Landlord Letting Agent Fees & Much Cheaper Alternatives

Letting Agent Fees

A fellow landlord just dropped a smoking comment in my Rip off letting agents and their terrible service blog post, and it prompted me into sharing and discussing, because it’s a prime example of how some landlords are getting their pants pulled down when it comes to the letting agent fees they’re stumping up for.

Here she is:

I’m currently getting quotes to rent out one of my properties. I’m doing my due diligence and looking at both high street and online agents.

So far a basic let only service (advertise, draw up agreement, reference check, right to rent check) will cost about £2,800 from one of the local agencies. To do the exact same thing using online services will cost me £324. Both will advertise on the same property sites.

You could argue, and the high street agent does, that they have a list of prospective tenants on the books.

OpenRent would argue they get 6+ million visits per month and rent out millions of properties every year.

I’m going with OpenRent.

In the dorkiest way possible, I got giddy while reading the comment, because I’ve been using OpenRent and other online agents for almost a decade, and I’ve been using my platform to encourage other landlords to do the same, because they have helped me (and a tonne of other landlords) save literally saved thousands of pounds on letting agency fees.

Essentially, this blog post is for:

  • Landlords that don’t know what Online Letting Agents like OpenRent are
  • Landlords that are looking for a ridiculously cost-effective solution to letting services (e.g. tenant-find services)
  • Landlords that recently vomited in their mouths after receiving an unfathomable quote from their local high street letting agent

I don’t use high street letting agents anymore!

I went on a very similar path to the person that left the comment.

After discovering the world of online letting agents, and comparing their fees to the high street options, I was quick to make the switch. The cost of both services were so vastly separated that I couldn’t help but surrender to the lure of the cheap fees, despite the fact they made me extremely wary of what I was getting into. Was I about to buy a cheap Taiwan knock-off?

Best decision I ever made.

The average tenant-find service offered by an online letting agent costs £50, while most high street agents demand north of £1000 for their most basic services.

The cost of using a local high street letting agent

My examples are based on real life average fees I would incur at this moment in time from the local agents in my area. However, while each agent will set their own fees and are usually open to negotiation, I believe the below should demonstrate and reflect how the majority of local high-streets operate nationally…

Local Agent ServiceBased onIncludesPrice
Based on
2 Bedroom House, £850 PCM rent
  • Rental Assessment i.e. guidance on how much rent to charge.
  • Marketing (e.g. local and on portals like Rightmove and Zoopla)
  • Viewings
  • Professional Photography & Floorplans
  • Tenancy Agreement / paperwork
  • Tenant Deposit Registration
  • Tenant referencing
£1224One off
Based on
2 Bedroom House, £850 PCM rent
  • Marketing (e.g. local and on portals like Rightmove and Zoopla)
  • Viewings
  • Professional Photography & Floorplans
  • Tenancy Agreement / paperwork
  • Tenant Deposit Registration
  • Tenant referencing
  • Rent Collection
  • Inventory Services
  • Maintenance & repairs management
£2200For first year

Worthy notes…

  • Location – the ‘going rate’ of letting services can vary by location, so I wouldn’t go entirely by any ‘national’ or ‘average’ guidelines. To get accurate costings that will be applicable to you, I recommend contacting a couple of local agents and working from there.
  • Haggling – don’t forget, letting agents are open to negotiation and are often prepared to lower their rates!

The cost of using an online letting agent (my preferred method)

A common misconception among novice (and even experienced) landlords is that we need to use the local letting agent on our high street in order to find tenants efficiently, which means we have no choice but to bow down to their obscene fees. FALSE! That really isn’t true, especially in this digital age.

Online letting agents like OpenRent – the service mentioned by the commenter – have made it possible for landlords to achieve the same results as their high street agents but for a fraction of the cost.

In short, online letting agents provide a platform for landlords to market their properties onto the biggest UK property portals (e.g. Rightmove & Zoopla) in order to generate leads from prospective tenants. Landlords can then process the leads, take the viewings, and choose the right tenant. For the long story, I invite you to read my complete guide on online letting agents.

Tenant-find / let-only service

Here’s an overview of what you can expect from tenant-find services provided by online agents:

Letting AgentRatingTermIncludes / NotesPrice
Google Reviews
5 days / 3 months*
Includes / Notes

Ultimate Advertising package
  • Key features
  • Rightmove listing
  • Zoopla listing
  • Optional add-ons available
  • £69 EPC
  • £45 Gas safety check
  • £159 EICR (+ £10 per bedroom)
  • £20 Tenant referencing (1 x tenant)
  • £79 Photograghs & Floorplan

*5 days free, and then the option of continuing service for 3 months for £39 for new customers and £49 for returning customers!


