Is a letting agent worth it? 

Clan Gordon is an award-winning letting agent voted one of the best at managing properties and securing tenants in Scotland and Edinburgh.

Owning a rental property in Edinburgh can be a great investment – but managing it can be demanding.

From finding tenants to collecting rent and fixing leaky taps, it’s no surprise many Edinburgh landlords consider hiring a letting agent. Nearly a third of British private landlords cite maintaining a property as the main reason for switching to partnering with a letting agent. 

But is it worth the cost? This blog aims to be your handy guide to answering that very question. 

Whether you’re a seasoned investor with multiple flats or a first-timer with a charming studio, this blog looks at letting agents in Edinburgh.  

We’ll explore the different service levels they offer, break down the costs involved and compare the advantages and downsides of outsourcing your property management, to give you the knowledge you need to make an informed decision for your unique needs and budget. 

 

On the basis of reviews etc, I chose Clan Gordon as my letting agent to help me rent out my flat in Edinburgh - I'm a first-time landlord with just one property to rent, so a bit of novice. Wasn't disappointed! Quality outfit who dealt with the process super-efficiently, from beginning to end. We had a couple of hiccups along the way (no fault of Clan Gordon; outside contractors) and Clan Gordon's response was second-to-none. They remedied the matters with sensitivity, professionalism and understanding - my main contact Hannah in particular was - and is - an absolute star. I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone who is looking to let a property out in Edinburgh or the Edinburgh area.

Colin Montgomery

Responsibilities of a letting agent 

Letting agents take on various responsibilities related to overseeing a rental property, but the extent of their services depends on the level of service you choose. Typically, there are three levels of service offered by letting agents: “let only,” “rent collection,” and “full management.” 

Let-only option for property rental 

The “let-only” service is suitable for landlords with experience in multiple rental periods who simply need help finding potential tenants. With this service, the letting agent assists in marketing the property through online channels to attract suitable tenants.  

They handle in-person viewings, saving landlords from wasting time on managing this themselves when it may not result in tenancies. The letting agency also collects holding deposits and tenancy deposits from tenants while conducting referencing checks to ensure credit suitability and rental history before progressing with the tenancy. In Edinburgh, where demand is exceptionally high for desirable properties, landlords may find themselves having to sift through hundreds of applications. 

It’s important to note that the specific services included in a let only package may vary between online agents and traditional high-street brick-and-mortar agencies. Some agents offer additional features such as professional photography.  

At Clan Gordon, we recognise the importance of showing off the character of each rental opportunity and include these features as part of our service. Other elements of the rental process, such as establishing a comprehensive property inventory and curating bespoke tenancy agreements, can also be included in the let only service. 

 

Managing your rent collection 

Let’s face it, chasing rent can be a time-consuming headache. That’s where rent collection services from a letting agent can help. A letting agent can handle the entire process, ensuring timely payments and predictable income for you, the landlord. Even if tenants are generally prompt, managing rent collection across multiple properties can be a juggling act. With an agent, it becomes smooth and automatic, freeing you up for other pursuits. 

Full management of your property letting 

The full management service offered by letting agents encompasses the renting process in its entirety. While it comes at an additional cost, this comprehensive service provides a “hands-off” approach for landlords.  

The letting agent handles everything from marketing the property and vetting tenants to creating tenancy agreements, communicating with tenants about issues and repairs, collecting rent, chasing arrears and ensuring compliance with current government legislation. 

Edinburgh’s rental landscape is constantly evolving with new regulations and legislation aimed at protecting both landlords and tenants. Keeping up with these changes can be tricky for landlords to manage on their own.  

Failure to provide tenants with necessary correspondence and documentation before they move into a rental property can make it more difficult for landlords to pursue possession of their property later on.  

Violating regulations concerning habitability and tenant safety can result in severe consequences, including fines up to £30,000 per violation or even criminal proceedings. 

Clan Gordon appeared to offer all that we wanted as first-time landlords, a complete 'get you ready to rent' package; they have not disappointed. From those early days their customer service was supportive, insightful and constructive, ensuring we had our flat ready, marketed and in compliance with all requirements within a short period of time. This service has only endured, maintaining regular communication, giving us confidence as remote landlords. A real highlight has been the dedicated relationship we have built with Lauren at the Anderson Place office, always willing to go the extra mile and ensure those little issues are navigated with aplomb. Overall, we are genuinely satisfied with the service received from Lauren and the whole Clan Gordon team and expect that this will only continue and cement a professional relationship - thank you.

Nick Aitken

Different levels of service offered by letting agents 

Letting agents offer different levels of service tailored to the specific needs of landlords. Understanding your options will give you the power to choose the ideal fit for your rental needs and time investment. 

  • Let-Only: Ideal for experienced landlords comfortable handling tenant relations and maintenance. This package focuses on finding high-quality tenants, including marketing your property, conducting viewings, managing deposits and running reference checks. Let the agent handle the legwork while you retain control of the day-to-day management. 
  • Rent Collection: Streamline your income flow with this service. The agent takes care of collecting rent on time, chasing any arrears and ensuring consistent rental income. No more late-night calls or awkward reminders – just reliable income you can depend on. 
  • Full Management: Enjoy complete peace of mind with this comprehensive package. The agent handles everything, from marketing and tenant vetting to repairs, maintenance and legal compliance. Think of it as your property manager extraordinaire, freeing you to focus on other priorities while your investment thrives. 

