Unveiling the Hidden Fees and Commissions in Buy-to-Let Properties: A Rockett Home Rentals Perspective of Other Agent Practices

Posted on Thursday, May 30, 2024

Unveiling the Hidden Fees and Commissions in Buy-to-Let Properties: A Rockett Home Rentals Perspective of Other Agent Practices


Navigating the world of buy-to-let property investments can be challenging, especially when hidden fees and commissions lurk beneath the surface. Many private landlords need to be made aware of the additional costs other letting agents may impose, which can significantly impact the profitability of their investments. In this blog, we look into these hidden charges and how they affect landlords and highlight our commitment to transparency and fair pricing.

Common Hidden Fees in Buy-to-Let

In the buy-to-let market, private landlords typically pay agents around 10 to 30% of their rental earnings for services like finding tenants, preparing tenancy agreements, and maintaining the property. However, these fees often mask additional hidden costs:

  • Contractor Uplifts: Many agents often add up to 30% or more to contractor maintenance and repair services bills.
  • Secret Commissions: Agents may take up to 60% commission from contractors, inflating the overall cost.
  • Service Markups: Basic services such as gas safety checks, tenant referencing, and deposit protection are sometimes charged at inflated rates.

The Rockett Home Rentals Difference

At Rockett Home Rentals, we pride ourselves on transparency and commitment to fair pricing. Unlike many other agents, we do not mark up contractor fees or take secret commissions. Everything is included in our fully managed services with no hidden costs. Our goal is to provide landlords with peace of mind, knowing that their investments are managed with integrity and transparency.

The Impact of Hidden Fees

Hidden costs can significantly erode the returns on investment for buy-to-let landlords. For instance, an agent might bill a landlord £130 for a service that actually costs £100, taking a substantial cut from the contractor's fee. This practice increases the financial burden on landlords and incentivises agents to choose contractors based on commission agreements rather than service quality.

Real-World Examples

Jonathan Monjack, CEO of The Happy Tenant Company, highlights the severity of these practices. His company found that some agents charge landlords up to six times the actual cost of essential services. Another example from aspect.co.uk illustrates how some agents aggressively demand higher commissions from contractors, further driving up costs for landlords.

Legal and Ethical Considerations

It is important to remember that letting agents owe fiduciary duties to their landlord clients, similar to the responsibilities that doctors and lawyers have toward their clients. This means that letting agents must act in good faith and are prohibited from making secret profits from their dealings in their clients' affairs.

Agents typically have the authority to incur expenses on behalf of landlords for urgent repairs and maintenance, within specified limits. However, due to their fiduciary duties, agents must obtain the landlord's consent to keep any commissions or kickbacks from these services. Failure to obtain such consent could breach trust and lead to criminal consequences under the Bribery Act 2010.

Agency law stipulates that an agent in a fiduciary position cannot profit from their agency work without the principal's (the landlord's) knowledge and approval. If an agent makes a secret profit without authorization, the principal can reclaim it through the courts.

How Rockett Home Rentals Protects You

Rockett Home Rentals ensures private landlords are fully informed about all fees and costs associated with our services. Here are some ways we protect our clients:

  1. Transparent Fee Structure: We provide a comprehensive upfront list of fees with no hidden charges.
  2. No Contractor Markups: We do not add any markups to contractor invoices. What the contractor charges is exactly what you pay.
  3. Professional Associations: We adhere to the highest industry standards and are members of professional organisations that enforce ethical practices.

You can visit our landlord fees page for more details on our transparent fee structure.

How to Protect Yourself as a Private Landlord

While Rockett Home Rentals ensures complete transparency, here are additional tips for landlords to avoid hidden fees:

  1. Request a Full List of Fees: Ensure you understand all charges before signing any agreement with any agency.
  2. Demand Original Invoices: Always ask for the original contractor invoices to verify costs.
  3. Choose Your Own Contractors: If possible, use preferred contractors rather than those recommended by the agent.
  4. Professional Associations: Use agents registered with organisations like the UK Association of Letting Agents or the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), which provide codes of conduct for their members.
  5. Complaint Procedures: If you suspect overcharging, complain to the agency and, if unresolved, escalate to the Property Ombudsman


Transparency and vigilance are crucial in managing buy-to-let properties. By choosing Rockett Home Rentals, private landlords can avoid hidden fees and commissions, ensuring their investments are managed fairly and honestly. We are committed to providing transparent and honest services, so you can focus on maximising your returns.



  1. Just Landlords Article on Hidden Fees and Commissions
  2. Residential Estates Blog on Contractor Uplifts and Commissions