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Residential Lettings & Property Management

Landlord FAQ

SUMMARY OF FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  1. What are the advantages of letting my property?
  2. What should I take into account before letting my property?
  3. Who should be notified before the start of the tenancy?
  4. What form will the tenancy agreement take?
  5. How much is the deposit, who holds it, and how is it held?
  6. How is the condition of my property protected during the tenancy?
  7. Who is responsible for the outgoings during the tenancy?
  8. Who is responsible for maintaining the garden?
  9. How will my rent be paid to me?
  10. What if a tenant wished to stay beyond the fixed term?
  11. How do I recover possession of my property?
  12. What standards of service can I or a tenant expect?
  13. What fees will I incur when letting my property?
  14. Where will my property be marketed?

1.  WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF LETTING MY PROPERTY?

  • Income is generated whilst you retain your investment.
  • That income can be put towards property costs, in particular your mortgage.
  • It is better for a house to be occupied, particularly in the winter.
  • Your insurance company may increase your premiums if you leave the property unoccupied.
  • Certain intems of expenditure can be set against tax levied on income received from the property.
  • You will not have to pay Council tax, water charges, sewerage charges and gas or electricity bills whilst your property is let, unless you agree to the contrary.
  • Your options are left open if you wish to return to the property or sell it in the future.

Whatever the reason, our aim is to make the process as straight forward as possible. We are happy to advise on all aspects as well as providing a Market Appraisal. For any action or works needed prior to letting, we can also recommend companies or individuals to undertake these matters at competitive rates.

2.  WHAT SHOULD I TAKE INTO ACCOUNT BEFORE LETTING MY PROPERTY?

There are both legal and practical matters, which should be read in conjunction with one another in order to achieve a successful letting. As a general rule, we advise you to supply an instruction manual consisting of handbooks for all appliances and any other information, which would be of use to anybody living in your property.

 

LEGAL MATTERS

2.1 ENERGY PERFOMANCE CERTIFICATE

An Energy Performance Certificate is required for properties when constructed, sold or let. The Energy Performance Certificate provides details on the energy performance of the property and what you can do to improve it.

From the 1st April 2018 there is a requirement for any properties rented out in the private rented sector to normally have a minimum energy performance rating of E. The regulations apply to all new lets and renewals of tenancies with effect from 1st April 2018 and for all existing tenancies from 1st April 2020. Certain properties may be exempt from these regulations. If your property requires a new EPC, we can arrange this on your behalf at a cost of £94.00 inclusive of VAT.

2.2 GAS INSTALLATIONS AND APPLIANCES

If your property benefits from a gas installation, a satisfactory Landlords Gas Safety Record must be obtained before the start of a tenancy. This must be produced by a GAS SAFE registered engineer and should be renewed at least every 12 months, with a copy of the gas safety certificate being provided to each tenant. If you have any doubts about the efficiency of your gas installation we advise that it be tested and serviced sooner rather than later. Remedial work may be needed which can take time and so delay the commencement of a tenancy. Instructions booklets for all appliances must be left at the property for the benefit of the tenant. If your property requires a Landlords Gas Safety Record, we can arrange this on your behalf for a cost of around £105.00 inclusive of VAT. If we manage your property, we will also arrange the renewal of the certificate every 12 months.

2.3 ELECTRICAL INSTALLATIONS AND APPLIANCES

From 1st July 2020, landlords must ensure that the electrical installations in their rented properties are inspected and tested at least every 5 years, by a qualified and competent person. This will apply to all new specified tenancies (assured shorthold, license’s and HMO’s) including tenancy renewals entered into from 1st July 2020. It will not apply to tenancies becoming periodic after 1st July 2020. From 1st April 2021, this legislation will apply to all existing tenancies also. Landlords must also ensure that a copy of the report is supplied to each tenant within 28 days of completion and any urgent remedial works are carried out within 28 days. If your property requires an Electrical Installations Condition Report (EICR), we can arrange this on your behalf at a cost of £222.00 inclusive of VAT. If we manage your property, we will also arrange the renewal of the report.

2.4 SMOKE ALARMS AND CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS

From October 2015, landlords are required to install smoke alarms on every floor of their property and test them at the start of every tenancy to ensure that they are functioning correctly. Landlords are also required to install carbon monoxide alarms in high risk rooms, such as those where a solid fuel heating system is installed. As your managing agent, we would ensure that your property complies with these regualtions and will inspect the alarms during routine inspections and at the end of a tenancy.

2.5 FURNITURE AND SOFT FURNISHINGS

Any of the above must comply with the legislation relating to safety standards. The simplest evidence of this is a valid permanent label attached to the item of furniture. This includes pillows, mattresses, sofas and chairs etc.

