List Of The Best Online Letting Agents

Online Letting Agents, the efficiently cheap way of Letting your property for a one-off fixed fee!

Landlords that use online letting agents instead of the traditional high-street letting agents save on average £1,000 per let, and for many the savings run into thousands!

Find out all you need to know about Online Letting Agents, including the best options available to you…

List of the Best Online Letting Agents for Landlords

There are a buttload of online agents out there, and more and more are opening up shop every day, but here’s a list of online letting agencies that I personally recommend, because I’ve either used them myself to find tenants, or because they have received awesome feedback from the landlord community.

The prices and details below are for “Tenant-find” services. If you want a “Managed” solution from an online agent (yup, they offer that, too), you may want to hop down to the managed services section.

Search Filters

Require any of the following?

  • Rightmove listing

    Rightmove listingAdvertise property on Rightmove (The UK's largest property portal)

    X

  • Zoopla listing

    Zoopla listingAdvertise property on Zoopla (The UK's second largest property portal)

    X

  • Tenant referencing

    Tenant referencingTo ensure you stand the best chances of getting reliable tenants, your agent will reference prospective tenants, which can include credit checks and employment history.

    X

  • Deposit registration

    Deposit registrationIn order to comply with the tenancy deposit legislation, the agent will secure the deposit on your behalf and serve required documents to your tenant.

    X

  • Rent collection

    Rent collectionAgent will collect rent from tenant and then send it to you.

    X

  • Tenancy sign-up service

    Tenancy sign-up serviceThe agent will draft your tenancy agreement contract and get it signed by the tenant(s) on your behalf.

    X

  • EPC

    EPCAn Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is needed when a property sold in the UK. They are valid for 10 years, so if you already have a valid one you do not to order another.

    X

  • Gas safety check

    Gas safety checkAgent will arrange for a gas safety check to be conducted. Landlords are legally obligated to have annual gas safety checks.

    X

  • EICR

    EICRElectrical Installation Condition Reports (EICR) are legally required for new tenancies in England. As from the 1st April 2021, all let properties will require an EICR.

    X

  • Photograghs

    PhotograghsThe agent will arrange for a photographer to visit your property to take pictures, which can be used with your adverts. Good quality photos are important in making your property look attractive and can increase enquiries.

    X

  • Floorplan

    FloorplanThe agent will arrange for a professionally produced floorplan showing the layout and room sizes of your property. Many buyers find floorplans useful when viewing property details online.

    X

  • Inventory service

    Inventory serviceThe agent will arrange for an independent inventory clerk to create an inventory report.

    X

  • Hosted viewings

    Hosted viewingsA local agent will take viewings and show potential tenants around your property. Please note, some agents limit how many viewings they will take, so please read the T&C's carefully.

    X

  • Pay on Completion

    Pay on CompletionPay on Completition means there's nothing to pay upfront until you find your perfect tenants (T&C's may apply, so please read carefully).

    X

Tenant-find Online Letting Agents
Letting AgentRatingContractIncludes / NotesPrice
Rating
4.6
Feefo Reviews
Duration
30 days*
Includes / Notes

True cost of letting package
  • Key features
  • Rightmove listing
  • Zoopla listing
  • Rent collection
  • Tenancy sign-up service

*30 days free, and then the option of continuing service for an additional 30 days for £29 (Inc VAT).

Price

Free

*FREENo hidden fees, no credit card details required!

Visit Website
Rating
4.9
Google Reviews
Duration
5 days / 3 months*
Includes / Notes

Ultimate Advertising package
  • Key features
  • Rightmove listing
  • Zoopla listing

*5 days free, and then the option of continuing service for 3 months for £24 (Inc VAT) for new customers, and £29 (Inc VAT) for returning customers!

Price

Free Trial

*FREENo hidden fees, no credit card details required!

Visit Website
Rating
4.9
TrustPilot Reviews
Duration
Until Let
Includes / Notes

Express package
  • Key features
  • Zoopla listing
  • OnTheMarket listing
  • Tenant referencing (1 x tenant)
  • Deposit registration
  • Tenancy sign-up service
  • First month's rent collection
Price

Promo running

£26.1 Inc VAT
(Normal price: £29)

Visit Website10% Discount Code: PIPLET20
Rating
4.9
Google Reviews
Duration
3 months
Includes / Notes

Advertising + Rent Now package
  • Key features
  • Rightmove listing
  • Zoopla listing
  • Deposit registration
  • Tenancy sign-up service
  • First month's rent collection
Price£49 Inc VAT Visit Website
Rating
4.7
TrustPilot Reviews
Duration
3 months
Includes / Notes

Build your plan package
  • Key features
  • Rightmove listing
  • Zoopla listing
  • Tenant referencing (1 x tenant)
Price£49 Inc VAT Visit Website
Rating
4.8
TrustPilot Reviews
Duration
3 months
Includes / Notes

Plus package
  • Key features
  • Rightmove listing
  • Zoopla listing
Price

Discount available

£74 Inc VAT
(Normal price: £89)

Visit Website£15 Discount Code: PIP1
Rating
4.8
TrustPilot Reviews
Duration
1 Month
Includes / Notes

IATA Speedy package
  • Key features
  • Rightmove listing
  • Zoopla listing
Price

Discount available

£80.1 Inc VAT
(Normal price: £89)

Visit Website10% Discount Code: propinv21
Rating
4.9
Google Reviews
Duration
2 months
Includes / Notes

Find a Tenant package
  • Key features
  • Rightmove listing
  • Zoopla listing
Price£149 Inc VAT Visit Website

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.

Other Popular Services

Just in case you require a couple of other competitive quotes for popular letting services…

Table of contents:

What is an Online letting agent?

They’re letting agents that don’t have a high-street presence (i.e. a local branch you can walk into), instead they operate from one centralised office, and make all their sales via their website. Ultimately, that means they have much lower overheads compared to high-street agents, which is precisely why they’re the able to offer much cheaper solutions for finding tenants. Like, massively cheaper.

