A letting agent is a
facilitator A facilitator is a person who helps a group of people to work together better, understand their common objectives, and plan how to achieve these objectives, during meetings or discussions. In doing so, the facilitator remains "neutral", meaning ...
through which an agreement is made between a
landlord A landlord is the owner of a house, apartment, condominium, land, or real estate which is rented or leased to an individual or business, who is called a tenant (also a ''lessee'' or ''renter''). When a juristic person is in this position, t ...
tenant Tenant may refer to: Real estate *Tenant, the holder of a leasehold estate in real estate *Tenant-in-chief, in feudal land law *Tenement (law), the holder of a legal interest in real estate *Tenant farmer *Anchor tenant, one of the larger stores ...
for the rental of a residential property. This is commonly used in countries using British English, including countries of the
Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good. Historically, it has been synonymous with "republic". The noun "commonwealth", meaning "public welfare, general good or advantage", dates from the ...
. In the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, the agreement between landlord and tenant is normally formalised by the signing of a tenancy agreement. A letting agency will normally charge a commission for their services, usually a percentage of the annual rent. Letting agents will often operate under the umbrella of an
Estate Agent An estate agent is a person or business that arranges the selling, renting, or management of properties and other buildings. An agent that specialises in renting is often called a letting or management agent. Estate agents are mainly engaged ...
due to the synergies that exists between the two professions, but there are many agents that deal exclusively with
letting Renting, also known as hiring or letting, is an agreement where a payment is made for the temporary use of a good, service or property owned by another. A gross lease is when the tenant pays a flat rental amount and the landlord pays for ...
s. Although there are two main types of renting, letting agents deal primarily with tenancies between private individuals and landlords.

Services and fees

There are a number of services offered by lettings agents, including: *An Introductory Service - Finding a tenant for a landlord's property. The cost can vary depending on the agent and is usually charged up-front. *Administration Services - This is anything that is involved in processing of the application. This can include referencing (credit searches etc.), drawing up a tenancy agreement, conducting a check-in, drawing up a schedule of condition, among other things. Fees for this service can vary widely and often non-refundable, unless the landlord withdraws from the process. Such fees have been made illegal in Scotland and tenants may reclaim any fees paid through the courts. *Rent Collection - Many agents will offer to collect the rent from a tenant for an additional commission. This cost can vary. *Full Management - This is the day-to-day management of a rental property. Many agents will provide this service for landlords who wish to have a hands off approach to their investment. This service can cost between 7% and 12.5%. Typical letting agent fees to tenants in England and Wales may include: *Administration fee - To cover the Administration Services mentioned above *Inventory fee - To cover the costs of inspecting the property and drawing up an inventory *Tenancy extension/renewal fee - A renewal fee can be charged if the tenant extends their tenancy beyond the initial term. Renewal fees can vary in cost but tend to be at lower rate than the original referencing fee *Exit fee - Similar to the inventory fee to cover the cost of a final inspection of the property to compare its condition to that at the start of the tenancy The chancellor,
Philip Hammond Philip Hammond, Baron Hammond of Runnymede (born 4 December 1955) is a British politician and life peer who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 2016 to 2019, Foreign Secretary from 2014 to 2016, and Defence Secretary from 2011 to 2014. ...
, promised to ban letting agent fees in England and Wales in his autumn statement of November 2016.{{cite web, url=https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/nov/22/philip-hammond-letting-fees-ban-autumn-statement-affordable-housing, title=Chancellor to crack down on letting fees in autumn statement, first1=Anushka, last1=Asthana, first2=Rowena, last2=Mason, first3=Heather, last3=Stewart, date=22 November 2016, website=the Guardian To maximise the service that a letting agent provides it is important prospective tenants to make letting agents aware of their requirements before they arrange viewings so that properties are better matched to tenant's needs. Since letting agents act as a matchmaker between property, landlord and tenant it is important for them to gain an understanding of customer requirements including; location, property size, budget, pets, etc.


There are currently no statutory arrangements regarding the regulation of letting agents. Around half of UK lettings agents are currently self-regulated. The principal organisations for lettings agents are the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) and the
Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is a global professional body for surveyors, founded in London in 1868. It works at a cross-governmental level, and aims to promote and enforce the highest international standards in the va ...
(RICS). These have codes of practice and compliance controls which govern the activities of their members. The English government also provides its own accrediting body for letting agents. This body is called NALS (National Assured Letting Scheme). In Scotland all landlords must be registered with the local authority. Whilst agents are not required to register, they are actively encouraged to do so. Scotland’s rental market is more tightly regulated than anywhere else in the UK. New rules came into force in December 2017 that introduced a raft of changes designed to protect both landlords and tenants, but negotiating the regulations has caused a headache for some property owners.

See also

* National Approved Letting Scheme


External links

Association of Residential Letting Agents
Royal Institution of Chartered SurveyorsBritish Landlords Association
Housing in the United Kingdom Housing in Scotland Sales occupations Property management