A team of dedicated property professionals who have an unparalleled reputation for providing a complete Lettings and Management service and for letting property of all shapes and sizes in all locations.
When it comes to letting your property, you can rely on the backup of the area’s most progressive property firms. Our aim is to introduce reliable, professional tenants and manage your property with your interests first and foremost. We expect to achieve the highest possible rental, selecting the best possible tenants who will occupy your property for the period of time you feel most comfortable with. With a comprehensive legal backup, and many years of experience, we are well placed to assist you with all your lettings and management requirements.
We always recommend a visit from our Lettings Manager, who can assess your property for rental purposes, providing you with guidance on expected monthly rental, levels of furnishings and any other matters which need clarification.
PREPARATION & PRESENTATION
Our experience has shown that those properties which have been properly prepared for letting, benefit from successful, long-term lets, generating the right market rent and attracting reliable tenants. In the majority of cases where tenants have been problematical, badly maintained property or opportunist landlords have been the root causes. We recommend your property is properly prepared and that any decorating jobs are undertaken prior to marketing. Furniture should be of good quality or removed altogether. Windows should be clean and domestic appliances serviced. If you have any unreliable appliances in the property you should consider replacement or removal prior to letting. Our representative will offer impartial advice to assist you. In summary, quality homes attract quality tenants.
Unfortunately, the reverse is also true.
As an established estate agent we attract numerous enquiries for rental property every day. In addition, we advertise properties on the Internet, via our own and other high profile websites including Rightmove.co.uk
SELECTION OF SUITABLE TENANTS
We will discuss with you the target tenants suitable for your property, and will endeavour to source tenants matching the agreed criteria. Once an application is forwarded, references are usually taken from the following: Employer and Current Landlord. We also credit check tenants for reliability and track record. We aim to process all references within 7 working days.
Once a tenant’s application has been placed and accepted, we will prepare an Inventory. This is not just a list of included furniture and chattels, but a schedule for the condition of your property. This can then be compared to a schedule of dilapidations prepared at the end of the tenancy.
The Tenancy Agreement we use is very comprehensive. An initial contract is usually prepared for no less than six months. All tenancies are now Assured Shorthold, unless stated otherwise. The tenant will usually pay no less than one month’s rent in advance, with the equivalent of one months rent plus £100 being paid as a security deposit. The security deposit can be paid back to the tenant at the end of the tenancy once we are satisfied that the property is left in the same condition as at the start of the tenancy.
The landlord upon request can add additional clauses to the tenancy agreement
The initial tenancy will probably be for no less than 6 months. To gain possession the landlord should serve the tenant two months written notice to coincide with rent due dates. The tenant is required to serve the landlord one months notice, in order to end the tenancy at the initial 6 months. Thereafter, it is perfectly acceptable for the tenancy to run on a month to month basis, with termination as above. Alternatively, as a landlord, you can request for new fixed term periods as each Assured Shorthold Tenancy Ends.
For managed clients, we will collect the monthly rent on your behalf. We then make deductions for management charges and other maintenance items, paying the net amount into your bank account.
A regular visit by our management department is an obvious way of monitoring your tenants. Should you take advantage of our Managed Service Package, we expect to visit your property at least once every 3 months.
We have invested heavily in a state of the art computer system in order to assist us in the management of properties. The system monitors everything from rent payments, credit control, maintenance, gas safety and landlords tax statements.
The following information is intended only as a guide. If you would like to know more about taxation when letting your property, you should consult your accountant or financial advisor.
The tax implications of property letting can be confusing. A landlord has two types of taxes to be aware of – Capital Gains Tax and Income Tax.
* Capital Gains Tax
As a landlord there is a risk that you might be exposed to Capital Gains Tax and we would recommend that you take professional advice. If you are a non-resident landlord or you have let out a former home for no more than three years or you have let out a former home when forced to work abroad, then you may well be exempt.
* Income Tax
Income Tax is payable on the net income from property letting regardless of where you live. It is the responsibility of the landlord to inform the Inland Revenue of letting income whether they are resident or non-resident. The income that the landlord is liable to pay tax on is the gross income minus expenses incurred whilst letting the property.
Allowable expenses are as follows:
From the 6th April 1996, letting agents for non UK resident landlords have been required to deduct tax from the rent collected and pay it directly to the Inland Revenue. Tax is assessed at the basic rate on net income after allowable expenses.
We are bound by FICO (Financial Intermediaries and Claims Office) to collect this tax and sufficient funds will be retained to meet this liability. However, a non UK resident landlord may apply to receive income without the tax having been deducted and we can provide you with further advice and information regarding this. In order for a landlord to avoid deduction of tax at source we must receive a Certificate of Exemption from the Inland Revenue.
There are a number of insurance policies available to landlords including buildings, limited contents, legal expenses, rent guarantee and emergency repair. We can provide full details of any policies you may wish to undertake.
There are many compliance matters which need to be considered when planning to let your property: some of these are Gas, Electricity Legionella Risk Assessments, Deposit Protection and Foam Furniture.