An online letting agents goal is fundamentally the same as any other high-street letting agent, which is to generate as many leads from prospective tenants as possible in order to fulfil a vacant tenancy for a landlord. They achieve this by marketing a landlord’s property across several (if not hundreds) of the biggest UK property portals, which are all crawling with prospective tenants looking for their next home.

Quick fact: a staggering 92% of tenants search online for their next rental property on websites like Rightmove and Zoopla. So getting your website listed on those websites is paramount to finding tenants efficiently.

In order to get listed, you simply need to pay a [small] fee, and then upload your BTL property details onto the online agent’s website. The online agent will then distribute your property details across various different property portals, including Rightmove, which means your property will appear in Rightmove’s search results.

When a prospective tenants makes an enquiry through one of the property portals, the landlord will receive it directly, and then, typically, schedules and conducts the viewings. The final step is for the landlord to choose the most suitable applicant.

Some online letting agents do offer ‘hosted viewing’ services for an additional fee (£300 on average) – so you don’t necessarily have to take the viewings – but *most* landlords that use online letting agents take the viewings themselves, because that’s how they’re able to make the biggest savings.

The most reputable (and recommendable) online letting agents have a fully-dedicated support team which can be easily contacted via phone and/or email, so you’re not just dealing with a dormant website and automated responses- you actually are dealing with real people.

Online letting agents originally only catered for landlords that wanted a simple “tenant-find” service, and NOT a fully managed service.

If you opt for a “tenant-find” service from an online agent, which is approx £50 on average, you can typically expect the following service:

  1. Property listed on the biggest UK portals, including Rightmove and Zoopla, to generate enquiries from prospective tenants
  2. A range of forms and documents, including Tenancy agreement templates
  3. Support from an account manager in case you have any questions
  4. Tenant referencing service

However, many online agents have evolved their services by offering a more comprehensive service, which includes those services expected from a regular fully managed service you receive from a high-street agent, such as rent collection and maintenance management. So if you’re looking to benefit from online letting agent prices, while still wanting a managed service, you may want to skip down to the online letting agents that offer managed services section.

What are the differences between a high-street letting agent and online letting agent?

These days, in terms of services, online letting agents can offer most of the services high-street agents can. For example, online letting agents can offer ‘hosted viewings’, ‘professional photography’ services, ‘Rent collection’ services etc., essentially all the services you’d expected from a useful high-street agent.

However, they differ in the following ways (in my awesome opinion):

Local knowledge – high-street agents operate locally out of their shop-front, while online agents tend to operate nationally (so lack local knowledge of specific areas) from an office. High-street agents pride themselves on local knowledge, and feel they have an extra edge with that useful information. Granted, local knowledge is useful in some ways, but in this internet driven world, the importance of local knowledge is declining by the day. Moreover, most agents generate most of their leads from property portals like Rightmove anyways, and local knowledge isn’t even required for a tenant acquisition sourced by Rightmove.

Shop-front / Face-to-face service – high-street agents can offer a face-to-face service. So, for example, if you get really pissed off with their service, you can storm into their shop and punch your agent square in their stupid-looking face (assuming the intoxicating scent of their Old Spice aftershave doesn’t choke you to death first. Only joking). With an online letting agent, you’re limited to communicating via phone and/or email- assuming you’re not a psychotic maniac and prepared to track down your agent, the biggest threat in your arsenal is a string of harsh words, like, “you’re a cunt, mate!”

Price – this is where high-street agents and online agents become drastically alien from one another.

When you start looking at the pricing differences you almost have to wonder if they’re selling the same commodity (they essentially are!).

High-street agents have massive overheads in comparison to online agents, so they NEED to charge more for their services, and believe me, that they do! That’s a fact. Those fabulous multi-coloured Mini Coopers don’t pay for themselves.

High street agents generally base their fees on the percentage of rental income achieved over a one year duration. For example, if you receive a rental income of £1,000pcm, they might charge you 10% of of the annual rent (£1,000 x 12 = £12,000) to find you tenants, which would cost £1,200. That’s a horrendous amount of money.

From my experience, ALL online letting agents work on a fixed-fee basis (i.e. the £45 price on the tin is what you pay, unless you opt in for add-on services e.g. gas safety certificate, EPC, professional photography etc), so there are no hidden fees or sneaky extras that sneak in, which are notorious of the traditional high-street agent.

You do the math… and then tell me online agents aren’t worth a punt (if you’re not a believer yet, that is).

Enquiry management – unless you opt for a fully-managed solution (more on that further down the page), handling enquiries is generally a service online letting agents don’t provide.

High-street agents, on the other hand, generally include enquiry management and a viewing service with all their packages (of course, you’ll pay through the ass for the privilege).

Inspections – most high-street agents include a quarterly inspection with their fully-managed service, while this is a service most standard online letting agents won’t offer (although, it is available with online letting agents that offer managed services).

Inspections are imperative, as they can weed out any distasteful practises shown by the tenants at the early stages of the tenancy. Alas, a lot of agents methods of inspecting has yet to be desired- they may as well have walked in with a blindfold on. On the flip-side, it really isn’t much hassle for a landlord to arrange an inspection. Plus, you’d probably be more thorough when inspecting your own property, so it actually works out more beneficial in my opinion.

Fixed-fee full management letting services

Ok, so the table above shows the prices and details for “Tenant-find” services, which are more geared towards landlords that have the shear will and courage to deal directly with tenants’ and take full control of the management. And yes, while I have stipulated that I believe that’s where the best value is, I also do appreciate that some landlords, simply, can’t be assed with all the fuss and therefore want more from an agent.

Fortunately, and as said, some of the agents listed do offer more comprehensive ‘managed’ packages along with the same one-off fixed fee goodness, which are suitable for landlords that want to benefit from the online bargain prices.

It doesn’t matter if your rental property demands £5,000 PCM or £100 PCM, the online full management letting services listed below will charge the same low fixed fee, unlike traditional high-street letting agents that charge a percentage of the rental income.

So if a fully managed service is more your bag, I would personally recommend the agents and packages listed below! The best part about them (besides from the low-cost monthly fixed fees? Unlike with high-street agents, you won’t be tied into any lengthy contracts, because they all operate on a month-by-month contract…

Search Filters

Require any of the following?

