Renting Flat - worth using a management company?

Okay, so as I am on the verge of moving in with the future Mrs Jim, I am able to let my flat out. Situation is this:

I have small 2 beds flat in older block with one radiator (30s design but keeps house toasty warm), and no in flat boiler. There is only the usual round of 2 sinks, gas hob and electric oven to worry about. Flat is redecorated, and has newish electrical items as appropriate. I'd like to ensure I vet the tenants anyway, as I want a certain type of tenant (professional couple) and I'll only be living a couple of miles away. I've got a good list of plumbers / sparkies and the like for emergencies, and the building already has an in place management company that is proactive at sorting heating problems and hot water issues through the maintenance contract.

So, my question is, given all this, is it worth getting a letting agency to look after the flat - there seems relatively little scope for problems, so what advantage do they bring?
Yes. Get and agent.

I assume you are not an expert in property law - so you want someone who knows what they are doing to write the tenancy agreement and schedule of condition.
I assume you are not an expert in rent collection - so you want someone who knows that they are doing if your tenants fail to pay on time.
There's also the deposit money. The law now requires that any deposit money is kept in a specially set up bank account. Get the professionals to worry about it.

If everything goes well then perhaps you won't see much work done for the agent's fee - but if the tenant fails to pay, or wrecks the place you will be grateful for their experience.
Ok, two sides from one answer;
I have a one bedroom flat that I rent through Reid estate agents. They sort the insurance, deal with the Tennant, even send his payment straight to my mortgage account and deal with Maintainance issues. I've not heard from them for about four months - all gleaming there with no dramas other than a new freezer last year.

But in the past I've been a Tennant with Alan de maid. They lied, took the piss and generally soured the whole tenancy. In that case I felt like they were a barrier between me and the landlord, only succeeding in taking my rent, taking a chunk of cash from the landlord, and preventing proper communication at every given chance.

If you do it yourself you Might save money, but its a gamble. You'll need a 'slush fund' for unseen Maintainance, your own insurance that covers lettings, some paperwork for te tax man so he can take his bite, and lots of patience!
Edited because I can't spell - and because I had a rethink about how keen I'd be if my Tennant had my number!


Book Reviewer
Situation is this:
I'd use an agency. You can stipulate that you do not want dole wallah nut-jobs. And if the shit hits the windows at 01.30 of a Sunday, it is somebody else's problem. Do you really want to be chilling out in Mix Bar in Vegas and have to take a call from some **** in Scunthorpe who's back boiler is dripping?

Put a cutout between yourself and poor people would be my advice. Pay an agency to deal with them.
Don't use Alan De Maid.
I still have a serious sad-on with that bunch of cnuts four years down the line!
I join Polyethyl and Iron Duke in their advice. I've posted on other threads recently on the same subject - don't even think of doing it yourself unless you are professionally in the business and know it inside out. It really is worth the money you pay a agent. And take out insurance on the let as well to cover disasters.

Not sure where your flat is but, in case you're in the London area, I echo 8256Mick's example of warning you off certain firms, and my non-recommend is Ludlow-Thompson - bloody incompetent bunch.

Good luck!
Agreed - get an agent. You can also get a contract with them that guarantees your monthly income even if there is a gap in tenants. Costs more (in terms of fee to the agent) but it depends on how much you need the income the flat will generate.
Cracking advice gents, and much appreciated. I'd been reluctant to move towards the agents side, simply because it felt like paying a lot of money for naff all - but I can now see the arguments in their favour.

My view is that I'd like to get a respectable middle class tenant in, and I'd like to meet & interview them before they go into the flat. Is it possible to insist on this as part of the deal? Also, the books I've read note that a 6 month AST is recommended rather than 12 months - presumably one can insist on this when negotiating?

I'm a bit cautious mainly because this flat is a large investment for me, and I don't want to inadvertantly let it to some kind of 'yeah blud innitz' burberry wearing chav scum masquerading as a "salesmen" for some dire "you deserve free money because your inbred genes caused you to have an easily avoidable accident" claims company. I'm keen to get final say on who does, or does not, get in here, even if it means waiting a month or two.

I'm in the fortunate position that the income will be self contained, so I don't need the money to pay any bills - it'll all go into one bank account and then not be touched except for flat purposes until I sell the flat. The mortgage payments I save on elsewhere will be saved, but I'm keen to keep my flat income as a seperate and discrete income stream. So, I'd rather wait for the right tenant than rush into the first one I get offered through the company.

Finally, can anyone advise on who to avoid or go to in the Blackheath area? We have Foxtons (nuff said!), KFH and the other usual suspects, but are there any more local ones worth checking out?


Only other thing would be to check out the Agents or property management company. No matter how grand or posh their outfit, it didn't stop
my idle slack rental property managers letting the tenants waltz off with the beds and sofa, whilst I was out in KAF. Nor did they bother to check the property once, during the six months .Their numerous, rather high and expensive services fees also included taking 8% of annual rental costs.

You're the boss and it's your property. Make sure the buggers earn their fees. Blackheath? no idea sorry ;) Good luck.
Listen mate,you don't have to 'rent' a flat,,,,,tell me where your motor is and I will slash the tires,,,for a small fee............
JIM, REID - lettings management in Bromley high street. As I said in my post above - they're fuss free and relatively cheap.
For the love of god, do nothing with Alan de maid in Bromley - theyre less usefull than an ashtray on a bike
Finally, can anyone advise on who to avoid or go to in the Blackheath area? We have Foxtons (nuff said!), KFH and the other usual suspects, but are there any more local ones worth checking out?
I would have a look at Leaders. I use their Woking Branch for my rental property back in the UK - they have been great and offer all the income protection, tenant checks etc all mentioned in this thread. They take 15% off me to deal with everything. I have used them (and their predecessor) for nearly 10 years now.


Book Reviewer
Jesus ******* Christ. Where to start? You have issues I feel, so let us work through them together. Trust me.

A flat is stock. Like a cow in a field or mountain bikes on racking in a warehouse. It is an earner. When you decide you want to pick and choose who can 'buy' your stock, you are fucked. You take the yield from your stock, trouser the cash and spend it on drugs. This is called Capitalism and it has been around for a while. It works for many of us.

'Stock' is not an emotional investment. If you want that get married or buy a ******* dog.

Pay a professional. This is hard because you have to pay the ******* reptiles. But I doubt you do your own dentistry to save money, do you?

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