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Landlords in the UK could be needlessly pouring thousands of pounds into the pockets of lettings agents every year, a study has found.
According to Smartlandlord.co.uk, lettings experts are "cheating" the private rental sector out of over £3 billion every 12 months.
It claimed 58 per cent of the 3.2 million homes in the UKs private sector are managed by agents, who typically charge landlords 12 per cent of rent simply to market a property to tenants.
The company pointed out that property owners are paying around £1,550 per year for a service that could be found online for around £100.
It also highlighted the fact that lettings agents charge £200 to produce a tenancy agreement contract that can be downloaded from the internet for free.
Property owners in the rental sector might therefore put the extra money towards more productive things such as adding a conservatory or extra room to help attract tenants and boost rental yield.
Smartlandlord.co.uk managing director Keshav Thukaram explained that the UKs 3.2 million rental homeowners are being taken advantage of by lettings agents.
"There are more landlords in the UK than ever before, as people who cant sell their properties try to rent them out," he explained.
Mr Thukaram suggested that the economic constraints due to the recession had made now a more important time than ever to property manage investments.
The Council of Mortgage lenders recently predicted that the housing market would continue to struggle after lending in February dropped to an eight-year low.