  • Tenant-find service

    Tenant-find serviceThe premium listing is a popular upgrade which increases exposure to your Rightmove listing by highlighting it in the search results. Rightmove say Premium listings on average 35% more click-throughs than regular listings.

    X

  • Hosted viewings

    Hosted viewingsA local agent will take viewings and show potential tenants around your property. Please note, some agents limit how many viewings they will take, so please read the T&C's carefully.

    X

  • Rent collection

    Rent collectionAgent will collect rent from tenant and then send it to you.

    X

  • Inventory service

    Inventory serviceThe agent will arrange for an independent inventory clerk to create an inventory report.

    X

  • 24/7 customer service

    24/7 customer service24/7 customer support available.

    X

  • Home emergency cover

    Home emergency coverHome Emergency insurance cover is a policy protecting against unexpected incidents such as leaks, boiler breakdowns, loss of keys and sudden loss of electrical or gas supply.

    X

  • Rent protection / guarantee

    Rent protection / guaranteeIncludes some form of rent guarantee and/or protection, so you're protected against rent arrears.

    X

  • Repairs & maintenance management

    Repairs & maintenance managementAgent will manage repairs and maintenance issues.

    X

  • Routine inspection(s)

    Routine inspection(s)Agent will conduct routine inspection(s).

    X

  • Eviction support

    Eviction supportAgent will support and/or manage end of tenancies and evictions.

    X

  • Legal compliance & assistance

    Legal compliance & assistanceAgent will assist with any legal matters and help comply with your landlord legal obligations.

    X

Online Lettings Fixed-fee Full Management Services
Letting AgentRatingContractIncludes / NotesPrice
Rating
4.9
Google Reviews
Duration
Month by month
Includes / Notes

Basic package
  • Key features
  • Tenant-find service
  • Rent collection
  • Eviction support
More details

*Price breakdown

  • £39 / month + one time £149 setup fee

More features included

  • Advert on Rightmove & Zoopla
  • Tenant fully referenced
  • Holding deposit service
  • Digital tenancy agreement
  • Ongoing rent management
  • Legal & eviction cover
PricePER MONTH*£39 Inc VAT
FIRST YR TOTAL £617
Visit Website
Rating
4.5
TrustPilot Reviews
Duration
Month by month
Includes / Notes

Full Management package
  • Key features
  • Rent collection
  • 24/7 customer service
  • Repairs & maintenance management
  • Routine inspection(s)
  • Legal compliance & assistance
More details

*Price breakdown

  • £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.
  • *For properties inside of the M25: price is £62pm with the usage of the discount (which qualifies you for 30% discount). Normal price is £89pm.

**Discount

More features included

  • Legal assistance
  • Dedicated property manager
  • 24/7 customer service
  • 24/7 repairs and maintenance support
  • Inspections: one full photographic report per year
  • Key holder service
  • Negotiate renewals on your behalf (no additional charge)
  • Compliance monitoring and automatic alerts when certificates need renewing

Optional extras

  • Tenant-find services
    • £149 'Renter find' package:
      • Online advertising
      • 2 x tenant references
      • Tenancy agreements
      • Lettings negotiator
    • £595 'Rent it Faster, Pay later' package:
      • Pay-only on success
      • Online advertising
      • 2 x tenant references
      • Tenancy agreements
      • Lettings negotiator
      • Accompanied viewings
      • Professional photography
      • Premium listings
      • Check-in & inventory
Price

Discount available

PER MONTH*£41 Inc VAT
(Normal price: £59)
FIRST YR TOTAL £492

Visit Website**30% discount using link above!
Rating
4.9
TrustPilot Reviews
Duration
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
Price

Discount available

PER MONTH*£45 Inc VAT
FIRST YR TOTAL £579

Visit Website£40 Discount Code: 99PIP40
Rating
4.9
Google Reviews
Duration
Month by month
Includes / Notes

Essential package
  • Key features
  • Tenant-find service
  • Rent collection
  • Rent protection / guarantee
  • Eviction support
  • Legal compliance & assistance
More details

Price breakdown

  • £59 / month + one time £149 setup fee

More features included

  • Advert on Rightmove & Zoopla
  • Tenant fully referenced
  • Holding deposit service
  • Digital tenancy agreement
  • Ongoing rent management
  • Legal & eviction cover
  • Essential rent protection
  • Deposit dispute resolution
  • Health & safety cover
  • Property legal disputes
PricePER MONTH*£59 Inc VAT
FIRST YR TOTAL £857
Visit Website
Rating
4.9
TrustPilot Reviews
Duration
Month by month
Includes / Notes

Gold package
  • Key features
  • Tenant-find service
  • Rent collection
  • Inventory service
  • Repairs & maintenance management
  • Routine inspection(s)
  • Legal compliance & assistance
More details

Price breakdown

  • £85 / 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
  • Gas safety check
  • Inventory report
Price

Discount available

PER MONTH*£85 Inc VAT
FIRST YR TOTAL £1059

Visit Website£40 Discount Code: 99PIP40
Rating
4.5
TrustPilot Reviews
Duration
Month by month
Includes / Notes

Full Management + Protect package
  • Key features
  • Rent collection
  • 24/7 customer service
  • Home emergency cover
  • Rent protection / guarantee
  • Repairs & maintenance management
  • Routine inspection(s)
  • Legal compliance & assistance
  • Appliance Cover
More details

*Price breakdown

  • £89pcm price is based on one years' fee and with the usage of the discount (which qualifies you for 30% discount). Normal price is £128pm.
  • *For properties inside of the M25: price is £117pm with the usage of the discount (which qualifies you for 30% discount). Normal price is £168pm.