2.6 LEGIONNAIRES’ RISK ASSESSMENTS

Landlords of residential accommodation have responsibilities for combating Legionnaires' Disease. Health and safety legislation requires that landlords carry out risk assessments for the Legionella bacteria which cause Legionnaires' Disease and thereafter maintain control measures to minimise the risk. Most rented premises will be low risk but it is important that risk assessments are carried out and control measures introduced.

If you identify any risks, you must take action to prevent or control them. This however may be as simple as routine planned maintenance.

It should be possible for you to assess the risk yourself, but you can obtain help and advice from a consultant, or other competent person if you consider it necessary. Your plumbing engineer should be competent if they are suitably familiar with the HSE guidance.

Health and Safety law does not require landlords to produce a ‘Legionnaires testing certificate'. Legionella testing is required only in exceptional circumstances and generally not in domestic hot and cold water system.

2.6 GENERAL MAINTENANCE

The Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 imposes a duty on the Landlord to maintain:

  • The structure and exterior of the property, including drains, gutters and external pipes.
  • The installation in the property for the supply of water, gas, electricity and sanitation. This includes sinks, baths and showers.
  • Space and water heating appliances.

Again, as your managing agent, we would inspect these items during our rotuine inspections and at the end of the tenancy. If any areas are in need of attention or repairs are required, we would inform you and arrange quotations as necessary.

In regards to any of the legal matters noted above, our team can discuss these in detail and answer any questions that you may have. We retain the services of approved and fully qualified contractors, who can assist with arranging the above and provide further detailed and specific advice.

 

PRACTICAL MATTERS

2.7 PREPARATION OF YOUR PROPERTY

  • The property should be practical and comfortable. We recommend that areas such as hallways, kitchens and bathrooms have hardwearing floor coverings to reduce replacement costs arising from wear and tear.
  • Any niggling problems, which you have put up with as owner/occupier (e.g. sticking doors, loose fence panels etc), should be remedied.
  • A clean to a professional standard of the entire property to include carpets, oven/cooker, white goods and windows, should take place immediately prior to the commencement of a tenancy. Your tenants will then be required to have the same standard of cleaning carried out at the end of their tenancy.
  • Decoration should be to an acceptable standard and plain colours used throughout.
  • The gardens should be presented in a neat and tidy condition, with lawns mowed, patios/borders free of weeds and any bushes, shrubs and trees reduced to a manageable state.

If you present a clean and tidy property, not only will it be easier to let, it will also mean that you can justify a reasonable market rent and we will be better equipped to control its condition both during the tenancy and also at the end. In addition, your tenants are more likely to maintain the property to a good and clean standard, as it was presented to them at the start.

2.8 FURNISHED OR UNFURNISHED?

We recommend that properties be let unfurnished since that is where the greater demand lies. It is, however, not unsual to provide white goods. Many tenants do have their own appliances, so this would be discussed and agreed at the application stage.

2.9 LENGTH OF TENANCY

Please consider how long you are likely to want to let out your property. Whether you are a long-term investor or you need to return to your property within a particular time-scale, we will endeavour to find a tenant to tie in with your particular requirements. The minimum initial period should be for a fixed term of 6 months, as this provides both tenants and landlords with the most security. Lesser fixed terms can be agreed, but all parties must be aware of the potential pitfalls in doing so.

Generally, tenancies will then be allowed to run beyond the initial fixed term by way of a Statutory Periodic tenancy. If it is essential that you require your property back by a fixed date, it is vital that you tell us so that we may

  • advise as to the feasibility of this
  • be prepared to serve relevant Notices to ensure return of your property to you in accordance with your wishes.

2.10 NOTICE PERIODS

Landlords

The law states that a Landlord must give a minimum of 2 months notice in the form of a Section 21. As part of our management agreement it is agreed that a Landlord will tell us no later than 3 months and 14 days into a fixed term tenancy that they require us to serve the statutory 2 months notice. For this notice to be valid, certain processes must have adhered to such as, registering of the tenancy deposit and documentation provided to the tenant.

Tenants

Tenants must give a minimum of 1 months clear notice, to tie in with the rent due date. It is possible for longer notice periods to be agreed, but this must be evidenced in the tenancy agreement and agreed prior to the commencement of the tenancy.

2.11 THE LEVEL OF INCOME YOU REQUIRE

We will advise you as to the likely rental income your property will acheive. Please give detailed consideration to your outgoings in respect of the property during the course of letting and take accountant’s advice if necessary.

