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Go with letting agent or self let?

  • 09-01-2022 5:27pm
    Registered Users Posts: 18,647 ✭✭✭✭ road_high

    I’ll be letting out a property in the near future. I’ve lived in it so it’s not in bad nick decor wise.

    Ive never rented out a property before. So I’m trying to weigh up the pros and cons of either employing a letting agent vs doing it myself. The obvious advantages of a letting agent is it likely reduces the risk of dodgy tenants as they’ll have a list of tenants and will do some of the vetting. Cons is they’ll obviously take a %.

    Im interested to hear people’s thoughts on this and any first hand experience most welcome.



  • Registered Users Posts: 9,264 ✭✭✭ Caranica

    Getting a good letting agent is beyond difficult but it does give you a layer of separation between you and the tenants, stops you getting calls in the middle of the night. I'd look for references for letting agents as much as I would for tenants. Make sure they know exactly what you want in terms of tenants. You will pay extra for management as well as letting but it's tax deductible and worth it in terms of regular inspections etc

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,647 ✭✭✭✭ road_high

    That’s great thanks. Didn’t know it was tax deductible, very useful info.

    property has a small little garden out back. Who would be responsible for cutting the grass etc? In the height of summer I certainly don’t want to be looking after that nor would the tenants want me to I’m sure either. What do people usually? Once it’s kept reasonably tidy I’d be happy with that.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,647 ✭✭✭✭ road_high

    Anyone recommend a good letting agent in Kilkenny. Please feel free to pm me on details

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,264 ✭✭✭ Caranica

    If you want tenants to do it you need to provide the equipment.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,201 ✭✭✭ 1874

    No you dont, nothing of the sort in the legislation to that end. A landlord then providing equipment they dont have to will somewhat make it so they should continue providing if they did so initially, plus if anyone injured themself using it, the landlord could bear some responsibility or run the risk of being faulted. Just include it in the lease that the gardne is to be kept, if they want a property with a garden, they should expect to have to keep it in a useable condition themselves and ensure it is in the lease to be in the same condition as it is/was originally condition upon departure, assuming they ever depart.

    Based on the massive assumption by the OP that

    "The obvious advantages of a letting agent is it likely reduces the risk of dodgy tenants as they’ll have a list of tenants and will do some of the vetting. Cons is they’ll obviously take a %."

    They either have a sense of humour, OR have zero clue what they are letting themself in for.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,774 ✭✭✭ robo

    I have been a landlord for the last 5 years, letting out an apartment in Dublin, that I lived in. And thankfully, it has been going ok. I am happy to save the cost of a letting agent and look after the letting myself. Also, I am always aware of any issues and am happy to fix them as soon as possible - as I have heard of agencies letting things go & not getting them dealt with asap, possibly causing a bigger issue. Also, I have heard of letting agents increasing the rent and not letting the landlord know. I am living about 40 minutes away from the apartment, so I can easily visit it when needed.

    Regarding dodgy tenants - I think that letting agents can get stung with them also. I definitely took care when picking new tenants and sure you can only hope then that they will look after the place.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,647 ✭✭✭✭ road_high

    Thanks very much. What approach did you take when vetting tenants? Interview and references?

    Where did you advertise it? Want to avoid a plethora of unsuitable tenants wasting time

  • Registered Users Posts: 32,366 ✭✭✭✭ o1s1n

    Not having to field queries directly via phone or email from the tenant is the biggest sell for me to be honest. I wouldn't rent without an agency.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,647 ✭✭✭✭ road_high

    Yea my aunt rented a place out for years before and had a letting agent and says the same. The fees aren’t astronomical once they’re a good one

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,914 ✭✭✭ cj maxx

    A letting agent is also responsible for unpaid rent or if they do a bunk. Is that true?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,975 ✭✭✭ $hifty

    I wouldn't bother, but that's because any I dealt with were useless.

