Information for Landlords
If you currently own or intend to purchase residential property for rental in the South West, you should consider engaging our property management service. You'll find it both professional and cost-effective. As we are specialists, we know how to manage property for optimum performance, whilst ensuring smooth running tenancies, and compliance with the various landlord/tenant laws. Maximise the return on your investment - contact us now.
- Visiting you at your property, and providing a rental valuation and any other advice which you may require about letting your property.
- Advising you on compliance with the various safety regulations.
- Locating suitable tenants. Your property will be advertised if necessary, however we have excellent contacts with various company and other establishment personnel departments, and furthermore usually have tenants waiting.
- Accompanying tenant applicants to view the property.
- Obtaining and evaluating references and credit checks.
- Preparing a suitable tenancy agreement and arranging signature by the tenant.
- Collecting a tenancy deposit which will be treated in accordance with current legislation.
- Preparing an inventory and schedule of condition.
- Checking the tenant into the property and agreeing the inventory.
- Supervising the transfer of gas, electricity and council tax accounts into the tenant's name.
- Receiving rental payments monthly in advance, and paying you promptly, together with a detailed statement from our computerised management systems.
- If required paying regular outgoings for you from rental payments.
- Inspecting the property periodically, and reporting any problems to you.
- Arranging any necessary repairs or maintenance, first liaising with you in the case of larger works.
- Keeping in touch with the tenant on a routine basis, and arranging renewals of the agreement as necessary.
- Checking tenants out as required, reletting and continuing the process with the minimum of vacant periods to ensure that you receive the optimum return from your property.
We maintain a flexible attitude, and may be able to adapt
our service if required to meet our client's individual circumstances
Our initial letting and advertising charge is £125 and our ongoing property management commission is only 10% of gross monthly rental payments, 12% for non-UK Landlords. We make an admin charge of £100 for each renewal of an existing agreement. There are no other standard fees or charges. No up front charges - nothing to pay until a tenant moves in and starts paying the rent. There is also NO VAT to pay giving you even greater RETURN ON YOUR INVESTMENT. We are particulary commited to investment Landlords and reductions on the above rates are available on multiple property portfolios.
Before a property can be let, there are several matters which the owner will need to deal with to ensure that the tenancy runs smoothly, and also that he/she complies with the law. We provide summarised information below details below either click on a blue link, or scroll down the page. If you require further advice or assistance with any matter, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Preparing the property for letting
We have found from experience that a good relationship with tenants is the key to a smooth-running tenancy. As Property Managers the relationship part is our job, but it is important that the tenants should feel comfortable in their temporary home, and that they are receiving value for their money. It follows therefore that a well presented and maintained property in a good decorative order will go towards this, whilst also achieving a higher rental figure. Tenants are also more inclined to treat such a property with greater respect.
Electrical, gas, plumbing, waste, central heating and hot water systems must be safe, sound and in good working order. Repairs and maintenance are at the landlord's expense unless misuse can be established. Interior decorations should be in good condition and preferably plain, light and neutral.
Similarly, appliances such as washing machine, fridge freezer, cooker, dishwasher etc. should be in usable condition. Repairs and maintenance are at the landlord's expense unless misuse can be established.
Interior decorations should be in good condition, and preferably plain, light and neutral.
Your property can be let fully furnished, part furnished or unfurnished. Which of these is appropriate will depend on the type of property and local market conditions. We will be pleased to give you advice on whether to furnish or not and to what level. As a minimum you will need to provide decent quality carpets, curtains and light fittings. Remember that there will be wear and tear on the property and any items provided.
Personal items, ornaments etc
Personal possessions, ornaments, pictures, books etc. should be removed from the premises, especially those of real or sentimental value. Some items may be boxed, sealed and stored in the loft at the owner's risk. All cupboards and shelf space should be left clear for the tenant's own use.