**Discount

More features included

  • Guaranteed rent
  • Appliance cover
  • Home emergency / Boiler cover
  • Legal assistance
  • Legal assistance
  • Dedicated property manager
  • 24/7 customer service
  • 24/7 repairs and maintenance support
  • Inspections: one full photographic report per year
  • Key holder service
  • Negotiate renewals on your behalf (no additional charge)
  • Compliance monitoring and automatic alerts when certificates need renewing

Optional extras

  • Tenant-find services
    • £149 'Renter find' package:
      • Online advertising
      • 2 x tenant references
      • Tenancy agreements
      • Lettings negotiator
    • £595 'Rent it Faster, Pay later' package:
      • Pay-only on success
      • Online advertising
      • 2 x tenant references
      • Tenancy agreements
      • Lettings negotiator
      • Accompanied viewings
      • Professional photography
      • Premium listings
      • Check-in & inventory
Price

Discount available

PER MONTH*£89 Inc VAT
(Normal price: £128)
FIRST YR TOTAL £1068

Visit Website**30% discount using link above!
Rating
4.9
Google Reviews
Duration
Month by month
Includes / Notes

Complete package
  • Key features
  • Tenant-find service
  • Rent collection
  • Home emergency cover
  • Rent protection / guarantee
  • Eviction support
  • Legal compliance & assistance
More details

Price breakdown

  • £99 / month + one time £149 setup fee

More features included

  • Advert on Rightmove & Zoopla
  • Tenant fully referenced
  • Holding deposit service
  • Digital tenancy agreement
  • Ongoing rent management
  • Legal & eviction cover
  • Deposit dispute resolution
  • Health & safety cover
  • Property legal disputes
  • Complete rent protection
  • Home emergency cover
  • Complimentary tenancy renewals
  • Complimentary readvertising
PricePER MONTH*£99 Inc VAT
FIRST YR TOTAL £1337
Visit Website

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.

Consumer Protection with online agents

Putting aside the fact that I don’t think tenants or landlords don’t have enough protection when dealing with any type of letting agent, I do want to make it clear that both online and highstreet letting agents must be a member of a redness scheme. If they’re not, they’re operating illegally and you should avoid them at all costs.

Essentially, every agent must be regulated in order to maintain consumer protection, and more notably, you don’t get any more or less consumer protection rights whether you use an online or high-street agent.

If you experience any problems with an agent, the scheme should be your first port of call to lodge an official complaint.

It should be clearly stated on the agent’s website or shop-front (if you’re using an high-street agent) which scheme(s) they are a member of.

Which is the best online letting agent?

I wish I could give you a definitive answer, but I can’t. However…

I have used several online agents in the past (and continue to use them every time I need to find tenants quickly), and many of which I have reviewed.

Every online letting agent I have used delivered exactly what they said they would; they marketed my property on the biggest property portals in the UK, generated a shitload of enquiries, and assisted me with finding tenants quickly, all for a very reasonable fixed-fee (i.e. no hidden costs). They did exactly what I wanted and expected.

In my opinion, as long as you use an online agent that will put your BTL on Rightmove and Zoopla, you stand a good chance of achieving your goal efficiently, if that is to generate enquiries from prospective tenants.

Where some online letting agents differ is the level of additional services they provide, beyond the basic tenant-find service. For example, while Visum and OpenRent are GREAT for throwing your property onto Rightmove and generating enquiries, other online agents like LettingAProperty offer managed-services, which include rent collection and dealing with repairs and maintenance.

All the agents I have listed have received a remarkable amount of positive feedback. So as far as I’m concerned, picking the right online agent for you really boils down to determining what level of service you’re after, as some offer more than others. If you’re unsure, I recommend reading through a couple of the agents’ websites, and learn more about what they offer, and go with what feels most suitable. But in reality, I don’t think you can go wrong with any of them (unless you’re trying to flog a deadhorse, and in that case, it’s probably your fault). It could just boil down to which online agent is currently offering the best deal.

I will say one thing though, online agents are generally a lot more flexible and forgiving than high-street agents. What I mean by that is that they don’t tie you into contracts, so you’re not forced/contracted to continue using a service you’re dissatisfied with.

The tenant-only package is the value solution!

Currently, the average price for using an online letting agent to generate enquiries across the biggest property portals, like Rightmove & Zoopla, is £50. Last time I checked, my local high-street agent wanted to charge me £700 for exact same service. And seriously, they are a bunch of inbred wankers, so I would have begrudged giving them money, period. I think many that have jumped ship from high-street to online have similar sentiments.

I’ve personally saved thousands by using tenant-find services from online agents. It’s a no-brainer.

The Extras e.g. Professional Photography & EPC’s

By law, landlords are required to show their prospective tenant’s an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) BEFORE signing a tenancy agreement i.e. during the viewing.

Most online agents will give you the option to buy an EPC an ‘add on’ purchase during checkout. They generally cost anywhere between £60 – £120. Alternatively, you can just independently source your own by using a local supplier; simply Google “EPC [insert your area]”, and plenty of options should become available. You’re more likely to get a better deal if you source your own, but if you’re after convenience, buy one through the agent.

If you already have a valid EPC, then you don’t need to purchase another one. EPC’s last for 10 years per property (not per tenant!).

While providing professional photography and floorplans isn’t a legal obligation, the purchasing process is similar to EPC’s. Most agents will give you the option to buy a property photography package as an ‘add on’ product during checkout. And again, you can Google for local suppliers for better rates.

Professional photography typically has a positive impact on the enquiry rate, so if you don’t already have a set, I personally think they’re a wise investment. Bear in mind, you’ll be able to reuse them over and over again!

Ignore the cynics. Online letting agents are awesome

I read an amusing article last week over at ‘Estate Agent Today’ about angry high-street letting agents bitching about online letting agents.

Essentially, you have a bunch of high-street letting agents complaining that Online Letting Agents (e.g. LettingAproperty, OpenRent) shouldn’t be able to advertise their properties on Rightmove. I don’t really understand the argument. I’m not even sure there is a problem, beyond the fact that high-street letting agents aren’t able to compete with the low prices online letting agents are charging. But that’s tough shit. They should either change their business model so they can compete; focus on building their “fully-managed” package….or roll over and die.

The consumer (landlord) should be able to choose whether they want the service of a virtual or high-street letting agent. Despite common misconception, neither service is better than the other and they shouldn’t be compared, because they’re different services all together, designed for different types of landlords.

