Let only….Leave it out!


What is a Let or Introduction Only service?


A Let only service is typically when the agent markets the property and finds a tenant for the landlord.


Once the tenancy is agreed and all the checks and references are completed including the signing of a contract the agents job is done and has nothing further to do with the Let.


This service is usually used by those landlords who prefer to be more hands on and have time to manage their own property or who do not want to continue paying renewal fees as long as the tenant found by the agent remains in the property.


This use to be a good service to offer however I personally do not think it has a place in the current market.


My Three reasons why Let (Introduction) Only is a pointless service:


Reason One – No such thing as a tenant database


In the olden days there were no online portals like Rightmove and Zoopla.


Most agents had a database of tenants who were looking in a specific area. Tenants would contact the agent to ask about a property and if it wasn’t suitable or no longer available, they would register with agents to be contacted should a suitable property become available. This list of tenants looking in the area became a very valuable asset and in order to access it landlords would pay hence request the Let Only service.


However, the tables have turned. Tenants are no longer needed to register with individual agents.


When I last checked there were 37 agents registered on Rightmove in Acton W3, where our office is based.


No sane tenant will call up all 37 agents and register with them, not when they can simply register with a single, or handful of portals that would email them immediately should a suitable property become available.


As the world and technology has advanced, databases do not stay up to date for long periods of time. We can get someone looking for a property on Monday and by Tuesday lunchtime they have already found something.


I always get very frustrated when I hear agents’ sales pitches containing the words “Our database of tenants” There is no such thing and if there is, it is already out of date in 24 hours. People are moving more often and quicker, so databases in my opinion no longer hold the value they did. Now all that really matters is the product itself, the property, the tenant has no interest in which agent has the property, as long as they like it, and it suits their criteria they will proceed with the Let.


Hence paying an agent to access their so called “Database of live applicants” is a waste of money.


Reason Two – Access to Portals


Then came a period in the middle, when there were no online agents like Open Rent and Purple Bricks, during which time the Let only service made total sense.  


To get access to Zoopla and Rightmove, resulting in access to applicants you would have to use an agent, hence again to find a tenant only, you had to go to an agent for the Let only service.


But with online agents even that is no longer a valid reason, for a fee of £45 you can post your property on all the portals, why would you pay an agent 5% of the rent for a Let only service?


If you have time to manage the property yourself, arranging some viewings with an online agent who makes it even easier with technology using an high street agent to find a tenant makes no sense.


Hence again paying for a Let only service makes no sense as you can access the applicants yourself.


Reason Three – An agent should take full responsibility


For the first year or so of running my business I didn’t even know what a Let Only service was.


The reason being, I thought it was common sense that if I placed a tenant in a property, I was responsible for the whole period of the Let. Should any issue arise for the tenant or landlord during the let we would be obliged to help. This applied more to the landlord who was our client because if we didn’t help the landlord, he or she would never use our services again.


Additionally, we collected (and still do) our fees on a monthly basis. I wasn’t even aware other agents collected the rent for the whole term of the contract straight away from the first month’s rent. This resulted in us being more actively involved in the rent collection, as if the rent didn’t get paid we didn’t get paid.


Being more involved resulted is us having some sort of communication with both the tenant and landlord on monthly basis and naturally resulted in us providing full management service.


Most importantly if the landlord called us and said he urgently needed a plumber, and I had the tenant calling me there was a leak and they needed help ASAP I couldn’t just say sorry, landlord only paid for Let Only, I cant help you, have a nice day… it is ludicrous.


So the idea that there was such a service as Let Only didn’t cross my mind as the idea doesn’t make sense for a Landlord and/or Agent.


If we wanted to offer a good service and wanted repeat business we would have to always offer some part of the full management service, so charging less for a higher service doesn’t make any sense from our point of view.


My opinion


Please note this is my opinion and I know others may dis-agree however if you have time to manage your own property there are much better and cheaper ways to find a tenant than using an agent.


If you don’t have time to manage your own property and want to make sure you can sleep easy at night then the full management is the best option and only option we at Fairdeal Properties offer.




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