Lettings Handbook

Lettings

Lettings Handbook

01432 360006

All you need to know about letting your property

For most of us property is the largest individual investment we will make so naturally before you embark on letting your property you want to be sure that you have the right agent to handle your affairs.

Customer service is paramount to us, as is attention to detail, and we feel that this is borne out by the  recommendation of our existing customers and enviable reputation as a quality property specialist.

Our dedicated team have a broad base of experience in handling rental properties and we pride ourselves in the quality of service we provide. Equally we never rest on our laurels and strive to keep abreast of all the changes to the Housing Law, continually improving our service by investing in our employees and the latest technology.
We are committed to ensuring that the whole process runs smoothly and, for those little hiccups, we have the experience and resources to resolve matters swiftly.

Initial Property Visit & Assessment

With our customer focused service, we know that to provide our clients with the best advice we need to look at their property and review their requirements on an individual basis. Therefore, we are happy to visit your property and discuss your needs with no commitment. We can then conduct a market appraisal including information and recommendations on the market rent, legal obligations, tenant requirements, property appeal, mortgage  requirements and safety regulations.

Marketing Your Property

By utilising a full marketing package, we seek to attract suitable tenants within a short time frame. Full particulars will be drawn to include colour photographs and floorplan. These will then be swiftly forwarded to registered  respective tenants, advertised on our own website, Rightmove and On the Market.

Eye catching “To Let” boards can often play a strong role in generating interest as many tenants commence their home search with a tour of their preferred area.

Regular local newspaper advertising ensures maximum regional exposure.

We will accompany all viewings as required. This serves several purposes as it provides you with security, whilst giving us the ability to obtain a view of the prospective tenants character and circumstances. We can then ensure that any applicant meets with your expectations and are on hand to negotiate the best terms of tenancy for you.

A full range of website advertising is utilised in addition to our own website to provide worldwide coverage and this generates a growing flow of interested tenants.

Tenant Referencing & Rental Guarantee

In order to provide a superior professional service, we personalise our vetting procedure. We will obtain a credit check and an employers, accountants, Landlord and character references (as applicable), so that you can be sure of your tenants background.

Preparing The Property & Inventories

 

Good quality tenants are attracted to good quality properties. It may seem obvious but it is vitally important from the beginning to ensure that your property is viewed to the best advantage. In effect this means attending to any
outstanding maintenance jobs prior to marketing, where possible, and presenting your property attractively.

At the start of the tenancy the benchmark is set for the standards required through- out the tenancy, and by presenting your property, including the grounds, in the best condition, you put yourself in the driving seat for ensuring its presentation at the end of the tenancy.

Through experience, we have found that both landlords and tenants enjoy the assurance that a comprehensive inventory provides. Just before the commencement of the tenancy, we will draw up a detailed document listing descriptions for each room, literally covering everything from ceilings to floors, including the condition of the décor,
cleanliness, any defects etc. This is supported by a full compliment of digital photographs, meter readings and a record of the keys supplied.

We pride ourselves on the comprehensive nature of our inventories and schedule of conditions, so should there be any disagreements at the end of the tenancy, you have an in depth document to prove how your property looked initially. Without this evidence you could find yourself in a position where it is your word against your tenants, hence
legally you would have little standing over a dispute settlement. Whilst this service is not included in our “Letting Only” package we do strongly suggest that an inventory is prepared on all properties and we would be happy to arrange this on your behalf.

Safety Regulations

There are legal obligations on all Landlords to ensure that they provide their property in the safest of conditions for their tenants.

We would be happy to arrange for these important checks to be undertaken on your behalf. Should you prefer to attend to these matters yourself, we will still legally need to hold copies of the safety certificates.

Gas safety check

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 competent engineer (ie a GAS SAFE registered gas installer).

Electrical

Under the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, and certain other regulations, electrical appliances and equipment provided in tenanted premises must be safe. It is therefore necessary to ensure that all electrical items, plugs and leads are completely safe and undamaged, and to remove/replace any faulty items.

Smoke Alarms

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Regulations became law on 1 October 2015 meaning that all properties in England – whether existing tenancies or new tenancies – will need to comply. All properties must be equipped with a smoke alarm on each storey of the premises where there is a room used as living accommodation. A carbon monoxide detector must be supplied in any room in the premises which is used as living accommodation and contains a solid
fuel burning combustion appliance. This applies to any wood burning stove or coal fires. However, we also strongly advise that a detector is placed in all properties with gas heating or appliances.

Legionella

The Health & Safety Executive have issued a code of practice for assessing the risk of Legionella in residential property. We recommend that as a landlord you should carry out a risk assessment or your property prior to letting especially if there are open water tanks, redundant pipes, cooling systems or a swimming pool.

Furniture and Furnishings Fire and Saftey Regulations

The furniture and fiurnishings (Fire) (Saftey) Regulations 1988 (amended 1989 & 1993) provide the specified items supplied in the course of a letting property must meet minimum fire resistance standards. the regulations apply to all upholstered furnitre, beds, headboards and mattresses, sofabeds, 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, bedcovers including duvets, loose covers for mattresses, pillowcases, curtains, carpets or sleeping bags.

Items which comply will have a suitable permanent label attached. Non-compliant items must be removed before a tenancy commences.

Energy Performance Certificates (EPC)

Energy Performance Certificates are now required by law for all new tenancies and have to be in place before any marketing can commence. Hence, we recommend that this is organised at the earliest opportunity.