So, comments like this, “Some landlords will always be prepared to cut corners and avoid paying a good letting agent. In my experience, many live to regret it” are the remarks muttered by a petulant child. If I don’t need the extras that come with a high-street agent, why the hell should I bloody pay for one? It’s genuinely not a case of “cutting corners”, it’s a case of assessing my needs, and choosing a service that will meet them. Simple.

You don’t need to be a salesman (at the moment)

If you decide to conduct the viewings (because it’s a buttload cheaper than upgrading to a ‘hosted viewing’ service), you may have concerns over your ability to ‘sell’ your property; you may not have the gift of the gab or be a natural salesman, or you may just be incredibly shy around strangers. Understandable.

While I won’t be able to cure any anxiety issues you may have about taking your own viewings, I do want to say the following two things about ‘selling’ your property, which may make the situation a little less daunting:

  • The reality is, if someone falls in love with a property during the viewing, they’ll probably make an offer as long you come across as relatively friendly and reasonable. There’s not much ‘selling’ required; the product is in front of them, they can see what’s on offer.
  • In today’s climate, where demand for rental properties is massively out-striping supply, tenancies are flying off the shelf. Point being, during a booming market, you really don’t need to push a hard sale – the selling happens in cruise control.
  • I’ve recently written an in-depth blog post on why it is so much better and safer for landlords to take their viewings! If that doesn’t reassure you, I don’t know what will!

So I wouldn’t over worry if you’re concerned about the ‘selling’ aspect; the sales pitch will mostly boil down to showing prospective tenants around, and answering a few questions about the property and tenancy agreement.

You can ALWAYS use both an online agent and high-street agent

When people talk about online agents and high-street agents, I always get the impression they think it’s an either/or situation. That’s definitely not the case. Actually, I’ve probably given that impression myself, but I’m about to set the record straight.

For anyone that’s reluctant about using an online agent, but wants to give it a whirl by ditching a high-street agent and their fees, I would recommend doing the following…

Use an online letting agent- invest £45 (or so) into their service, and see if you can bag yourself a tenant, but at the same time use a high-street agent to find tenants. May the best greaseball method win.

Most high-street agents don’t charge unless you actually USE the tenant they source (but double check that with your agent, and get it in writing to be safe!We’re dealing with agents here. Enough said, right?). If the high-street agent sources the tenant, then the worst case scenario is that you invested an extra £45, which isn’t a big loss in the grand scheme of things. Alternatively, you just saved yourself a few hundred quid, and finally recognise how awesome online letting agents are. Congratulations.

But let me expand on how you can still use both online and high-street agents together. If you manage to find a tenant through an online agent, and take on the fully-managed role, but then realise taking on the responsibility isn’t suited to your lifestyle, then you can easily just approach an agent to take over the management. It really isn’t a case of either/or as far as I’m concerned.

Still adamant on using a high-street agent? Then cut a deal!

You’re not convinced by the whole online letting agent thing.

That’s cool, I can dig it.

In that case: it’s always worth mentioning to your high-street agent that you’re looking into online agents because they’re so much more cost-efficient and offer the same services. Once you drop that bomb, many agents have been obliged to lower their initial rates.

Needless to say, online agents’ low prices have been causing havoc for high-street agents, and I don’t see it getting any easier for them.

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Showing 81 - 131 comments (out of 131)
1 out of 5 rating2 out of 5 rating3 out of 5 rating4 out of 5 rating5 out of 5 rating28 people have rated their experience with Online Letting Agents.4.6 out of 5 Stars.Leave your Comment / Review
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David 8th March, 2018 @ 19:03

@Vanessa

Don't do it, it creates expectation in minds of tenants if they break it that you will replace it as it is part of contract.

You also get no premium really and most people want to bring their own stuff.

Put the furniture on eBay or Freecycle, less hassle, not worth spending money on storage.

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adam 8th March, 2018 @ 22:27

Hi Vanessa,
Agree with David re expectations.
Definitely wouldn’t provide Portable appliances such as kettles.
Semi furnished may have positive tax implications.
The above depends on other factors such as type of property i.e. flats gets rented by more transient younger people. And the converse applies to houses (generally speaking). You get to know this after a while.
If it’s your first time, do expect many issues on a continual but not constant basis. Read most of the items in this site and you will get lots of great advice. You can do it yourself for sure. Where abouts is your property.

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Vanessa 4th April, 2018 @ 09:50

Hi there thanks for the advice,I'm in the Northumberland area, I've had quotes for storage, they are exspensive!!! But as I was only going to let for a year I thought it might be an option, I am to return after a year, so I'm exploring different options, I love this site it's so informative,it's now just deciding what letting agent to go for!!!!

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David 4th April, 2018 @ 17:29

@Vanessa

I checked Northampton Housing Associations, yours are still run by the Council

£12 a week for non council tenants

https://www.southnorthantshomes.co.uk/finding-a-home/renting/renting-a-garage/

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Andrew whitmey 6th April, 2018 @ 07:24
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I really appreciate this blog and like it very much because you have mentions List of the best online letting agents for landlords. Thanx for sharing it.

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karmal 21st April, 2018 @ 19:18
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just wanted to let you know about my experience of Openrent.
The holding deposit to secure the flat is a very small amount especially for London so if your to be tenants fail their referencing or change their minds you have lost a lot of time and only get back a small amount of money to cover you for time wasted. Most referncing can take 5 days minimum.
Also if they change their minds Openrent will investigate why they did and look at all communication which can take a few days and they will not let you readvertise in that time so again you can lose 4 or 5 days not being able to do anything on their site.
They then deduct the referencing charge that the tenants should have paid off the holding deposit that they hold for you co that you get even less.
Because the holding deposit is so small tenants are more prepared to mess you around becasue they have very little to lose especially if its a group moving in and its split between them.

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karmal 21st April, 2018 @ 19:23
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I have also used Lettingaproperty who are great but expensive compared to other online agencies. I have only used them to find tenants nothing else.
I would like to pick people brains or rather ask advice, i want to take out Rent Guarantee Insurance but who actually pays up and is simple and straight forward to deal with. A friend of mine took out RGI with Simple Insurance who wriggled out of paying when his tenant didn't pay his rent so i would not touch them.
Anyone had any good experiences i know that Homelet have been mentioned as have Upad and a few others but do they pay?
Also do they have to do the referencing for it to be valid. Thanks

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David 21st April, 2018 @ 19:37

Sounds like two spam messages to me!

