Is Self-Management for You?

Is Self-Management for You?

The world of buy-to-let is constantly evolving, and with new tax changes set to come into force from April this year, as well as the surprise ban on letting agent fees, more and more landlords could begin to feel the pinch in the coming months.

With this in mind, many landlords may be choosing to forego the services of an agent and self-manage in order to save on money. Over 14% of the average landlord’s expenditure is spent on management and letting fee costs, amounting to nearly £3000 per year.

Of course, the obvious disadvantage of self-management is that you will take on a number of responsibilities that you might otherwise have deferred to your agent, such as handling tenant complaints, taking maintenance calls, or chasing late payments of rent.

However, despite the stresses of these more hands-on aspects of property management, there are also many benefits too. Current NLA research shows that nearly half (43%) of landlords do not employ the services of a letting agent, so clearly self-management works well for a wide variety of people. If you’re considering whether a move to self-management is right for you, read on…


Consider whether you can fully commit to managing a property yourself as it requires a lot of time and effort. A professional letting agent can be very useful if you live far from the property and can’t easily manage problems or issues that may arise. They also act as useful intermediary when dealing with difficult situations or tenants. If you work full-time then self-management may not be right for you.

The Law

The knowledge and skills needed to be a landlord are considerable and it is important that you’re aware of the law and your responsibilities. For example, if you plan to let to multiple occupants or shared accommodation such as student housing you may require a licence from your local council.

Your tenant’s safety is paramount so you’ll need to keep on top of things such as gas safety checks. Ignorance is not an excuse, and neglecting something that can cause injury or death to your tenants will send the uninformed landlord to jail.


Finding a good tenant is arguably the most important ingredient for successful and sustainable tenancies and there are a number of referencing services available to help you in this regard.

If available, you’ll also want to check any previous landlord references as these can provide useful insight into things a standard reference won’t be able to assess, such as living habits or behaviour.

Treat it like a business

A rental property is a business and, like any other type of business, the key to survival is maintaining a healthy cash flow. You must have a degree of business acumen or brush up on your basic business knowledge and it’s important to have a plan in place before going it alone.

Make sure you join a trade association such as the NLA which will provide you with the guidance, support and resources you will need to stay on top of your responsibilities, keep up-to-date with legislation, and assist you in your development as a professional landlord offering the very best service for your tenants.

Find out more about the NLA and how to become a member here.

For the latest in letting agent news, please visit the UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA) Blog.

3 thoughts on “Is Self-Management for You?

  1. Why is it every business has tax relief on everything they pay out. We run our business and they keep taxing us more and more. If we didn’t have the private rental sector. There would be even more homeless people. They taking housing benefit caps. So making more people homeless. No tax relief on interest we pay for mortgage. Yet all political people get expenses and tax relief. We provide a service. And it about time people realised that we do a good service for a lot of people who need homes.

  2. Without Private Landlords and their investment, the housing system would be in more of a state of shortage then in currently is..
    Lack of building good quality integrated housing with its roads, shops and school structures ( local authority planners forget some of this as part of the approvals process) and hence major problems with road congestion, school places etc.
    The other aspect is that Tenants think your property is an hotel in some instances and have no idea about looking after the place and general cleaning. If they damage things that you will replace with new free of charge?

  3. I totally agree, what the government does not seem to see is if it not for the private landlords how many people would be homeless, the more they hit landlords the less attractive buy to lets are, if people are not buying property to let out this i feel will slow the market down which means less houses selling which in turn brings prices down. good for the buyer but bad for the seller how many people selling their property would either loose money, still have a debt after selling at a reduced price, or be stuck with their property as they can not afford to reduce the price. I wonder how many houses will be repossessed. the new tax laws, stamp duty on by to lets, and this great idea of universal credit where the tenant is paid the rent ( to help them become responsible ) Joke ) i wonder how long before it blows up in the governments face.

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