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Do I Need a Letting Agent as a Renter?

9 June 2020 Simon Banks Read time: 2 min
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Simon Banks

A quick Google search for “do I need a letting agent” returns hundreds of results that ask whether landlords need a letting agent’s services. The question is rarely asked about renters, however. But if there is a scenario where a landlord doesn’t need a letting agent, surely the same applies to renters?

By 2021, private renters will make up a quarter of the UK housing market. That makes you a pretty big deal as far as we’re concerned. And there are some fantastic homes available for you, from renter-specific new builds to charming period properties.

But do you need a letting agent to get the keys to one of those properties? That’s the question we’re here to answer with everything you need to know about whether or not you need to use a letting agent to rent your next home.

Do I need a letting agent?

Renter and letting agent shaking hands

The majority of renters use letting agents when going through the process of renting a home. A letting agent acts as the mediator between renter and landlord, putting offers forward and brokering a deal that pleases both parties.

The agency then goes through the rest of the renting checklist so that you can get the keys to your new home. However, it is possible to rent a home without using a letting agent, communicating with the landlord directly instead.

As a renter, you have a choice as to whether or not you want to use a letting agent. However, as it’s the landlords who instruct agents, you might find your property search limited to homes that aren’t advertised by a letting agent.

There are options, however.

Different ways of renting a home

Once upon a time the only way to rent a property involved using a letting agent or searching the locals on Gumtree. Over the years, the landscape has changed somewhat. And, although letting agents still play a fundamental role, there are more options on the table these days.

Letting agent

The most popular way for renters to find a new home, letting agents market the landlord’s property and go through the entire process — from negotiations to signing the AST. 61% of landlords also use property management from a letting agent, so there’s a good chance the agency will be your go-to for repairs and anything related to the home during your tenancy

Build-to-Rent operator

Build-to-Rent operators manage and let their properties, which essentially means everything is done in-house. Homes are designed specifically for renters, and all the units are available to rent. Build-to-Rent properties often create a stronger sense of community, as residents all share similar interests and are all renters. Plenty of the buildings also feature five-star amenities.

Directly through the landlord

Some landlords prefer to market their properties themselves, usually via local marketplaces like Gumtree or across social media such as Facebook and Twitter. If you’re going down the route of renting through a landlord directly, make sure that you’re always up to date with your rights as a renter.

Which option is best?




There’s no definitive answer to which method is best for renting. The route you go down largely depends on the home you want to rent. After all, the property is the first attraction, and how you rent it will depend on whether it’s marketed by an agent, Build-to-Rent operator or a private landlord.

Each method has its own pros. If you’re renting through a great letting agent, you can be assured that you’re working with a professional who knows the ins and outs and can guide you throughout the process.

Build-to-Rent operators let their own buildings, so they know all the  about their homes and can help you get settled into your new digs. Renting from a landlord means having a direct line of communication with the property owner, which might help build a closer relationship.

Home comforts

No matter which method you find yourself taking for renting a home, it’s great to know there are plenty of options available. Today, renters have never had more choice — from the sheer number of high-quality homes available to the way you rent them. It’s a great time to be a renter, whether you’re renting your next home through a letting agent, Build-to-Rent operator or the landlord directly.

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