We act on behalf of a wide variety of Landlords. In some instances, the property that we are Letting is the principal family home, when for example a Landlord has been posted overseas with the Armed Forces or perhaps working abroad on e.g. a two year contact.
We also act for Landlords where perhaps a self employed person is not part of a Company Pension Scheme, and is relying on an income from property during his or her retirement.
Whatever the circumstances, a Landlord will wish to know that his tenant is being chosen with care, and in most instances, we would also encourage the Landlord to meet the tenant. For our part, we undertake credit reference checks via MARAS, a National Credit Referencing Agency whom we find reliable and fast. Depending upon whether you the Landlord require a Tenant Finding only Service, or require our Full Letting & Management Service, the next stage would be the preparation of an Inventory, copies of which are signed by both Tenant and Landlord/Agent, a further Inventory check being undertaken at the termination of the Tenancy. The Deposit Monies are held independently by the Deposit Protection Service.
If the property to be Let has substantial gardens, then we would often recommend that the Landlord or we his Agent arrange to /contract out the maintenance, since in the majority of cases Tenants would not wish to be responsible for significant gardening. There are of course exceptions! Some years ago, a wonderful Tenant handed back a garden which was in fact more beautiful than when the Tenancy began!
Meter Readings are also taken. In almost all cases, Tenants will be responsible for all domestic services e.g. water, electricity, gas, telephone etc. together with paying Council Tax. There will occasionally be exceptions for a variety of reasons.
An Assured Shorthold Tenancy will in most cases be an appropriate form of Agreement, such Agreements having been introduced some 22 years ago, giving Landlords improved rights for repossession where a Tenant has contravened reasonable Terms of a Tenancy.
Energy Performance Certificates (EPC)
EPC’s are now a mandatory requirement for all new Tenancies. Creation of an EPC will entail an Energy Assessor visiting your property in order to provide a rating of Energy Efficiency. The certificate will normally last for 10 years for Let Property, but a curious anomaly is that on the Sale of domestic property, an EPC must be obtained every time the property is sold!
All Landlords are legally obliged to ensure that the property is safe prior to Letting. All gas & LPG boilers, together with heaters & kitchen appliances must be checked for safety by a suitably qualified engineer, both before the Letting commences and Annually thereafter.
All soft furnishing must comply with Fire & Furnishing Regulations, and all electrical appliances should be checked Annually. Wiring needs to be checked on a five year basis. These responsibilities are considerable and have added considerably to the time and work undertaken by the Landlord or his Agent.
Since April 2007, all deposits taken for an Assured Shorthold Tenancy must be held under the protection of a Government Approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Landlords contravening this Law face considerable sanctions if the Law is not complied with.
A Landlord remains responsible for insuring the structure of the Let property & appliances, and it is critical to inform your Insurance Company in writing that you re Letting the property, since not all Insurance Companies will provide cover for Letting.
Even if the property is Let unfurnished, we would recommend a dialogue with your Insurance Company because there would often be carpets, curtains, light fittings, dishwasher, washing machine etc., and it is important that this is not left as a grey area, but is attended to just in case.
Should the property to be Let be held under a mortgage, the Company must be informed prior to Letting, and agreement reached, usually on paying a one off insurance indemnity fee to protect the Mortgage company in obtaining vacant possession.
Letting a property is not to be undertaken without considerable thought, particularly since Legislation now requires one to jump through many hoops. The intentions behind the Legislation are sound. It is plainly extremely important that all heating and electrical systems should be absolutely safe and not liable to compromise any issue of safety.
In conclusion, we offer a Letting Only service, which is charged on the basis of 50% of the first months rent with a minimum charge of £350 + VAT.
We also offer a Full Letting & Management Service. This is charged at 10% + VAT of the rental monies collected plus £150 + VAT to prepare the inventory and Record of Condition.