UK Letting Agent Use Sees Surprising Rise

The proportion of UK landlords using a letting agent to manage their buy to let investment has grown since the end of last year, according to a new survey.

61 per cent of landlords currently use a letting agent to manage their properties. This figure is up 7 per cent since the fourth quarter of 2016 according to new research from the National Landlords Association (NLA).

The sudden growth represents a divergence from the norm. The proportion of landlords employing the service of agents was up just 1 per cent from 53 per cent to 54 per cent between 2014 and 2016.

The proportion of landlords who self-manage has seen a 10 per cent decline over the last year. This dropped from 46 per cent to 39 per cent. More landlords in the North East use an agent in comparison to any other region in England. Scotland topped the list however, with 79 per cent using a letting agent. In contrast, the North West saw a 5 per cent decline in comparison to 2016 with landlords in the region the least dependent on agents. Just 56 per cent used their services.

Outer London, the South West, and Wales are also increasingly reliant on letting agents. It has been argued that new changes to buy to let taxation as well as the ban on charging agent fees to tenants had the potential to lower the usage of letting agent services. This however appears to have not been the case.

NLA chief executive officer, Richard Lambert, said: ‘As landlords plan ahead to compensate for the tax changes over the next few years we would expect to see the number who use an agent to slowly fall away, and for more to start considering whether they are able to manage their properties themselves. However, this sudden spike, which is completely out of step with recent trends, completely turns this theory on its head. The big question is whether or not it’s a blip or if it will continue to rise.’