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Renting house out ..... private or through agency, pro's and con's?

(19 Posts)
mummytowillow Tue 07-Jul-09 18:06:38

We are renting our house out as we have split up, we did have a tenant but unfortunately they have been made redundant so can't have the house now. The agency we were with have introduced someone else and they want the house, however they have asked us rent it to them privately and we don't know what to do? They seem like an honest hardworking couple and a friend knows of them and apparently they are OK?

We have signed something with the agency to agree to them looking for a tenant, but nothing else, so if we privately rent to these people can they then charge us as they did introduce us?

Also how on earth do you go about renting privately? Neither of us will be living locally so chose the agency as they deal with everything.

Any advice you can give will be greatly appreciated?


scaryteacher Tue 07-Jul-09 18:18:20

Agency - it will cost more, but they will take care of tenancy agreements, inspecting the property, ensuring rent is paid, help you if it is not, take care that the deposit is out in one of the mandatory schemes, reference the tenants etc.

I let mine out, as we are overseas, and would not do it any other way.

LIZS Wed 08-Jul-09 14:12:00

If you are not local and have noone nearby to manage it then an agency will take care of the day to day stuff. Otherwise you would need to organise things like the gas and electrical inspections, secured deposit, references, reoairs and so on direct. An agency costs between 5 and 15% depending on the level of service you choose. The tenant may expect you to lower the rent by what would otherwise have been the fee if you go privately and you will probably find in the contract that you have to pay a % of first few months as a finding fee anyway.

ninedragons Wed 08-Jul-09 14:14:48

Agency. We rented out our place while we were overseas and they were brilliant. Checked references, made sure the rent was never late, fixed a few minor things.

The people downstairs did a private rental and the guy turned out to have a long history of basically ASBO behaviour. It took them about six months to evict him after he stopped paying rent, and they've had to redecorate completely. He never would have got past an agency - they wouldn't have signed up a 45-year-old tenant who couldn't supply a single good reference.

KateyG Wed 08-Jul-09 15:01:03

Agency. For the same reasons as most other people have said - if you are not around then they will take on the responsibility of checks etc for you.

If you aren't around to check on things once in a while I wouldn't go on impressions.. may cost more but if its a national firm or a local good one then its money for piece of mind in my opinion.

kentmumtj Sat 11-Jul-09 10:02:53

i had a terrible experience with an agency which is still being battled out through a solicitor and costing ME more and more money

the tenants built walls inside my house, removed fitted wardrobes, destroyed all the fencing and shed, broke windows, damaged bioler(and weve had to buy a new one, damaged the drive, ruined wooden flooring, nicked electrically fitted smoke alarms, stole kitchen cupboard plinths and lighting, and much much more

and the agents are saying they are not responsible even though they were being paid to manage it and very mysteriously my files have disappeared.

i know rent it out through me and so far so good.

PrincessToadstool Sat 11-Jul-09 10:08:25

I'd say private, but then I am a renter and hate dealing with agencies, much better to know the landlord personally.

Tillyscoutsmum Sat 11-Jul-09 10:09:27

Agency.... An agency can not completely prevent damage done by "bad" tenants (nor is that their job) but they can carry out reference checks, make sure gas safety certificates are in place, arrange maintenance as necessary and ensure deposits are kept legally. They can also advise on the chances of getting recompense from bad tenants if things do go wrong

Unless you are pretty clued up on all the legalities, then it is safer to use an agency

I would also be a little hmm of your proposed new tenants asking for private rental. What are their concerns about using the agency ? I'd be concerned they had something to hide tbh

kentmumtj Sat 11-Jul-09 10:15:12

me personally i would be very dubious about using an agency again.........

gas safety certificates are easily arranged, reference checks can quite easily be done too and they dont cost that much

think im still angry with mine as its cost me £1000's to get my house back to well as normal as i can

it just makes me so cross that they were taking my money to do what?????
the agreement i had with them states they will hand the property back to me in the same condition i gave it to them save fair wear and tear

guess ive just been very unlucky

i got to know my tenant and my dh visits the property every 2 months to check its all ok

MrsBonJovi Sat 11-Jul-09 10:17:50

As a tenant I would say rent private. The fees they charge for doing very little is obscene.

However as you are not local then maybe an agency is the way to go.....

Tillyscoutsmum Sat 11-Jul-09 10:24:20

kentmum - your agency didn't cost you £1000's to get your house back though .... it was your tenant that did the damage.