Free Trial

*FREENo hidden fees, no credit card details required!

Visit Website
Google Reviews
6 weeks
Includes / Notes

Saver package
  • Key features
  • Zoopla listing
  • Pay on listing (not sign up)
  • Optional add-ons available
  • £109 EPC
  • £19 Tenant referencing (1 x tenant / guarantor)
  • £199 Photograghs
  • £99 Floorplan
Price£35 Inc VAT Visit Website

(side note: the reason why the original commenter said using OpenRent will cost them £324 is mostly likely because they opted in for a lot of the optional add-on products).

Clearly, when you compare high street agency fees to online agency fees, it’s easy to understand why so many landlords have taken the leap. In my opinion, it’s a no-brainer.

OpenRent is the most popular UK Online Letting Agent by a country mile, whilst Quicklister is new to the space and rapidly picking up momentum, but there are also plenty of others to choose from, all varying in features…

List of Online Letting Agents

Evidently, tenant-find services offered by online agents are a shitload cheaper, but it’s also important to note that this option does require greater investment of our own time, and that’s something we should all value and take into consideration.

Personally, I find that even after investing my own time on tasks like processing leads and taking viewings, using an online agent provides significantly better value than the alternative.

Fully managed service

OpenRent doesn’t provide fully managed letting services, but fortunately there are other online agents that do, which also provide the opportunity for landlords to make huge savings on letting fees when compared to high street agents.

Here are some examples of online letting agents that provide fully managed services, some of which provide viewing services (for an additional chunk of change, mind you). The best part about them? Unlike with high-street agents, you won’t be tied into any lengthy contracts, because they all operate on a month-by-month contract…

Cost of fully managed online letting services
Letting AgentRatingTermIncludes / NotesPrice
TrustPilot Reviews
Month by month
Includes / Notes

Silver package
  • Key features
  • Tenant-find service
  • Rent collection
  • Legal compliance & assistance
More details

Price breakdown

  • *£45 / month + £79 + £39 listing/setup fee

More features included

  • Advertise on 50 property portals such as Zoopla and Primelocation, until let complete
  • Tenant fully referenced
  • Professional photography & floor plans
  • Digital tenancy agreement
  • Ongoing rent management
  • Deposit registration
  • Carbon monoxide & smoke alarm test
  • Rent collection
  • Legal assistance

Discount available


FIRST YR TOTAL£579Discount included

Visit Website£40 Discount Code: 99PIP40
Google Reviews
12 months
Includes / Notes

Basic package
  • Key features
  • Tenant-find service
  • Rent collection
  • Eviction support
  • Legal compliance & assistance
  • Money-back guarantee - let you property in 28 days or get a full refund of your setup fee.
More details

More features included

  • 2 x tenant references
  • Deposit registration
  • Digital Contract Maker
  • Legal & eviction cover
  • Rent payment recovery
  • Property damage protection
  • Criminal prosecution defence
  • Contract disputes protection

*Payment Options

£139 (includes £10 discount, normal price £149) upfront setup fee, and then either:

  • Annual payment option (£120 saving): £588 inc. VAT (equivalent to £49 per month) deducted from initial rent
  • Monthly payment option: £59 per month (inc. VAT) deducted from monthly rent

Portfolio landlord discounts available, ranging from 10-50% off monthly subscription fees. Book a call to discuss.


Discount available


FIRST YR TOTAL£717Discount included

Visit WebsiteBook a call to discuss£10 Discount Code: PIP10

Please note, I try my best to keep the information of each agent up-to-date, but you should read the T&C’s from the agents’ website for the most up-to-date information.

Compare full range of fully managed online letting services

Yup, just another apparent reminder of why so many landlords have converted to using online letting services; when you crunch the numbers, it’s hard to fight the temptation.

That said, I do appreciate, and have made clear that online letting services isn’t an ideal solution for every type of landlord. Undoubtedly, high street agents have their place, and the personable and hand-holding service they can provide – which online agents simply cannot – is better suited for some landlords. On the flipside, however, I do believe a lot of landlords are overpaying their high street agent because they’d actually be better suited using a cost-effective online solution.

Once again, I can only point you towards the direction of my complete guide on online letting agents to help you determine which option is best for you (Online letting agent vs High street letting agent).


If you haven’t done so already, take a serious look into online letting services, especially if you’re keen to avoid hefty letting agency fees, because they could potentially save you thousands of pounds.

31 Join the Conversation...

Guest Avatar
Andrew Mills 24th September, 2010 @ 14:35

Seems like you could make a little extra money finding tenants for other landlords...