* Gas Safety
More often than not this is a simple inspection carried out by a GAS SAFE registered inspector. Upon satisfaction, a certificate is issued for 12 months. This certificate must be placed on file at our offices. A gas safety certificate typically costs in the region of £70 plus VAT but may cost more if work is required for your property to comply.
The gas regulations state:
• Landlords must maintain gas appliance annually.
• Gas appliance must have detectors, which cut off the gas supply before dangerous levels of carbon monoxide build up.
• Gas appliances, such as open flue boilers, are banned from bedrooms due to incidents
where lives have been lost due to faulty appliances. A Gas Safe registered installer must carry out maintenance of appliances.
• If an appliance is faulty, both the landlord and tenant must be notified. Only a Gas Safe registered installer will be allowed to carry out re-connection, repairs or fit new appliances.
• If a faulty appliance is not disconnected, an installer, who will use their Statutory Rights to disconnect the appliance, should inform Gas Safe.
• The tenant has the right to complain to the Health and Safety Executive if they believe an appliance to be substandard.
• The Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations are in addition to the Gas Cooking Appliances (Safety) Regulations 1989.
Our advice, in summary, is to have a service contract on any gas appliance with either British Gas or a reputable Gas Safe engineer. Further information can be sought from our Lettings Manager.
LEGIONELLA RISK ASSESSMENTS
Legionnaires' disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia caused by the inhalation of small droplets of contaminated water containing Legionella. All man-made hot and cold water systems are likely to provide an environment where Legionella can grow. Where conditions are favourable (ie suitable growth temperature range; water droplets (aerosols) produced and dispersed; water stored and/or recirculated; some 'food' for the organism to grow such as rust, sludge, scale, biofilm etc) then the bacteria may multiply thus increasing the risk of exposure. It is a simple fact that the organism will colonise both large and small systems so both require risks to be managed effectively. (HSE Website)
The practical and proportionate application of health and safety law to landlords of domestic rental properties is that whilst there is a duty to assess the risk from exposure to Legionella to ensure the safety of their tenants, this does not require an in-depth, detailed assessment. The risks from hot and cold water systems in most residential settings are generally considered to be low owing to regular water usage and turnover. A typical ‘low risk’ example may be found in a small building (eg housing unit) with small domestic-type water systems, where daily water usage is inevitable and sufficient to turn over the entire system; where cold water is directly from a wholesome mains supply (no stored water tanks); where hot water is fed from instantaneous heaters or low volume water heaters (supplying outlets at 50 °C); and where the only outlets are toilets and wash hand basins. (HSE Website)
A simple assessment may show that there are no real risks and are being properly managed and no further action is needed. It is important to review the assessment in case anything changes in the system.
We can arrange an assessment on your behalf by a competent and insured person, or if you are happy to carry this assement yourself, we are happy for you to provide us a copy of this assessment.
The regulation on electrical testing The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, mandatory since 1 January 1997, state that all electrical appliances supplied with let accommodation must be safe. This applies to both new and second-hand appliances and covers all electrical items supplied for the intended use of the tenant. The regulations also cover fixed appliances such as cookers, showers and immersion heaters, which must also be safe. The only sure method of ensuring that these appliances are safe is to have them tested by a trained competent person using the appropriate calibrated portable appliance testing equipment (PAT).
Failure to comply with the electrical regulations may constitute a criminal offence under the Consumer Protection Act 1987 that carries a maximum penalty on summary conviction of a £5000 fine and/or 6 months imprisonment. Landlords and/or letting agents could also, in addition, besued in Civil Law under THE DUTY OF CARE for the failure to ensure the tenants safety and face punitive damages.
FIRE & FURNISHINGS SAFETY REGULATIONS
The above regulations place a responsibility on the landlord of a furnished or part furnished property to ensure the furniture supplied complies with current legislation. The following notes have been prepared as a guide to enable you to comply with the law.
In general, upholstered furniture must have a fire resistant filling; material cover fabric must have passed a match resistant test (covers in certain fabrics such as cotton or silk maybe used in nonmatch resistant form provided the furniture has a fire resistant material between the cover and the filling material). The combination of cover and filling material must have passed a cigarette resistance test.
Furniture included in the above:
* Identifying Compliant Furniture
The majority of the above items, with the exception of mattresses and bed bases that comply with existing legislation will carry a label that states “CARELESSNESs CAUSES FIRE”. The label will also state whether either the covers or the interliner will pass the match test. Items that should, but do not, carry the appropriate level can not be included in the tenancy – If in doubt, leave it out.
The penalty for non-compliance carries a maximum punishment of up to 6 months imprisonment or a level 5 fine currently £5,000 or both.
The Deposit will be protected by The Deposit Protection Service (The DPS) in accordance with the Terms and Conditions of the DPS. The Terms and Conditions and ADR Rules governing the protection of the Deposit, including the repayment process, can be found at www.depositprotection.com.
ENERGY PERFORMANCE CERTICATES
All rental properties now require an Energy Performance Certificate under The Housing Act 2004. This lasts for letting properties for 10 years and we can arrange this to be carried out at a cost of £50 plus VAT.
“The above legislation and compliance has been introduced to protect you, the landlord, from liability. If a property is properly prepared for letting, it will comply with all of the above and can be let with total peace of mind.