As letting agent franchisers Belvoir, MartinCo and Winkworths all announce increased profits for the last 12 months’ trading period; it’s becoming apparent that more landlords are deciding to take on the management of their own properties.

It’s perhaps not surprising given the threat to landlords’ profit margins from recent tax changes that landlords will look to ways to save on costs. One way to do that is to save on one of their biggest costs; the fees they pay to professional letting agents, a trend which could affect the profits of these agents in the future.

One landlords’ insurance company Simple Landlords Insurance recently carried out a survey which they claim shows that 65% of landlords do the majority of the maintenance of their property, and that they prefer to deal directly with their own tenants, rather than using an agent to do this for them.

The study also reveals that around a quarter of landlords (24%) use agents on a “let-only” basis, where the agent finds the tenants for them, and the landlord takes over from there. A further 41%, the study claims, market and manage their own properties themselves, while 35% rely totally on agents.

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Most self-managing landlords live close to their rentals, with around 20% living within one mile of their properties and a further 46% of landlords living between one and ten miles.

While the private rented sector has seen more landlords increasing their property portfolio over the past few years, according to this research the majority of landlords still have just one property which they rent out.

45% of landlords who took part in the survey said they had just one property and 40% had between two and five rental properties, a further 15% claimed they had more than five properties which were being rented out.

The research found that 17% of landlords said they had become landlords by accident, so called “accidental landlords” while 65% said they became a landlord through purposeful investment. 9% said they bought a second property for a son or daughter to live in, most attending university.

Alex Huntley of the insurance company said:

“We are seeing an increasing trend of savvy landlords taking direct control of how their property is let and managed and becoming much more self-sufficient.

“While it can be easy to bash landlords as faceless investors, these results show they are more likely to be part of the community they invest in and take a personal interest in making sure their property is well maintained and tenancies are long-term.

“We are also seeing a growing demand from landlords to be able to manage their insurance policies online 24/7 and to buy flexible and scalable policies as their investments change and grow.”

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