    If you ARE going down that route, then I'd source the tenant myself first. Most places charge a full month's rent to find/vet tenants. Nowhere near worth the money for the day or two's worth of hassle involved. Hell, I'll do it for you for €800 if you want :-)

    Much better to get the tenant in situ, then install the agent and have them do all the running around. You'll end up having to vet any prospective tenants yourself, so you might as well save yourself a month's rent in the process, then ask them to manage it for you. Beware though, I had two agents in charge of my place:

    1) might as well have not existed. They literally were like an answering service. All they did was take calls/emails and pass them on. I paid them €1,400 to find a tenant, then €70 per month to act as a secretary. They had no workers to do odd jobs, no contacts to do bigger ones and were pretty much useless.

    2) were just as bad but in the opposite direction. Instead of not doing enough and relaying everything back to me, they were doing too much and not saying anything. The rent was short one month and when I asked, I was told that the microwave had broken so they instructed the tenant to buy one and deduct the bill from the rent. Never told me. Also never told the tenant to keep the receipt, so I couldn't claim it back from the taxman. Agency refused to refund the missing difference, so I cancelled the contract and had to issue a notice of rent arrears. Tenant paid me and chased them up for the micro, eventually getting a full refund from them, so happy days.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,647 ✭✭✭✭ road_high

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,264 ✭✭✭✭ Tell me how

    I used an agent to find the tenants and prepare the initial contract. Fee was one months rent.

    After that it was and is between me and the tenant. If this tenant moves and I have to find a new one, I intend going back to the same agent as long as they are around (Not Kilkenny)

    I would advise you putting more effort identifying handymen/trades people to do work without you having to get involved if you will not be in a position to take care of this yourself. I had a guy lined up, he had done some work for me on the house before I left Ireland and was fine, but was a ball breaker to deal with once I was remote and so I dropped him.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,774 ✭✭✭ robo

    I used Daft and didn't put my mobile on the advertisement (you will have to provide it to Daft but it won't be shown). I asked them to tell me a bit about themselves, so I got a good idea of what they were like. Myself and someone else then read thru the emails, picked what we thought were suitable tenants and then invited about 5 to view and meet and chat with. I think over a 3 day period, I got about 90 replies. You will have to sift through a lot of messages, but I think after a while, you will find different ones & also identify those that stand out and those that you don't think will be suitable.

    I got some letters from employers and previous landlords - Its easy to do your own online vetting. It takes time, but a few days work to get the suitable tenants and you will save a months rent.

  • Registered Users Posts: 514 ✭✭✭ tvjunki

    There are good agents as well as bad.

    When we started out with a house to rent we used an agent and they were useless. The tenant after a month decided they did not want to go to work( on a work permit) and wanted social to pay the rent etc. The agent said why not leave them in for a few months! Then we would have to pay back the money to the social as they were not entitled to rent allowance or anything else and they would have to be deported. I said I would sue the agent for allowing such things to happen…few days later deposit appeared in my letterbox. Agent still working to this day. They don’t care.

    If you are near to the property then maybe manage it yourself. If it is good order then you would not have much to do.

    As robo said you can vet them yourselves.make sure you check every reference as some are fake and they could be from a landlord wanting to get rid of the tenant so take the most recent with a pinch of salt. Go onto Facebook and Twitter etc and search out your potential tenant. You really cannot believe what you can see going through their profiles. I had one potential tenant that said they were not into parties, family is important etc. Checked the Facebook profile and I saw drug taking and comments about parties and not going to work. Slagging landlords you don’t know the half of it.

    Dont forget if you lived in the house there are some very jealous neighbours so make sure the tenant you put in will suit the area. You don’t want a neighbour contacting you complaining about noise and bringing you to rtb as a 3rd party complaint. Had such a thing. We engaged in a solicitor so they could not try it again. All made up by the way.

    Take pictures and make sure you have some sort of way to register the pictures date. Newspaper in the photo.

    Have a contract but note indefinite tenancies are here and they can stay after 6 months. Put in a clause no subletting and note on animals that any damage they have to pay for. Had a tenant have a dog that chewed skirting etc.

    Be warned you can have a great tenant and you can also have a bad tenant. You never know until they are ready to move to another property.

