Rip Off Letting Agents & Terrible Service (+ How To Avoid)

Rip Off Letting Agents

“You know what? Rip me off once, shame on you. But twice?

“I’m coming after you, your ill-fitting, oversized hand-me-down suit, and your bottle of Old Spice!” – The Landlord

Ok, so yesterday I wrote a blog post about how I encountered a rude, cock-face letting agent. Well, the saga continues…

Just as a quick recap: my local letting agent wanted £500 for a basic “tenant find” service. Initially, I was like, “Okay, cool, see what you find me“.

Just for context, I should clarify that using a high-street agent was my backup plan, because I generally always find tenants myself via an online letting agent these days. Paying for high-street services was literally PLAN Z, but a potential fallback nonetheless.

Defining what kind of tenant I wanted!

When the agent came to view the property, he asked me a bunch of standard questions regarding my preferences in terms of what kind of tenant I would like:

I said “no” to all but the children.

I have no problems with children as long they don’t cry all-day-long and irritate the crap out of the neighbours (which is agro I don’t need to be dealing with), or piss, shit, and doodle all over the walls and carpets. I also mentioned that I’m after working-professionals (perhaps the most common request from landlords?).

The agent seemed to note my demands down on his clipboard so there was no confusion, and more importantly, no room for excuses for why the information may just suddenly fall out of his head (incredible how often that happens to agents. Poor things!). Although, I can’t actually confirm what he actually wrote down, but he certainly made all the expected gestures to imply he was taking notes. He could have been sketching his wildest fantasy for all I know; he held onto his precious clipboard for dear life, so it was too close to his chest for me to peak over.

Ok, so as I explained in yesterday’s blog post: a few days after the agent had made a visit and noted down my requirements, he contacted me – smugly – to notify me that he found a suitable applicant and *he* had accepted the offer.

Yes, you read correctly. He accepted.

The cock-sure wally had basically told her she can have the property without running the details by me first. I told him that his actions were unacceptable because I hadn’t agreed to anything, so questioned *why* he would give a prospective tenant the green-light without getting approval from the “decision-maker” first.

To my complete confusion, my agent got his knickers in a twist because he claims to have found me the perfect tenant, and his argument is that I’m being an uppity asshole by not blindly jumping up-and-down with joy, and falling over myself to sign the contracts!

Lord forgive me for having an ounce of sense!

Apparently the agent and tenant were so far down the process of getting the deal signed, that the poor woman has already arranged for her Guarantor to travel down from the other side of the country to sign the guarantor contract.

Yes, yes, I’m an asshole for letting this happen!

But, still, yeah, NO!

At this point, I had no intention of working with the agent anymore – they proved to be inadequate, to put it nicely.

The tenant I actually got offered (definitely not what I asked for)

In a lousy attempt to regain my trust – but more importantly my business – the agent contacted me last night, offering to lower their rate if I accept the tenant.

They offered to reduce their rate to £400. That’s quite a reduction from £500. Times must be hard. Perhaps if they didn’t treat their clients like assholes [by attempting to flog them an inadequate product] they wouldn’t *need* to lower their rates. Just a random thought!

While I still had no interest in working with them, curiosity had grabbed me by the throat, so I enquired about the “perfect” tenant they had unearthed. I asked the following questions:

  • Who is the tenant?
  • How old is the tenant?
  • What does the tenant do?
  • Does the tenant have kids?

She’s a 25yr old single mother, that’s a part-time fitness instructor, and she’s also in receivership of housing benefits.

WTF? I initially thought he was playing a practical joke on me, because that’s literally the complete opposite of “perfect tenant”

Unfortunately, it soon became apparent that there was no joke, and this guy was a genuine twit!

How the fuck is that the perfect tenant? And what was the point of asking me those initial questions when viewing the property if you ignored pretty much everything I requested?

The agent’s response was infuriating:

Her references are great, and she’s a lovely girl.

I felt like saying:

You fuck her then!

Of course, the tenant might be perfectly legit, and could even be great.

However, that’s definitely not the point.

Again, the agent got shirty with me, and genuinely thought he was the victim, because:

  • They already tolerated my “attitude” after I refused to blindly accept their ‘perfect tenant’ (thank God I didn’t)
  • They had reduced their fee, and I was still being an ungrateful little bastard

To clarify, a 25yr old year single mother in receivership of benefits is perfectly capable of being a tremendous tenant. That wasn’t my issue. My grip was with the fact the letting agent specifically asked me what type of tenant I was looking for before he started looking for prospects, but he found the complete opposite, and then gave her false hope by presuming I would accept her application.

She didn’t fit the description for what I was looking for at all. And the agent knew it. It’s like going into a restaurant and ordering a vegan meal, but being served a big, fat steak instead. Anyone normal would be disappointed by the service.

Money for doing nothing!

The reality is, the council has a backlog of part-time employed, single mothers in receivership of housing benefit that are in desperate need of accommodation. So if that’s the kind of tenant I was searching for, I could have gone to my local council and they would have been able to tossed over one or a million of them my way.

So why would I pay £400 – £500 (or any money at all) for one?

These guys are not only shysters, but I also suspect they’re clinically insane.

Anyways, later today I have to face these ass-weasels to collect the front door keys. That should be fun.

I have no doubt, they’ll probably be sitting there scratching their asses, wondering why I passed them up on such a great deal.

Worst service ever.

Update: how to avoid rip off high street letting agents (highly recommended solution)!

