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Thread: Letting out a house without an agency

  1. #1

    Letting out a house without an agency

    Our house is currently being let out through an agency. They are absolutely rubbish and charge a fortune. Tenants are very good. Agency agreement comes to an end this summer but the tenants still want to stay on.

    Weíre thinking of ditching the agents and having a private agreement with the tenants. Anyone done this? Any resources to help out? I am thinking I would need an initial agreement set out with the help of a lawyer, inventory check and a deposit mechanism.

    Would appreciate any feedback if folks have used this route especially any useful resources.

    Thanks a lot in advance!


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  2. #2
    Master -Ally-'s Avatar
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    I don’t use an agency and have had no problems, that said I’ve only been letting for four years to a single good tenant. I used https://www.visum.co.uk to get started.

    If you already have a good tenant then you’re more than half way there.

    Approach any maintenance problems quickly and with the right attitude and they will look after the place, that’s my experience anyway.
    Last edited by -Ally-; 16th April 2018 at 07:43.

  3. #3
    Master
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    My experience (v small portfolio of BTLs):

    When I get a dozen phone calls in a week, complaining about something not working I say "Right, I'm ringing an agent!"

    When that passes, and I get 2 months with no phone calls I say "Am I not glad I didn't ring that agent, giving them money for nothing!"

    This is the conundrum you face.

    With a sitting tenant that you have experience off, in your shoes I'd ditch the agent.

    You can download tenancy agreements online which are great.

    A few tips that were given to me by a friend (with a 50+ unit portfolio) have been great

    1) Get yourself (if you haven't already) acquainted with 2x sparks, 2x plumbers, and a boiler engineer and have them on your phone. Don't go looking when you need one.
    2) Look after any problems quickly for the tenants
    3) Notwithstanding 2, take no crap.

    Something I have discovered myself (and it's proved great so far) is that you can find out so much more about prospective tenants from social media than anywhere else.

    I actually advertise my vacancies on local Buy & Sell pages on Facebook.

    You get bombarded with enquiries, but you can just click into their profiles and filter out the non-desirables pretty quickly.
    Last edited by demonloop; 16th April 2018 at 08:02.

  4. #4
    Grand Master number2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by demonloop View Post

    With a sitting tenant that you have experience off, in your shoes I'd ditch the agent.

    You can download tenancy agreements online which are great.

    A few tips that were given to me by a friend (with a 50+ unit portfolio) have been great

    1) Get yourself (if you haven't already) acquainted with 2x sparks, 2x plumbers, and a boiler engineer and have them on your phone. Don't go looking when you need one.
    2) Look after any problems quickly for the tenants
    3) Notwithstanding 2, take no crap.

    Something I have discovered myself (and it's proved great so far) is that you can find out so much more about prospective tenants from social media than anywhere else.

    You get bombarded with enquiries, but you can just click into their profiles and filter out the non-desirables pretty quickly.
    All of this is great advice, we're slowly taking properties back from our agent as we've developed 'mates rates' with local contractors .
    "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action."

  5. #5
    Craftsman
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    I have a very small portfolio and I use an agent and an accountant, simply because I have a full time job and 2 young children so I simply haven't got the time to deal with small problems during the day.

    Luckily I'm a heating engineer and my father owns a large portfolio so he's always on hand to carry out any small repairs as long as I repair or give advise for any heating problems he has in any of his properties.

  6. #6
    Craftsman
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    Condider joining one of the Landlords Associations as they give access to a lot of advice & assistance:

    https://landlords.org.uk/nla-homepage
    https://www.rla.org.uk/

  7. #7
    Grand Master number2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pointy View Post
    Condider joining one of the Landlords Associations as they give access to a lot of advice & assistance:

    https://landlords.org.uk/nla-homepage
    https://www.rla.org.uk/
    I'd second this, very good knowledge base.
    "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action."

  8. #8
    If itís one or two properties and they arenít too far away - then Iíd sort it myself. Itís all about the potential hassle, or potential of hassle for me
    It's just a matter of time...

  9. #9
    Journeyman
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    all good advice so far. I was in a similar position and would recommend you have a conversation with you agent first. It didn't take much but mine lowered their percentage fairly quickly from 15% to 8% fully managed, which within London is pretty good.

  10. #10
    Craftsman Maysie's Avatar
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    My agent charged me around £150 for their handyman to 'attend and repair the bath' in my old rental property, on top of the regular 14% I was paying them to manage the rental.

