We pride ourselves in offering a high level of service to landlords and are keen to add quality properties to our portfolio. We let and manage individual properties for landlords, small portfolios and new development schemes for individual and corporate clients and can tailor our services to your specific requirements.
We are members of NALS (The National Approved Letting Scheme) is an independent licensing scheme for lettings and management agents. That means when people see the NALS name, they know that firm has agreed to meet defined standards of customer service, is part of a Client Money Protection Scheme and has a customer complaints procedure offering independent redress.
WHERE TO START?
Step 1: Local letting agent
We would suggest you find a local agent who is well established and has the following
- is a member of The Property Ombudsman.
- provide a separate client account for collection of clients money.
Step 2: Prepare your property for rental
Having chosen your agent, you will be required to prepare your property for rental and below we list a few guidelines to assist you:
- Interior walls should be neutral colours and carpets plain.
- Fabrics and Furnishings (if any) must comply with The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1998 and should be able to withstand reasonable wear and tear.
- The front door should be clean and the entrance hall clear of any obstructions as first impressions are important.
- The entire property should be clean, well-aired and the garden tidy. (Animals and their odours should be removed.)
- If the weather is cold, heating should be turned on and, in warmer conditions, windows opened.
Step 3: Other important considerations
For landlords before letting:-
- Written consent must be obtained from your mortgage provider and the freeholder if property is leasehold.
- Your insurance company must be notified that the property is to be rented out, as they may impose restrictions on the tenancy, which the agent will need to be aware. Appropriate insurance needs to be obtained for a tenanted property. We There are specialist insurance companies who can provide this and we would be happy to advise you.
- Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) must be obtained by the Landlord. We will be happy to arrange for the EPC to be carried out, please speak to one of our lettings staff about this.
- The Inland Revenue must also be informed within 6 months of letting your property, flat or apartment in the UK and failure to do so will incur penalties, interest and other consequences. The Inland Revenue is apt to deal harshly with Landlords who do not declare rental income and it is always best to seek advice on tax planning and Capital Gains Tax from a fully qualified accountant.
- A professional inventory must be drawn up. This is an important legal document which forms an integral part of the tenancy agreement and, as such, it is a false economy to prepare your own in most cases.
- Utilities such as gas, electricity, water and council tax will need to be transferred to the new tenant.
- Mail should be redirected with the Post Office.
Step 4: Tenancy
The most common tenancy for domestic lets are “Assured Shorthold Tenancy” and the “Company Tenancy” which we are dealing with.
a) Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) This tenancy is attractive to landlords as it offers market rents without security of tenure beyond the contractual term and the majority of tenancies are based on this format. However, certain criteria must first be met:
- The tenant must be an individual.
- The property must be the tenant’s main residence/home.
- The rent cannot exceed £100,000 per annum.
- The landlord must not occupy the same property.
If the property is let under an Assured Short hold Tenancy, the landlord can issue a section 21 Notice to guarantee possession, provided the term of the Shorthold has expired and not less than two months’ notice has been given by the Landlord stating he requires possession.
If court action is needed, this can be obtained on a number of different grounds against the tenant. However, it should be noted that is a criminal offence under the Protection from Evictions Act 1977, for a landlord to threaten or forcibly evict a tenant from their property.
b) Company Tenancy
This is governed by contract law and is not regulated by the Housing Acts of 1988 or 1996. It is used when a private or public limited company (excluding partnership or sole trader) wishes to enter into a tenancy.
There is no security of tenure and rental payments are often made on a quarterly basis by prior agreement.
Step 5: Marketing/Finding a tenant
You will need to decide whether you require your agent to simply market your property and find a tenant which is our “Let only Service” or whether you would prefer to have your property fully managed.
Once you have made that decision, your rental property will be displayed in our office and feature on our website as well as on rightmove, onthemarket, facebook and twitter. We also contact any listed prospective tenants, local companies and relocation agents through our database.
Should you decide to employ us as your agent, we will also handle calls, arrange viewings, vet prospective tenants and obtain references, draw up contracts and advise you on your safety and repairs obligations (see LEGAL DUTY OF CARE).
Step 6: References & Credit check
Thorough credit checks are carried out on all prospective tenants and we reserve the right to decline an application where necessary in the interests of protecting the landlord’s investment.
Referencing is carried out by an independent referencing company - UK Tenant Data (ADD LINK).
Step 7: Deposits
This is equivalent one month's rent plus £150.00 and is collected from the tenant at the commencement of the tenancy.