Simply, I don’t use them anymore. I haven’t in over a decade. They suck.

I thought I would update this tired old blog post, which was originally written in 2009 (Jesus Christ, that’s a scary dose of reality!!), with my preferred solution of finding tenants today (in 2022).

The age of this blog post should be apparent by the fact that I was being quoted £400 for a “tenant find” service from my local agent (which at the time seemed like a small fortune). I’m sure most landlords would snap that offer up today, as basic services today seem to be north of £1500 (depending on where you live).

If you’re currently grappling with extortionate quotes/fees from your local high street letting agent(s), then I highly recommend looking into Online Letting Agents. I won’t get into the nitty-gritty in this blog post, but all you really need to know is that I, along with thousands of other landlords, have been using online agents for the past decade (or so), because they provide an efficient service for a fraction of the cost. I literally spend an average of £100 finding tenants these days (which includes marketing, tenancy contracts, referencing etc).

For more details, you can read my full guide on online letting agents.

15 Join the Conversation...

Guest Avatar
Jools 4th April, 2009 @ 15:39


Guest Avatar
Dan Harrison 4th April, 2009 @ 19:45

I'm not surprised at how bad their services are (and I'm grateful for you telling us your experiences!). I had a friend rent my property for the first 12 months, so I've got it easy for now.

I've had (insanely crap) customer services from 5 different companies recently (CeX, TNT, Apple, PlusNet and Royal Mail) in just 2 weeks. And that's just trying to use their basic services (for things they're supposedly good at!!!).

It's a recession, surely these companies need to realise that bad service can lead to a business going bust, and therefore leading to job losses!!!?? But they really don't understand that. No, really they don't.

Guest Avatar
adam 12th September, 2009 @ 17:05

this is the same for tenants....

quick scenario:

I walk into letting agent.
(spikey gelled hair kid stands up)

I said "hello, I am looking to rent a 2 bedroom flat or house from the end of septemeber and my budget is £700 per month."

He's replies (picking up a leaflet)
"We've got a great one here that might be worth you looking at .. it is close to the city centre and in a purpose build block with shared gardens"

I say "ok sounds good - but it says there it's only available from the end of october.."

He says "yes , how does that sound?"

I honestly just walked out..

Guest Avatar
damo 19th January, 2010 @ 09:49

why do youwanna rent your place out do you own another property...lucky pets no kids no dhss...PROFETIONALS ONLY....YOUR AS BAD AS THE LETTING no people arehomeless and desperate for accom in this country and were not all on dhss,but people like you just put up barriers so we cant rent if your on a lower income people like you and the lettings agencys sound like the perfect marridge WOT A SHAME FOR EVERYONE,GO COUNT YOUR MONEY AND STOP WHINGING....

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 19th January, 2010 @ 10:16

Sadly, Damo, it's people like you that make us landlords put up barriers...

Guest Avatar
Michael 21st March, 2011 @ 12:12

I've just come across this feed. I am suing my letting agent because they did nothing to look after my property and let the guy wreck it. They even re-housed him and tried to tell me he had done a runner and didn't know where he was. They expected me to write off the debt. I managed to find out from the DSS that he was in another of their properties and they were still in receipt of benefits for him. It has taken me 2 years to get to court. I am owed for lost rent and damage to my property. Be very careful and make sure your agent is affiliated to some kind of regulator. They should only be used to find a tenant for you then do your own checks. I have used 4 agents, large and small and all have been poor. They are happy to take your money but want to do the minimum in return.

Guest Avatar
ady 3rd November, 2011 @ 18:29

Are you fucking kidding me you are the bigest wanker i have ever come across. you toffee nosed twat i hope your next tenant burns your fucking house down. Don't be a prick and as for a description of a person people like you are the ones that give people descriptions.

I own over 30 homes i rent out for over 20 years and i think you will find as long as you treat your tenant well they will treat you well.

I hate people with small balls yes thats you.

Tell you what i will buy your house and you can go and live on wanker street.

Guest Avatar
Missy 3rd May, 2012 @ 13:58


and a happy New Year.

Oh dear, I don't really have to comment any further. Very funny.

I hate a small 'i' though, does my head in that.

Guest Avatar
Paul 4th March, 2013 @ 14:04

Is it JJ FAOX by chance? seems they are the biggest cowboys out there!!

Guest Avatar
Nemesis 13th July, 2015 @ 13:01

"What a fucking joke. These guys are not only scumbags, but they’re SHIT at their jobs."

Now you know what it's like to deal with scumbags! As a tenant, I have to constantly deal with scumbags... like you.

Guest Avatar
Philip 23rd June, 2020 @ 14:11

Sound's like you got a fair few issues your self. And if it was plan Z to use an agent then you must be pretty incompetent your self to have finally gotten to that point, and also failed.

Guest Avatar
Liam 16th October, 2020 @ 21:46

This was painful to read.
Too many landlords with an attitude such as yours are what give landlords in the UK such a stigma.

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 16th October, 2020 @ 22:06

@Liam, I receive bad service, yet I'm the bad landlord. Makes sense.

In any case, thanks for reading :)

Guest Avatar
Marsha 4th September, 2022 @ 09:35

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.

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 4th September, 2022 @ 10:19

Wise decision, in my opinion! I've used OpenRent several times. Love their service.

Most highstreet agents source their leads from Rightmove/Zoopla, and their own list of prospective tenants usually pales in comparison when it comes volume. Moreover, the rental market is booming at the moment - demand is far outstripping demand.

Best of luck :)

















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