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Renting Direct From a Landlord Vs. Through a Letting Agent

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The choice between renting direct from a landlord and going through a letting agent is a pivotal decision for many renters. This decision can significantly influence your rental experience, impacting everything from costs to how issues are handled during your tenancy. But is one better than the other? In this post, we delve into both options, highlighting their advantages and disadvantages.

Understanding letting agents

A letting agent’s role is to act as an intermediary between a landlord and a renter and their role and responsibilities are not insignificant.

They represent the landlord and help them by keeping track of all the legal rules, which change often. Letting agents also need to ensure that all legal obligations are met.

They conduct detailed references and financial checks and handle all the important papers. Think of things like managing legal documents, rental agreements, inventory lists, and holding onto security deposits the right way. Ultimately this is to make sure that everyone is following the law. They want to provide a safe and habitable place to live for anyone with a right to rent. This work is mostly behind the scenes, but it’s super important.

A letting agent will look after several properties on behalf of landlords and as such with advertise multiple homes for rent as they become available. They then schedule and conduct viewings for any renters who have expressed an interest.

In short, agents then carry out the necessary tenant checks. They prepare your tenancy agreement, secure your tenancy deposit in a tenancy deposit scheme, organise a rental property inventory when you move in and manage the property for the duration of your tenancy. Handling any tenancy disputes should they arise.

Of course, the above is also the obligation of a landlord!

Advantages of renting via a letting agent

Letting agents bring expertise to the table, ensuring the home you rent is legally compliant. They also oversee the administration involved with renting as outlined above.

A good reputable letting agent will be fully versed and up to date with all rental legislation. This gives tenants and landlords peace of mind regarding obligations and safety requirements.

As letting agents manage the bulk of the rental process, this can save significant time for both tenants and landlords. They can also field any queries and explain the different types of tenancy agreements which are legally binding and should be understood before they are signed.

Potential downsides of using a letting agent

If a letting agent isn’t following basic professional standards and is not accredited with a professional body such as Propertymark, then there is the risk that your property is not being managed well.

This is important as both landlord and tenant have responsibilities to uphold as part of any tenancy.

Renting direct from a landlord

Many landlords in the private rental sector decide to self-manage their rental properties and do so successfully. However, sadly some do not.

Advantages of renting direct from a landlord

A self-managing landlord will not be paying letting agents’ fees. As a result, there is the potential that rents might be cheaper. However, this will depend on the type of rental property you rent and on the assumption that the landlord is going to pass this saving on to you.

Renting direct from a landlord rather than going through an intermediary, can feel like a more personalised relationship and the opportunity to get things addressed more quickly. This can also be the reverse of course.

Potential downsides of renting direct from a landlord

Individual landlords may lack the professional expertise of agents, potentially impacting your rental experience. They may also be unaware of the ever-changing legislative landscape when it comes to renting property.

There is also the risk of encountering a landlord who is not as stringent about their obligations. Which can pose a risk of rental scams which you should be alert to.

Letting agent vs landlord direct

Choosing between whether to rent through a letting agent and a direct landlord depends on where you look for your next home and personal preferences, priorities, and circumstances.

There’s no right or wrong answer but by understanding the pros and cons of each, you will at least be aware and alert to any warning signs if something doesn’t feel quite right.

When using a letting agent look for industry accreditations like ARLA Propertymark, Property Redress Scheme (PRS) or Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) and you’ll be on the right track.

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Last Updated: March 20th, 2024

Phil Spencer

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