By law the deposit needs to be protected by a Tenancy Deposit Scheme. On our managed properties we provide the Tenancy Deposit Scheme. On a let only service the landlord can choose to go with us or select his own Tenancy Deposit Company.
This deposit is held for the duration of the tenancy, at the end of which the property will be inspected and subject to dilapidations (if any) the deposit is refunded. In the event of a dispute over dilapidations (if any), then either party may notify the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
Step 8: Collection of rent
This is usually done on a calendar-monthly basis and is forwarded to the Landlord via electronic transfer after any agreed deductions have been made for contractors etc...
Step 9: Safety checks
Under common law, the landlord must ensure that properties to let are safe and failure to comply with safety legislation is considered a criminal offence resulting in legal action and prosecution.
As your managing agent, we will carry out safety checks upon your request, deducting the cost from your rent.
- Gas – (The Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1994 (amended 1998) – the landlord must maintain gas installations and all gas appliances through annual inspections and safety checks carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer and a copy of the current inspection certificate must be handed to each tenant.
- Electricity - (The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 & Electricity at Works Regulations 1989 - the landlord must ensure that all mains voltage household appliances and equipment is tested and compliant. Any non-repairable items must be replaced and removed.
- An N.I.C.E.I.C. or similarly qualified electrical engineer must carry out these tests on an annual basis.
- All operating instructions must be left in the property for the tenant’s benefit
- Electrical inspections of the property are recommended every 5 years.
- Furniture and Furnishings – The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety)Regulations 1988 (amended 1989 & 1993) - soft furnishings (such as mattresses, sofas, bed bases, cushions and padded headboards) must meet fire resistance standards and bear a permanent label confirming this. If compliance cannot be proved, the item must be removed and replaced.
- Fire safety equipment - as reccommended in the LACORS fire safety guide a minimum of one smoke alarm BSEN54-7:2001 (to be tested annually), one fire blanket BSEN1869:117 and BS 7944:1997, one powder fire extinguisher BS5306-3-2009 (fire extinguishers installations and equipment on premises) and one heat detector in the kitchen. Additional fire safety equipment may be required as reccomended by LACORS. Properties with gas also require carbon monoxide detectors to be fitted.
NB: The penalty for failure to comply with statutory safety legislation is currently a maximum of £5,000 and/or 6 month’s imprisonment for each offence. This can be harsher in the case of injury or fatality.
The above is only a guide to the legal safety requirements and should you have any further enquiries, we would recommend that you contact a qualified solicitor who will be able to verify these in full.
Step 10: Overseas landlords
You are considered an overseas landlord if you live abroad or go to work abroad for a minimum of 6 months.
It is important to firstly note that the Inland Revenue regulations apply even if you are a non-UK resident. Moreover, non-resident landlords must apply to the Inland Revenue Financial Intermediaries Claims Office (FICO) for authorisation (by way of an exemption certificate) to receive payment of property rental ‘gross’, that is without deduction of income tax by the letting agent or tenant as required by law.
NB: The above is merely a guideline and for fully qualified advice, you should contact an appropriate accountant or tax expert.
SUMMARY OF SERVICES AND FEES
- Rental valuation and advice on current legislation (tax, fire, furnishings and gas safety regulations etc..) is offered free of charge
- ‘To Let’ board
- Colour digital photography
- Comprehensive website advertising, in addition to rightmove
- Executive accompanied viewing service for all prospective tenants
- Preparation of tenancy agreement with detailed on line inventory and schedule of dilapidation with digital photographs
- Obtaining tenant references and credit checks via UKtenantdata
- Administration of utilities
- Negotiation between tenant and landlord
- Registration of overseas status (if necessary)
- Fixed, competitive, fully inclusive fee structure
- Deposit administration into a government approved scheme
- Letters (if required) for banks, building societies and insurance companies
- Our charges for a Let Only Service are fee of £495.00 plus VAT (£594.00 including VAT)
- When we provide a Let Only Service there would be an additional charge of £50.00 plus VAT (£60.00 including VAT) to administer and register the deposit and £95.00 plus VAT (£114.00 including VAT) for a move out, final inspection and inventory check; if we provide these services
- Rent guarantee scheme with RentGuardian
- Automated electronic banking
- Monthly statements
- Planned maintenance by approved contractors
- Regular property inspections
- Competitive fully inclusive fees
- Tenancy termination inspections
- End of year tax statements
- All future relets free of charge
- Our charges for a Full Management Service inclusive of disbursements are an initial letting fee of £395.00 plus VAT (£474.00 including VAT) on the first let only and a monthly management fee of 10% plus VAT (12% including VAT) of the rent achieved