Property Management
Landlords Info Tenants Info Properties Local Area Info UK Network Contact Details *
Landlords Info Tenants Info Properties Local Area Info UK Network Contact Details *
property lettings

Landlords Info

Guide Our Service Insurance Investment Contact Form

 

--- STOP PRESS ---    We are confident our service offers BETTER VALUE than our competitors FULL MANAGEMENT 8%... NO INITIAL LETTING AND ADVERTISING CHARGES ...

If you currently own or intend to purchase residential property for rental in the South Essex area, 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. If you own or intend purchasing residential property for rental in any other area, please go to our UK Network page.


Our Services include:

  1. Visiting you at your property, and providing a rental valuation and any other advice which you may require about letting your property.
  2. Advising you on compliance with the various safety regulations.
  3. 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.
  4. Accompanying tenant applicants to view the property.
  5. Obtaining and evaluating references and credit checks.
  6. Preparing a suitable tenancy agreement and arranging signature by the tenant.
  7. Collecting and holding as stakeholders a deposit (bond) from the tenant.
  8. Preparing an inventory and schedule of condition.
  9. Checking the tenant into the property and agreeing the inventory.
  10. Supervising the transfer of gas, electricity and council tax accounts into the tenant's name.
  11. Receiving rental payments monthly in advance, and paying you promptly, together with a detailed statement from our computerised management systems.
  12. If required paying regular outgoings for you from rental payments.
  13. Inspecting the property periodically, and reporting any problems to you.
  14. Arranging any necessary repairs or maintenance, first liaising with you in the case of larger works.
  15. Keeping in touch with the tenant on a routine basis, and arranging renewals of the agreement as necessary.
  16. 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 are generally able to adapt our service to meet our client's individual circumstances and needs, for example by providing a part only service, or alternatively by taking on additional tasks and duties.

Our Fees

There is no initial letting and advertising charge, and our ongoing management commission is only 8% of monthly rental payments. We do not charge for any renewal of an existing agreement. There is also NO VAT to pay giving you even greater RETURN ON YOUR INVESTMENT.

There are no other standard fees or charges.

< top


Guide for Landlords

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. For brief details of a subject click on a blue link below, or scroll down the page. If you require further advice or assistance with any matter, please do not hesitate to contact us:

Mortgage
Leaseholds
Sub-letting
Insurance
Bills and regular outgoings
Council tax
The inventory
Income tax
Important safety regulations:
- Gas
- Electrical
- Furnishings
- Smoke Alarms
- General Products
Preparing the property for letting
General condition
Appliances
Decorations
Furnishings
Personal items
Gardens
Cleaning
Mail forwarding
Info for tenants
Keys

Mortgage
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.

Leaseholds
If you are a leaseholder, you should check the terms of your lease, and obtain the necessary written consent before letting.

Sub-letting
If you are a tenant yourself, you will require your landlord's consent.

Insurance
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, 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
Council tax is the responsibility of the occupier. You should inform your local collection office that you are leaving the property. During vacant periods the charge reverts to the owner. When unoccupied but furnished, the charge is 50% of the normal rate. When unoccupied and 'substantially' unfurnished, there is no charge for the first six months, and thereafter a charge of 50% of the normal rate.

The inventory
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 requested arrange for a member of staff to prepare an inventory and schedule of condition, at a cost to be quoted.

Income tax
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. However, where the landlord is resident outside the UK during a tenancy, under new rules effective from 6 April 1996, unless an exemption certificate is held, we as landlord's agents are obliged to retain and forward to the Inland Revenue on a quarterly basis, an amount equal to the basic rate of income tax from rental received, less certain expenses. An application form for exemption from such deductions is available from this Agency, and further information may be obtained from the Inland Revenue.

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.


Important safety regulations

The following safety requirements are the responsibility of the owner (the landlord). Where we are managing the property, they are also our responsibility. Therefore where we are managing we will ensure compliance, any costs of which will be the responsibility of the landlord.

Gas Appliances & Equipment
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 by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Maintenance: There is a duty to ensure that all gas appliances, flues and associated pipework are maintained in a safe condition at all times. Records: 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. Copies to tenants: 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 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 of manslaughter is to arrange such an inspection and certificate.

Furniture & Furnishings
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. Therefore all relevant items as above must be checked for compliance, and non-compliant items removed from the premises. In practice, most (but not all) items which comply must have a suitable permanent label attached. Items purchased since 1.3.90 from a reputable supplier are also likely to comply.

Smoke Alarms
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 Tenancy 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.

The Disability Discrimination Act 2005
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


Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)
From 1st October 2008 landlords in England and Wales offering property for rent will be required by law to provide prospective tenants with an Energy Performance Certificate for their property. In Scotland EPCs for rental properties will be required by January 2009. The certificates must be provided free either when (or before) any written information about the property is provided to prospective tenants or a viewing is conducted. A new certificate will not be required on each let since, in the case of rental property, EPCs will be valid for 10 years. The requirement is being introduced to comply with the EU’s Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) which applies to all property, including rented property. This became law in 2003 and allowed until January 2009 for full implementation so as to provide time for sufficient numbers of energy assessor to be trained. The Directive’s requirements were introduced in England and Wales along with the controversial Home Information Pack regulations that require sellers to produce packs providing information about their title, local searches, plus an EPC. We can arrange an EPC inspection for our landlord clients upon request. The cost is expected to be up to £100.
Some relevant links:
Directgov.co.uk website: Energy Performance Certificates for homes
The Home Information Packs (No 2) Regulations 2007: Home Information Pack (No 2) Regulations 2007
OPSI.gov.uk website: Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007
One of many private firms offering EPC assessments: Landlords EPC
HCR Register website: HCR Register

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.


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. This is your job. Our policy of offering a service of quality and care therefore extends to our tenant applicants too, and we are pleased to recommend properties to rent which conform to certain minimum standards. Quality properties attract quality tenants.

General condition
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.

Appliances
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.

Decorations
Interior decorations should be in good condition, and preferably plain, light and neutral.

Furnishings
It is recommended that you leave only minimum furnishings, and these should be of reasonable quality. It is preferable that items to be left are in the property during viewings. If you are letting unfurnished, we recommend that the property contains carpets, curtains, and a cooker.

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
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.

Cleaning
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.

Mail forwarding
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.

Keys
You should provide one set of keys for each tenant. Where we are Managing we will arrange to have duplicates cut as required.

< top

part of a UK-Wide Network of independent but associated Letting & Managing Agents