Why, When & How To Change Letting Agents

Changing letting agents

With so many dip-shit letting agents parked on our high-streets, the odds of ending up with a dud is always a likely outcome, and unfortunately it’s the risk us landlords take when using letting agents to manage our tenancies. Needless to say, finding a worthwhile letting agent can be a tiresome game of trial and error.

Sadly, the vast majority of landlords that should change their management company in a heart-beat, simply don’t. It’s the “hassle” of it all. It’s just easier to suffer in silence, right?


Kill letting agent

Yes, yes, yes, I’ve come crashing into this topic like a bull in a China shop by taking hefty swings at agents, even though I do appreciate that landlords don’t always seek to pull off the old switcheroo because of a sour experience. However, the reality is, that’s usually the reason for why most landlords start looking at their options.

Just to clarify, this blog post is going to make the assumption that you need or want a letting agent to manage your property, so I’m going to focus on your options when it comes to changing your letting agent, as opposed to kicking agents to the curb all together.

Page contents:

Common reasons for finding another agent

Here’s a list of common reasons for why landlords want to change their letting agent:

  • Expensive
    Yup, probably the most popular reason for contemplating a switch is when you realise you’re having your pants pulled down on fees!

    It’s particularly jarring at the end of the tax year, when you’re filing your tax returns, and you realise how much is being spent on management fees for relatively little work.

    Some landlords pay a staggering 15% (of their annual rental income), and the only service they received was a couple of coordinated repairs. And that’s actually being generous, because much of the time all agents actually do is sit on their asses and systematically transfer 85% of rent to the landlord after they systematically received it from the tenant.

    Of course, it’s not the agents fault they had F-ALL to do, but it’s not exactly value for money, is it?

    If this is the reason for wanting to change letting agents, it might be worth having a frank discussion with your agent before making any brash decisions, because they might be prepared to lower your fees in order to keep your beautiful face on their customer list.

    If anyone is interested, here are some cost-effective fully managed online letting solutions, which might actually be the ticket you’re looking for if saving money on agency fees is your primary objective.

  • Poor Service
    While expensive fees is the most popular reason for “contemplating” a switch, receiving poor service is probably THE main reason for why landlords actually take the plunge and jump ship.

    “Poor service” can include a vast array of short-failings, including poor communication, unprofessional service, inadequate service, poor/rude attitude, and often, a complete lack of knowledge etc.

    I always say there’s usually no smoke without fire, so there’s definitely a reason for why letting agents get such a hard wrap, and it’s usually because of the piss-poor service that’s provided as default.

  • Failing to fill tenancy (i.e. find tenants)
    Granted, this reason can rightly fall under “poor service”, but it deserves it’s own stage.

    I’ve used a letting agent before that not only generated very few enquiries, but the ones they did rummage together, evidently from the bottom of a dumpster, were total bullshit. The applicants they short-listed literally couldn’t have been more polarising than what I asked for; I filled in a multi-choice questionnaire they provided me, so they had a good understanding of the kind of tenant I was after. Needless to say, that was a complete waste of time!

    If I asked for a one-armed, 10ft tall working-professional, they would have returned with a 2inch unemployed octopus.

    The results they produced were so laughable that I started questioning the desirability of my property – maybe no one wanted to rent my property apart from circus animals – even though I was initially sure the location and condition wasn’t an issue.

    Thank God I used my better judgement and gave my agent the middle-finger and found a rival supplier, because within 2 weeks I was inundated with better quality leads, and ended up choosing a Surgeon that worked at the local hospital.

So, should you sack your letting agent?

Obviously I can’t answer that for you, but I do have a few thoughts on the matter, which may give you some guidance…

  • Don’t make any rash decisions if there isn’t a clear cut reason for why you want to change agents, so in this case, consider all the pros and cons of your current agent and work from there. Specifically consider how your life/finances would change with or without their services.
  • Good letting agents are ridiculously difficult to find, so if you currently have a good one, and your only incentive for changing is to save a couple of hundred nuggets, I would think carefully before pulling the trigger!

    If you’re going to save a significant amount, then that’s another discussion altogether.

