Hardy Estate Agents
Tel: 01929 463399

Landlords

 

BRIEF GUIDE TO SERVICES:

 

Advice on letting your property

Rental Market Appraisal, provision of property details with colour photographs and floorplans.

Advertising of your rental property in local publications/on our website 

Accompanied viewings and finding of a suitable Tenant

Status enquiries/reference and credit check of prospective Tenants

Obtaining security deposit/rent guarantee 

Obtaining competitive quotes for insurance

Organising/preparing the Inventory and Check-In (additional charge)

Preparing Tenancy Agreement and Legal Notices (additional charge)

Arranging transfer of Utilities to Tenant’s name and establishing Council

Council tax and Water Rates in Tenant’s name

Advising on compliance with Safety Regulations for Gas/Electricity supplies etc.

Collecting monthly rental payments and providing monthly accounting to Landlords

Arranging annual gas safety checks (chargeable)

Periodic inspection of the property and reporting of any problems

Obtaining competitive quotations and, upon approval, arranging for necessary repairs/maintenance to be carried out

Contacting the Tenant and arranging for renewals and/or check-out as necessary

INTRODUCTION

 

Hardy Land and Property provides a range of letting and management services . You can be assured that we have a detailed understanding of the lettings and management sector and will ensure that you are given the best possible service.

 

Over the last few years and, following the introduction of the 1988 Housing Act which offers greater protection and possession rights to Landlords, there has been resurgence in the lettings market.

 

People from all walks of life are looking to become involved in the rental market whether Investors, Companies, people who need to relocate with their work or homeowners who are having difficulty in selling their own properties. Increasingly, large numbers of people have entered the ‘Buy to Let’ sector as an opportunity for investment.

 

As a result, Landlords have come to expect extensive knowledge and expertise from the Agency they choose to act in their interests.

 

We are members of the Ombudsman Services and subscribe to their approved code for Lettings. This is a government backed accreditation scheme providing peace of mind to both Landlord and Tenants through the knowledge that firms operating under the scheme offer high levels of customer service. Before looking for a tenant you will be required to prepare you property for rental and below we list a few guidelines to assist you:

 

The rental market as with any other is competitive therefore, in order to obtain the best possible tenants; you must present your property in the most effective way.

 

  • Interior walls should be neutral colours and carpets plain
  • Fabrics and Furnishings (if any) should be able to withstand reasonable wear and tear and be of suitable quality
  • Animals and their odours should be eliminated
  • 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 and well-aired and the garden tidy.
    If the weather is cold, heating should be turned on and, in warmer conditions, windows opened
  • For any other advice contact your Agent

 

Other important considerations for Landlords before Letting

 

  • Written consent must be obtained from your Mortgage Provider/Freeholder (if property is leasehold).
  • Your Insurance Company must be notified that the property is to be rented out and appropriate insurance obtained for a tenanted property. There are specialist insurance companies who can provide this and we would be happy to assist you.
  • 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 are 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.
  • Mail should be redirected with the Post Office.
  • Further copies of keys will need to be provided, at least two if you have Management Agents acting for you.
  • Utilities such as gas/electricity/water/telephone & Council Tax will have to be transferred to the successful Tenant.
  • An Inventory and Check In should 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.

 

The Inventory is required whether the property to let is furnished or unfurnished and accurate descriptions of the overall condition of wall/floor coverings, kitchen and bathroom fittings to name but a few are essential. Amounts cannot be withheld from the Tenant’s deposit unless the loss or damage is proved to have been caused by the Tenant.

 

In the event that any dispute concerning loss or damage to your property is not amicably resolved then the matter will be referred to the Courts and arbitration but should be noted that any judgement will be on the basis of written documentation – the Inventory.

           

TENANCY

 

– The Housing Act 1988 (amended 1996) has given rise to two types of Tenancy: Assured and Assured Short hold Tenancy as well as the existing Company Tenancy and Contractual Tenancy.

 

 

A) ASSURED TENANCY

 

Certain criteria have to be satisfied for a tenancy to qualify for assured status. Assured Tenancy gives the Tenant security of tenure but at a market rent negotiated between the parties. The Landlord may request back possession of the property let on an Assured Tenancy but must obtain a court order . This has its advantages but is not as flexible.

