Compare Fees | Online Letting Agent Guide
The number of online letting agents is growing year on year. The cheaper letting fees are no doubt an attraction for many landlords. If you’ve decided an online letting agent is best for you, then comparing fees is essential to get the best deal.
Increasing the attractiveness of online letting agents, is the number of add on services on offer. The number of add on services across online agents, means their services start to mimic traditional agents (at a better price).
So how much do online letting agents charge? We’ve put together an online letting agent fee table. To help you even more, we’ve created a fee calculator so you can see based on your expected rental income, what you will be left with after subtracting agent fees.
- Compare all letting agents
- Calculator for online letting agent fees
- Online letting agent fee table
- Online letting agents: Things to look out for
- Choosing an online agent
- What an online letting agent does
- Online letting agents & the tenant fee ban
1. COMPARE ONLINE LETTING AGENTS
To get a full comparison of letting agent fees, you can use our search facility below by entering your postcode.
After entering some details about the property, we’ll show you fees & ratings of letting agents in your area plus online agents. The service is 100% free.
Compare Agent Fees Near You
I got the best priced agent in my area with all the services I wanted. Using Rent Round I could see all the local agents in my area after just putting in my postcode.
I got the best agent in my area with all the services I wanted. Using Rent Round I could agent fees, ratings and best of all how far the agent is from my rental property, plus it’s free to use!
2. Calculator for online letting agent fees
Using the calculator below, enter your estimated rental income. Once you’ve done that, you can switch the calculator between the service level you’re looking for: whether wimple tenant find services or full property management. Using the drop down menu, select an online letting agent of your choice.
The calculator will then work out the price for that service. In addition, the online letting agent calculator will show you your expected yearly rental income, after subtracting letting fees.
If you’re undecided on whether to go for an online or traditional agent, you can compare both using Rent Round. Using our letting agent fee comparison tool, you can quickly see letting agent fees & ratings. The service is completely free for landlords.
3. Online letting agent fee table
If you’re unsure on your estimate rent or looking for a quick overview of online letting agent fees, then the below table will be of use to you.
Online letting agent
The most expensive online letting agent. However the package includes viewings.
Rent Collection Type Services: £145pcm + £950 one off fee
Fully Managed is priced at 9.2% pcm + £850 (one off fee)
No frills service, landlord does the viewings
Rent Collection Type Services: £149pcm + £950 one off fee
Fully Managed: £5%pcm + £99 (one off fee)
A few advertising packages, basic rent collection not offered, so keep that in mind for the long term
Discounts offered on multiple properties
Fully Managed: £72pcm + £599 (one off fee)
The bare basics offered under this package
Fee includes 3 months advertising to find a tenant on the biggest portals
Fully Managed not on offer.
Rent collection Type Services: £49pcm + £149 one off fee
Fully managed will cost you £89 + £149 one off fee
Rent collection offered as part of the fully managed service.
Fully managed fee is 6% of rental income pcm
You save £50 if you select the tenant find option with just 1 reference
Fully Managed is based on £85 pcm, one of the cheapest
There is a free tenant find option but it’s pretty basic.
Fully Managed £65pcm
4. Online Letting Agents: Things to keep an eye on
Fees & ratings are essential when picking a letting agent, whether online or traditional. Particularly with online letting agents, there are however other factors to consider.
If the main focus is on price, does that impact service?
With the increasing amount of competition, are package prices as clear as they should be?
Does the landlord have to pick up more duties going with an online agent?
We jump into some of these topic areas below.
Online Letting Agents: Prices & Packages
We love online letting agents. For the right landlord, they can make life easier while saving money & time.
But some (not all!) online letting agent packages are so clouded, its difficult to make sense of it all.
For example, you see a service and the applicable fee on the online letting agents website. Then you select that and notice that the basics aren’t covered. You’re then barraged with a host of add on’s essential to letting out your property.
There’s a reason for this: People select online letting agents to save money. Therefore the cheapest agent gets the most attention. For our online letting agent fee calculator, we stripped out all the nonsense.
In our comparison table, we put together a like for like comparison of fees for the standard type of packages online letting agents offer.
If there’s a free service that doesn’t cover the basic needs for a landlord, we didn’t consider that for comparison. If fees for a particular service were too complex to understand, we took that out (you probably don’t want that service if the online letting agent can’t explain the fees clearly!).
Now aside from the above moan, some online letting agents do have amazing sites. These online letting agents clearly display fees and services which made life easier when putting together our online letting agent comparison table.
Online Letting Agents: Due Diligence
So once you’ve compared online letting agents, you’d have a good understanding about fees. However, we cannot state enough that you must do your own due diligence before selecting your agent. In the small print, there may be certain excluded services that are key for you.