  • If you’re adamant you’re being ripped off, or you’re generally dissatisfied with the ongoing service you have received, then you should definitely consider dumping the chumps.

PLEASE!! Change your letting agent when you should!

My biggest plea to all landlords that want to change letting agents for the right reasons, whether it be for a better deal or better service, or any other justified reason, is not to hesitate!

I know the thought of change can feel queasy, especially when it seems confrontational (I’m not saying the process will be, but that’s the perception), but believe me, you’ll feel so much better for it.

The barrier is, though, that we humans are conditioned to making excuses, which ultimately only delay the inevitable and consequently end up costing us more.

A prime example: I always tell landlords to start taking the appropriate steps as soon as tenant falls behind on rent, and not delay for any reason. The odds are, when a tenant falls into arrears, they’re very unlikely to recover. I’m not saying a landlord should evict a tenant as soon as they fall into arrears, but I am saying a landlord should start preparing for the worst, and drown out any excuses provided by the tenant.

Similarly, if you’re contemplating the idea of changing agents because they’ve proven to be the premier provider of bullshit service at extortionate prices, don’t expect the situation to magically improve.

Don’t hesitate to obtain better!

Before changing letting agents

As said, most landlords spring backwards from the idea of changing agents because of the “hassle” factor. However, the reality is, changing letting agent can be relatively straightforward and a hassle free experience for both landlords and their tenants.

First step: Check your contract with the agent

There’s a good chance you might be tied into the initial fixed term period with their current letting agent, which is typically 6 – 12 months. Generally speaking, you can’t switch agents within the fixed period unless there is either a break clause (which is very unusual in these circumstances), a mutual surrender of contract, if the agent breached the terms of the contract, or extenuating circumstances.

So to determine your current position, the best place to start is to check the contract you have with your agent (the ‘Terms of Business’), because it should clearly outline the details of the initial fixed term, and other relevant details in regards to the termination of the contract.

Second step: find a suitable replacement

Before severing ties with your current agent, find a suitable replacement first. Not just because it’s important to ensure that you have all your ducks in a row for efficiency, but also because most letting agents will work with your current letting agent to manage the transfer, which will make the process a whole lot easier for you.

Letting agents want your business, especially if you already have a tenant in place, so they will often do all the legwork to make the migration happen. That said, it’s worth taking your current Terms of Business to your new prospective letting agent, so they can help you work through all the legalities. Often, letting agents will have their own legal experts who can find legal loopholes to deliver a quick exit from your current agents.

Oh, on that note, you may want to hop over to my guide on finding a good letting agent to help you on your journey.

How to change letting agents

I’m going to refer to both case scenarios below in general terms, so the reality of your situation may differ depending on the contract you have in place with your agent.

1) Changing agents during the tenant-find period

If you’re only using a letting agent to source tenants – and not for a fully managed service – you won’t be signed into an exclusivity deal, so it’s easy to jump on, between and inside several agents.

Unlike when selling a property with an estate agent, letting agents typically charge on a no let/no fee basis, so landlords are able to use multiple agents to find tenants without incurring penalties or being tied into exclusivity agreements.

Basically, you shouldn’t have any problems at all.

2) Changing management agents during a tenancy

This scenario is a bit more tricky, although it can still be relatively less painful than most landlords anticipate. Mostly.

If you’re in this situation, reading carefully through the Terms of Business (your contract with the letting agent) is key. As discussed earlier, all the details of ‘how’ and ‘when’ to officially terminate the service agreement should be clearly in there.

Any reputable and decent agent will discuss the matter with you in detail, and if they can’t change your mind, they should make the process easy enough.

A couple of other points to remember/consider:

  • Tenancy agreement
    The tenancy agreement is usually a contract between landlord and tenant, so it has nothing to do with the landlord’s agreement with the agent. Many landlords mistakenly confuse the purpose of the two separate agreements.

    The terms of the tenancy agreement will not change even if you change agents!