Gardens should be left neat, tidy and rubbish-free, with any lawns cut. Tenants are required to maintain the gardens to a reasonable standard, provided they are left the necessary tools. However, few tenants are experienced gardeners, and if you value your garden, or if it is particularly large, you may wish us to arrange maintenance visits by our regular gardener.
At the commencement of a tenancy the property must be in a thoroughly clean condition, and at the end of each tenancy it is the tenant's responsibility to leave the property in similar condition. Where they fail to do so, cleaning should be arranged at their expense.
We recommend that you make use of the Post Office redirection service. Application forms are available at their counters, and the cost is minimal. It is not the tenant's responsibility to forward mail.
Information for the tenant
It is helpful if you leave information for the tenant on operating the central heating and hot water system, washing machine and alarm system, and the day refuse is collected etc.
You should provide one set of keys for each tenant. Where we are Managing we will arrange to have duplicates cut as required.
If your property is mortgaged, you should obtain your mortgagee's written consent to the letting. They may require additional clauses in the tenancy agreement of which you must inform us.
If you are a leaseholder, you should check the terms of your lease, and obtain the necessary written consent before letting.
If you are a tenant yourself, you will require your landlord's consent.
You should ensure that you are suitably covered for letting under both your buildings and contents insurance. Failure to inform your insurers may invalidate your policies. We can advise on Landlord's Legal Protection, Rent Garantee cover and Landlord's Contents insurance if required.
Bills and regular outgoings
We recommend that you arrange for regular outgoings e.g. mortgage, service charges, maintenance contracts etc. to be paid by standing order or direct debit. However, where we are Managing the property, by prior written agreement we may make payment of certain bills on your behalf, provided such bills are received in your name at our office, and that sufficient funds are held to your credit.
Council tax and utility accounts
We will arrange for the transfer of Council tax and utility accounts to the Tenant. Meter readings will be taken, allowing your closing gas and electricity accounts to be drawn up. All these matters we will handle for you, however British Telecom will require instructions directly from both the Landlord and the Tenant.
When the landlord is resident in the UK, it is entirely his responsibility to inform the Inland Revenue of rental income received, and to pay any tax due. Where the landlord is resident outside the UK during a tenancy, he/she will require an exemption certificate from the Revenue & Customs before he can receive rental balances without deduction of tax. Where we are managing the property we will provide advice and assistance on applying for such exemption.
It is most important that an inventory of contents and schedule of condition be prepared, in order to avoid misunderstanding or dispute at the end of a tenancy. Without such safeguards, it will be impossible for the landlord to prove any loss, damage, or significant deterioration of the property or contents. In order to provide a complete service to the landlord, we will if arrange for a member of staff to prepare an inventory and schedule of condition which is included in our initial letting and advertising charge.
What is an assured Shorthold Tenancy
Most tenancies will automatically be Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs), provided the rent is under £25,000 a year and the property is let to private individuals. Tenancies are usually granted for an initial fixed term of either 6 to 12 months. When the fixed term has expired the landlord is able to regain possession of the property provided he gives two months written notice to the tenant. In addition, if the tenant owes at least 2 months or 8 weeks rent on the property he can apply through the court to seek a possession order.
The following requirements are the responsibility of the owner
(the landlord). where we managing the property they are also
our responsability. Therefore where we are managing we will
ensure compliance, any costs of which will be the responsability
of the landlord.
Gas Appliances & Equipment
Annual safety check: Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, all gas appliances and flues in rented accommodation must be checked for safety within 12 months of being installed, and thereafter at least every 12 months by a competent engineer (e.g. a CORGI registered gas installer). Maintenance: is a duty to ensure that all gas appliances, flues and associated pipework are maintained in a safe condition at all times.Full records must be kept for at least 2 years of the inspections of each appliance and flue, of any defects found and of any remedial action taken. A copy of the safety certificate issued by the engineer must be given to each new tenant before their tenancy commences, or to each existing tenant within 28 days of the check being carried out.