Take tenant referencing as an example. Some agents, for the tenant fee price, state that this service is included. However there may only be one reference undertaken.
This may work for some landlords. However landlords that follow a risk adverse approach, may require 2 references.
Another example would be rent collection. Is the chasing and issue of late penalty fines included in the online letting agents service? These tasks can be quite cumbersome and difficult to manage.
An Online letting agents: financial stability
Financial stability of an agent provides another risk to landlords. Remember the dot-com bubble in the early 2000’s? People were investing their time and money in various online companies.
At that time it was difficult to determine the Amazons & Googles, vs the companies you won’t now know the names of now.
As the online letting agent industry is new, proceed with caution.
If you select one of the smaller online letting agents to manage your property, how do you know they’ll be around in the long term?
5. Choosing an online agent: Which to go for?
Rent Round is an impartial letting agent comparison site (both traditional and online). However, we couldn’t help but like LettingaProperty and 99home.
Their sites are nice, packages are clear and prices are competitive.
Furthermore LettingaProperty are focused on the rental market, as opposed to being also invested in the buy/sell market. With this approach in mind, it’s likely they will improve & grow quicker solely in the rental market.
Should you consider traditional high street letting agents?
Yes of course. You won’t get anywhere near the savings online letting agents offer, but you may get more attention.
For example, Purple Bricks has hundreds of properties nationwide. Your property to them will be a small % of their income.
To your local high street, you’ll likely be a bigger fish. The more important you are to them, the better you will be treated.
Local knowledge your traditional agent possesses will also be a major factor. They’re likely to know hot spot rental areas and upcoming developments. These insights can help aid your property investments massively.
Rent Round hosts both online & traditional agents. Enter your postcode in our letting agent fee compare tool to see who operates in your area, a breakdown of their fees & their performance
6. What an Online Letting Agent does
Not all online letting agents perform the same jobs for the same price. Things vary depending on the letting agent themselves and what services they offer.
Below you’ll find some of the most common tasks the best letting agents perform to help you manage your rental property with ease.
A. FINDING AND VETTING TENANTS
The bread and butter of an online letting agent’s job description is finding and vetting tenants. This is arguably the most important task they’ll perform. Not only do they know the best marketing routes but they also manage all online questions, property viewings, and rent valuations.
But their job doesn’t end here. Online letting agents do more than just find tenants. They bring discounts on advertising to the table when they manage multiple properties. They also handle all initial paperwork, vet the tenant’s extensive history, and answer all tenant questions.
So how does an online letting agent find tenants? The most common route that online letting agents take is online portals like Right Move and Zoopla.
Thousands of potential renters search these sites for rental properties. After sorting through a bunch of properties and saving those they like, possible tenants contact the online letting agent for more information. They may even ask for a showing. The online letting agent will handle all of these arrangements and particulars.
Usually, the online property manager or the owner will conduct the viewing. If you’re using an online property manager to conduct viewings, they’ll likely charge an additional fee.
So why can’t private landlords find tenants from Zoopla & Right Move on their own? The pricing structure of these portals doesn’t work for private landlords. Pricing brackets are based on advertising multiple properties. Most private landlords are only advertising a few properties, making the cost way too high.
Quick Tip for Finding an Online Letting Agent
Take a look at a few property listings that online letting agents currently have featured on these portals. Keep your eyes peeled for quality pictures that really showcase the properties well. These online letting agents are more likely to find tenants faster and fill both your property and your wallet.
The biggest stress for most landlords is irresponsible tenants. Those who don’t pay their rent on time, damage your property, or worst of all, refused to vacate.
Landlords want tenants who stay long term, pay their rent on time, and treat the property as a home.
Without experience in the complex tenant screening process, you might end up with a tenant from hell. Tenant references usually offer red flags for problem renters and an experienced online letting agent can detect them.
Red flags differ from one tenant to the next.
When assessing the tenant’s past record and behaviors, there are a few key things to look for. These include (but aren’t limited to):
1. Bad Credit
Bad credit is a sure sign that the prospective tenant might be a dud. Check both their credit report and credit score. A bad credit score (anything below 620) is a dealbreaker. This is a good indicator that these renters have no problem skipping out on their financial responsibilities.
2. Low Income
Little to no income means it’ll be pretty tough for the tenant to pay their rent on time or at all. Look for a tenant whose monthly income is at least 2 – 3 times the cost of the monthly rent.
3. Criminal History
Criminals often lack morals, good judgment, and character. A huge red flag you shouldn’t ignore is a criminal conviction.