 

B) 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:

 

a) The Tenant must be an individual
b) The property must be the Tenant’s main residence/home
c) The rent cannot exceed £125,000 per annum
d) 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 terms of the Shorthold have 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.

 

C) 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) want to enter into a Tenancy.
There is no security of tenure and rental payments are often made on a quarterly basis by prior agreement.

 

D) CONTRACTUAL TENANCY

 

Contractual Tenancy also falls outside the provisions of the Housing Acts of 1988 and 1996 and is not regulated by statute. It is most commonly used where the rent exceeds £25,000 per annum and both parties have the freedom to contract as they choose, but must then rely solely on the provisions of that Agreement.

 

FURNISHED OR UNFURNISHED

 
Most professional Tenants prefer the property to be unfurnished and it has been found that a Tenant is likely to respect the property more if they have their own possessions. Moreover the difference between rent for furnished or unfurnished is negligible and the Landlord remains responsible for the repair of replacement of any furnishings which become broken or worn (unless this was caused by a deliberate act of the Tenant – see Damage Deposits).

 

MARKETING/FINDING A TENANT

 
You will need to decide whether you require your agent to simply market your property and find a Tenant or whether you would prefer to engage the services of their Managing Agents.

 

Whether you choose to opt for a Managing Agent or not, Hardy Estate Agents as your Letting Agent will firstly provide colour property details and a rental valuation which will be based on the popularity of the area, proximity to transport, rental price of similar property handled and decorative condition to name but a few.

It is important to price your rent fairly but realistically in order to attract the most suitable Tenant.

 

Your rental property will be regularly advertised in the local press and publications dedicated to the letting industry as well as displayed in our offices and feature on our website and other sites such as Rightmove and Primelocation to ensure maximum exposure. We also contact any listed prospective Tenants, local companies and relocation agents.

 

Should you decide to employ us as your Managing Agent, we will also field 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).

 

REFERENCES AND CREDIT CHECKING

 
Thorough credit checks are carried out on all prospective Tenants as we can reserve the right to decline an application where necessary in the interests of protecting the Landlord’s investment. References are obtained through us as your Managing Agent and include references from the Tenant’s employer and previous Landlord.

 

We can also provide you with/assist you in obtaining a linked insurance policy to safeguard your rental income and provide legal protection (Rent Guarantee).

 

DRAFTING OF TENANCY AGREEMENT/LEASES

 

Hardy Land and Property can prepare and supply you with all legal documentation and give practical general advice.

 

DAMAGE DEPOSITS

 

This is usually equivalent to one month and a half's rent and is taken from the Tenant to be held in a government approved scheme until the end of the Tenancy. Upon vacation of your property, there will be a re-inspection and any refunds will be made within a maximum of 14 days, provided that there are no disputes and all utility accounts have been settled.

 

A Landlord under an AST must protect the Tenant's deposit by using an authorised tenancy deposit scheme operated by an approved scheme administrator.  This obligation was introduced by the Housing Act 2004.  There are significant sanctions for failing to comply with the Tenant's Deposit Scheme Legislation, including fines and limitations on how the Landlord can recover possession of the property.

MANAGEMENT

 

The costs of everyday repairs and maintenance are the responsibility of the Landlord but, if we are instructed to manage your property on your behalf, we will pay the contractor out of the Tenant’s rent. We can also organise quotes for approval on any major repair as this becomes apparent.

 

Under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, Landlords are responsible for repair of the structure and exterior of the property, together with installations for the supply of gas, electricity, water and sanitation.

 

If the property is not in a good state of repair at the commencement of the Tenancy, the Tenant has the right to insist that repairs are carried out and, in the event that the damage is serious, the Tenant will be entitled to consider the letting as terminated as the Landlord will be in breach of his obligations.

 

COLLECTION OF RENT

 
This is usually done on a calendar monthly basis and is forwarded to the Landlord via any previously approved method after any agreed deductions have been made for contractors etc.

 

 

LEGAL DUTY OF CARE

 

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 can carry out safety checks upon your request, deducting the cost from your rent.