3.  WHO SHOULD BE NOTIFIED BEFORE THE START OF A TENANCY?

  • Insurance Company – you are responsible for insuring the structure of the property. We can offer you membership of our landlords block policy. If you would like to receive a quotation, we will ask out broker to contact you.
  • Mortgage Company – if applicable. Many lenders will provide you with consent to let.
  • Head Lease – if you own a leasehold interest in the property. We will also need to have a copy of the Head Lease so that we may formally notify any tenants of the obligations imposed and by which they will have to abide. This is usually the case with apartments, maisonettes etc.
  • Utilitie Companies and Local Council – We can arrange for notification of all relevant details and start/final readings to take place. If this results in a final bill for you, we can settle it out of the rent received.
  • TV, Telephone and Broadband – You will need to arrange to close your accounts for the specific providers. Failure to do so will result in a delay for the tenant being able to take over the line and a potential loss could ensue for them. If there is no active telephone line in place, we would expect the landlord to pay for the initial connection charge.
  • Post Office – For practical reasons, please arrange for any post to be redirected. If for any reason your post “slips through the net” we will forward this your new address.
  • Inland Revenue - UK resident landlords will need to declare any rental income and we advise you to consult an accountant in this respect. If you are going to live overseas, you can liase with this body to obtain a tax exemption certificate. We can supply further information but, in essence, if you do not have approval of the Inland Revenue, we are legally bound to deduct tax at basic rate and account for it to them in accordance with their rules. Please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/non-resident-landlord-application-to-have-uk-rental-income-without-deduction-of-uk-tax-individuals-nrl1 for further details.

4.  WHAT FORM WILL THE TENANCY AGREEMENT TAKE?

For residential lettings we generally use an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) Agreement, which is solicitor validated. The Agreement has been formulated to protect your interests and will be tailored, as necessary, to your particular requirements. A draft is annexed to this guide. In some instances, a different agreement may be required, such as a License or a Company Agreement.

5.  HOW MUCH IS THE DEPOSIT, WHO HOLDS IT AND HOW IS IT DEALT WITH?

In line with the Tenant Fees Act 2019, the maximum deposit that can be requested for an AST is equal to 5 weeks rent (or 6 weeks rent if the annual rent exceeds £50,000).

If we act as your managing agent, we will register the tenancy deposit with TDS and assure the prescribed information is served upon the tenant at the start of the tenancy. We will also administer the deposit return process at the end of the tenancy. Details of the scheme are to be found at http://www.thedisputeservice.co.uk/. Our accreditation as a “Safe Agent” qualifies us for continued membership.

The scheme also incorporates the possibility of disputes being referred to arbitration. Indeed, if either the Landlord or the Tenant wish to refer it, there can be no avoidance of such a reference by either party and both are bound by the rules.

If you will be managing the tenancy yourself, please provide us with the details of the specific deposit scheme you will be using to protect the deposit, as this will then be included in the tenancy agreement.

6.  HOW IS THE CONDITION OF MY PROPERTY PROTECTED DURING THE TENANCY?

By being 100% confident about the tenants we let into the property and taking up all appropriate references, we go a long way towards safeguarding your property.We also prepare an Inventory and Schedule of Condition, which is agreed with the tenant at the start of the Tenancy. This document is very detailed and is legally binding once the condition has been agreed.

We carry out inspections during the course of the tenancy and are available to take and deal with reports, from the tenant or neighbours, as to any action needed. We use our discretion as to the frequency of those inspections, but as a minimum we will visit the property and provide you with a digital detailed report every 6 months. This includes information on how your tenants are looking after the property and any maintenance issues that may need addressing.

At the end of the tenancy, the tenant must hand the property back in its orginal condition, allowing for fair wear and tear. The inventory provides the benchmark for this when we carry out the final inspection. You will receive a detailed digital report confirming the condition and any areas that are in need of attention, either that the tenant is liable for or would be your responsibility as landlord.

7.  WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE OUTGOINGS DURING THE TENANCY?

LANDLORD

  • Building insurance and content insurance as advised
  • Mortgage payments
  • Property and contents repairs if not resulting from the tenants actions
  • In the case of a leasehold property, the ground rent and service charges
  • Gas and electrical maintenance and appropriate safety records
  • Managing agent fees
  • (Utilities and services when the property is empty)

TENANT

  • Rent
  • Council Tax
  • Water, sewerage, gas, oil and electrical charges
  • Subsidiary services such as telephone, broadband, satellite and TV provision

8.  WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR MAINTAINING THE GARDEN?

Under the standard terms of our tenancy ageement, this is the responsibility of the tenant. Even in the case of an unfurnished let we advise that you provide, at the least, a suitable lawn mower in order to encourage the tenant to comply with their obligations. However, you may feel happier arranging regular garden maintenance yourself, incorporating the cost into the monthly rent. This is particularly advisable in case of a large garden or one that has complex needs. Our approved gardening contractors would be delighted to provide a quotation in this instance.