4. More Than 3 Convictions in 5 Years
If you’re feeling generous and want to give a tenant with a less than stellar background a chance, be smart about it. Avoid applicants that have more than 3 convictions for anything other than traffic violations. This is a red flag that the individual can’t obey rules and likely won’t obey the parameters of the lease.
5. A Prior Eviction
If another landlord had to evict the tenant, chances are they’re not ideal candidates. Tenants with prior evictions clearly don’t care about ripping you off. Evictions are usually due to a default in payments followed by a refusal to leave.
6. Bad Landlord References
Your first mistake is playing too much importance on landlord references. Surprisingly, many landlords will evict a tenant only to turn around and give them a good referral! In other cases, tenants have friends or family pose as former tenants to give them a glowing review. Take landlord references into consideration but don’t let it be the determining factor in your decision.
Online letting agents handle all the paperwork and leg work involved in securing a tenant. This includes drawing up the tenancy agreement between you (the landlord) and the tenant.
This document outlines the terms of the agreement, associated fees, the duration of the lease, and other important details. In the event of a dispute, you can refer back to the tenancy agreement for clarification.
Quick Tip for Finding an Online Letting Agent
If you’re working with an online letting agent, be sure to check the agreement for renewal fees. Once the tenancy agreement expires, the agent might charge a fee for you and the same tenant to renew the agreement.
B. RENT COLLECTION & DEPOSIT SAFEGUARDING
Collecting rent and holding security deposits is another tedious job that requires impeccable record-keeping and tracking. An online letting agent can perform these jobs on your behalf.
The rent is due every month and while some tenants are religious about paying, you need to stay on top of others. But who has time for that? An online letting agent will make sure your tenants pay on time. After collecting rent, the agent will automatically transfer the funds into your account.
Another bonus to using a letting agent as a middle man is avoiding awkward conversations with tenants over late payments. After all, you want to maintain a good relationship with your renters. Monthly rent is usually collected using electronic payment, credit cards, or sent to your bank account.
Quick Tip for Finding an Online Letting Agent
Most online letting agent fees are based on the amount of the rent. This is calculated by either the amount of rent due or the amount collected. When it’s based on the rent due, you may find yourself at a disadvantage. Even if the tenant doesn’t pay the full amount, the agent fees will be the same.
When the fees are based on the collected amount, it’s a guaranteed figure which safeguards you against tenants who don’t pay in full.
It’s in your best interest to collect a security deposit to cover any damages to the property. Safeguarding this deposit is required by law and protects all parties involved.
Online letting agents managing property in England or Wales must protect the deposit with a scheme within 30 days of receiving it. They must also send you any important information about the deposit protection (also known as prescribed information) within 30 days.
C. PROPERTY INSPECTIONS & CERTIFICATIONS
Property inspections are required by law and are crucial for letting property. If they’re not done right, your insurance may be void and you could be facing legal ramifications.
Perform inspections before the property is rented out. Detail the guidelines of the inspection in the tenancy agreement. The most popular inspections include gas and electric, plumbing, heating, damp and leaks, smoke and CO2, and structural security.
Experienced online letting agents know the full list of inspections and are capable of conducting them on your behalf.
D. MAINTENANCE AND REPAIRS
The last thing you want as a landlord is to be woken up in the middle of the night by a tenant complaining that a pipe at your property burst or the A/C is broken. Now, your weekend is ruined as you scramble to find a contractor to fix the issue.
Online letting agents cover general maintenance repairs and are the first port of call for tenants in case of an emergency.
If accidents or issues pose any danger to the tenants or the property, they must be fixed immediately. You don’t want your tenants complaining to the council or causing you legal trouble.
Quick Tip for Finding an Online Letting Agent
As the landlord, you’re responsible for any maintenance or repair fees associated with the property. Keep in mind that some online letting agents will add additional fees for finding and scheduling the contractors. Discuss these potential fees before hiring the agent to avoid paying twice.
E. LEGAL SERVICES & DISPUTES
Online letting agents also provide you with important legal documentation. Many agents have a system in place with legal document templates. They use these templates to create forms for your specific property. This expedites the process and ensures that you’re covered from any possible disputes.It also prevents delays in letting the property due to legal issues.
Hiring your own solicitor will take much longer and be much more expensive. In the event of a legal dispute, your letting agent will handle all related deposits, unpaid rent, property damage, etc.
F. FULLY MANAGED WITH GUARANTEED RENT
In some cases, the online letting agent fees cover all tasks related to being a landlord. This means the agent will screen tenants, collect rent, draw up rental agreements, and maintain the property.