    If it is the first time rented out then if you go for the highest rent you may get people requesting Hap. Check the levels in your area. Houses are now being inspected by the council and remediation can be costly to bring up to today’s code. Check what is required. You will need to put window latches in, vented extractors etc. You might be better with unfurnished so less damage.

    Alot to think about.

  • Registered Users Posts: 32,366 ✭✭✭✭ o1s1n

    To those renting themselves without an agency, do you find you've to deal with many calls from tenants or how much interaction would you say you have with them in general?

  • Registered Users Posts: 345 ✭✭ Gmaximum

    Wouldn't bother with an agent. TBH you're better off finding and vetting tenants yourself. Setup an email address specifically for the property and filter everything through it. Similarly if your biggest concern is dealing with a lot of calls from your tenant a prepay mobile that you can stick in a drawer and look at every now and again is cheaper than management fees. However a good tenant shouldn't be ringing you all the time unless you're ignoring them and not dealing with real problems. A good tenant will understand that you can't fix a leaky tap or repair a washing machine at 2AM and will understand that it takes time to get there yourself or get someone out to do a repair

  • Registered Users Posts: 954 ✭✭✭ redarmyblues

    If you decide to let yourself or even if you don't put prospective tenants particulars into the RTB outcomes and Determination Orders for Adjudications and Tribunals database. (There are plenty on here than those who claim delinquent tenants who have a determination against them have a right to have the record removed on request, ignore them they are wrong, that said the search function on it is far from perfect)

    I always let and manage mine, I have a Whatsapp group for tenant communication for each tenancy.

  • Registered Users Posts: 117 ✭✭ YipeeDee

    In much the same position as Robo. Renting my house just over three years. (First tenants stayed three years and new tenants in a few months)

    Didn’t see much point in paying a letting agent a month’s rent for a job I can do myself.

    Agents don’t compensate you for non paying or destructive tenants and many of the agents I researched seemed to be quite lax at responding to tenant’s issues in a timely manner, which can lead to bigger problems and disgruntled tenants.

    I also wanted to vet, meet and pick my own tenants and build a rapport with them.

    Admittedly it takes some time to advertise, go through enquiries and check references etc.

    So far the house was advertised twice.

    First time I had 120 enquiries which I narrowed down to just two people to view the house.

    One showed up, the other didn’t. So that made it very easy.

    And last time (this year) I had a similar amount and again narrowed viewings down to just two sets of prospective tenants.

    In the last 3+ years, only once, did I receive an after hours call (due to a leak)

    All it took was a couple of phone calls to a plumber, insurance company etc.

    As for garden maintenance, I go up once in Springtime, to power wash patio paving and if the hedges / grass need cutting I’ll do it, but really the tenants keep the grass and hedges themselves.

    I’ve been blessed with the tenants in fairness, the last tenants left the house absolutely immaculate, always paid on time, and no issue whatsoever with neighbours etc.

    And my two new tenants so far as equally as lovely.

    I can’t speak to what’s it’s like to have an agent but I can say, I personally feel more secure knowing that my tenants are happy, and they know if an issue arises, they can lift the phone to me and know I’ll have their issue sorted for them ASAP.

    A good landlord/ tenant relationship goes a long way. I’m not sure I’d have that, had I gone through a letting agent.

    Just my limited experience so far.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,155 ✭✭✭✭ josip

    I've been letting myself without an agent for 10 years. I've had 5 different tenants in and so far they've all been very good tenants.

    Except one guy who used to go a bit mad and aggressive when he wasn't taking his meds, but thankfully he agreed to leave.

    I prefer to meet perspective tenants myself so that I know who's living there. There will be a lot of replies to the Daft ad, but I try to meet as many of them as I can. A lot won't show up, but sometimes the applicant I choose, wouldn't have been the one I'd choose on paper.

    It's fcuking heart wrenching at the moment meeting/interviewing people. There's so much demand and people are so desperate. It wasn't like this 10 years ago. They put in so much effort to have all the supporting paperwork ready, make the trip to view the place and there are at least 30 others also in the mix. Some had been looking for 3 months for a place.