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karmal 21st April, 2018 @ 19:51

OH David ,please get over it, you must have some other conversation apart from spam spam.
If anyone has something useful to say about my question on RGI would love to hear it.

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123-Landlord 11th September, 2018 @ 12:36

Thanks for the advice and the lists. I'm about to relet a property so am looking for a new agent.

I'm dubious about 99 Homes though - the press release on their website says they launched in May 2018 but after less than 4 months in business they already have 143 reviews on Trust Pilot and they're all 5* - too good to be true? The reviews on Google and AllAgents are also all 5*.

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 11th September, 2018 @ 13:03

@123-Landlord
Rest assured, 99 Homes are legit. I've spoken to the guy who owns the company on a few occasions.

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Dean 27th February, 2019 @ 16:58
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I have only recently began to use OpenRent (This week) and what a breath of fresh air, I cannot compare to other online portals but frankly at present I wouldn't wish too, once I'm happy IM HAPPY. They thus far have been nothing short of an absolute pleasure to use and have lifted my spirits both in terms of the ludicrous costs high street letting agents seem to think is appropriate to both the landlord and tenants and in terms of tenant interest. I have a renewed vigour for this landlording malarkey again, so far so good.

D

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 27th February, 2019 @ 20:48

@Dean
Great to hear, thanks for the feedback!

And yup, OpenRent are awesome!

Just out of curiosity, did you end up finding tenants, or are you just in the process of collecting enquiries and arranging viewings?

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James 9th April, 2019 @ 16:59
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Another positive vote for OpenRent. Just used them for the 1st time and have saved over £2,000 per year buy not using my usual agent. It was so easy I was kicking myself for not using them sooner, and I found tenants at the asking price.
The only downside I could see was having to show the property myself. But for me that is a positive as I got to meet the prospective tenants and size them up myself as they where sizing me up making sure I wasn't a Rachman type..
I took my own pictures, did my own advert and set my own screening requirements.
It was really exciting seeing the enquiries coming through on my phone and being able to react quickly to them.
I did pay for the full financial tenant check, and also for the inventory and check in. The contract was great and I was able to add my own clauses.
Now I think how can letting agents survive?
I mean do you browse estate agents on the highstreet looking for your dream home or to see how much the neighbours are selling for.....or do you go to on-line sites like Zoopla?

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Landlord 7th May, 2019 @ 11:33

Thoughts on www.thehouseshop.com?

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 7th May, 2019 @ 11:44

@Landlord
Free to list on there, so why not? Good for added exposure, I wouldn't use them as a complete replacement for Rightmove/Zoopla though, but more so an additional means of marketing.

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Nicola Teague 30th May, 2019 @ 16:35

Hi there

Great website and information, thanks everyone. I live in the US but have a flat in London area and in the past I have used high street real estate snakes! Had a really bad experience with high fees with low service and in my opinion slight bullying tactics in renewing with them.

I now want to use an online agent and would like to find one that does all the usual things but does include photography and viewings. I don't mind paying for good service and I would prefer to find a company that doesn't just have add ons that has more of a premium package. I don't need rent collection, EPC or those types of things.

Any tips would be appreciated

Nicky

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David 30th May, 2019 @ 16:50

@nicola

If you are outside UK make sure you are legal, most common error is deposit protection, see this article

https://www.propertyinvestmentproject.co.uk/blog/tenancy-deposit-protection-easy-guide/

Also the new Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 which recently pass fully into law.

https://www.propertyinvestmentproject.co.uk/blog/homes-fitness-for-human-habitation-act/

Also the Tenant Fees Act 2019

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2019/4/contents/enacted

The most common issue with this will be deposits of more than 6 weeks but any fee or charge is covered one way or another. Easy option is to just wrap your costs into your rent and make sure your property is of a standard where the rent will be competitive for what you are offering.

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Nicola Teague 30th May, 2019 @ 17:04

Thanks David. My property has been rented for the last 8 years so it is no good shape, I am legal and pay taxes on my property, I do indeed know about changes in law for tenants which I think is great. I also know about deposit and the changes to that as well. I am really just looking for an all in package

Thanks

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Marc 31st May, 2019 @ 04:25

@Nicola I'm interested in responses as I'm in the same boat.

I already use online provider Howsy - they do viewings, photos and very basic managment but it's a pretty barebones experience. I'm looking for proactive/hands-on support with good customer experience. Thinking of making the jump to uPad, which seems a little more "premium" but hard to really know until trying. Maybe you can take a look if you haven't already.

Please share here with who you end up selecting and why - thanks :)

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Peter England 10th December, 2019 @ 09:29
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I've used the onlinelettingagency.co.uk for 3 of our last Lettings with some great success. Tennants found within a matter of days, after excellent photographs and right move/zooplankton adverts. Costs were just under £400 for the complete package where we or our existing tenants did the viewings.

Definitely worth doing.

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Marc 3rd January, 2020 @ 04:51
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Anyone know if any of the online (or hybrid) lettings agents can provide a dedicated point of contact OR offer a decent turnaround time for responses?

I went through a HMO licensing process and and my council told me that Howsy was insufficiently responsive to provide managed services to a HMO. They didn't like the generic mailbox approach.

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David 3rd January, 2020 @ 11:34

@Marc

That sounds like a carefully crafted (second) spam message promoting Howsy, why not just be upfront and have your MD contact "The Landlord" (aka Flossy) and do a Howsy deal for the 50k of members who have registered with this blog?

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 3rd January, 2020 @ 11:54

@David
Isn't he doing the opposite of promoting Howsy? He's saying that Howsy were slow at responding, if I'm not mistaken...

@Marc
So from what I understand, did the council try and contact Howsy (because you wanted to appoint them as your agent), but they were slow at responding? So now the council are refusing to grant you a license if you use Howsy? That seems a bit OTT. Please clarify, because I'd love to reach out to Howsy to find out what happened there.

