What checks do you carry out?
For a successful property let, finding the right Tenant for a property is fundamental. From the outset, we will establish with yourself the sort of people you wish to occupy your property and will endeavour to find tenants matching the agreed criteria with our prospective tenant’s details. Once an application is forwarded, references are usually taken from the following: Current Employer, Previous Landlord, Bank reference and in some cases we ask for a UK guarantor. Only when we are 100% satisfied with the references will we present them for your approval, and from there we would prepare the tenancy agreement.
Do the Tenants Pay a Deposit?
In most circumstance, we request a 6 week deposit on all tenancy agreements. Deposits are held to help ensure the Tenant looks after the property and as a safeguard against unpaid rent. It is refundable at the end of a tenancy only after the Tenant has vacated the property, providing the property and their account are in order and subject to the conditions within the Tenancy Agreement. For our managed properties, we will register the tenants deposit with the Custodial Scheme supplied by the Deposit Protection Service under the new Tenancy Deposit Act which came into affect on the 6th April 2007, this scheme is free to use. If you would like to learn more about this, please visit the Deposit Protection Service website www.depositprotection.com Other insurance based schemes are available but involve registration fees and other criteria that landlords are required to comply with. If you wish to use the insurance based schemes, you will need to register for these yourself independently from Greenwoods Property Centre.
What happens with repairs and what am I responsible for?
For properties that are managed by TLC, we provide a repairs service, as every property at some point will require some remedial works. If things go wrong and the Tenant contacts us, we will then contact you immediately. In the majority of cases the problem can be resolved quickly. However, if a serious fault does occur and we are unable to contact you, we can authorise a repair agreed by you prior to the commencement of the tenancy. Authorisation for this is contained within the agency agreement you sign. Once the tenant has occupied the property you do have an obligation to ensure it is well maintained. Carrying out repairs efficiently is as important for you as it is for the Tenant. Repairs caught early often can save money in the long run and tenants do have statutory rights. Tenants can contact the Environmental Health because repairs are not being attended to within acceptable time periods and the possible ‘enforcement order’ could include additional repairs and subsequent higher final repair bill.
What about preparation and presentation?
Our experience has shown that those properties which have been properly prepared for letting benefit from successful, long terms lets, generating the right market rent and attracting reliable tenants. In the majority of cases where tenants have been problematical, badly maintained property or opportunist landlords have been the root causes. We recommend your property is properly prepared and that any decorating jobs are undertaken prior to marketing. Furniture should be of good quality or removed all together. Windows should be clean, and domestic appliances serviced. If you have any unreliable appliances in the property you should consider replacement or removal prior to letting. Our representative will offer impartial advice aimed to assist you. In summary, quality homes attract quality tenants. Unfortunately the reverse is also true.
What sort of tenancy agreement is it?
All tenancies are now Assured Shorthold unless stated otherwise and are initially prepared for no less than six months. To gain possession the landlord should serve the tenant two months written notice. The tenant is required to serve the landlord two month’s notice, after the initial four months. Thereafter, it is perfectly acceptable for the tenancy to run on a month to month basis, with termination as above.
How do I receive my rental payments?
For managed clients, we will collect the monthly rent on your behalf. We then make deductions for management charges and other maintenance items, paying the net amount into your bank account, with a statement.
What about taxation?
The following information is intended only as a guide. If you would like to know more about taxation when letting your property, you should consult your accountant or financial advisor. Tax Consequences – The tax implications of property letting can be confusing. A Landlord has two types of taxes to be aware of, Capital Gains Tax and Income Tax. Capital Gains Tax – As a Landlord there is a risk that you might be exposed to Capital Gains Tax, we would recommend that you take professional advice. If you are a non-resident landlord or you have let out a former home for no more than three years or you have let out a former home when forced to work abroad, then you may well be exempt.
Non Residents – From the 6th April 1996, letting agents for non UK resident landlords have been required to deduct tax from the rent collected and pay it directly to the Inland Revenue. Tax is assessed at the basic rate on net income received after allowable expenses. We are bound by FICO (Financial Intermediaries and Claims Office) to collect the tax and sufficient funds will be retained to meet this liability. However, a non UK resident landlord may apply to receive income without the tax having been deducted and we can provide you with further advice and information regarding this. In order for a landlord to avoid deduction of tax at source we must receive a certificate of exemption from the Inland Revenue.
More often than not this is a simple inspection carried out by a Gas Safe registered inspector. Upon satisfaction, a certificate is issued for 12 months. This certificate must be placed on file at our office. Landlords must maintain gas appliances annually. Gas appliances must have detectors, which cut off the gas supply before dangerous levels of Carbon Monoxide build up. Gas appliances such as open flue boilers are banned from bedrooms due to incidents when lives have been lost because of faulty appliances. A Gas Safe or registered installer must carry out maintenance of appliances. If an appliance is faulty, both Landlord and Tenant must be notified, only Gas Safe registered installers will be allowed to carry out re-connection, repairs or fit new appliances. If a faulty appliance is not disconnected, an installer who will use their Statutory Rights to disconnect the appliance should inform British Gas. The tenant has the right to complain to the Health & Safety Executive if they believe an appliance to be substandard. The Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations are in addition to the Gas Cooking Appliances (Safety) Regulations 1989. Our advice, in summary, is to have a service contract on any gas appliance with either British Gas or a reputable Gas Safe engineer. Further information can be sought from our office.
The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, mandatory since 1 January 1997, state that all electrical appliances supplied with let accommodation must be safe. This applies to both new & second hand appliances and covers all electrical items supplied for the intended use of the tenant. The regulations also cover fixed appliances such as cookers, showers & immersion heaters, which must also be safe. The only sure method of ensuring that these appliances are safe is to have them tested by a trained competent person using the appropriate calibrated portable appliance testing equipment (PAT). Failure to comply with the electrical regulations may constitute a criminal offence under the Consumer Protection Act 1987 that carries a maximum penalty on summary conviction of a £5,000 fine and/or 6 months imprisonment. Landlords and/or letting agents could also, in addition, be sued in Civil Law under THE DUTY OF CARE for the failure to ensure the tenants safety and face punitive damages.
The Fire & Furnishings Safety Regulations place a responsibility on the landlord of a furnished or part furnished property to ensure the furniture which is supplied in the property complies with current legislation. The following notes have been prepared as a guide to enable you to comply with the law In general, upholstered furniture must have a fire resistant filling material cover fabrics must have passed a match resistant test (covers in certain fabrics such as cotton or silk maybe used in non-match resistant form, provided the furniture has a fire resistant material between the cover and the filling material.) The combination of the cover and filling material must have passed a cigarette resistance test.
Inventory & Inspections –
Once a tenant’s application has been placed and accepted we will prepare an inventory. This is not just a list of included furniture and chattels, but a schedule of the condition of your property. This can then be compared to a schedule of dilapidation’s prepared at the end of a tenancy. As well as preparing a written document we also take multiple photographs, this is essential if a dispute arises at the end of the tenancy.