Choosing the right level of service depends on factors such as your experience as a landlord, the time you can dedicate to property management, and your confidence in navigating regulations. Let’s explore whether self-management is a viable option. 

Should you self-manage your Edinburgh property? 

Self-managing your rental property can be an attractive option for landlords looking to reduce costs and maintain control. However, it’s important to understand the responsibilities and time commitment involved.  

While letting agents bring expertise and experience to the table, it’s essential to assess whether the fees outweigh the benefits. Calculate the value of your time. How much time would you typically spend on managing your property, from tenant communication to repairs and disputes? If the agent’s fees seem reasonable compared to the time you save, their services might be worth the cost. 

Are you comfortable handling tenant issues, finding reliable contractors and navigating legal regulations? New landlords often find value in the guidance a letting agency provides. This allows them to gain confidence and learn best practices before taking the plunge into self-management. 

However, there are aspects of being a landlord that can become sink-or-swim moments. Given the all-encompassing nature of the role, it’s easy for things to go unnoticed. Unforeseen issues can arise, and ignorance of your legal responsibilities won’t shield you from penalties. Honestly assess your willingness to stay informed about legislative changes, legal measures and tenant rights before deciding to go solo. 

How much do letting agents cost? 

Letting agent fees can vary based on factors such as the level of service chosen and the rental income
generated by the property. Traditionally, letting agents calculate their fees either as a percentage of the rent collected throughout the tenancy period or by multiplying the weekly rental charge. These fees typically range from 10% to 20% of a landlord’s rental income. 

Depending on the level of service you require, you should be careful of any potential hidden costs. Some letting agents are more transparent with their fees than others, and the last thing you want is surprise fees coming out of nowhere. Here are a few things to be on the lookout for: 

  • VAT: Always factor in Value Added Tax on top of the advertised fee. 
  • Renewal fees: Some agents charge additional fees for renewing tenancy agreements. 
  • Inventory check fees: These can add up, especially for larger properties with more furnishings. 
  • Late payment penalties: Be aware from the beginning of the consequences and fees incurred if you miss a payment. 

Let-only services often seem cheaper, offering a fixed fee for marketing your property. However, be aware of the hidden catch: finding a tenant isnt guaranteed. If the agent struggles to find an occupant quickly, those seemingly low fees can snowball into a financial burden. Weigh the cost savings against the value of swift tenant placement and guaranteed income flow. 

Can you haggle with letting agents? 

Given the various costs landlords already incur, it’s natural to want to keep the expenses associated with using a letting agent as low as possible. Although there is clear value in turning to a letting agent to find ideal tenants and guide you through the rental process, it’s wise to assess your individual circumstances and consider potential savings. 

Haggling over fees isn’t taboo, but remember, a skilled letting agent offers valuable expertise and connections. Approach negotiations with a win-win mindset.  

Start by clearly understanding your specific needs and budget. Compare service levels and fee structures across different agencies, focusing on companies with a proven track record of success in your niche market. If you do attempt to initiate negotiations, base them on your unique requirements and budget limitations, always demonstrating respect and professionalism. 

The key to cost-effectiveness lies in identifying your must-haves. The type of service you choose from a letting agent largely determines the fees you should expect to pay. The more comprehensive “full management” package tends to come at a higher premium.  

To minimise costs, it’s important to evaluate which elements of a letting agent’s service you truly need. Are there aspects of property management you’re comfortable handling yourself, like basic repairs or tenant communication? Consider outsourcing only the tasks you truly lack the time, expertise or inclination to handle.  

Remember, however, that a letting agent can be there when you may not be able to and having that peace of mind that everything is taken care at all times can be hugely valuable and off-set any potential cost savings on your letting agent fees. 

Making the right decision for your rental property 

Deciding whether to use a letting agent when renting out your property is a personal choice that depends on your specific needs as a landlord. Letting agents offer valuable services that can alleviate the burden of day-to-day property management, whilst weaving in their expertise and experience.  

Ultimately, the decision should be based on your experience as a landlord, the time you can dedicate to managing your rental properties and your confidence in navigating regulations. Whether you choose to use a letting agent or self-manage, always stay informed about changes in legislation and best practices to ensure a successful and compliant tenancy for both you and your tenants, fostering a mutually beneficial and rewarding experience. 

Owning and renting out a property comes with its challenges, but it can also be a rewarding endeavour. By making an informed decision about a letting agent partnership, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate the complexities of being a landlord and ensure a smooth sailing journey for both yourself and your tenants. 

Edinburgh letting success with Clan Gordon 

At Clan Gordon, we’re proud that our comprehensive property management service caters to every landlord’s needs, from expert tenant placement and rent collection to meticulous property management and unwavering legal compliance. We possess an intimate understanding of the Edinburgh rental market, its nuances, and its ever-evolving regulations. Don’t just take our word for it, Clan Gordon was named Edinburgh Letting Agency of the Year in 2022 and 2023.  

Don’t let the complexities of property management weigh you down. Contact Clan Gordon today for a free consultation. Let's chat about your specific requirements, tailor a service that perfectly fits your needs and empower you to chart a course to rental success in Edinburgh.