Electrical Appliances & Equipment
There are several regulations relating to electrical installations, equipment and appliance safety, and these affect landlords and their agents in that they are 'supplying in the course of business'. They include the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, the Plugs and Sockets Regulations 1994, the 2005 Building Regulation-Part P, and British Standard BS1363 relating to plugs and sockets. Although with tenanted property there is currently no specific legal requirement for an electrical safety certificate (except in the case of all HMOs) it is now widely accepted in the letting industry that the only safe way to ensure safety, and to avoid the risk of being accused of neglecting your 'duty of care', or even manslaughter is to arrange such an inspection and certificate.
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended 1989, 1993 & 1996) provide that specified items supplied in the course of letting property must meet minimum fire resistant standards. The regulations apply to all upholstered furniture, and beds, headboards and mattresses, sofa-beds, futons and other convertibles, nursery furniture, garden furniture suitable for use in a dwelling, scatter cushions, pillows, and non-original covers for furniture. They do not apply to antique furniture or furniture made before 1950, bed clothes including duvets, loose covers for mattresses, pillowcases, curtains, carpets or sleeping bags. Items which comply will have a suitable permanent label attached. Non compliant items must be removed before a tenancy commences.
General Product Safety
The General Product Safety Regulations 1994 specify that any product supplied in the course of a commercial activity must be safe. In the case of letting, this would include both the structure of the building and its contents. Recommended action is to check for obvious danger signs - leaning walls, broken glass, sharp edges etc., and also to leave operating manuals or other written instructions about high risk items, such as hot surfaces, electric lawnmowers, etc. for the tenant.
All properties built since June 1992 must have been fitted with mains powered smoke detector alarms from new. Although there is no legislation requiring smoke alarms to be fitted in other ordinary tenanted properties, it is generally considered that the common law 'duty of care' means that Landlords and their Agents could be liable should a fire cause injury or damage in a tenanted property where smoke alarms are not fitted. We therefore strongly recommend that the Landlord fit at least one alarm on each floor (in the hall and landing areas).
Is your property a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)?
If your property is on 3 or more levels and let to 5 or more tenants comprising 2 or more households (i.e. not all of the same family) it will be subject to mandatory licensing by your local authority. Whether mandatory licensing as above applies or not, if there are 3 or more tenants not all related in any property, it is still likely to be an HMO, and special Management rules apply. Learn more here: http://www.propertylicence.gov.uk
The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)
The HHSRS provides an analysis of how hazardous a property is through assessment of 29 potential hazards found in housing. Landlords have to maintain their properties to provide a safe and healthy environment. The HHSRS is enforced by local authorities. For further information visit http://www.communities.gov.uk/hhsrs
The Disability Discrimination Act
The DDA 2005 addresses the limitations of current legislation by extending disabled people's rights in respect of premises that are let or to be let, and commonhold premises. Landlords and managers of let premises and premises that are to let will be required to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people. Under the new duties, provided certain conditions are met (for example, that a request has been made), landlords and managers of premises which are to let, or of premises which have already been let, must make reasonable adjustments, and a failure to do so will be unlawful unless it can be justified under the Act. Landlords will only have to make reasonable adjustments. And they will not have to remove or alter physical features of the premises. Learn more here: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/aboutus/dda_factsheet4-premises.pdf
The Tenant Deposit Scheme
From 6 April 2007, all deposits taken by landlords and letting agents under Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) in England and Wales must be protected by a tenancy deposit protection scheme. Landlords and letting agents must not take a deposit unless it is dealt with under a tenancy deposit scheme. To avoid any disputes going to court, each scheme will be supported by an alternative dispute resolution service (ADR). Landlords and letting agents will be able to choose between two types of scheme; a single custodial scheme and two insurance-based schemes. You can learn more on the government website, which includes an overview of the requirements, and also links to the sites of the companies running the various schemes: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TenancyDeposit/index.htm.
We hope that you will find the above information useful. I f there are any aspects of which you are unsure, please ask us. We look forward to being of assistance to you in letting and management of your property.