Also, did you ask Howsy if they have a direct contact for an account manager?

You could try 99home or LettingAproperty, both are very good, and are very responsive from my experience. I'm sure they can give you direct communication to an account manager...

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Marc 3rd January, 2020 @ 11:55

@David Haha, thanks for your healthy cynicism. I just took a second read and really don't think I was all that complimentary!

I'm on the verge of jumping ship to lettingaproperty.com as they appear to have a somewhat personalised service.

I've only had one constructive input from this community despite leaving my first query nearly a year ago - feel free to provide some if you have any ;-)

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The Landlord 3rd January, 2020 @ 11:56

@Marc
I didn't think it was complimentary either :)

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Marc 3rd January, 2020 @ 12:09

@The Landlord - thanks for the response!

For info, it's Southwark Council in London. They have fairly stringent licensing requirements but fair and friendly staff. They didn't refuse a licence - they just gave me informal feedback after the fact that I should look into a change of agent because the "dedicated account manager" I had listed was rarely available and they had to rely on contacting the generic mailbox and hotline and were subject to a response time of a couple of days.

To be fair to Howsy this was back when they were NoAgent so their service has possibly (but not noticeably) evolved but having asked them what level of service they could commit to just this morning, I was passed from first level service support to now waiting for a callback from a "manager" so I think this has already answered my question. In the meantime I have contacted 99home (am still waiting) and lettingaproperty who, to their credit, scheduled an extremely prompt callback and can apparently offer a dedicated property support person.

I'll likely finalise a decision on Monday depending on today's other two callbacks. Aiming to lock in the switch (if I pull the trigger) before proceeding with my HMO licence renewal.

Thanks!

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The Landlord 3rd January, 2020 @ 12:13

@Marc,

Thanks for that, really appreciate it. I'm going to reach out to Howsy and see what they have to say!

Please let me know who you end up going with and why. It's really useful information for me, the other agents, and for anyone contemplating between online management agencies.

Oh, and don't forget to use the discount codes available :)

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Marc 3rd January, 2020 @ 13:14

@The Landlord

Sure, will return with feedback in due course! I only have two properties so don’t have vastly varied experience - I imagine HMOs are still niche... mortgage lenders seem to think so :( However I do think that most online agents are probably still badly equipped for handholding during the licensing process, even if they can support the (slight) additional complexity of the rental contract afterwards.

As someone who used to self-manage I know my tenants enjoy worse service than before I moved abroad and opted for a fully-managed deal. I like the idea of testing an online agent with the need of being sufficiently responsive to a local council. If they can do that then surely that will be a good indicator of their ability to resolve tenant enquiries promptly!

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David 3rd January, 2020 @ 15:49

Sorry @Marc

I think I must have read that wrong, I see it now.

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David L 13th February, 2020 @ 01:38

Hi @the landlord could you review bunk? And snippie?

Bunk gained attention in the web because of nationwide is backing them.

I was going to pick LAP but they have other stuffs like inspections as seperate charge and the charge is bit high so I am seeking any alternative

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 14th February, 2020 @ 11:07

Hi @ David,

They're both relatively new services, and I usually wait for an agent to establish a reputation before I start prodding around. It's hard for me to recommend anyone while they're so new.

That said, I have recently been in communication with Snippie.

I will eventually get around to taking a closer look at both services, but I'm not sure when that will be I'm afraid. Probably not useful to you since you're in the market now.

For what it's worth, LAP is relatively expensive compared to other online agents, but they're a premium service, and their customer service really is exceptional from my experience! You do get value.

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Danielle James 29th February, 2020 @ 16:09

Hi,

Sorry this isn’t a review but a question...

Do you have to be a licensed landlord to use the Howsy fully managed service?

Thanks in advance,
Dani

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 29th February, 2020 @ 17:09

Hi @Danielle,
Not sure what you mean, to be honest. What kind of license are you referring to?

But in any case, no, landlords don't need to be licensed to use Howsy, or any other online letting agent.

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Danielle James 29th February, 2020 @ 20:33

Thank you for your reply!

I was meaning the Landlord license that costs £500.

I probably should have given some context to my initial message. We are homeowners but need to relocate (luckily not too far) for a new job. We would therefore like to let our home whilst renting another.

We think an online letting agent is our best bet rather than the high street. We have looked at Howsy but just wondered if we needed to be registered with a Landlord license? I had a look at the Howsy terms and conditions and there was a section that said the following:

“Compliance Monitor
You are responsible for ensuring that You obtain any required property licence under Parts 2 and 3 of the Housing Act 2004.
Whether or not a property requires a licence under the Housing Act 2004 depends on several factors including the type and location of the Property, the number of occupiers, and the status and relationship between relationship of occupiers.

If the Property requires to be licensed, You agree to make an application or to promptly instruct us to make such an application.
We accept no liability to You arising out of the Property requiring to be licensed but not being so licensed.

If We apply for a licence for your Property You agree to reimburse us for the application fee charged by the local authority and to pay Our Fees for making the application.

We will check whether there are any licencing requirements that may apply to the Property. We will also monitor any legal changes that may affect the Property and inform you about this. This service is intended to provide you with assistance with licensing and You must satisfy Yourself whether the Property requires a licence.”

This is what made me question whether we needed a license?

I have even considered letting our home ourselves, my mums a landlord back in Wales and wondered if we could even let under her license to save us the £500 if we did it all ourselves.

What do you think?

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 29th February, 2020 @ 21:21

@Danielle,

You seem a little confused :)

I presume you're talking about the "selective licensing scheme". That will depend on your local borough, not the agent.

Go to your local councils website, in the housing section, and find out if the properties in your area falls under the selected licensing scheme and therefore requires one before being able to rent it out legally. Or call them on Monday.

Howsy is basically saying it's YOUR responsibility to ensure you have a license if your property requires one, and if it does, you can instruct Howsy to apply for one on your behalf, and you will then need to reimburse them the money. You can use Howsy either way, they're just making you aware that they won't be liable if you require a license and don't get one!