Guest Avatar
andy sheppard 24th September, 2010 @ 15:51

I agree with your comments. Just started the property game with my first buy to let that i purchased at auction. These agents already piss me off with a load of 'experience' as they call it, bullshit to me! I am trying to learn all of the ins / outs for myself because these agents can stick their fees where the sun can't shine! I am sure it is not easy but I would rather learn the hard way than give my money away.

Guest Avatar
GillsMan 25th September, 2010 @ 10:11

"But to me, sounded more like diarrhea Soufflé." Hahahaha! Brilliant.

Guest Avatar
Smithy 25th September, 2010 @ 11:05

Hi Landlord,

You wrote recently about using Upad to find a tenant - cost £59. They advertise on Rightmove etc.

They were at the Landlord & Letting Show, giving out cards offering a 10% discount. I won't be using mine, so if you want to use it, the 'discount code' is BD001.

PS: the little cartoon figure in the mac which features on your website. Is that really what you look like?

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 1st October, 2010 @ 11:11

Hey Smithy,

Thanks a lot for the code. Right now I don't need it, but I'm sure someone else will use it :)

Yes, the cartoon looks like me. Although, I'm plenty more sexy in real life!

Guest Avatar
Sam 5th October, 2010 @ 12:03

Andy - owning a buy to let involves a lot of regulations and legislation and if you get it wrong could cost you a whole lot more than what a decent agent charges.

Admittedly not all agents are great, but I think you're missing a trick if you don't find a decent one to start with and learn from.

Mistakes can be expensive - esp. if your tenants decide to hang you out to dry.

Guest Avatar
andy sheppard 5th October, 2010 @ 18:59


Point taken but at 7.5% to 12.5% a month and a finder fee of about £300 it actually takes the profit away. I am undertaking a landlord association course to understand the laws and stuff and will probably try a local advert and a free add with makeurmove. I may be wrong but if i understand the ins/outs/pitfalls for myself then as my portfolio grows I will be able to engage with an agent on an informed basis and hopefully get a deal that fits what i want to pay for. I have nothing against agents but i do have a problem with then fees they charge compared to the actual work content, remind me a bit of bankers - now dont get me started on that one!

Guest Avatar
Sam Watterson 3rd February, 2011 @ 22:32

The business I run offers a similar service, I would conduct the viewings myself though. I charge £200 to let a house and that includes photos, writing the advert, arranging the viewings, referencing the tenants, sorting out contracts moving in the tenants and taking meter readings. People use my services because a buy-to-let is usually the fruits of additional cash brought about by a successful career..... The last thing a busy, stressed professional wants to deal with is muppets ringing at 10.30pm to arrange viewings or rushing home from work just to be stood around for half an hour waiting for someone who doesn't turn up. I should know I rented out 4 houses whilst having a full time job, it was such a fucking pain in the arse that I quit my job to do it full time for other people. The oldest business model in the book Hassle for cash...... I despise people who ring me because of an advert on gumtree, they are weak individuals who couldn't qualify a scotch egg let alone a potential tenant..... As for the high street, pfffff.... I've usually found a tenant before they've finished their coffee and worked out whose lost the office camera.
The problem with a part-time landlord is they make mistakes, mistakes I made 5 years ago that cost me money, I wouln't make the same mistakes again now for me or for anyone else... Feel free to look at my web-site and deliver feedback as you see fit.

Guest Avatar
Helen 11th June, 2011 @ 15:14

I have been letting a small number of flats for 15 odd years and have never used an agent. Just lately, I discovered 'Brilliant Lettings', where for a flat fee of £29 per month, my property will appear on all the main lettings portals including rightmove and I tried it and let me flat in less than 2 days! It is cheaper than putting an ad in the local papers which is how I used to advertise. With services like this, why would any landlord use an agent?

Guest Avatar
Mark Sesum 5th September, 2011 @ 01:51

I am a contractor, an electrician by trade, but with 30 years experience in most trades due to continuous training. I am Gassafe and NICEIC registered. I do work for many landlords and agents and it makes me laugh to hear them talk about legislation, they wouldn't know it if it fell out of thier arse. Fortunately for them, most tenants don't either which is the only thing saving thier backsides at times. In 30 years out of the hundred of landlords I've met I can only think of 4 that were likeable, honest and didn't mess me about, either with money or in some other way. In that same time I can't think of one agent. Not one. So many let properties are in appalling condition yet most landlords consider a lick of paint and a new cheap carpet as sufficient. This year, 2 tenants of landlords I work for have had serious electric shocks. One had to have her heart re-started. Both these properties, I had carried out testing on and recommended re-wiring yet I'm still waiting on payment for the original reports! (one landlord said he didn't owe me for 6 hours work as all he wanted was an 'electrical safety certificate'. Such an item doesn't exist, and if it did I couldn't provide one as the installation wasn't safe!) With the housing shortage getting worse and a boom expected in private lettings, I hope the government find time to properly regulate this joke of an industry.

