeposits, Client Money Protect and other products.
“This unfortunately means that the landlord has to foot the bill. Add to this that the changes in taxation for landlords’ earnings from rental properties for many landlords is being squeezed. To save money landlords are increasingly trying to self manage, thus reducing their use of agents” he adds.
“Is not using a traditional agent a false economy? Like in many industries there is an increasing shift to online trading and information is more available now than ever before. Letting agents must up their game and prove value to their customers, which ultimately is the landlord” continues Hooker.
“Agents need to be transparent with their fees, provide the financial protection to their customers and ensure that they are well educated in the business of lettings. There are some very good agents and these are worth their weight in gold. But unfortunately there are also some very poor agents who hit the headlines, tarnishing the reputation of the entire industry.”