    Yes, there will be a few calls in the beginning of the tenancy, but that's actually a good sign.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,728 ✭✭✭ 3DataModem

    This peace of mind is worth it. I've both let myself and used agent in the past, and would never let myself again. That call on a Sunday evening that the heating doesn't work...

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,496 ✭✭✭ Manion

    I was in a similar position 3 years ago. The typical setup (at least in Double) is that you can pay for just sourcing a tenant or tenant sourcing with management services. I believe management fees are tax deductible, but just sourcing may not be if it's the first let, seek tax advise. Anyway, it's important to understand how the business model for letting agents work and where you goals and objectives might diverge from theirs. The first letting agent we dealt with we fired. They claimed to have done three viewings, they hadn't as we where in the area parked down the road when one of the viewings was supposedly happening. They sourced tenants claiming they worked for XYZ but hand't collected any proof of means or even basic information and a quick google showed it for a lie, and lastly the second group of tenants they offered they claimed they where clients on their books who they had placed in a number of properties and could vouch for but couldn't provide basic information like fulls names, or employment. I checked out google reviews for the letting agent and it was packed with tenants complaining about delinquency. Happy tenants make for a happy landlord. So I said thanks but no thanks and sourced a different letting agent.

    The second agent is much more professional, the first thing he advised was reducing the asking rent down from what the previous letting agent had advised, as regardless of who signed the lease we'ed have 6 people in bunk beds to the ceiling in there, it wasn't a reasonable rent to expect 3 people to be able to afford. He sourced in two lots of very good tenants, he does all the inspections, when issues with the house come up he had a filofax of trades people to fix them (and frankly gets a better price on plumbers then I can get for my own home) and it's just generally very low hassle. During Covid I was especially happy I had this letting agent as I was glad not to be meeting people.

    When I look at the end of year profit and loss from rent and I see the the tax men taking 52%, the letting agent another 10% expenses taking another 12.5% my mind does wonder to if I really need a letting agent, but during the year when he tells me he had call over the house on a Saturday morning to get a guy to fix a thing I'm really happy I don't have that hassle in my life.

    When I think about that first letting agent now, it's like i dodged a bullet. All the ways their antics would have caused me no end of trouble over that first year of letting. I almost certainly would have had failure to pay rent, over holding and an inability to evict due to Covid.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,155 ✭✭✭✭ josip

    I've gotten one of those calls also, but because we don't live very far from our rental I was able to drop over a space heater that evening and then get in touch with the gas boiler guy the next day. Maybe there are some good letting agents out there who would take the call on a Sunday evening (many just have answering machines) AND who would actually be able to do something about it before the Monday morning.

    I would consider not having any heating overnight a greater inconvenience than having to answer a phone call in the evening.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,325 ✭✭✭ fun loving criminal

    I was looking to rent as a tenant through an agency. Many enquiries get ignored, very hard to get picked for a viewing, even though work full time, go to their Google reviews and alot more people had the same issue. Their replies back to these people giving one star reviews are the same, they're sorry the landlord didn't pick them. I thought agencies do the work for landlords?

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,728 ✭✭✭ 3DataModem

    I would never use an agent who didn't immediately call out a plumber / heating person to sort this out on a Sunday.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,496 ✭✭✭ Manion

    A property will get hundreds of enquiries and not all will get a response. Last time around my agent only showed the property to 1 group of people. Working full time is does not guarantee being selected. It's like applying for a Job, there are posts here about how to make the best first impression. Firing off emails just asking if a place is available (not saying that's what you did) will not get a response. The agent is there to do the leg work, but it follows the 80 / 20 rule of looking to put in the minimum effort for maximum return. A letting agent getting 1 star review from people because they are bitter about not getting a viewing, kinda shows the agent has good filtering. Complaints about not responding to sitting tenants would be different.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,325 ✭✭✭ fun loving criminal

    I don't think you understood me. It was the letting agency job to get tenants and do all that work. Then they use the landlord as an excuse not to pick people.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,728 ✭✭✭ 3DataModem

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,914 ✭✭✭ cj maxx

    I Thought that was why they charged you money, and they did the interviews of prospective tenants. Any place I've ever rented it was the estate agents who met me ,

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