As with the safety regulations we would be happy to arrange a surveyor who can undertake this work on your behalf or of course you can choose to arrange for this certificate yourselves if you prefer. For most properties the cost involved is less than £100.

Utilities

We generally advise that rentals are agreed exclusive of all outgoings. On leasehold properties, the landlord remains
responsible for any ground rent, maintenance and service charges.

With all tenancies the owner continues to be obligated for any mortgage payments and buildings insurance.

For properties under our full management service, we will attend to notifying the gas, electric, water companies in addition to the local Council Tax department, with regard to the change of occupier and meter readings. Due to data protection regulations, we are unable to attend to telephone accounts as only the customer is permitted to make any alterations.

Repair, Upkeep & Gardening

It is in all parties interests to ensure that your property is well maintained. The key to achieving this is often via preventative maintenance and a periodic plan of works e.g. boiler servicing, external painting etc. Repair costs for the building, heating system, water system, appliances etc are the responsibility of the landlord.

Under our full management service, we will attend to repairs on your behalf, subject to your requirements. We can also organise routine maintenance works, fair wear and tear repairs, and gas safety checks etc.

Being local we have a wealth of contacts in most relevant trades or you may prefer to use contractors you know, who are already familiar with your property. So that we conduct our service to your satisfaction, we ask that you set
the parameters in regard to these concerns at the outset of the tenancy. It should be noted that under the new ‘fair contract terms’ legislation, it is deemed as unacceptable for a tenant to be made responsible for such items as tree surgery, hedge cutting or where special machinery or knowledge is needed.

We can make your tenant attend to routine gardening, however, if your garden is particularly large, complex, or of high value to you we strongly advise including the services of a gardener in the rental. At the start of the letting, the grounds should be left in the tidy condition that you expect to receive them back in allowing of course for normal growth and waste.

Income Tax

When resident in the UK, it is entirely the landlords responsibility to inform the Inland Revenue of rental income received, and to pay any tax due. Where the Landlord is resident outside of the UK during a tenancy, unless an exemption certificate is held, we as Landlord’s agent 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 allowable
expenses. An application form for excemption from such deductions is available from our office.

Deposits

All deposits taken Assured Shorthold Tenancies must be placed under the protection of a Government approved Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme.

A landlord who does not do so, will be breaking the law, and could be made to pay the tenant the full deposit back, along with an amount equivalent to three times the deposit and they will not be entitled to gain possession of their property under the relatively straightforward procedure of a Section 21, under the Housing Act of 1988.

Due to Brightwells classification as an ‘approved body’, via membership to the National Association of Letting Agents, we are in a position to offer the facility of a Deposit Protection Scheme at reduced rates.

If there is a dispute at the end of the tenancy over the deposit, either the landlord or the Tenant can refer the situation to an independent case examiner (ICE) for free. ICE will then use the inventory and any additional details provided to decide if any deductions from the deposit are fair and reasonable. As you can see a comprehensive
inventory becomes paramount in protecting your property.

Insurance

Landlords remain responsible for insuring their property and contents. Should your property be let unfurnished we would still strongly advise that limited contents insurance is taken out to cover items such as your carpets and
kitchen fittings etc.

It is also important that you notify your insurance company that the property is to be  let, as unfortunately some companies will not  cover you under these circumstances

Brightwells Complimentary Services

Brightwells roots were originally established in 1846 and we continue to be an independent company proud to provide a service to the highest professional standards in all that we do.

The quality residential, agricultural, sales and lettings operation based from Cathedral Chambers, in Hereford, is supported by regional offices in Builth Wells and Leominster. We are also a leading provincial Fine Art Saleroom and the largest 4 x 4 vehicle auctions in Britain.

Summary of Services

Our Full Management Service is charged at 11% plus VAT on gross monthly rentals and 50% of first months rent + VAT for initial tenant finding service (with a minimum of £300 + VAT = £360).

Our Let Only Tenant Finding Service is charged at a sum equal to one months rent plus VAT. Minimum charge of £600 (£500 + VAT).

We can also offer bespoke rental packages to suit your needs.

Services Full Management Services Tenant Finding Only
Full detailed particulars with colour photographs + floorplan Yes Yes
Details mailed to registered prospective Tenants Yes Yes
Regular local Newspaper advertising Yes Yes
Window displays in our office Yes Yes
Full range of web site advertising Yes Yes
Eye catching 'To Let' boards Yes Yes
Accompanied viewings Yes Yes
Personalised tenant vetting with credit history checks Yes Yes
Tenancy negotiation between landlord & Tenant Yes Yes
Collection of Deposit Yes Yes
Tenancy Agreement Yes Yes
Comprehensive inventory or schedule of condition Yes Can be provided at an extra cost (depending on size)
Inventory check in and check out at the end of tenancy Yes £60 inc VAT
Rental collection and bank transfer to Landlord Yes £36 inc VAT
Prompt accounting and monthly statements Yes No
Advising utility companies of occupancy change Yes No
Periodic property checks and reports Yes £60 inc VAT
Negotiating contract renewals and rent increases Yes No
Arranging running repairs and maintenance if required Yes No
Emergency contact point for Tenants Yes No
Legal safety test arranged on Landlords behalf Yes No
Fire & Safety regulation compliance advice Yes No
Service of legal documents or notices as necessary Yes No
Deposit Retention & registration Yes £72 inc VAT per tenancy