Online letting agents now have 35% of the private sector market, with many landlords happy to forgo trips to their local high street office to meet agents face-to-face.

Online comparison site Rentround collated data from 35,000 landlords and found that while 45% still prefer a traditional agent, 35% now opt for an online agent, while 20% use both.

Another surprising finding is that 60% of landlords choose to pay a one-off fee for finding a tenant, with 21% plumping for a fixed monthly rent, with the least preferred option being a percentage of monthly rent, which 19% of landlords choose.

Most landlords want a hands-on services from their agent, with 42% looking for full management, while 19% choose guaranteed rent.

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Guaranteed rent

But Rentround says landlord searches on the site showed a 34% increase in those looking for guaranteed rent services after May, which shows this has become more in demand since the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It indicates landlords are willing to part with more of their rental income in exchange for rental security during these difficult times,” it says.

The survey found that 58% of landlords use mobiles to look for an agent and conduct their searches mainly after 3pm on weekdays, so it suggests that agents ensure websites are mobile-friendly, with more staff manning the phones in the late afternoon.

It adds: “On Rentround it’s common for landlords to choose to send their details to a number of agents to discuss fees. The quickest agent therefore has the first chance, and highest chance, to convert the lead.”

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