Menu
Residential Lettings & Property Management

Landlord FAQ

1.  WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF LETTING MY PROPERTY?

  • Income is generated whilst you retain your investment.
  • That income can be put towards property costs, in particular your mortgage.
  • It is better for a house to be occupied, particularly in the winter.
  • Your insurance company may increase your premiums if you leave the property unoccupied.
  • Certain items of expenditure can be set against tax levied on income received from the property.
  • You will not have to pay Council tax, water charges, sewerage charges and gas or electricity bills whilst your property is let, unless you agree to the contrary.
  • Your options are left open if you wish to return to the property or sell it.

Whatever the reason, our aim is to make the process as painless as possible. We are happy to advise on all aspects as well as providing a Market Appraisal.

For any action or works needed prior to a letting, we can also recommend companies or individuals to undertake these matters at competitive rates.

2.  WHAT SHOULD I TAKE INTO ACCOUNT BEFORE LETTING MY PROPERTY?

There are both legal and practical matters, which should be read in conjunction with one another in order to achieve a successful letting. Further details are to be found in the Trading Standards documentation, produced by Milton Keynes Council, annexed to this guide. As a general rule, we advise you to supply an instruction manual consisting of handbooks for all appliances and any other information, which would be of use to anybody living in your property.

LEGAL MATTERS

2.1 ENERGY PERFOMANCE CERTIFICATE

This is an assessment which is carried out by a surveyor to make you and potential tenants aware of the energy performance of the property. It is not a pass or fail certificate and no extra works are needed once the certificate is completed. The surveyor looks at cavity wall insulation, loft insulation, glazing etc.  Recommendations are made for you to make the property more energy efficient, but they are only recommendations. The certificate is graded on an A to G scale. This certificate needs to be in place before we can market the property. If your house is a new purchase, new building or has been up for sale then you should have one from builders or in a HIPS pack. We can arrange for one to be carried out, should you not have one in place, at a cost of £94.00 inclusive of VAT.

2.1A GAS INSTALLATIONS AND APPLIANCES

A Satisfactory Landlords Gas Safety Record must be obtained before the start of a tenancy. This must be produced by a GAS SAFE registered engineer and should be renewed at least every 12 months. We can supply you with the name of an engineer or arrange a gas safety certificate on your behalf at a cost £108.00. If you have any doubts about the efficiency of your gas installation we advise that it be tested and serviced sooner rather than later. Remedial work may be needed which can take time and so delay the commencement of a tenancy.

Instructions booklets for all appliances must be left at the property for the benefit of the tenant and to protect you should the tenant injure themselves through misuse.

2.2 FURNITURE AND SOFT FURNISHINGS

Any of the above must comply with the legislation relating to safety standards. The simplest evidence of this is a valid permanent label attached to the item of furniture. Please see examples of these at the back of this guide.

2.3 ELECTRICAL INSTALLATIONS AND APPLIANCES

These should meet current safety requirements and failure to comply can result in prosecution. At present there is no legal requirement for a record, unlike gas installations and appliances. However, the onus is placed on the Landlord to ensure compliance. The best evidence of this is a regular inspection and satisfactory report by an appropriately qualified electrical engineer.

2.4 SMOKE ALARMS AND CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS

From October 2015 landlords are required to install smoke alarms on every floor of their property and test them at the start of every tenancy to ensure that they are functioning correctly. Landlords are also required to install carbon monoxide alarms in high risk rooms – such as those where a solid fuel heating system is installed.

2.5 GENERAL MAINTENANCE

The Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 imposes a duty on the Landlord to maintain:

2.5.1 The structure and exterior of the property, including drains, gutters and external pipes.

2.5.2 The installation in the property for the supply of water, gas, electricity and sanitation.

         This includes sinks, baths and showers.

2.5.3 Space and water heating appliances.

You will be responsible for maintaining paintwork internally and externally, ensuring the integrity of items such as doors/windows and that locks etc are fully functioning and secure.

PRACTICAL MATTERS

2.6 PREPARATION OF YOUR PROPERTY

  • The property should be practical and comfortable. We recommend that areas such as hallways, kitchens and bathrooms have hardwearing floor coverings to reduce replacement costs arising from wear and tear.
  • Any niggling problems, which you have put up with as owner/occupier (e.g. sticking doors, loose fence panels etc), should be remedied.
  • All carpets, curtains and soft furnishings etc should be cleaned to a professional standard immediately prior to the first letting, as indeed should the whole house.
  • Decoration should be to an acceptable standard and plain colours used.