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Carly Nelson 5th March, 2013 @ 17:36

I wouldn't want you as a Landlord.

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Richard 4th June, 2014 @ 14:57

not all agents are looking to make a quick buck, we for example don't charge the landlord anything I give a completely free service and still do all those bits and pieces,
also your forgetting management you could also do that for your self but if you have 10 or 15 properties isn't that a strain on you? I also help elderly landlords who have tenants who refuse to pay there bills and need help with legal advise on how to section 8 and advise and help through the whole process, what about tenancy agreements and contracts some new landlords have no idea what their rights are as landlords or what the tenants.
rights are. it helps to have a trained agent who gives excellent customer service who look after and look out for landlords.
and to be quite honest if I was a tenant who heard or read the language your using I'd be shocked and insulted.

Guest Avatar
Andrew 5th July, 2014 @ 14:32

Some letting agents are not very good granted however there are a few of us who have excellent services we provide at a good value for money rate who regularly get referrals from clients.

The fact that you have just slated agents with such bad language shows your an absolute idiot. You then tried a back door sales pitch yourself shows that anyone can be slightly untrustworth and lets be honest your 20p tenancy agreement will count for nothing in court.

Everyone knows you get what you pay for in life and service is rarely purchased on price alone. We refuse landlords who are clearly completely in the business to rip tenants off and have little experience unless we manage the property as we know that tenants are usually left out to dry and the properties are not in great condition.

Oh yea try a job in stand up comedy, dont forget to download my WHSmith tenancy agreement for £4.99 as it will protect you from nothing and help my bank account. Tight landlords are the reason crap agents exist.

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Tim 19th November, 2014 @ 11:21

In my experience, as a tenant, letting agents are pure parasites on the arrangement. In any other area of my life, the free market would allow me to avoid them. Unfortunately I have to live in a house, it is expensive and time consuming to move, and these agents swarm all over you extracting every last penny possible. I'm now being asked for £250 just to renew a years tenancy that they're making money off every month anyway, for doing nothing whatsoever.

I think the final straw is the charge for references. That one really makes my soul sad.

Their primary business case is to stand between landlord and tenant, and monetise things that have no place being monetised. Parasites.

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terry 23rd January, 2015 @ 10:42

what a load of nonsense - you are arguing about £100. you are really trying to say that someone doing some work for you, making phone calls and running around for you is not worth a measly £100 extra?

perhaps you dont have anything better to do with your days, but most of us would happily pay someone to do their job so we can get on with ours as there isnt enough hours in the day to do everything.

shall we repair our own boilers, cars and whatever else and put every trade out of work so that we don't have to pay anyone to do anything that we can do ourselves.

Its not the way the world works.7
strop being a tight arse.

do you not know that giving is better than receiving?

you reap what you sow and all that!

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 23rd January, 2015 @ 11:13


It's the principle, and it's all relative- didn't realise I needed to clarify.

They're charging 66% more. If you want to pay 66% more for something that equates to about an hour or twos work combined, then go for it.

Now, for a landlord that has 10 properties, for example, that's £1,000 saved.

How many people earn £50 an hour (that's what it approx equates to)? Not many.

It's not about being tight, it's about people making savings where possible in this tough market/economy. I'm pretty sure most people would be prepared to work 2 hours for £100. If you're not, then you're in a better position than most people, and congratulations.

All I'm doing is highlighting a way people can save money, no one is being forced to grab the saving. What's wrong with you?

Guest Avatar
James Duncan 15th February, 2015 @ 23:04

What a bulk of hate and bollocks.
Instead of spreading your venomous view you better learn how to see the reality from different angles otherwise you will keep getting some likes from fellow tightviewers but will be a laughing stock for the rest.
Making £50-100 from customer looks OK but how many you can get a week...3-4-5?
Will it be enough to survive with all expenses around your agency?
As Terry pointed you can pick every trader's business in town like that and pretending you're Mr.Supersaver or Mr.Doitall .. or considering your language most probably Mr.I'lldoyouall.
Of course every average intelligent Landlord can deal with it by himself and there is nothing wrong with that.
The question is about Landlords who does not have the time and knowledge or stamina to deal with all problems along tenancies (which you don't mention as you think it's only collecting money like), don't want to be bothered and keep up with ever changing legislations or those who live in another city, county or work offshore/abroad.
How about them then?
May be should send them to you to teach them your bullying tactics.
Agents are there because the market needs them. It's not in all cases of course but still needs them.
Otherwise they will disappear.
If you are trying to be next Martin Moneysavingexpert ... try harder but avoid that hate you are spilling all over.
Good luck.