You hand the keys over to the agent and receive the property back in the same condition you lent it in (minus wear and tear). Just know that when you get this type of service, the online letting agent fees will be higher. Compare letting agent fees for a variety of services by using the Rent Round letting fee comparison tool
With so many tenants falling behind on rent, guaranteed rent sounds pretty good! This unique service ensures that landlords receive their rent regardless of whether or not the tenant pays. In essence, the online letting agent becomes your tenant and then sublets the property out to others.
7. Online Letting Agent Tenant Fee Ban
Relationships are complicated. But what most people don’t realize is that this holds true for the tenant-landlord relationship as well.
Both parties have something to lose and need protection, which is why there are laws and guidelines in place to provide peace of mind for both renters and property owners.
The Tenant Fee Ban was recently passed to help protect renters from unfair and unreasonable charges and fees put in place by landlords. Many tenants sign on the dotted line without asking questions about specific charges or upcharges they face later on.
Unfortunately, not all online letting agents add these exorbitant fees, which means a few bad apples are ruining the rental experience for both tenants and landlords trying to make a living.
The Tenant Fee Ban applies to both the best online letting agents and those who are conducting unsavory business. These guidelines are designed to protect everyone involved including tenants, agents, and landlords.
If you’re curious as to what the Tenant Fee Ban is and how it applies to you, keep reading. We’ll explore when and why the ban was enacted and how to stay compliant.
When Did the Tenant Fee Ban Start?
The Tenant Fee Ban was created and put into practice on 1 June 2019. This legislation made it illegal for online letting agents to unfairly charge tenants for any items not listed in the original tenancy agreement. This includes administrative fees associated with renewing the agreement or signing a new contract for a new rental property.
The ban was put into place on 1 June 2019, which meant that any new contracts signed after this date were subject to its guideline. Starting 1 June 2020, all other contracts and agreements must also adhere to the Tenant Fee Ban guidelines.
What Exactly is the Tenant Fee Ban?
So, what exactly is the Tenant Fee Ban and its associated fees? To remain compliant and maintain a good reputation, you need a complete understanding of the laws and guidelines. As a tenant, knowing the laws also means you aren’t taken advantage of.
The simple answer is that after the Tenant Fee Ban ruling was put into place, the only fee landlords can legally charge tenants is rent. That means no more hidden fees and charges.
Landlords can no longer add additional fees following the start of a tenancy agreement. The only exception to this rule is when tenants are charged for other items listed specifically in the contract as approved payments.
Here are a few examples of acceptable line items:
- Protected fees for late payments or lost keys and security devices
- Council taxes, utilities, and TV licenses
- Any changes requested by the renter
- Early termination fees when tenants end the contract before it expires
- 5 weeks rent (or 6 weeks for agreements that exceed £50,000 annually) held as a refundable tenancy deposit
- 1 week rent as a refundable deposit
- Repairs and cleaning services if the property has excessive damage or filth
If the monthly rent was £1,000, this is what the extra fees might look like.
- Refundable rent withholding – £1,000
- Refundable deposit – £4,000
- Any tenant requested changes to the agreement – £100
- One week late rent – £25
- Lost key/Security device – Between £10 and £50
If early termination is requested by the tenant, the amount will depend on how much loss the online letting agent will incur.
The Tenant Fee Ban was created to help strengthen trust and communication between landlords and tenants. It may appear that the tenants have the upper hand in this arrangement and you wouldn’t be wrong.
Many landlords and agents are experiencing financial hardships due to this new legislation.
The Tenant Fee ban offers plenty of benefits for renters. New or uninformed tenants often fell victim to scams, upcharges, and hidden fees.
Landlords added payments and charges for things like setting up the contract and performing background and credit checks. Most additional fees were labeled “administrative” with little to no explanation.
Online letting agents passed nominal fees onto the tenants without them even realizing it. Tenants were overpaying for months or even years in some cases.
Not only did some landlords take advantage of tenants but before the ban was in place, there were no rules governing how much online letting agents charged or for what.
That means that tenants could face a vast difference and fluctuation in payments from one tenancy agreement to another.
The Downside for online letting agents
Most people can agree that immoral online letting agents should be stopped. The problem is that not all landlords were guilty of overcharging or upcharging tenants.
Now, they’re forced to handle the financial burden caused by others. Both online and traditional agents and landlords are feeling the negative effects of this Ban.
It’s predicted that landlords and letting agents could lose between £50 and £160m in income due to the Tenant Fee Ban. It’s already been said that the purpose of the Ban is to keep online letting agents from passing hidden, unfair fees onto tenants.
Here are just some of the fees that landlords and agents were guilty of charging tenants.
