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Do I need a holiday let agent? A guide for holiday home owners

4-minute read

Holiday letting agent speaking to landlord
Conor Shilling

Conor Shilling

3 October 2022

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There’s lots to think about when renting out a holiday home, which is why many owners choose to use a holiday letting agent to manage their property.

Read on to find out the pros and cons of using a holiday let agent, plus how to choose one and how much they cost.

What is a holiday letting agent?

Similar to a traditional agent, a holiday letting agent can help a landlord to find tenants and manage their property.

Holiday lettings is a specialist market. The best agents will have a good knowledge of:

  • how to handle seasonal bookings
  • where to advertise holiday homes
  • local market rental rates
  • managing guests and changeovers

There’s usually more work involved in renting out a holiday home. Guests turnover frequently, which means more administration, while things like bedding and towels need changing.

Working with a holiday let agent that handles those situations can mean less hassle. It can also make your holiday let business more professional.

Also, landlords who live far away from their property might find it easier have a letting agent who welcomes guests and deals with emergencies.

What does a holiday let agent do?

A holiday letting agent's first role is to advertise your property. They’ll help you set an asking price, create a listing, and then promote the property to prospective guests.

They can also help with the booking process, managing the property’s schedule, check-in/check-out, and emergencies.

If you employ a letting agent to fully manage your property, they’ll also be able to help with:

  • property maintenance and upkeep
  • compliance such as gas safety checks
  • cleaning and laundry
  • guest support and welcome packs

Do you need a holiday let agent?

If you live close to your property and have lots of spare time, you might not need to use a letting agent.

Taking this hands-on approach can be more financially rewarding as you’ll keep more of your rental income. However, it's sometimes more stressful and labour-intensive.

If you’re new to the holiday home rental market, or own several properties, it’s often beneficial to work with a letting agent.

Most agents offer two types of management (see below), although you might be able to agree a bespoke package.

Owner-managed vs agency-managed

If you decide you want to employ a letting agent, you’ll need to decide on the level of management you need.

An owner-managed package means the agent will help you find guests and manage bookings.

If you opt for an agency-managed package they’ll handle every aspect of your property from cleaning between guests to responding to enquiries during stays.

An agency-managed package will cost more, but you can be hands-off.

An owner-managed package is better suited to landlords who want to meet their guests and have more control but still need help advertising the property.

Read more: Where are the UK’s best holiday let areas?

Holiday home in the Cotswolds
Vivvi Smak/

Holiday letting agent fees – how much do they cost?

Holiday letting agent fees for landlords vary depending on the level of management you choose.

For full management, you could pay up to 50 per cent commission on your rental income. If you only use an agent to advertise your property and manage bookings, the commission fee could be closer to 20 per cent.

The Tenant Fees Act means agents can’t charge guests, but they can charge landlords extra for things like:

  • key collection
  • cancellations
  • registrations
  • inspections

Read our guide to letting agent fees for more information on how they work.

The pros and cons of using a holiday letting agent

Employing a letting agent to manage your holiday home has both advantages and disadvantages:

Benefits of holiday letting agents

  • compliance and administration support – a professional agency can help keep your property up to date with legislation, as well as manage finances and bookings
  • proximity to the property – if you don’t live nearby, having a local letting agent on hand can give you peace of mind that someone can help quickly if there’s an emergency
  • full property management – if you want to take a hands-off approach to being a holiday let landlord, a professional agency can manage every aspect of your property from maintenance to changeovers
  • marketing expertise and local knowledge – a specialist holiday letting agency can advertise your property to the right audience and use their knowledge of the market to set the right price

Downsides of holiday letting agents

  • lower income – the cost of a holiday letting agent means your rental income will be lower, but you’ll be paying to reduce your workload and hassle
  • reduced property access – there may be times when it’s harder for you to visit the property and if you want to stay there regularly, you’ll need to come to an agreement with your agent. Make sure you read your contract thoroughly before signing anything
  • lack of control – working with an agent means you could have less of a say about how it’s advertised, the guests that book to stay, and how they’re greeted on arrival
  • maximum lettings vs minimum rates – some agents will prioritise booking the property over getting the highest rate, which could affect your yield and increase wear and tear

Read more: What should you include in a welcome pack for your holiday let?

How to choose a holiday letting agent

If you decide to work with an agent, choosing the right one is crucial. You’ll be entering into a business relationship, so it’s important to work with someone you trust and communicate well with.

You’ll need to do your research. Here are some of the steps you can take:

  • check their online reviews
  • speak to other landlords for recommendations
  • meet the agent for a market appraisal

When searching for an agent, it’s worth seeing how they market other landlords’ properties. This will give you an idea of how yours could be advertised.

Remember, the holiday lettings market is different to traditional lettings so make sure your agent is a specialist and knows the local market.

Before instructing your agent, make sure to check the contract and get legal advice if you’re unsure of anything.

Do you have any unanswered questions about holiday let mortgages? Let us know in the comments below.

Useful guides for buy-to-let landlords

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Conor Shilling

Written by

Conor Shilling

Conor Shilling is a professional writer with over 10 years’ experience across the property, small business, and insurance sectors. A trained journalist, Conor’s previous experience includes writing for several leading online property trade publications. Conor has worked at Simply Business as a Copywriter for three years, specialising in the buy-to-let market, landlords, and small business finance.

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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