Guest Avatar
James Duncan 15th February, 2015 @ 23:28

PS.I do admit there must be some "no good" agents on the market but so are Landlords and Tenants. Instead of focusing on them use common sense and market forces to rise above.
Kind regards,

Guest Avatar
Rick Abel 22nd January, 2018 @ 23:42

Hi, I'm considering starting a letting agency. I'd be interested in hearing more from you and understanding how a new agency could deliver real value yet still be profitable. It sounds like the current model just doesn't work.

Email me if you have time.


Guest Avatar
Johnson Isabella 2nd April, 2018 @ 04:53

Some letting agents are fraud but i only go to companies which have goodwill in the market and provides best tenant finding services at very affordable cost. is one of the best company in USA that let help in finding best homes for rent. Along with finding services they complete all documentation and agreement work which is very sensitive part of letting services.

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Charlie 12th May, 2018 @ 08:57

What this article highlights is that the perception can often be very different to the reality. Whilst the cost may seem high, the majority of agents dealing with rentals run on extremely tight margins. Those that deal with a significant number of high end properties may be doing very well. However, the irony for those that aren't so fortunate is that they generally end up doing far more work and deal with a lot more hassle for a fraction of the commission.

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Chris 8th June, 2018 @ 19:22

After selling my property just over 4 years ago, losing the property I was due to buy I chose to rent rather than make any hasty decisions.

Due to several unscrupulous landlords and collaborative agents I will be moving house in the autumn for the 7th time!!!

Let me break it down briefly with each rental.
1. Landlord was not paying his mortgage, had to leave after 6 months shorthold.
2. Landlord promised to put in a doorstep and handrail (to help with my mobility issues), he didn’t, so I found a bungalow and moved after a year there.
3. After living there a year I wanted to pay month to month, agent said ‘landlord agreed but will put rent up £100 a month! When I asked for landlords details so I coul contact and negotiate, agent refused. I have since found out this was against the ‘code of conduct’.
4. Was clear to agent I needed a long term let, they assured me it would be but I would need to sign for 6 months initially. Landlord wanted to sell after 6 months! I offered to buy but they turned down my offer.
5. Had to leave this property for family reasons, will mention that landlord used to turn up when he felt like it, I kept reminding that I’d need at least 24 hours notice. On hand over day I took some rubbish to the tip only to find on return that landlord had let himself in and was fiddling about the place.
6. Moved here to be closer to family and AGAIN stressed the importance that I wanted long term. Signed up for a year, discovered landlord left loads of crap here, hadn’t fixed a leaking conservatory roof, and isn’t answering contact from agent regarding extending my contract. I have been reliably told landlord only wanted a tenant for a year to recoup some costs of renovation and will be selling.
Sadly I am not in a position to buy now, having had to f’ing move so many bloody times.
Tenants get shafted so much, it’s almost the norm!!!

Guest Avatar
norman hall 27th July, 2018 @ 09:39

thanks to all

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Landlord 30th December, 2018 @ 01:28

What are your thoughts on

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 30th December, 2018 @ 09:55

Here are my thoughts on OpenRent...

Guest Avatar
Lisa 29th April, 2019 @ 15:20

How do I stop paying my letting agent £302 every 3 months which I have been doing so for the last 4 years ? It’s a find tennant only short term contract

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 29th April, 2019 @ 16:35

Take a look at the how to change letting agents blog post.

Guest Avatar
Matt 23rd August, 2019 @ 19:38

Hey, I'm a long time fan and reader of your blog, first time commenter. Just wanted to say this post really hit home with the stuff I've been looking into. Thanks!

Guest Avatar
Mike Hope 2nd January, 2020 @ 12:39

Your post does have a point but we can't deny the fact that having a proper conversation with people around helps us find the best solution to our problems. Getting into direct conversation with a letting agent sometimes help you understand well what you want. Don't you think?

Guest Avatar
berny 18th August, 2020 @ 14:44

Have a look at openrent from £49.00. Brilliant.

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Eugene 20th March, 2021 @ 00:20

It is very hard to find a place without a letting agency. They are everywhere in London and it is very hard to trust them. Any ideas on how to find places directly with the landlords?

















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