- Scheduling viewings/showings
- Fees related to renewing a tenancy or establishing a new one (including inventory checks, credit checks, and referencing)
- Third-party fees
- Check-out fees
For many online letting agents, these fees made up a big portion of their monthly income. Without it, they were forced to pass these charges onto the landlord, who then passed them onto the tenant. Everyone is trying to recoup their revenue at someone else’s expense.
This last piece of the puzzle leads to spikes in rent, which not all tenants can afford. In turn, landlords face longer vacancy periods and even more lost income.
Without steady cash flow, landlords can’t maintain their property or create a safe, welcoming place to live.
This is just one more way finding quality tenants in the face of new legislation is proving to be a challenge.
Most landlords hire online letting agents to help simplify the rental process.
Being a online letting agent is a full-time job from referencing prospective tenants to scheduling viewings and performing maintenance and repairs.
Many landlords don’t have the time or the patience, which is why they hire online letting agents. In light of the new Tenant Fee Ban, many landlords are taking on these responsibilities themselves.
This may seem like a quick fix now, but in the long run, many landlords pay much more in terms of stress, loss of time, and a compromised quality of life.
The Tenant Fee Ban is just one new piece of legislation. It’s not the first and it definitely won’t be the last.
Are you flirting with the idea of ignoring these new regulations and continuing to charge administrative and additional fees?
This is a bad idea. Not only can you face major fines ranging from £5,000 for the first offence and up to £30,000 for the second, but also jail time and a court appearance.
In addition to the legal trouble you’ll get in, your reputation will also take a major hit. After two violations in the same calendar year, your name is added to a list of rogue managers, which is basically the end of your real estate career as you know it.
The Tenant Fee Ban applies to all online letting agents, regardless of how many rental properties you own or manage.
The Best online letting agents Follow the Law
Although most online letting agent and tenant relationships are strictly business, there’s a personal element present as well.
Online letting agents are responsible for the safety and security of tenants living in their rentals. Because of this, tenants trust their managers. It’s this trust that is at the root of the Tenant Fee Ban.
This legislation was created to help strengthen the bond and trust between tenant and online letting agent.
Online letting agents who don’t follow the rules (both legal and moral), are at risk for both financial fines and a tarnished reputation.
What online letting agent Fees Are Banned?
The most common online letting agent fees that are no longer permitted include fees for setting up a contract or renewing a tenancy, performing credit checks, performing inventory, third-party checks, and check-out fees.
How Do online letting agent Fees Work?
There are 2 types of online letting agent fees – those that are charged to the landlords and those absorbed by the tenant.
Oftentimes landlords hire online letting agents to help maintain the property.
Fees range from percentages of the monthly rent to a fixed amount.
Tenants face different fees which are usually based on any damage at the end of the tenancy agreement, late rent payments, and other overhead expenses.
Many additional tenant fees were banned following the Tenant Fee Ban of 2019.
What Fees Can online letting agents Legally Charge?
Even though many fees are banned, some are still permitted.
These include fees for lost security devices or keys, changes or payments requested by the tenant, utilities, TV license, council taxes, tenant’s request for early termination, refundable tenancy deposits, late rent payments, and cleaning fees for any excessive damage.
How to Avoid online letting agent Fees
One way to avoid online letting agent fees is for landlords to perform these tasks themselves. They can find and vet their own tenants, collect rent, conduct inspections, and complete all necessary maintenance and repairs.
Tenants who take care of their property, pay the rent on time, and don’t breech the contract can also avoid unwanted fees.
Online Letting Agent FAQ
We’ve compiled the list of most common questions related to online letting agents below.
How do I choose a letting agent?
Choosing your letting agent is based on the services you need, the letting agents fees & their past performance. A quick way to search the market is enter your postcode in Rent Round. The platform will then scan the market for you to find a letting agent that suits your needs.
Is OpenRent free?
Advertising on OpenRent is free. However this doesn't include your property being posted on the major property portals. For that service additional costs will be charged
What percentage do online letting agents take?
The prices differ per agent. Common fees for tenant find services are £100-£400. For fully managed services, the charge structure will be higher and usually involve a % of of the monthly rental income.
How do online letting agents work?
Online letting agents charge lower fees but the expectation is that landlords will do a lot of the work themselves. In exchange for the lowers fees, landlords need to arrange and conduct property viewings. In addition tenancy agreements & handover activities may need to be handled by the landlord themselves.
When should you not pick an online letting agent?
For busy landlords who don't have much time to get involved in their property, a traditional letting agent is more suitable than an online agent. With an online letting agent, the landlord is required to do more activities, for example conduct property viewings.