If you present a clean and tidy property, not only will it be easier to let, it will also mean that you can justify a reasonable market rent and we will be better equipped to control its condition both during the tenancy, and also at checkout.

2.7 FURNISHED OR UNFURNISHED?

We recommend that properties be let unfurnished since that is where the greater demand lies. It is, however, usual to provide white goods. This may prove impractical in your own particular circumstances. If so, we give detailed advice as to how best to deal with this and which items should be left or removed.

N.B. The fact that a property is furnished does not give a tenant any more rights than if he/she were in an unfurnished property.

2.8 LENGTH OF TENANCY

Please consider how long you are likely to want to let out your property. Whether you are a long-term investor or you need to return to your property within a particular time-scale, we will endeavour to find a tenant to tie in with your particular requirements. As a general rule we recommend a minimum initial period of six months.

Generally, tenancies will then be allowed to run beyond the initial fixed term by way of a Statutory Periodic tenancy. If it is essential that you require your property back by a fixed date, it is vital that you tell us so that we may

  • advise as to the feasibility of this
  • be prepared to serve relevant Notices to ensure return of your property to you in accordance with your wishes.

2.9 NOTICE PERIODS

- Landlords

The law states that a Landlord must give a minimum of 2 calendar months notice in the form of a Section 21 and that Notice has to expire the day before the rent due date. As part of our management agreement it is agreed that a Landlord will tell us no later than 3 months and 14 days into a fixed term tenancy that they require us to serve the statutory 2 months notice.

- Tenants

Tenants must give a minimum of 1 months clear notice – again to tie in with the rent due date.

2.10 THE LEVEL OF INCOME YOU REQUIRE

We advise you as to the likely rental income arising from your property. Please give detailed consideration to your outgoings in respect of the property during the course of letting and take accountant’s advice if necessary.

3.  WHO SHOULD BE NOTIFIED BEFORE THE START OF A TENANCY?

Insurance Company – you are responsible for insuring the structure of the property and we can advise you as to the extent of insurance required for items contained within the property.

Mortgage Company – if appropriate.

Head Lease – if you own a leasehold interest in the property. We will also need to have a copy of the Head Lease so that we may formally notify any tenants of the obligations imposed and by which they will have to abide.

(Any of the above may wish to change terms of your agreement with them in view of your proposed change in circumstances. Accordingly we advise you to contact them as soon as possible to ascertain their views).

Utilities, Local Council – We can arrange for notification of all relevant details and final readings to take place. If this results in a final bill for you, we can settle it out of rent.

Telephone Company – You will need to arrange to close your account yourself. Failure to do so will result in a delay for the tenant being able to take over the line and a potential loss could ensue for them.

If the property you are letting is a new property or one that has never had a line to it then you, as Landlord, will be expected to pay for the introduction of a line to the property. In practical terms, this will mean the first tenant applying for a line in their name, paying for it and obtaining reimbursement from you as landlord. This would be a one off payment as there is no charge for subsequent transfers of the line.

Post Office – For practical reasons, please arrange for any post to be redirected.

Inland Revenue

- UK resident landlords will need to declare any rental income and we advise you to consult an accountant in this respect.

- If you are going to live abroad, you will need to liaise with this body to obtain a tax exemption certificate. We can supply further information but, in essence, if you do not have approval of the Inland Revenue, we are legally bound to deduct tax at basic rate and account for it to them in accordance with their rules.

Please visit http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/cnr/nr_landlords.htm for further details.

4.  WHAT FORM WILL THE TENANCY AGREEMENT TAKE?

For residential lettings we use an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement. The Agreement has been formulated to protect your interests and will be tailored, as necessary, to your particular requirements. A draft is annexed to this guide.

5.  HOW MUCH IS THE DEPOSIT, WHO HOLDS IT AND HOW IS IT DEALT WITH?

The deposit is generally one month’s rent plus £200.00 and is held by us as stakeholder for the duration of the tenancy.

On 6th April 2007 the Government introduced new legislation to protect tenant’s deposits. We have complied with this legislation and are covered by the required insurance. Details of the scheme are to be found at http://www.thedisputeservice.co.uk/ Our membership of NALS qualifies us for continued membership.

The scheme also incorporates the possibility of disputes being referred to arbitration. Indeed, if either the Landlord or the Tenant wish to refer it, there can be no avoidance of such a reference by either party and both are bound by the rules.

