NLA survey finds spike in use of letting agents among buy-to-let landlords

The number of buy-to-let landlords using letting agents to help manage their properties has spiked since the end of last year, according to a new survey by the National Landlords Association (NLA).

Use of letting agents up by 7%

Since the end of last year the use of letting agents among landlords has gone up by seven per cent.

This might not seem like a lot, but previously the number has remained fairly constant. Between 2014 and 2016, there was only a one per cent rise in the proportion of landlords who use letting agents.

The research also found that the number of landlords who self-manage has fallen dramatically over the past year, down to 39 per cent from 46.

Scottish landlords most likely to use letting agents

The research surveyed the whole of the UK, and found the further north you go, the more likely it is that landlords there will use a letting agent.

Landlords in the North-East are the most likely to use a letting agent compared to the rest of England, but Scotland takes the top spot. North of the border, almost four out of every five landlords use a letting agent.

Looking further south, the biggest rises in the use of letting agents can be found in outer London, the South-West, and Wales.

Unexpected rise could be a ‘blip’ says NLA

Commenting on the survey, Richard Lambert, CEO of the National Landlords Association (NLA), 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.”

Do landlords need “steady hand of a reputable agent”?

On the other hand, Richard Price, Executive Director of the UK Association of Letting Agents, thinks that landlords need letting agents now more than ever.

“These findings show that an increasing proportion of landlords rely on agents at present, which is testament to the professional work undertaken by the vast majority of agents in the sector,” he said, adding: “It’s an uncertain time for anyone who owns a buy-to-let property, so the steady hand of a reputable agent is exactly what many landlords are looking for right now.”

Which is better - using a letting agent or flying solo? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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