We can provide the full management of your property, taking away all the pressure that can sometimes occur.
We have the luxury of the support of a dedicated sales operation located throughout the area which allows us to offer additional services to our landlord such as:
Regular portfolio valuations to keep a track of investment value.
Advice on the best locations to invest into both guarantee the best return and also to ensure a saleable property when the time comes to sell.
We believe in offering a quality service unmatched by other agents, designed to put our landlords first and to ensure the successful management of your property.
Our management services includes:
- Free advice on rental values.
- Benefits and implications of letting.
- Extensive advertising and marketing.
- Full and detailed inventories.
- Regular property visits.
- Accompanied viewings.
- Full credit and referencing checks on prospective tenants.
- Collection of rent, paid directly into your account.
FINDING THE TENANT
Finding the right tenant is fundamental. We start by establishing with yourself the criteria for the sort of person you wish to occupy your property. We then match this to prospective tenants who must provide us with references. Only after checking these references will we then proceed with the tenancy.
When dealing with private tenants we take references, usually from their employer. Payments are due every calendar month, in advance, starting from the commencement of the lease and are paid by standing order into our account three clear working days before the rent is due to ensure the funds are cleared.
When we initially assess a property we indicate what we believe to be a realistic rent. Prospective tenants usually accept this figure but there may need to be some room for negotiation.
We request a deposit on all tenancies. For private tenants, the deposit is equal to one and a half of the monthly rent. The deposit is protected under The Tenant Deposit Scheme. This is a legal requirement on all rented properties where a deposit is collected.
Deposits are held to ensure the tenant looks after the property and as a safeguard against unpaid rent. It is refundable at the end of the tenancy only after the tenant has vacated the property, providing the property and their accounts are in order.
When the tenant vacates the property you will have the opportunity to inspect the property yourself prior to the deposit being refunded. Should you wish to do so, you must make arrangements to view within two days of the tenant moving out.
COMMENCEMENT OF TENANCY
The tenancy commences on the date shown in the agreement. Prior to the tenant moving in we will compile an inventory of the property. The inventory will list all items within the property and will contain a brief description of their condition.
All new tenancies commence with a maximum six-month assured short hold contract. Once this contract has been enforced for just over 3 months a tenancy is reviewed and we will write to you asking if you wish the tenancy to continue. If you do not want to renew the tenancy you must inform us immediately. We will then make arrangements for the statutory notice to be served (where this notice has not already been served).
After contacting yourself we will then contact the tenants. They can opt to leave the property at the end of the lease or request permission to stay on. If the tenants wish to stay in the property you can either decline, in which case the notice to quit must be served – giving the tenants two months to vacate the property. Alternatively, you can allow the tenancy to continue – here you can choose to renew for a period of six months upwards.
If you do not wish to commit yourself to a definite period the contract can become “periodic” whereby the tenants stay in the property (under the terms of the original contract). Should they wish to leave, however, they only need to give one months notice. If you require possession of the property you will need to give two months notice.
Please note that issuing a notice to quit (Section 21) to the tenant requires the tenant to vacate the property on the date given. If however, the tenant fails to vacate the property, enforcement of this notice can be arranged through the courts.
Serving a notice to quit does not guarantee that the tenant will vacate the property on the agreed date.
END OF TENANCY
Once a tenancy comes to an end, we make arrangements to meet the tenant at the property. We inspect the property again and take meter readings as well as obtaining details as to where the tenant is moving to. The deposit is refunded to the tenant once we are convinced that everything is in order. If you wish, you can inspect the property before the deposit is refunded. This must be done within two days of the tenants moving out, as the deposit must be returned within 10 days as long as there are not any dilapidations.
If for any reasons there are any disputes with how the property has been left, the first course of action is to give the tenant an opportunity to rectify the problem. If the tenant does not rectify the situation, we can then make a deduction from the deposit (valid estimates must be obtained indicating the exact cost of repair). Failing agreement between landlord and tenant the matter is forwarded to The Dispute Service to resolve any disagreements.
We conduct regular three monthly property visits of all tenanted properties. We can see how the property is being looked after, we also check for signs that something may be wrong with the property. If something needs attention we can then inform you as soon as is practical, helping reduce the risk of the problem becoming worse and the cost escalating. These visits also help us to get to know the tenant better so that when the lease is due for renewal we can be confident in the advice we give to you.
Every property at some point will need work doing to it. If things go wrong and the tenant contacts us, we will contact you. In the majority of cases, the problem can be resolved quickly. However, there are two important points to remember when it comes to repairs. Firstly, if a serious fault does occur (water burst/flood) and we cannot contact you we can authorise a repair up to £200. Authorisation for this is contained within the agency agreement you signed.
