How much are letting agency fees

February 1, 2024

Renting out a property can be a lucrative venture, but for UK landlords, the path to profitability often involves engaging with letting agencies. While these agencies play a vital role in streamlining the rental process, it’s essential for landlords to approach letting agency fees wisely to avoid overpaying.

From understanding the percentage of rent letting agents typically charge landlords, to the most common types of fees, it’s important to know the intricacies of these financial practices. These also include the potential expenses associated with a full property management service.

As you look into the details of letting agency fees, you might wonder whether landlords can effectively manage their properties without external assistance. In an era following the tenancy fee ban, it’s also useful to know how regulatory changes have impacted the fees landlords pay, and how you can strategically reduce costs.

Whether you’re a longstanding or new landlord, we’ll help to deepen your understanding of letting agency fees and empower you to make informed decisions around your finances. In this guide, we’ll provide you with the insights needed to navigate the rental market successfully.

What are letting agency fees for landlords?

Letting agents may charge landlords various fees for specific services, in addition to a monthly commission. These charges can significantly impact the overall cost for landlords, so transparency in fee structures is crucial for informed decision-making. Landlords can request a comprehensive breakdown of all potential fees from the letting agent before entering into an agreement.

Some of the most common types of letting agent fees include:

  • Tenant referencing fees: Charged for checking the background and financial stability of potential tenants, such as conducting credit checks.

  • Inventory fees: Covering the cost of preparing an inventory and conducting check-in and check-out inspections.

  • Tenancy renewal fees: Applicable when renewing a tenancy agreement with existing tenants.
  • Administrative fees: Charged for administrative tasks such as preparing documents and handling paperwork.

  • Exit fees: Levied when tenants vacate the property to cover additional administrative and cleaning costs.

What percentage of rent do letting agents charge landlords?

Letting agents in the UK also typically charge landlords a percentage of the monthly rent as their fee for finding and securing tenants. The standard range for this fee is between 8% and 15%. This can vary based on the location, property type, and level of services provided by the letting agency. In prime or high-demand areas, agents might charge a higher percentage due to increased competition for rental properties.

This fee covers services such as advertising the property, conducting viewings and referencing potential tenants. If you want to work with a letting agent but their fee doesn’t align with your budget and expectations, landlords are often able to negotiate with them.

How much are letting agency fees for landlords?

The total cost of letting agency fees for landlords can vary widely based on the services required and the agent’s pricing structure. In addition to the percentage-based commission, the additional fees letting agencies charge landlords can range from £200 to £500 or more. Tenant referencing fees might be around £50 to £100 per tenant, while inventory services could cost between £100 and £200.

It’s advisable for landlords to carefully assess the services offered before making a decision. While fees are an important consideration, the overall value and quality of service should also play a significant role in the decision-making process.

How much does it cost for an agent to manage a rental property?

The cost for an agent to manage a rental property is typically an additional fee on top of the initial letting fee. Property management fees usually range from 10% to 15% of the monthly rent. This fee covers ongoing services such as rent collection, property inspections, handling maintenance issues, and managing communication between landlords and tenants.

Landlords who opt for property management services should consider the added convenience, peace of mind and time-saving benefits. While it increases the overall cost, having a professional manage the property can be valuable, especially for those with multiple properties or limited time to handle day-to-day management tasks.

What does a full property management service include?

A full property management service offered by letting agents involves comprehensive support throughout the tenancy period. This service might typically include:

  • Advertising and tenant placement: Finding suitable tenants through marketing and property viewings.

  • Tenant referencing: As mentioned earlier.

  • Tenancy agreement: Preparing and managing the tenancy agreement, ensuring legal compliance.

  • Rent collection: Handling monthly rent payments and chasing any arrears on behalf of the landlord.

  • Property inspections: Conducting regular inspections to ensure the property is well-maintained.

  • Maintenance coordination: Arranging and overseeing necessary repairs or maintenance work.

  • Emergency support: Providing assistance in case of emergencies or urgent tenant issues.
  • Void management: In periods between tenancies when the property is vacant, some letting agents may charge landlords for void management services, which involve tasks like securing the property and managing utilities during vacancy periods.

  • Deposit handling: Although the deposit is primarily for the tenant, some letting agents charge landlords for handling and securing the deposit, ensuring compliance with deposit protection schemes.

  • Legal and eviction services: If legal action or eviction proceedings become necessary, letting agents may charge fees for handling these complex and time-consuming processes on behalf of the landlord.
  • Insurance services: Letting agents might offer insurance products such as rent guarantee insurance or landlord’s insurance. In such cases, they could charge a fee for facilitating these services.

  • Marketing and advertising: Fees may be applied for marketing and advertising services to promote the property. This includes costs associated with online listings, photography, and promotional activities.

  • Utilities and council tax management: Some letting agents offer services to manage utility payments and council tax on behalf of the landlord, and they may charge fees for handling these administrative tasks.

Is a letting agent worth it?

The decision of whether a letting agent is worth it depends on various factors, including the landlord’s experience, time availability, and the number of properties they own.

They’re beneficial for landlords lacking experience in tenant selection, referencing, and the legal aspects of renting. At the same time, they’re also great for landlords who own multiple properties and need efficient management across a portfolio, with limited time to manage the property themselves.

How can you reduce letting agents’ fees?

It’s crucial for landlords to be proactive about securing a cost-effective agency, while ensuring that essential services are not compromised. You can try out these strategies to reduce letting agents’ fees: 

  • Negotiate fees: Engage in negotiations with letting agents to agree on more favourable terms, especially if you have multiple properties you can work with them on. 
  • Compare agents: Obtain quotes from multiple letting agents and compare their fee structures and services, to settle on the most cost-effective option. 
  • Bundle services: Ask about discounts for bundling services, such as tenant referencing, inventory preparation, and property management.

Can landlords manage properties themselves?

Landlords do have the option of managing their properties themselves. Self-management allows landlords to retain control over various aspects of property management, including tenant selection, rent collection, and property maintenance. However, it requires a good understanding of landlord responsibilities, legal obligations, and effective communication skills.

Landlords opting for self-management should be prepared to invest time in learning and staying updated on relevant legislation. Using online resources, attending landlord workshops, and networking with other landlords can be valuable for those choosing to manage their properties independently.

For landlords who are experienced, have the time to handle responsibilities, and want to save on fees, self-management may be a viable option.

What was the ban on letting agency fees?

The ban on letting agency fees, introduced in England on 1st June 2019, aimed to make renting more affordable for tenants. The Tenant Fees Act prohibits letting agents and landlords from charging certain fees to tenants, such as fees for referencing, credit checks, and administrative tasks. The ban also capped security deposits at five weeks’ rent (or six weeks if the annual rent exceeds £50,000).

However, it’s important to note that are letting agencies are allowed to charge some fees, including holding deposits, rent in advance, and fees for changes to the tenancy requested by the tenant. Landlords and letting agents must comply with the regulations to avoid legal consequences and penalties. The ban on letting agency fees has significant implications for the cost structure of renting in the UK, impacting both landlords and tenants.

Get rent guarantee insurance with Protectivity

For protection against unpaid rent from tenants, you’ll need to invest in rent guarantee insurance.

Protectivity’s rent guarantee insurance includes up to £100,000 of cover for up to 24 months of unpaid rent, rent recovery, tenant eviction, property damage and more.

Find out more and get an online quote tailored to your needs.