Letting Agents are seen as a hindrance rather than a help for the majority of property investors, with 88 per cent of those surveyed by HomeRenter claiming to prefer to let directly to their tenants.
The research found that private landlords had several frustrations with the services of agents. The primary issues were found to be high fees coupled with a poor service, something 52 per cent cited as a problem. Bad tenants found by agents were found to be an issue for 50 per cent of those surveyed, whilst 42 per cent blamed poor tax rules. 37 per cent found regulations stressful, whilst 33 per cent took general issues with admin.
The draft Tenant Fees Bill is set to see letting fees for tenants banned in the UK. However, some expect that this could lead to the quality of service from agents to decline. This has led to several landlords beginning to consider self-managing their properties in order to avoid paying potentially higher fees to letting agents.
70 percent of tenants would also prefer to rent directly from a landlord. However, a mere 45 per cent claim to be happy renting in general. The key issues with the private rental sector for tenants come from unreasonable letting admin fees, a problem for 42 per cent of those surveyed, and having to chase for repairs and maintenance, 41 per cent.
36 per cent were unhappy paying security deposits, whilst 33 per cent claimed that they received poor service from letting agents.
James Kent, a landlord from Surrey, explained his reasons for preferring not to use an agent’s services: ‘I initially went through the lettings team of the nearest high street agent before being introduced to an online renting platform. My partner and I felt the high-street fees weren’t aligned to the service on offer, especially as we were prepared to go down more of a do-it-yourself approach to managing our properties. The main benefit of using an online renting platform is cost saving. There are other benefits too such as streamlining the admin and getting a better idea of exactly who is renting your property from you. It’s important to meet tenants in person to round out the referencing process and to establish a rapport which helps ensure a successful tenancy.’
Chief executive of HomeRenter, Will Handley, said: ‘There is a clear dissatisfaction from both landlords and tenants towards traditional estate agents. The majority from both groups feel the service provided is not up to scratch and would rather cut out the middle man and connect privately with their landlord.’