Tenant find and collecting rent on behalf of a friend...a definition/problem

Hello Open Rent Community

Firstly, a huge thank you for making this forum available. It is so useful. I will try not to be a ‘one post wonder’. I also couldn’t succinctly make a subject line that really asks my question(s) so please forgive if I’ve got off on the wrong foot.

Let me give you a brief introduction: I am relatively new to the Landlord-ing game. I have one flat that I let out on an AST to friends but used Open Rent to create the listing, tenancy, etc. etc and it’s all worked very well. The process was easy and transparent and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

I have a friend who has just bought two small flats in the town where my properties are and she has asked me if I could manage them on her behalf, to find suitable tenants for an AST, collect the rent, etc. She is older and not computer-literate at all and doesn’t live nearby or want any hassle so I offered to do this for her as a sideline to my ‘real’ job which has nothing to do with property and I’d said how good and easy Open Rent was for me. I had thought I would just advertise her two properties on her behalf on using Rent Now, choose suitable tenants, deal with the deposit into the DPS (or equiv), etc. etc. and simply pass the rent owed to her monthly less my expenses every month (very modest - we’re talking about £60/month as I’m doing it as a favour, really). I opened up a dedicated bank account (in my name) in order to do this seamlessly (or so I thought…)

But by doing this, even on such a tiny scale, make me an ‘Agent’? I have done a bit of research and was quite taken aback to learn that I might need to register for various bodies such as the Property Redress Scheme, take out Public Indemnity Insurance, and a CMP scheme as I would be in effect holding both the tenant’s rent and the rent due to the landlord each month…all this would add up to far more in membership fees alone than I would be earning as a ‘hobbyist’ doing a friend a favour!

I would rather try to help out somehow if I could by using Open Rent than giving a lazy High St agency the pleasure of doing very little and charging a lot for doing so but I’m in a bit of a bind. I want to do the right thing of course and comply with the regulations but it seems that the yearly membership fees take would stop the sort of thing I’m trying to do (and I completely understand the need for regulation to try to weed out dodgy landlords!) Do you know if there’s a way around this or have any suggestions on how I can best proceed? Perhaps I have misunderstood my obligations?

Apologies if this sort of thing has already been covered elsewhere.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts soon.

Kind regards


I am sure you will get a response from someone in a similar role.

When I looked at using my son in a similar role, I did not find any requirement to be a member of this and that, unless he took on more than a trivial role in which case I think he may have to be licensed if the local authority requires landlords to be licenced. So I am curious at to what you found.

These are my notes notes on the subject in case that helps:

The regulations defines one as an agent (although not called that but called a Tenant-finder) if one collects rent and makes deductions from it before onward transmission to the landlord for more than 3 months AND the tax due in that 3 month period is more than £100 after expenses. So to avoid being an agent, collect own expenses out of initial payments for less than three months and work out the likely tax on what is left and if less than £100 you don’t have to register us as a Landlord.

This note was made two years ago. I suggest that you check with a solicitor or do further research, because whatever you do, who-ever advises you, you will still be responsible for your actions, not even the solicitor!

Good luck.