Note: Any powered gardening equipment you leave in the property must be accompanied by the appropriate instruction manuals as well as a circuit breaker if electrically powered. You would also be responsible for the repair and maintenance of such equipment.

9.  HOW WILL MY RENT BE PAID TO ME?

Any rent receivied will be paid into your designated account by way of a BACS transfer, within 3 days of receipt of cleared funds.

Payment will be made less deduction of our agreed fees and expenses incurred in respect of the property. If appropriate, base rate tax in the case of an Overseas Landlord without the appropriate Inland Revenue approval number, will be deducted. You will be provided with a monthly income/expenditure statement via email, together with an annual statement upon request.

10.  WHAT IF THE TENANT WISHES TO STAY BEYOND THE FIXED TERM?

As a general rule the tenancy will proceed on a periodic (rolling monthly) basis under the same conditions as the original fixed term. We will liase between you and the tenant to find the solution that is most practical for all parties. Of course, it is possible to agree renewal terms such as a new fixed period or an increased rent.

11.  HOW DO I RECOVER POSSESSION OF MY PROPERTY?

This is provided for in the tenancy agreement. Either the tenant or the landlord gives notice in accordance with these provisions. If the Tenant refuses to comply with the notice, it will be necessary for you to instruct a solicitor to apply to the court to commence possession proceedings. In our experience this is a rare occurrence. However, you need to be aware of the risk involved.

12. WHAT STANDARDS OF SERVICE CAN I OR A TENANT EXPECT?

As an indepedant and family run business, we are passionate about the people and community we serve. High standards are what our clients have come to expect and this is what we ensure is upheld. With many of our landlords adding to their rental portfolios over the years, simply because they have a good experience with us letting and managing their properties. At the same time, we have many long-term tenants, many of whom have rented multiple properties through us. This is testament to our high standards of professionalism and customer service, but also our pro-active and personal approach to property management.

This visible assurance provided by the Safe Agent accreditation, gives prospective landlords and tenants the confidence of knowing the service they can expect from dealing with us.

More information on Safe Agent scheme can be obtained by visiting their website https://safeagents.co.uk/.

13. WHAT FEES WILL I INCUR WHEN LETTING MY PROPERTY?

When instructing us to let your property you will need to choose one of our three levels of Service which are;

  • Let Only
  • Rent Collection
  • Full Management

There are different fee structures assosciated with each level of service, which can be tailored to suit your individual requirements. Deciding on which level of service will suit you best, very much depends on how much invovlement you wish to have with the tenancy going forward and how comfortable you are in dealing with the specific obligations. 

Full Management - a setup fee of 60% of the first months rent achieved inclusive of VAT, which is payable on day one of the tenancy. This fee is to be paid every time there is a change of tenant. A monthly management fee of 12% of the monthly rent received inclusive of VAT.

Rent Collection – a setup fee of 60% of the first months rent achieved inclusive of VAT, which is payable on day one of the tenancy. This fee is to be paid every time there is a change of tenant. A monthly rent collection fee of 8.4% of the monthly rent received inclusive of VAT.

Let Only – a one off setup fee of 72% of the first months rent achieved inclusive of VAT which is payable on day one of the tenancy. This fee is to be paid every time there is a change of tenant.

Additional Fees for either Let Only or Rent Collection tenancies;

  • Final checkout process – £120.00 inclusive of VAT.
  • Property inspection and review of legal obligations - £180.00 inclusive of VAT.
  • Serving of statutory notice - £60.00 inclusive of VAT.
  • Tenancy renewal - £60.00 inclusive of VAT.
  1. WHERE WILL MY PROPERTY BE MARKETED?

We market all of our properties on Rightmove, Zoopla and On The Market. This will provide your property with maximum exposure, ensuring the best possible tenant is secured with the best possible terms.

In addition, we will promote your property on our social networking sites, which will provide further exposure in the local and surrounding areas. This also allows us to target market in specific areas.

Over the years, we have established trusted relationships with local companies and Relocation Agents working with large Blue Chip organisations. Such companies include Unilever, Carlsberg UK, Nissan, Givaudan and many more. We have also let many properties to overseas military personnel, who have relocated to the area to study at Cranfield University.

Of course, your property will be marketed on our own website and in our very prominent display windows at our offices, located at 1 Market Place, Olney, MK46 4EA. All of this considered, no other agent locally can provide as much exposure for your property.

We understand that you may have further questions relating to our services and the letting process, therefore we are prepared to spend as much time as you need discussing your requirements.

Kind regards

Marcus Jordan & Co

 

 

 

 

 

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