  • Talk to your tenant
    Your tenant may have a relationship with your current agents, so it’s important to talk to your tenant and explain to them that you’re getting rid, and explain why.
  • Some agents will try to keep you locked in!
    It’s not uncommon for letting agents to try and hold onto their customers for dear life, and that can often result in unscrupulous tactics being deployed i.e. the agent will make up junk reasons in an attempt to scare you into submission.

    So before believing every word they say, I recommend actually fact-checking their claims.

  • Unfair contracts
    In a similar vein as the point above, letting agents are notorious for plaguing their terms of business with unlawful and unfair clauses in an attempt to retain custom.

    If any clause sounds ridiculously restrictive and unfair, then it might not actually be legally enforceable.

  • Reason for termination
    If you’ve had a particularly negative experience with your agent (i.e. they’ve fallen short of providing the service they promised), then they’re the ones in breach of contract and you should have every right to end the contract.

    Naturally, getting your agent to admit fault and take responsibility may not be entirely straightforward!

  • Some agents will try to keep the tenant
    Again, depending on the contract, your agent may have a clause which stipulates that you can’t terminate the contract and keep the tenant (which they found). Alternatively, they may require an termination fee.

    From my experience this will pan out in one of two ways:

    • If you have been a customer of the agent’s for long enough they will just allow you to terminate the agreement and keep the tenant, on the premise that they’ve made enough out of the deal already.
    • You have to pay the termination fee!
  • Make an official complaint
    If you feel your agent is being unfair, you can make an official complaint against your agent.

    Even if you quietly utter the words “official complaint” they may just surrender to your wishes just to avoid the hassle.

  • Transferring deposit
    If the tenancy deposit is secured by your current agent, then you will need to get it transferred to either your new agent, or yourself.
  • Remember, your new agent should be there to help!
    If you’re migrating your custom to another agent, they should assist with the transfer. In fact, if they don’t provide useful assistance I’d question why you’re actually transferring to them in the first place, because they’re evidently not very useful.

Update: Letting agent switch service & advice

After publishing this blog post, Howsy.com (an online letting agent, that offers complete management service for landlords from £45 per month) got in touch [I’m going to paraphrase]: “Hey, love your blog post on sacking/changing letting agents. You’re beautiful. We offer a ‘Switch’ service that might be ideal for you to share. We can even give your readers’ an exclusive deal!”

Ordinarily I pay no mind to the marketing crap I receive in my inbox, because I get inundated by them on a daily basis, and they’re mostly greasy assholes promoting garbage.

Now, I don’t know if it was fate, or if something was in the water that day, but I had a look through the details of the offer, and it actually seems not too bad at all, so here it is:

If you’re currently using letting services by an agent that you wish to cut your ties with, you can switch to Howsy at any time. They will work with your current letting agent to manage every aspect of the transfer; from agreements to deposits to liaising with the renters – and it won’t cost you a penny! And, if you’re unsure about your contractual obligations with your current agent, you can contact their helpline. More details below:

Letting AgentRatingContractNotes / IncludesPrice


TrustPilot Reviews
Month by month
Notes / Includes

Agent switch solution for Fully Management Service
  • Assistance with managing every aspect of the transfer from current agent; from agreements to deposits to liaising with the renters
  • Dedicated property manager
  • Rent collection service
  • 24/7 customer service
  • 24/7 repairs and maintenance support
  • Inspections: one full photographic report per year
  • Access to legal helpline
  • Key holder service
  • Free legal helpline
  • Negotiate renewals on your behalf - no additional charge
  • Compliance monitoring and automatic alerts when certificates need renewing
  • Online platform gives you visibility over your portfolio, including overseeing repairs, statements etc.

Pricing & Discount explained

*£41pcm price is based on one years' fee and with the usage of the discount (which qualifies you for 30% discount). Normal price is £59pm.

**£62pm for properties inside of the M25 with the usage of the discount (which qualifies you for30% discount). Normal price is £89pm.

**Sign up via this link to claim your 30% discount - mention you came from Property Investment Project.


Discount available

*£41pmPrice shown with exclusive discount!

Visit Website**30% discount using link above!

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

Besides from the fact Howsy take care of all the logistics and management of “switching” agents, I was pretty encouraged by their rates. Knowing how much regular high-street agents charge, I’d be very surprised if landlords wouldn’t stand to make a massive saving by switching to Howsy. Anyways, I thought I’d share in case it might be a useful service/alternative for you.