We have included in this information pack a copy of the guidance notes supplied by The Dispute Service under the auspices of which the Deposit Scheme is administered.

6.  HOW IS THE CONDITION OF MY PROPERTY PROTECTED DURING THE TENANCY?

By being selective about the tenants we let into the property and taking up all appropriate references, we go a long way towards safeguarding your property.

We also prepare an Inventory and Schedule of Condition, which is agreed with the tenant at the start of the Tenancy.

We carry out inspections during the course of the tenancy and are available to take and deal with reports, from the tenant or neighbours, as to any action needed. We use our discretion as to the frequency of those inspections.

At the end of the tenancy, the tenant must hand the property back in its original condition, subject to fair wear and tear. The inventory provides the benchmark for this when we carry out the final inspection.

It has been held by the courts that for safety reasons Landlords should provide instructions for all appliances to be included in the Tenancy.

There are also practical reasons for this and we strongly advise that you prepare a file of such instructions for use by the tenant.

In having the information the Tenant is less likely to misuse items left in the property and so protect it.

7.  WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE OUTGOINGS DURING THE TENANCY?

LANDLORD

  • Building insurance and content insurance as advised
  • Mortgage payments
  • Property and contents repairs if not resulting from the tenants actions
  • In the case of a leasehold property, the ground rent and service charges
  • Gas and electrical maintenance and appropriate safety records
  • Managing agent fees
  • (Utilities and services when the property is empty)

TENANT

  • Rent
  • Council Tax
  • Water, sewerage, gas and electrical charges
  • Subsidiary services such as telephone, satellite and cable TV provision

8.  WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR MAINTAINING THE GARDEN?

Under the terms of our standard tenancy Agreement, this is the responsibility of the tenant. Even in the case of an unfurnished let we advise that you provide, at the least, a suitable lawn mower in order to encourage the tenant to comply with his/her obligations. However, you may feel happier arranging maintenance yourself, incorporating the cost in the monthly rent. This is particularly advisable in case of a large garden. Note: Any powered gardening equipment you leave in the property must be accompanied by the appropriate instruction manuals as well as a circuit breaker if electrically powered.

9.  HOW WILL MY RENT BE PAID TO ME?

Generally by electronic payment so we will need your full bank details in this respect.

Payment will be made less deduction of our fees and any expenses incurred in respect of the property. If appropriate, base rate tax in the case of an overseas Landlord without the appropriate Inland Revenue approval number, will be deducted.

10.  WHAT IF THE TENANT WISHES TO STAY BEYOND THE FIXED TERM?

As a general rule the tenancy will proceed on a periodic basis under the same conditions as the original fixed term. We will liaise between you and the tenant to find the solution that is most practical for all parties.

11.  HOW DO I RECOVER POSSESSION OF MY PROPERTY?

This is provided for in the Tenancy Agreement. Either the tenant or the landlord gives notice in accordance with these provisions.

If the Tenant refuses to comply it will be necessary for you to institute court proceedings for possession of your property.

In our experience this is a rare occurrence. However, you need to be aware of the risk involved.

12. WHAT STANDARDS OF SERVICE CAN I OR A TENANT EXPECT?

This visible assurance provided by the NALS logo gives prospective landlords and tenants the confidence of knowing the service they can expect from dealing with us.”

More information on The National Approved Letting Scheme can be obtained by visiting the NALS website www.nalscheme.co.uk

13. WHAT FEES WILL I INCUR WHEN LETTING MY PROPERTY?

When instructing us to let your property you will need to choose one of our three levels of Service which are Let Only, Rent Collection and Full Management. There are different fees associated with each level of service and these are explained as follows;

Full Management - a setup fee of 50% of the first months rent achieved + VAT which is payable on day one of the tenancy. This fee is to be paid every time there is a change of tenant. A monthly management fee of 10% of the monthly rent received + VAT.

Rent Collection – a setup fee of 60% of the first months rent achieved + VAT which is payable on day one of the tenancy. This fee is to be paid every time there is a change of tenant. A monthly rent collection fee of 5% of the monthly rent received + VAT.

Let Only – a setup fee of 75% of the first months rent achieved + VAT which is payable on day one of the tenancy. This fee is to be paid every time there is a change of tenant.

Contract Renewal Fee - £100.00 + VAT payable when a tenancy is renewed for a further fixed term.

Checkout Fee - £100.00 + VAT payable when we conduct the checkout process for a non-managed property. 

 

nals
ombudsman
tds
otm
rightmove
Marcus Jordan © 2017 | website design Rocket 301