Private Landlords | Managing With No Agent
Being a landlord can be difficult. There are a number of responsibilities and duties to stay on top of. To reduce the effort in being a landlord, many will choose the route of getting a letting agent or property manager. On the opposite side of the scale, other landlords choose to be a private landlord.
A private landlord is a landlord that runs their rental property or portfolio themselves.
Of course this will involve more effort and time, but there are a number of advantages for private landlords. Firstly the landlord is able to maintain full control over their properties. In addition landlords can save thousands of pounds on letting agent fees.
For many, it can be hard to manage a large property portfolio on their own. Here are a few things to consider when deciding whether to be a private landlord and manage your own properties, or get a letting agent or property manager.
Private landlords need to have time
You need to prepare yourself to invest a lot of time into managing your properties. This extrapolates depending on the number of properties you own.
This is because every single property needs to be in good condition as well as keeping the tenant happy.
Time needed per property will move up and down depending on your tenant.
If you have an angelic tenant, fixes a lot of the small problems themselves, pays rent on time and is happy to stay at your property for a long time – happy days!
However if you have tenants that complain over the smallest of issues, always behind on rent and intend to only stay short term… That’s a lot more of your time!
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Consider the profit margins of your rental property
Every good landlord will have a strong understanding of the financials of their rental property.
Knowing the sum of your expenses & rental revenue is essential to grasping your rental profit.
Using landlord software like Landlord Vision can help you monitor your finances so you can easily keep an eye on the bottom line.
Depending on your property location, mortgage, interest rate, property type etc. you could have an extremely healthy profit. On the other hand you could be just about breaking even.
If profit is healthy, you may decide you have enough to play with to get a letting agent or property manager to free up some of your time.
Ensure you calculate your potential property agent fees & savings to understand how getting management assistance may impact your financials.
Do you have a day job alongside being a private landlord?
If you have a day job, you need to consider how that will restrict your duties as a private landlord.
You will likely receive calls from tenants during the day. Will you be able to answer?
Furthermore, if there is an issue, does your job permit you the flexibility of being able to address the issues? Possibly you’ll need to be on the phone a lot to contractors to get quotes etc.
You should also factor in your working hours. If you need to attend the property for whatever reason, does the time you leave work allow that?
Taking days off work to manage your rental property can be counter intuitive. You will be sacrificing holiday allowances to ‘work’ on your property. This may impact overall downtime in your life.
Location of your property
If your properties are far away then it’s going to be hard to manage them. You need to evaluate your location and their locations.
For example if there’s an emergency and you can’t arrive quickly, then you’re better off getting a letting agent to look after the property.
Assess where your location is and make a decision on what properties are close to you and what you can realistically manage.
This way you can manage the close properties and maybe hire an agent for further away ones.
Being a private landlord and finding the balance
You need to work hard but at the same time find a balance with your personal life.
If you don’t do this, you will eventually tire & face burnout. This is when duties start to drop and the quality of your work starts to suffer.
If you are splitting time between family, a day job and being a private landlord, in one of these disciplines a sacrifice has to be made. Family time is of course precious to all of us. However if your day job & private landlord duties are putting a strain on your life, you should looking at getting a property agent for assistance.
When you are managing multiple properties this means that you have to deal with a lot of people. This means you need to be a confident and understanding landlord that can help tenants with their needs.
As a landlord you have to make big decisions. What should your rent be? Which contractor to use? How to respond to unjust tenant demands?
Finally then there are the awkward conversations with late rent. If a tenant is continuously late with rent, a stern word may be required.
Late rent can put you in financial difficulty which can damage your own credit rating.
Private landlords need to be careful that chasing rent doesn’t border on harassment. Tenants still have rights even though they are behind on rent. If tenants complain to the council, you may have a legal issue on your hands.
More and more we are seeing regulation increase in the rental industry. The biggest recent hitting regulation was the ban on a subset of tenant fees.
Private landlords, letting agents & property managers can no longer charge tenancy renewal, referencing and a range of ad-hoc fees.
As the regulatory landscape is continuously moving, a proportion of a private landlord’s time needs to be spent on staying on top of regulation.
Aside from regulation on fees, there are also growing fire, gas & electric safety regulations landlords need to stay on top of.
These if not followed, and if the worst was to happen, could have serious consequences that may result in physical harm to the tenant.
Part time or hobbyist private landlords therefore put themselves at risk of prosecution if standards across a range of regulations are not adhered to
Private landlords have to find tenants
Private landlords need to find tenants themselves. Knowing the best way to find tenants is therefore key.
The clear and obvious way is to post on Zoopla & RightMove. However the costs for these portals are usually based on a large volume of properties being posted, as opposed to 1 or 2 via a private landlord.
As the fees make posting on these portals unfeasible for private landlords, alternatives need to be looked at.
There are a range of PropTech sites that cater to private landlords. These portals allow you to post your rental property in the absence of a letting agent. Fees are more suitable to private landlords as opposed to the bigger players that focus on letting agents and property managers.
You will need to be aware that these portals may not be as popular as the big 2. This could result in your property not being let as fast as compared to if it was posted on Zoopla or RightMove.
If you’re a private landlord and looking to move fast with filling your property, there are letting agent & property manager services that may help.
Increasingly agents are offering tenant find only services.
You pay a one off fee and the agent posts on the biggest portals on your behalf.
There are no ongoing monthly fees for you to pay or tenancy renewal fees needing to be paid to the agent.
Private landlords & conducting viewings
Conducting viewings is also a requirement private landlords to manage.
Getting leads/calls from tenants, arranging times and conducting the viewings themselves all need to be taken care of.
The organisation of arranging times can be cumbersome. More so if you have a day job. If you aren’t flexible on times of viewings, you may lose potential tenants.
The viewings themselves some private landlords can find tough.
You need to be prepared to sell the good points of the property and reply to difficult questions about some of the areas the property lacks.
It’s essential to not take negative feedback on the property personal. You may have decorated the property yourself recently and spent a lot of time making it look nice. A potential tenant complaining how the decoration is done to a low quality can be hard to swallow!
There are numerous advantages in being a private landlord. You retain full ownership and control of how the property is run.
In addition the financial benefit of not paying letting agent or property manager fees can stack up.
However if you’re going the private management route, you need time.
You’ll be on point for finding tenants, collecting rent, fixing issues etc.
At times you may find yourself out of your comfort zone and having difficult conversations with tenants. Keeping your emotions in check is essential.
In addition, staying on top of regulatory movements can be difficult. The landscape is ever moving and the standards are always on the rise.
As mentioned previously, hybrid options are available. Private landlords may opt for a letting agent or a property manager to conduct a subset of activities on their behalf.
Examples would be getting the agent to only find tenants, or to only conduct inspections when due.
This enables private landlords to balance the job or managing the property, while maintaining control and not paying agent fees related to full management of the property.
Finding a property manager or letting agent
If you have decided a letting agent or property manager is for you, Rent Round can help find the best agent & save on fees.
Type in your postcode & a few details about your property below.
Rent Round will then show you fees, location, ratings and regulatory affiliations of property agents in your area.
The service is completely free for landlords.