    When the tenant finally moved out and I visited the property for the first time in ages, I noticed that the 'handyman' had stuck a Tescos Clubcard to the bottom of the bath with silicone mastic to repair a hole caused by the tenant dropping something through the base of the bath.

    The agents ongoing services were swiftly terminated.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by ray_li30 View Post
    all good advice so far. I was in a similar position and would recommend you have a conversation with you agent first. It didn't take much but mine lowered their percentage fairly quickly from 15% to 8% fully managed, which within London is pretty good.
    Are London rates higher?

  12. #12
    Master Mr Curta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by demonloop View Post
    1) Get yourself (if you haven't already) acquainted with 2x sparks, 2x plumbers, and a boiler engineer and have them on your phone. Don't go looking when you need one.
    Or 1 x fireman. I'm not kidding - incredible range of skilled and qualified contacts.

    Our properties are necessarily fully managed but the (small independent) agents we use always contact us if there is an issue, along with their own quote, so that we can arrange repair ourselves if we prefer.

  13. #13
    Journeyman
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    I have a good local agent who uses my preferred contractors and charges me 8% plus vat. These costs are offset against tax. I try to not get involved personally with tenants, it can save a lot of hassle being too familiar and keeps it all professional. My only really bad letting experience was letting to a friend without using agency. He was soon a former friend! I wonít make that mistake again. There are good agents out there, you just have to hunt them down. Good luck


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  14. #14
    Journeyman
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    Are London rates higher?
    experience from my small portfolio, yes there is a difference in rates.

  15. #15
    Craftsman
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    We have a couple of lets, Have used an agent to find tenants then "go it alone" I have a tenancy agreement in place, need to use a service like DPS,(Deposit Protection Scheme) and as said before handy if you have access to a few plumbers, sparks and general maintenance people. Like others have found that if you treat tenants well , they usually will do the same. We have had only one "iffy" experience in over 8 years. Good Luck, John B4

  16. #16
    Journeyman
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    I let my flat through upad and had plenty of viewings. Then had an Agency contact me saying they'd get me my rent and anything on top they would take as their cut. In the end it worked out great and I pay less than 4% for let.

  17. #17
    Craftsman
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    This is a useful site - £180 pa but tax deductible!

    Should ensure you get the formalities right, which is critical.

    https://www.landlordlaw.co.uk

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by demonloop View Post
    My experience (v small portfolio of BTLs):

    When I get a dozen phone calls in a week, complaining about something not working I say "Right, I'm ringing an agent!"

    When that passes, and I get 2 months with no phone calls I say "Am I not glad I didn't ring that agent, giving them money for nothing!"

    This is the conundrum you face.

    With a sitting tenant that you have experience off, in your shoes I'd ditch the agent.

    You can download tenancy agreements online which are great.

    A few tips that were given to me by a friend (with a 50+ unit portfolio) have been great

    1) Get yourself (if you haven't already) acquainted with 2x sparks, 2x plumbers, and a boiler engineer and have them on your phone. Don't go looking when you need one.
    2) Look after any problems quickly for the tenants
    3) Notwithstanding 2, take no crap.

    Something I have discovered myself (and it's proved great so far) is that you can find out so much more about prospective tenants from social media than anywhere else.

    I actually advertise my vacancies on local Buy & Sell pages on Facebook.

    You get bombarded with enquiries, but you can just click into their profiles and filter out the non-desirables pretty quickly.
    This is all great advice!

    One other thing, always always do inspections - at least once every three months. A family member let out a property about 18 months ago and didnít do an inspection - the woman was there for six months or so. We know the neighbours and bumped into them in the loca shop one Saturday, they happened to mention the police were regulars at the address. I passed this info on to said family member who arranged an inspection.

    My word, what he found, was outrageous. Worse than any TV program Iíve ever seen (ďTenants From HellĒ and the like), the place was trashed and had to be taken back to the bricks and completely replastered in every room but one.

    So yeah, managing it yourself is definitely do-able, just donít forego regular inspections whatever you do.

  19. #19
    Craftsman
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    Quote Originally Posted by ray_li30 View Post
    experience from my small portfolio, yes there is a difference in rates.
    It depends... I pay 8% for my place to be managed in NE London and that seemed to be the going rate with little haggling needed.


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  20. #20
    Thanks a lot for the useful information and the useful links above. It helps me a lot. Also makes me a lot more comfortable letting out the property without an agent in the middle. Thanks again guys!

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