You can't use anyone else's license (e.g. your mum's), because the license is for the property, not the actual landlord.

So first find out if your local borough requires landlords to have a license! At the moment it sounds like you think it's the agent (Howsy) that's forcing you to get the license, when it's not.

Hope that makes sense!

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The Landlord 29th February, 2020 @ 21:23

P.s. the following blog post might be useful to you, What You Need To Know Before Renting Out Your Residential Home

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Danielle James 29th February, 2020 @ 22:23

Hi @The Landlord,

You’re probably right and I will check and get back to you. Thank you for clarifying and for your help. Your blog has been so helpful.

Danielle 😊

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Rainbow girl 15th July, 2020 @ 13:13

Hi, when was this article updated last? I received an e-mail today with a link to this article, but I see that comments started back in 2011?! Might be useful to add somewhere near the top the date of the last update? I see you are blogging since 1729, but I do hope that your facts get updated through centuries :-)

I am sadly one of those who still uses a high-street agent, but to my defense, all my tenants are long term (4 years plus). I had only one trouble tenant who had arrears but I ended up break-even, and the others are good, paying on time tenants. I negotiated fees with the agent, so I pay them for the first year only (they wanted to charge me tenant find fee across 3 years!). Rationally I know you are right and your article - assuming that prices are not 9 years old - will probably motivate me to finally try an online agent next time I need to find a tenant. Thanks for the inspiration!

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 17th July, 2020 @ 09:35

Hi @Rainbow girl
It's true, this page started back in the 1700's, but it's been actively updated through the ages! I do my best to keep the packages/prices accurate. Many of the discounts/offers are exclusive to this website, so I'm always keeping them updated.

So, now you're up to date... might be a good time to experiment with an online agent :)

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estelle 3rd September, 2020 @ 18:57

I've had 4 student properties for around 14 years and always used a high street letting agent. They are increasingly difficult to get hold of and unprofessional...plus when I factor in the costs - £780 per property, per year...moving online seems like a no brainer. my only concern is that I need to find new (student) tenants pretty much every year, there's 4 in each house. Does anyone have and advice/experience using online Letting agents with student properties/hmos?

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Mark Wainwright 29th September, 2020 @ 09:59

In the process of purchasing a second property as a BTL. Now I've been reading about On line letting agents I'm sure that is the way to go. One question though....Photographs....Of course as I am now buying the property I have the sales brochure and all the same photos on line, can I use said photos as part of advertising with an On line agent or are the photos owned by the selling estate agency so not allowed to be used under copy-right?

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 29th September, 2020 @ 10:35

@Mark
Hmm... I'm not an expert on copyright, but my guess is you'll need to get permission to use those pictures, otherwise you'll be breaching copyright laws. You don't own the rights to them essentially, so it's very unlikely you'll be able to use them for commercial purposes.

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M H Patel 29th September, 2020 @ 23:20
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Very informative in all aspect would consider online agents who can act quickly to obtain tenants

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Charlie 14th December, 2020 @ 05:17
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I do use an online agent and till now am happy with their service.
They dont use bully tactics like street agents.pushing you to sell.
Got rented fast.
Willing to work with me and get the jobs done.
24hour service
What more can you ask?

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Alex Bolt 30th December, 2020 @ 10:28
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using Openrent to get access to Rightmove is great, I carry out viewings and am an agent with Homelet, this gives me access to rent guarantee schemes, belt and braces.

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Padrone di casa 4th August, 2021 @ 08:02

Hi, we recently returned to UPAD and it seems as good as it ever was. We looked at the alternatives and none felt quite right. UPAD scored for me because they don't make landlords prove they own the property before proceeding and we didn't feel like jumping through yet another pointless bureaucratic hoop.

On the negative side, UPAD charge for three months on Rightmove, but they kick you off after your property has attracted 50 applicants. For such an expensive service, this rankles. We are very fussy and I wouldn't expect more than about half a dozen out of 50 to meet my minimum standards, so we like lots of choice. A bad tenant is hell on earth, as is trying to evict a tenant, so extreme caution is needed at the application stage.

Some potential tenants apply twice for whatever reason, and UPAD sensibly don't count multiple applicants as part of the 50 ration.

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Kuri Yus 2nd January, 2022 @ 21:52

Leaning towards reusing Countrywide for full management and they charge for a service that no other letting agency I've used has ever mentioned. According to their T&Cs, Countrywide has 'a legal obligation to make an "Annual HMRC tax declaration" to HMRC of all rent collected per tax year on behalf of landlords,' under the Finance Act 2011.

Has anyone else heard of this requirement for letting agencies?

Could only find one mention of this online, from a blog that has barely no entries since 2014. Just a tad sceptical...

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The Landlord 2nd January, 2022 @ 22:01

@Kuri Yus

Here you go: https://www.taxassist.co.uk/resources/articles/letting-agents-forced-to-hand-over-landlords-details

It's mandatory for letting agents to disclose details of rents received on behalf of private landlords, even if they mention it in their T&Cs or not. I can understand why a letting agent wouldn't mention it in their T&Cs, because it seems more like an internal business issue.

I'm a little confused though, because you seem concerned by the requirement (I don't personally see any reason to be). If they do or don't disclose the information to HRMC, it won't impact the landlord...

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Kuri Yus 3rd January, 2022 @ 01:18

@The Landlord

Happy New Year!

Thanks for this - genuinely wasn't sure whether to believe them!

Not concerned at all about the requirement - more chagrined at yet another 'mandatory' fee in addition to the management fee. Previously used 5 or more other management companies, none ever charged for this... Feels as ludicrous as it would be for me to charge my tenants an extra fee when I submit my HMRC return!

Then again, these are what I like to call 'positive problems' - the kind I'm grateful to have :-)

Thanks again for getting back to me

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The Landlord 3rd January, 2022 @ 11:01

@Kuri Yus

Thank you, Happy New Year to you, too.

Ah, sorry, I misunderstood, I didn't realise they were charging you extra for it. That seems ridiculous, in my opinion. Presumably, it's all managed automatically by their accounting system.

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