//End of update.

So, what’s your story/situation? If anyone has any experience or expertise in the area, and has anything else to add, please feel free to pick up the mic (via the comment form below)…

13 Join the Conversation...

Guest Avatar
Muhammad 22nd September, 2019 @ 10:54


I am in a similar predicament situation. I have a flat that I have handed over to a letting agent for rental. I handed the property for a guaranteed rent scheme. They take a cut after handing over the rental money to me.

All was well until a few months back now (May to be precise) where the letting agent failed to pay me for that months rent money. So many calls and texts and visits to the agent's office, either I was ignored or I was fobbed off by them stating it will be paid soon, which never happened. Now after so many months they want to setup a monthly installment payment plan. Not very impressed. Just to add they have been keeping up on the other months rental payment.

Furthermore I wanted to inspect the property which I have not done since handing it over but again I was being provided excuses after excuses of how they were busy. After many attempts I was able to inspect it (after 8 months) and there are some repairs that needs to be done but nothing too major but nonetheless still hitting my pocket.

Overall I am very dissatisfied with their piss poor service and the lack of communication and I would like to take back my property back from them but I'm not sure how easy this will be, as I know they are making a fortune off it and it is a cash cow for them. Also I have found out that they are in a legal battle and are having rental arrears so i can sense there will be issues further down the line.

The terms of the contract with the letting agent is very vague (my dumb ass fault for not being thorough and asking the question to the letting agent before I signed the dotted line!) but it does say rent is guaranteed and it will be paid within 5 days, which as you can see never happened as explained above.

Is this a valid point where the contract has been breached and now void? Can I use this argument to take my property back? What are my options in this situation and how can I do this?

Any information, help or what course of action I can take, would really appreciate it.

Thank you.

Guest Avatar
Muhammad 3rd October, 2019 @ 18:23

Can anybody advise?

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 3rd October, 2019 @ 21:53

Hi Muhammad,

If they are contracted to pay you rent with in 5 days and didn't do so on that occasion, then it sounds like they breached the terms of the contract, which gives you grounds for ending the service. That's my opinion anyways.

Seems like a clear cut case!

I would request to speak to the branch manager face-to-face and explain why you wish to part ways, and why you have the grounds to do so. Hopefully they will be amicable about it and agree to part ways.

If they refuse, I would write a letter of complaint (be polite/reasonable), clearly explaining why you are dissatisfied with their service and how they have breached the terms of the contract, and insist on terminating the service. I would also threaten to escalate the case to the redress scheme they are a member of (they're legally obligated to be a member of one) so you can lodge an official complaint with them.

They sound like lousy agents to be honest, and I suspect you'll face more problems down the road with them, so the sooner you get rid of them the better.

Good luck, and please keep us updated!

Guest Avatar
Dave 26th November, 2019 @ 11:06


I am considering swapping agents.
After numerous emails ive finally recieved my current agents terms of business, in which it states that i have to pay 3 months rent if i want to terminate the contract. what id like to know is can i just let the current tenancy agreement expire and then swap agents with no fee as well as keep the current tenants?
Anyone know?

Guest Avatar
Boj My Landlord Care 29th April, 2020 @ 00:40


Please do look at your terms of buisness with your agents. This should state the contract nitty gritty in details and if it doesn't bingo this is your exit clause!

Mohammed raise your complaints with the redress scheme, hopefully you just mentioning this should scare your agents!

Dave if you want to terminate your contract is their a notice period? Find out what this is and submit this and keep your tenant.

