Over four in 10 BTL landlords believe their agent charges too much



Some 42% of private landlords believe letting agents charge too much for the service they provide, according to a new study.

The survey of 1,205 UK landlords commissioned by Total Landlord Insurance also revealed that 56% of respondents are happy with the service provided by their letting agent, but believe that their agent should charge less.

In fact, 16% of those who took part in the research said that they had received additional charges from agents without any forewarning.

The latest industry insight also showed that while many people would like to pay less, the majority of landlords – 57% – accept that the fees they are charged by their letting agent are fair. Just 1% believe that they should be charged more.

More than half of landlords – 56% – rated the service provided by their letting agent as above average to excellent, while just 18% stated it was below average to poor.

Some 61% stated that they had never experienced a late rental payment, with the majority of those who have – 33% – stating it was the fault of the tenant or another issue such as banking or technical problems. Leaving just 5% to have had to wait for their rental income as a result of their letting agent.

However, 16% did reveal that their letting agent has previously made unexpected deductions to this rental income without discussing why before doing so.

The most common reason given was for maintenance work on the property carried out by the agent’s contractors, with additional management fees, a gas certificate, electrical safety checks and tenant finding fees also ranking high.

Eddie Hooker, CEO of the Hamilton Fraser Group, who operate industry schemes such as Total Landlord Insurance, the Property Redress Scheme and Client Money Protect, said: “I’m not entirely surprised by these results. Fees are always going to be a contentious issue, especially in the current climate, with many landlords still struggling financially from the impact of COVID on their tenants and added to this, now the cost of living crisis.

“Many landlords have unfortunately had to foot the bill. However, while some landlords may feel that the fees charged by their letting agent are too high, this survey shows that the majority do believe they pay a fair price.

“This is undoubtedly due to the perceived value they feel their agent brings and there’s no doubt that the quality of service provided is an area the industry has improved on in recent years.

“Despite this, misunderstandings do still happen and one of the most prominent complaints we receive from landlords through the Property Redress Scheme is unexpected charges made to them by their agent.

“This can be due to a range of factors, but more often than not, it’s down to maintenance work carried out on their property by the agent’s contractors.”

 

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