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
Our Services include:
- Visiting you at your property, and providing a rental valuation
and any other advice which you may require about letting your
- Advising you on compliance with the various safety regulations.
- 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.
- Accompanying tenant applicants to view the property.
- Obtaining and evaluating references and credit checks.
- Preparing a suitable tenancy agreement and arranging signature
by the tenant.
- Collecting and holding as stakeholders a deposit (bond) from
- Preparing an inventory and schedule of condition.
- Checking the tenant into the property and agreeing the inventory.
- Supervising the transfer of gas, electricity and council tax
accounts into the tenant's name.
- Receiving rental payments monthly in advance, and paying you
promptly, together with a detailed statement from our computerised
- If required paying regular outgoings for you from rental payments.
- Inspecting the property periodically, and reporting any problems
- Arranging any necessary repairs or maintenance, first liaising
with you in the case of larger works.
- Keeping in touch with the tenant on a routine basis, and arranging
renewals of the agreement as necessary.
- 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.
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.
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:
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.
If you are a leaseholder, you should check the terms of your lease,
and obtain the necessary written consent before letting.
If you are a tenant yourself, you will require your landlord's consent.
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 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
month, and thereafter a charge of 50% of the normal rate.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Interior decorations should be in good condition, and preferably
plain, light and neutral.
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 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.
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.
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.
You should provide one set of keys for each tenant. Where we are
Managing we will arrange to have duplicates cut as required.