Lettings - Full Management or DIY Approach?
16th May 2014
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If you’re a landlord then squeezing the maximum income from your rented property is of course important; you may be a professional/buy-to-let landlord who’s making a living from property, or maybe you’re just renting your home while you need to live elsewhere, and the rental income is helping to cover your costs there.

Either way, the option to pay 10%-15% of your monthly rental income “off the top” to your letting agent for a full management service needs some consideration, as it can be a sizeable overhead.

Should I self-manage my rental property?

The practical side of being a landlord is hardly glamorous - dealing with property maintenance and tricky tenants rarely translates into a life-affirming day’s work. Having been a landlord myself I can absolutely attest to this. Your tenants will call at all hours about all kinds of things that you wouldn’t believe could crop up and cause inconvenience to someone’s life. Even if you live locally it can be a pain, if not then it becomes a nightmare.

On the other hand many tenants (especially if they’ve been homeowners themselves) are very responsible and easygoing, they will cut the lawn and quietly fix the odd small DIY issue that crops up, and if your house is already in good condition you may not hear from them from one renewal to the next.

But the fact is all rental properties needs to be managed, and if you don't want to do it, then you need to find a letting agent who will.

Let-Only Services

Letting agents typically offer two levels of service to landlords, the first being ‘let only’, without the full management aspect. This will typically cover:

  • Producing the letting particulars for the rental property.
  • Marketing the rental property. 
  • Conducting the prospective tenant viewings.
  • Carrying out the vetting and referencing of the tenant.
  • Providing an up to date Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement.
  • Taking the first rental payment and the rental deposit payment.
  • Carrying out the ‘check in’ and ‘handover’ of the rental property.
  • Preparing a property inventory /schedule of condition

The fees for these services will be applied at the start of the tenancy with no ongoing costs once the tenant is installed. Worth remembering that letting agents’ fees are all off-settable against the profits when it comes to your tax return.

Full Management

With a let-only service, once the tenant has moved in and all inventories and forms are complete, the responsibility for the property is handed back to you. The tenant will have your phone number to call if anything breaks, falls off, explodes, implodes, starts leaking, or stops working. And believe me they will call.

You then have the option to try to sort the problem out yourself, which begs the questions:

  • Have you got the time?
  • Are you happy to be called 24x7 in an emergency?
  • How are your DIY skills?
  • Do you know affordable, competent local tradesmen you can call on?

With the full management service in place all this will be handled by your letting agent. Let’s be clear you’ll still get the bills from plumbers and electricians etc., but the letting agent will know and use good tradesmen and you won’t be ripped off.

One of Newlife Lettings' long-term clients states:

“We have let property through Newlife for over 22 years and they have been brilliant! In that time we've had less than a week unoccupied. We now live more than 200 miles from Farnborough and they are fantastic- finding great tenants, sorting repairs, dealing with any problems and nothing is too much trouble for them. We would recommend them to anyone.” – Jenny Godfrey

Enough said I think. Having been an “amateur landlord” myself for a while I would never again take on the burden of being on-call 24x7 for my tenants – for me, it’s pay the fees and go for full management every time!


About the Author

Carly B

Member since: 8th May 2013

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