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  • Buy-to-Let

    Upad or Openrent or Local EA

    We use OpenRent and self manage for my properties. I am far happier with this than agents I’ve tried for properties where I am a Trustee and they insist on using a professional agent, I feel these trustee properties are far more work for me and there are gaps and things that go wrong, all taking up time and building up risk. If I was hands off admittedly I wouldn’t spot the gaps, maybe they would slide by, but just maybe they’d come back to bite the charity I support so I am not prepared to take the risk.


    Thank you, everyone, for sharing your views.  I will have to own my decision at the end of the day; always useful to have different perspectives.


    Hey blk, I'll leave any comments on OpenRent to our users! But if you'd like to find out more about how OpenRent works, then you can find lots of info here. You can also reach our team at info@openrent.co.uk and we'd be happy to help with any specific questions!



    The UK's largest letting agent. No admin fees for tenants, first listing free for landlords!

    Proud OpenRenter, reluctant lead tenant.

    I self manage and use Open Rent and local networks - eg free via facebook

    I once put 15 with an agent but took them back after a year as they couldn`t cope

    They meant well lovely people with a successful business but didn't perform for me 

    They performed for themselves but ultimately  not for me . Thats the difference

    I periodically come across agents who want my business. I test their structures

    I genuinely would love them to offer a bespoke arrangement but the corporates often cant/ wont bend

    Many agents do not really know the regulations themselves . They know the basics

    Agents are rarely dynamic enough to problem solve with my real interests at heart

    I like some agents though who are run by portfolio landlords. They have the right mindset

    We speak the same language

    A jobbing LA with no properties themselves cannot see what I see . I wouldnt  expect them too

    They have a whole different set of problems and only one of those problems includes my problems

    Their other problems they have dont directly concern me but get in the way

    Other clients - they may have 30 other landlords to appease .. I get only a 30th of their attention

    Resilience - say 4 staff and one goes sick for 2 weeks everything goes slow . I lose  because of this

    Urgency - They dont have the same sense of urgency as I have .

    Void = £800 loss pcm to me only £80 pcm to them

    So self manage as you go along if you are up for it and make mistakes and learn .

    This learning will happen much faster on your own and with PT as a guide

    An agent wont help you learn .

    They in reality don`t want you to learn as that may mean  you will take your business from them

    So understandably from a commercial point of view they will want to remain quite secretive

    So maybe give a property to them for a 6 mth trial if plunging in the deep end scares you

    Use that 6 mths to get up to speed yourself and watch them like a hawk

    Ask them questions during that time and monitor their performance and read up on PT

    If at the end of the 6 mth trial you are happy with their  service - keep them on

    If not go it alone with your new found confidence and knowledge

    Or manage yourself from the start as I did with your own start up package

    Like most things it feels scary but at the end of the day like many things ...

    Once you have done it - you are glad you did

    In a nutshell its - Meet and greet . Select . Check ID and wage slips . Take monies

    Protect deposit. Give them AST , gas cert , epc , right to rent leaflet , copy of deposit cert

    Check property is safe . Hand them keys and sit back and wait for any calls

    Have a plumber , electrician , gas , DIY, window person,  person to hand

    Good Luck with whatever you decide


    Jonathan Clarke. http://www.buytoletmk.com

    If you do decide to go with an agent initially, make sure you have a unilateral exit mechanism in the the agreement! Or make it a year long, say.

    Agents tie themselves to the tenant (if they find the tenant), and it can be bloody difficult to terminate the agent's contract without evicting the tenant. My advice, based on experience, is if you do decide to use an agent, agree a defined contract term with them, and state it in the contract.

    Self management is definitely the way to go though, especially as you are local.



    "Change is a prerequisite to longterm survival".

    The establishment is rigged so that the rich stay very rich, and the poor get poorer.

    As a newbie to the market, there are 400 rules and regulations you and your property have to abide by.

    If any of these rules are breached (and you are caught!) the fine can be up to £30,000 for each breach and worst still, there is a possibility of being banned from letting or being published as a 'rogue landlord'.

    From somewhat 'back of fag packet' research I estimate about 1:5 tenancies will end up with a major issue.

    There is an issue with inconsistency of agent service, and it may even be down to an individual office which can be great one day, but if the person in charge leaves and sets up their own agency next door, it can quickly go down hill if a good agent isn't there to take over. Regulation will hopefully change this though.

    Ideally if you are new to it, don't 'learn by mistakes' as this can cost you dearly, so at least join one of the landlords associations - they are incredibly good value for money, £70 a year for free access to legal services, agreements, updates etc, it's a bargain and it's tax deductible. I work mostly with the RLA.

    Secondly, if you are working full time and new, then I would use a RICs or ARLA agent as they already have CMP and belong to redress schemes, so when regulation comes in, in a few years time, they are already as close to this as possible.

    To choose an agent, visit them, talk to them about their service.

    Some agents still just offer a 'lettings' service whereas I would go for ones that offer a true 'buy to let' and 'landlord' service. I would check them out independently pretending to be a tenant and visit properties with them that are similar to yours. If they treat you well as a tenant, they are likely to treat you well as a landlord.

    Then, ask to see their agreement - be clear what they take responsibility for eg right to rent checks and what you take responsibility for.

    As per Vanessa's post, I've worked with both Updad and Northwood, both do a good job, check in particular on how many periodic checks are made on the tenant as these in my view are a crucial part of the service.

    I agree with Vanessa, it's not about what you pay, it's all tax deducible and it only takes one fine or a few months loss of rent to realise that it's actually cheaper to outsource.

    I understand that some agents don't come up to scratch, but a few bad experiences doesn't mean the whole sector should be blighted.

    This is my 'how to choose an agent' checklist: https://www.propertychecklists.co.uk/articles/choosing-a-letting-agent

    Hope that helps.


    " As a newbie to the market, there are 400 rules and regulations you and your property have to abide by.

    If any of these rules are breached (and you are caught!) the fine can be up to £30,000 for each breach and worst still, there is a possibility of being banned from letting or being published as a 'rogue landlord'. "

    That sounds a bit of a Daily Mail type scare story right there. I'm sure the vast majority of LA's don't know about those 400 rules and regulations either, especially those admin clerks/viewing people.

    Educating yourself as a LL really is the way forward, then, if you want to use an LA, you can question them and see if they know the answers!


    If it's a choice between online letting agents, I always recommend Upad for new/first-time landlords as I feel their support is more geared towards helping novice landlords. For more experienced landlords, I recommend OpenRent.


    Hello, I am your Landlord.

    You sound quite organised, I suggest that you use a reputable local letting agent to set the tenancy up on a let only basis. That way you should have all the legals covered and with you being local and having maintenance contacts should be okay. We often do let only for landlords who competently manage their own properties, we remain available for advice.

    With the online sector, you never know who you are dealing with and how long they are going to be around...


    And, do your let-only packages apply tenancy renewal fees?


    Hello, I am your Landlord.