Most agencies or most Lld's for that matter would not inspect a house regularly - there is usually an element of trust involved that your tenants are not wrecking the place. Unfortunately, sometimes it is discovered that they have been but I don't think that is the agency's fault. Did it say in their contract with you that they would regularly inspect the property ? If it did, then they are clearly at fault

kentmumtj Sat 11-Jul-09 10:41:42

it clearly stated in my contract that they would give me back my house in the same condition it was given save fair wear and ear which has not happened, the agency also verbally told me that they would do 6-8 weeks checks on the property

they have tried to offer me an amount that im not prepared to accept as i feel they have broken their agreement with me, plus the amount they have offered would only have covered the cost of the broken window.

Plus i must add the tenants moved out of the house and it took me 5/6 months to get my keys back from the agency and had to get the solicitor to write them a letter demanding they give my keys back to me, and i must add i was not receiving rent for that time either

like i say i think ive been incredibly unlucky i think i must have chosen a really c**p agency

still ive learnt lessons and seem to be much luckier this time around, i think for me if you use an agency there is an element that you feel they will at least check on the property from time to time especially if you are not able to

Tillyscoutsmum Sat 11-Jul-09 10:54:43

Ah - well if they said they would do 6-8 weekly checks, then they have clearly breached their contract with you.

Them putting into a contract that they will hand the house back in the same condition is ridiculous (on their part). I have managed lots of properties on behalf of Landlords and have seen the damage some tenants can do. Seriously, some of them are animals - I have had to run out of properties to vomit before now.

It does sound like you had a particularly rubbish agency though. The getting the keys bit is ridiculous. Hope you manage to sort it out with them. Are you persuing the former tenants as well ?

kentmumtj Sun 12-Jul-09 08:47:09

i am trying but dont know where they have gone and the letting agents will not give me there address so all the debts and stuff they accumilated are being now sent direct to the letting agents.

My solicitor feels it is the agents i should be seeking reinbursement from as it is them theat breached their agreement with me and the letting agents should be taking action against the tenants they placed in there.

i do hope it gets sorted out and the sooner the better really

Tillyscoutsmum Sun 12-Jul-09 20:45:05

Good luck with getting it sorted. It sounds like a really unusual situation tbh. I don't think I've come across the tenant having a contract with the agent and not the Landlord directly before. It must make things very complicated

kentmumtj Fri 17-Jul-09 07:26:02

it was through one of these schemes that the council house tenants through and use an agent to manage it for sure it will all sort its self out in the end one way or another

scienceteacher Fri 17-Jul-09 08:56:21

We went through an agency. The downside is the monthly fee, but there are lots of plusses.

They know all the legal requirements and can get people in to do any work very cost effectively and quickly. They collect the rent. They can check on your property if it is empty. They get the tenants and draw up the rental agreements.

mjwh Tue 25-Aug-09 15:43:20

We've let our house out for the past couple of years, and rent elsewhere (relocation because of jobs, and then not being able to sell house...)

We use agents to find and reference tenants for us, but deal with day to day management ourselves.

Rather than spending 10-15% of the monthly rent on agents' fees, we spend a fraction of that on rent protection insurance. This gives us peace of mind that if the tenants stopped paying the rent, the rent would be covered by the insurer for as long as it took to evict them, together with the legal costs. Your agent should be able to arrange this insurance for you, through the company they use to reference your tenants, if you ask.

As for ongoing maintenance etc, we've rented from two different landlords who both used agents and in our experience they actually do very little for their fees and a lot less than I'm sure our landlords (who we've never met) believe. The brochures are glossy and they talk the talk and schmooze the clients, but the service levels just don't live up. We just had a "3 month check" and the girl they sent (a subcontractor) was only looking for obvious signs of us chavvy tenant types trashing the place. She was in the house for less than 2 minutes. No hope in * of spotting preventive/maintenance issues which if I was the property owner, I'd want to know about.

I wouldn't trust them with my own property (which I want to go back and live in one day) unless I was going abroad and had no option. I prefer to check on it myself every 3-6 months and to manage my own business relationship with my tenant. Our last landlord did the same as us (though lived a lot nearer his buy-to-let property) and it worked for him too.

We live a few hours drive away from the house we rent out, but 3-4 trips a year isn't the end of the world and it's not difficult to arrange boiler services and annual gas safety checks on the phone. For emergency repairs, if you're worried about not being available, you can get insurance cover where part of the package is an emergency number the tenant can ring if there's a plumbing disaster or similar, and a relevant tradesman is sent.

IOnlyReadtheDailyMailinCafes Tue 25-Aug-09 15:47:47

Agent, we rented our house out privately while trying to sell it and it was a nightmare. Infact so much so we gave up trying to rent it out and virtually bankrupted ourselves paying mortgage and rent.

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