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Letting Agents Are Idiots, Pros And Cons Of Direct To Landlord?


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I've rented direct from landlords and via agents, and as we all know agents are idiots who no knowledge of either the law or property and charge an enormous amount for doing nothing more than harassing tenants.

So, what's so bad about going direct? I've only managed it by knowing owners who have a place available now and again, is there a respected source for rental property listings from landlords direct? In your experience are they much better than agents anyway? Or do they turn up unannounced and expect use of the property when it is your home?

Experiences, tips?

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Mixed experiences of both.

Landlords have skin in the game which seems to either make them a pain in the ass (ignoring the law, popping around all of the time, not giving deposits back, never doing repairs) or fantastic (being really helpful, sorting stuff out asap, leaving you in peace). Most seem to take it personally, it is never just business to them.

Agents rarely give a monkeys - you are just money to them and they want as much of it as possible with the least amount of aggro. The upside is that you'll rarely get bothered, the downside is that you can end up paying for the privilege in the form of dreamed up charges, stupid clauses, no repairs etc.

The best landlord will be better than the best agent - but the trouble is that most of either are crap.

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My one and only experience of renting has been a completely hideous experience. I am in my early 40s and until now I have always either had my own place or stayed with family. I found this place via gumtree as I wanted to avoid the expense of agents admin fees. I am in a studio flat in an HMO with my husband whilst we attempt to save for a place of our own. LL is utterly unprofessional and the experience has been a real eye opener. I can't quite believe that LLs can get away with so much nonsense! Still I've learned a lot about housing law since coming here and am keeping my fingers crossed that the judge awards us x3 our deposit when we end up at the county court in the next couple of months!


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We've always dealt direct with landlords. That's Four properties over 8 years and Three landlords (one landlord had two properties that we rented sequentially).

For all landlords we just found ads in local newspaper and signs outside a property for let with the landlords number. On principle I refuse to go through an agent, and at first I thought we'd have our work cut out, but as long as you know where you want to live its just a matter of waiting for something to come up. It always does!

We still used Rightmove in order to gauge the market and get an idea of what we can get for the money but the agent fees etc are a joke so we stayed well clear.

It sounds daft but the one with the landlords number on a sign outside was one of those situations where we just walked past and thought 'I could live there!', so we made the call, viewed it, put in an offer and then... Well... did.

The others were going in blind a bit because we didn't have any photos, but we knew the location was right so we thought we'd take a look. I find that you get a pretty good idea of what the landlord will be like after a 10-15min chat, and on all occasions they were friendly and professional. A gut affirming look in the eye and a handshake is usually enough to make your mind up when it comes to doing business with people, and renting a house is no different.

Things I look out for:

- Find out roughly where the LL lives. I casually ask ' so do you live locally then?' They are always up front about it but what you're looking for is to establish that they're a good 10-15 minute drive away! The last thing you want is a LL next door or worse, in the same building! The other side of town or out of town a bit is usually good enough :)

- Make sure that they will handle the deposit through one of the accredited DPS's.

- Ask to see the Gas Cert (if applicable).

- Metered water?

- make sure there's a proper AST contract on the table.

- Make sure there is a full inventory on paper and that it's agreed on and signed by both tenant and landlord.

- All the other common sense stuff that you should ask anyway when going with an agent.

Maybe I've been lucky but I think that if people are sensible about the whole process and do everything properly by minimising the risks (and sizing up the landlord personally) then it's just as safe as going through an agent, if not more so...


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