 

  1. 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 CORGI registered engineer and a copy of the Current Inspection Certificate must be left at the property.
  2. Electricity  - (The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 & Electricity at Works Regulations 1989-  the Landlord must ensure that all mains voltage household electrical appliances and equipment is tested and safe to use. Any non-repairable items must be replaced and removed.
    An NICEIC or similarly qualified electrical engineer must carry out these tests on an annual basis and we would also recommend this is done upon change of Tenancy.
    All operating instructions must be left in the property for the Tenant’s benefits.
  3. Furniture and Furnishings – The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety)Regulations 1988 (amended 1989 & 1993)  - Soft furnishings (such as mattresses, settees, 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.
  4. Smoke Detectors – whilst only properties built after 1992 legally require the fitting of smoke detectors (Building Regulation 1991), we would strongly recommend that smoke detectors are fitted to each floor of the property being let.

 

NB: The penalty for failure to comply with statutory safety legislation is currently a maximum of £5,000 and/or 6 months 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.

 

OVERSEAS LANDLORDS

 

You are considered an overseas Landlord if you live abroad or go to work abroad for lengthy periods of time.

 

It is important to firstly note that 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, Solicitor or Tax Expert.

 

TERMS

 

All figures are subject to VAT at the prevailing rate.

 

Tenant Finding Only

 

A one-off charge of 75%  plus VAT (90% including VAT) of the first month's rent made at the outset, irrespective of the length of the tenancy.  Minimum charge £500 (£600 inclusive of VAT).

 

tenant finding and rent collection

 

Six month minimum let commission at 8% plus VAT (9.6% including VAT) of gross rent (deducted monthly).

 

FULL MANAGEMENT

 

Six month minimum let commission at 11% plus VAT (13.2% including VAT) of gross rent (deducted monthly).

 

Shorter lets by arrangement – commission to be agreed, minimum £100 plus VAT (£120).

 

TENANCY AGREEMENTS AND GENERAL PREPARATION TO LET

 

Marketing, conducting viewings, finding a suitable tenant, registration of a deposit, preparation of tenancy agreement  and the general administration associated with the set up of the tenancy is £125 plus VAT (£150.00). The price forms part of a shared contribution (with the tenant) towards the preparation of the tenancy agreement and the administration involved in the creation of the tenancy.  Where landlords are providing their own tenancy agreement or one produced by a solicitor £50 plus VAT (£60.00).

 

Extension to existing arrangement - £50 plus VAT (£60).

 

Agreements only for non-client landlords - £150 plus VAT (£180.00).

 

Addendum to agreement - £30 plus VAT (£36.00).

 

 

INVENTORIES

 

Hardy uses the services of an independent company for the preparation of  inventories.  This ensures a degree of impartiality together with a high quality of compliance and preparation. Depending on property size and contents Inventories / Schedules of condition start at £125 plus VAT(£150.00) which includes the check in and any potential amendments/further negotiation.

 

CHECK IN/CHECK OUT

 

The check in and check out of tenants is included within the agreement for managed property. Let Only or Tenant Find only engagements will be subject to a Check Out fee of £125 plus VAT (£150.00) for a final inspection and deposit return. End of tenancy negotiations over damages and rent arrears will be charged at an hourly rate of £30 plus VAT (£36.00).

 

services outside management

 

For example, management during void periods, substantial insurance claims, obtaining quotations and supervising building works (other than day to day repairs), supervising refurbishment/refurnishing etc.  Unless agreed otherwise with landlord at an hourly rate of £30 plus VAT (£36.00).

 

overseas taxation service

 

Where we are involved in handling an overseas landlord's tax return we make an annual charge of £200 plus VAT (£240.00).

 


Please Note: 

 

Where a property is withdrawn, let through another source or sold whilst under Hardy Estate Agents' management, a reimbursement of advertising and reasonable expenses will be required capped at £60 plus VAT (£72.00)

 

The commission arrangement agreed at the start of the tenancy is applicable whilst the tenant remains in occupation.

 

OMBUDSMAN, REDRESS SCHEME, DEPOSIT PROTECTION AND CLIENT MONEY PROTECTION

 

Hardy Estate Agents in common with otherr estate and letting agents are obliged by law to belong to an approved Estate Agents Redress Scheme. We subscribe to The Property Ombudsman and abide by their ‘codes of practice for residential lettings’ which dictate how we run our day to day business to ensure high standards. A copy of our complaints procedure (last approved by The Property Ombudsman during our January 2015 routine audit) is available on request. We are required by law to have Professional Indemnity Insurance. We do not hold client money protection as it is not, currently, a legal requirement and we are members of The Deposit Protection Service and lodge our tenants deposits with that scheme.

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