Good luck guys

My Landlord Cares @ www.mylandlordcares.co.uk

Guest Avatar
Miss M Coley 30th June, 2020 @ 00:58

My Letting Agent is not documenting the tenants areas on the monthly statements I receive. On questioning this I am told they are logging the arrears separately. Initially they charged their % fee on the actual rent collected then suddenly changed to charging % on full rent due even though full rent not paid. When I queried this I was told that they could in fact go back to the commencement of the payments and add on the full % and I'd have to pay! I requested a Section 8 be motioned due to rent arrears, I was questioned as to why? The arrears are continuing to grow and the Agents have done nothing. Tenants did not pay Council Tax since moving in and I received a Bailiffs Demand Notice - which I forwarded to the Agents. A recent monthly statement showed discrepancies which I questioned. Initially I was informed that it was correct; I explained my Brother-in-Law who is an Accountant, had reviewed this along with previous statements and confirmed there were indeed Discrepancies, did the Agents revise and issue a refund!! My designated Property Manager has changed more than once and the current person has never been in touch and never cc'd into any communications I've received from another Manager within the Letting Agency! The lack of transparency,, lack of communication and, what I deem to be "veiled threats" are totally unacceptable and I need to get dismiss this company!!

Guest Avatar
Boj 30th June, 2020 @ 08:18

Hi Miss M Coley,

It is a shame when people have such poor service from their letting agents. Letting agents should be their to support landlords not cause havoc for you. I would advise you to go back to your contract with them, go through it with a fine toothcomb.

File a complaint with the The Property Ombudsman, shoddy ones have been shut down previously (I would even suggest that you tell them you will do this and see if they retract!)

Best of luck, we know it is a horrible place to be in and their is nothing worse then property woes. We are currently waiting for courts to open to get rid of a nightmare tenant.



Guest Avatar
Mira Layton 2nd September, 2020 @ 14:44

Hi I am a tenant in a flat share and I really need assistance with my landlord / tenant situation.
I signed a 6 month contract with a letting agent and have been giving my rent money to them for the last 3 months, to find out that the whole time the agent was not paying the rent to the owner of the building. The agent randomly served me with a termination of tenancy letter with no notice at all. Now the owner of the building / landlord is trying to make a new contract with me and my house mates in the flat, yet charging us more than previous, making us be responsible for the new tenants, as well as making us cover our own bills. (Even though we did not agree to any of this in the initial contract). The owner / landlord has not given us any legal documentation, informed us of our legal rights or even given us a contact for him or his full name, nothing. He basically just came to the flat and said right guys you need to start paying rent to me. The whole thing is bothering me. Can he legally do this and what are my rights? Can't find much info online.

Also to add that the agent still has our deposit , and did not insure it or anything. I paid rent to the agent 4-week in advance 2 days before they served us the termination letter. They allowed me to pay rent knowing that it would not be passed on to the owner.

Guest Avatar
Boj 2nd September, 2020 @ 15:00

Hi Mira,

Now this has dodgy written all over it! What a dodgy agent. Gosh these guys give us the good guys a hard time. What is wrong with people...

Firstly have you got evidence of money being paid to agency? statements etc. secondly you can't serve a termination without a notice hence why it is called a notice period! Even the landlord is no better. If he wants to manage the property directly then he need to set up a new contract clearly the last one has been terminated.

Now I shouldn't advise this and I am landlord myself, continue to occupy the property if your interested. Pay rent as you do. If the landlord harasses you make recordings of these (no harassment allowed!) if he wants to evict you properly and through the system he will have to serve notice which won't stick because your notice is not valid and your deposit is not protected so courts will chuck this out until he amends this.

This gives you time to find something else, also you have not signed anything so rest assured nothing will stick. Now disclaimer this is our personal advice through years of experience but if you want solid advice please do seek a professional legal representative.


My Landlord Cares LTD#

Serving Sheffield and Rotherham

Guest Avatar
Mira 2nd September, 2020 @ 16:04

So do you think we should refuse to pay higher? What about repairs and bills etc. What he's doing is putting all of us in an uncomfortable position because we want to stay in the flat and aren't in a position to move out but at the same time don't want to pay more money or have to deal with these additional responsibilities like being responsible for advertising the rooms if tenants move out etc.

It feels like the owner is trying to avoid responsibility but surely its HIS fault that he dealt with a dodgy agency.

I also read somewhere that because the agent made our contract on behalf of the landlord, that the contract still remains. Is that true?