Secondly, once a property is tenanted you do have an obligation to ensure it is well maintained. Carrying out repairs quickly is often as important for you as for the tenant. After all, repairs caught early enough can save you a lot of money. Remember tenants do have rights. Tenants can contact Environmental Health because repairs are not attended to quickly and the ensuing ‘enforcement order’ could include extra repairs and a significantly higher final bill.
“In the Landlord & Tenants Act 1985 under Section 11, it is implied as a covenant in the tenancy agreement that the landlord is:
a) To keep in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling (including its drains, gutters and external pipes).
b) To keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling, for sanitation and for the supply of water, gas and electricity as well as those for space heating and heating water”.
*(Journal for Residential Property Professionals – July 1996, Issue 2, Volume 4)
It is a legal requirement that every gas appliance and gas central heating system have been inspected on an annual basis. They have to meet strict conditions and a safety report must be issued. (This report or a copy of it must be kept in our files).
You can use British Gas (who charge per item inspected) or a private gas engineer (some of whom have a flat rate, regardless of the number of appliances). Remember for an inspection to be complete, the piping must also be inspected and the person conduction the inspection MUST be Gas Safety registered.
We can arrange for the safety inspection to be carried out for you by our local gas safety engineers. Once the inspection has been completed, we keep a record of the date. A safety report must be issued every year.
ENERGY PERFORMANCE CERTIFICATES
It is a legal requirement for all rented properties to have an energy performance certificate. This is to access how energy efficient the property runs. Once the certificate has been done it is valid for 10 years. We can arrange to have this carried out by our qualified assessor.
It is a legal requirement that all properties are fitted with at a smoke alarm on each floor. Once installed these devices must be checked on a regular basis.
CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS
It is a legal requirement that every property is fitted with a carbon monoxide alarm near each gas appliance. These alarms need to be checked every five years.
More and more landlords are having burglar alarms fitted that have a used code as well a master code which must be kept secret. A master code means that changing the alarm number is only possible with this number. Consequently, while your tenants can have the benefit of the alarm they cannot change its settings. Alarms (like any piece of electrical equipment) can malfunction. This is not only annoying for yourself and neighbours but it is also leading to increased calls from police officers for a list of such nuisance alarms (the implication being that if an alarm is frequently sounding for no valid reason the police refuse to respond). We would, therefore, recommend that the alarm is checked on a regular basis.
It is a legal requirement to have a Legionella report carried out on the property every two years. Currently, it is not a legal requirement for the landlord to carry out the recommendations contained in the report. The tenant is also informed of their responsibilities in the report. We can arrange to have this carried out by our qualified assessor.
If any furniture is left in the property, then you as the landlord have a duty to ensure it is maintained and (for electrical/mechanical equipment) repaired should it become faulty, provided of course this is not as a result of negligence or malicious damage by the tenant. All electrical appliances must be PAT tested before a tenant moves in. Any soft furnishings (chairs and beds etc) that are left in the property must comply to fire regulations, and a label clearly stating should be attached. If not then the furnishings must be removed from the property. They cannot be stored at the rented property.
If the property you wish to rent is subject to a mortgage then the mortgage lender should be informed that you intend to let the property. This should be done before the tenant moves into the property. Gaining permission from the building society usually depends upon the mortgage account not being in arrears. Some lenders do ask to see a copy of the lease, which the tenant will be asked to sign and we will happily provide them with this. The lender may make a small charge to cover administration costs.
As a landlord, you are still responsible for the buildings insurance. Please note buildings insurance will not cover the cost of replacing or repairing carpets if they become damaged but it does cover fixtures and fittings. If the property is furnished or part furnished you may also wish to consider contents insurance.
Income received from renting any property is subject to tax (we strongly recommend that you take advice from an accountant).
Overseas landlords – Up until April 1996 landlords who moved out of the United Kingdom had to have tax deducted by their agents. Now, however, a landlord can apply for an exemption certificate from the Inland Revenue (we can supply the application form). If you are awarded exemption we can send all the rent money to yourself ( a copy of the exemption certificate must be held by ourselves) without a deduction for tax.
The agreement you sign when the property is put on our books does not cover periods when the property is vacant. If you are concerned about the property and want us to manage it whilst it is empty, you must inform us of this and we can make arrangements to do so. (There will be an extra cost for this service).
We would normally require two sets of keys to the property, one will be handed to the tenant on the occupation while the other will be retained in our office for emergencies, maintenance visits and property visits. Note: If you wish to use or collect these keys at any time you must bring proof of identification as a security measure.