Thanks for your help

Guest Avatar
Boj 3rd September, 2020 @ 09:45


Before you pay anything insist on seeing a contract or a revised contract. This will serve to protect you. Do not pay anything before both parties have signed this. This should state your responsibilities and theirs. If your lucky he might back off a bit with the pressure once you insist on this!

The original contract has changed due to landlord wanting you to do more. This still requires an addendum (additional clause) and signed agreement. So even if the contract still held the new responsibilities need to be incorporated into this document. say for example you started a job in a company as a admin officer and were promoted to supervisor, your obligations from the two roles would be different and you would get a revised job specification offer. This is similar to this due to in effect the landlord wanting you to undertake advertising etc. This was different from your last role as just a tenant.

Best of luck dealing with these idiots!


My Landlord Cares LTD

serving Sheffield and Rotherham

Guest Avatar
Paul Maidens 14th December, 2020 @ 16:32

I am changing my letting agent after a great deal of controversy over fee's, repairs, insurance cover charges and Residency Membership(no deposit option). The Letting agent appears to have fleeced me and quite possibly the tenant for financial gain.
In regard to termination of the current Letting Agent, they are claiming, since August 2020, I need to provide them with 6 months notice to change or pay 6 months admin fee. The tenancy contract states 2 months. I am not evicting or changing the tenant but I feel as though the Letting Agent may be, once again, taking advantage.
Does the Coronavirus Act of 2020 require me to provide 6 months notice to my letting agent even if the tenant will remain in situ. Fortunately for me, the tenant is due to renew at the end of December 2020 and has agreed the same rental amount for 6 months.
I want to renew the tenancy with the new Letting agent, pay any penalty just to get away from the scamming B's.
Thanks in advance, Paul

Guest Avatar
Sarena 20th February, 2021 @ 03:15

hope you never have this happen to you....bit of a long one, sorry....

I have a property rented out via an agent. An agent who has been poor for the start, bad inventory and the likes. However due to circumstances at the time and for the sake of my very good tenants. I stuck with them..

My rent was paid by them into two halves, one half to my husband and the other to me. don’t know why, just has always been that way. My husband looked after all the financial side of our lives, joint choice.....very happy marriage.

my husband died suddenly in December, at a still young ish (no will, no comments!), realised after his death that the rent was paid into his account, not a joint account t, so asked for it to be held so I could sort out new bank account for my rent to be realised too. Our mortgage was joint, so ownership is now mine. Since that day, the agency have refused to pay his half of the rent, and that only because I pushed for my own half, as it was in my name. now I am struggling to pay mortgage and live. I have asked why and they have stated that they want to know if there are any other successors as they cannot prove I am entitled to money! I spoken to 2 solicitors who said that was wrong, but I had have had to go to official Ombudsman which can take months. Going through proper complaints channels to get this sorted. Cannot afford a solicitor.....literally now have no cash or cc.

They have also decided that my new electrical certificate is due and have withheld a fee to carry it out and and additional fee Incase there are faults. But have retained the money from my half of the rent, no date set for certificate to be carried out, (None from his half
, which they are retaining and showing incorrectly on a statement ). Don’t need this stress as I am grieving any I cannot pay my mortgage or pay any bills. [If the account was joint, they would have continued to pay the rent because they would have been none the wiser, what’s the difference)!

Along with other service issues, I want out of the contract but they haven’t supplied me with a copy of our contract (long story but I don’t have mine at present).what can I do? I cannot afford to wait for ever for an Ombudsman, I have new landlord certificates to comply with, which comes from the rent, and an reduced income, and they are not providing me with an adequate service. They have also stated a large get out fee but won’t confirm it In writing
, but it looks hugely inflated going by their website fees (this is national letting agent).Can I break the contract ? how long do I need to give them to supply a copy of the contract before breaking with them?

This is the first forum I have found that actually is for the Landlord.....everything is for the tenants. So pleased to have found you as I am now going solo with my other properties too. I have had enough of bad agents and paying through the nose for the privilege.

Any legal and realistic advice welcome as this is exhausting.....can’t afford any costly errors...

















Your personal information will *never* be sold or shared to a 3rd party. By submitting your details, you agree to our Privacy Policy.

Popular Landlord Categories