Field & Sons provides a range of letting and management services based on the experience, skills and expertise of our lettings team. You can be assured that we have a detailed understanding of the lettings and management sector and will ensure that you are given the best possible service.
Over the last few years and, following the introduction of the 1988 Housing Act which offers greater protection and possession rights to Landlords, there has been a resurgence in the lettings market.
People from all walks of life are looking to become involved in the rental market, whether investors, companies, people who need to relocate with their work, or homeowners who are having difficulty in selling their own properties.
Increasingly, large numbers of people are entering the ‘Buy to Let’ sector as an opportunity for investment.
As a result, landlords have come to expect extensive knowledge and expertise from the Agency they choose to act in their interests.
WHERE TO START?
1. Local Lettings Agent – we would suggest you find a local agent who is well established and will carry out the following:-
a. Provide a separate client account for collection of clients’ money and
b. Links with a bonding scheme to protect the client in the event of misappropriation of clients’ funds.
2. Having chosen your agent, you will be required to prepare your property for rental and below we list a few guidelines to assist you:
The rental market as with any other is competitive therefore, in order to obtain the best possible tenants, you must present your property in the most effective way.
• Interior walls should be neutral colours and carpets plain
• Fabrics and Furnishings (if any) must comply with The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1998 and should be able to withstand reasonable wear and tear.
• Animals and their odours should be eliminated
• The front door should be clean and the entrance hall clear of any obstructions as first impressions are important
• The entire property should be clean, well-aired and the garden tidy.
• If the weather is cold, heating should be turned on and, in warmer conditions, windows opened
• For any other advice contact your agent
3. Other important considerations for landlords before letting
• Written consent must be obtained from your mortgage provider and the freeholder if property is leasehold.
• Your insurance company must be notified that the property is to be rented out, as they may impose restrictions on the tenancy, which the agent will need to be aware. Appropriate insurance needs to be obtained for a tenanted property. There are specialist insurance companies who can provide this and we would be happy to advise you.
• The Inland Revenue must also be informed within 6 months of letting your property, flat or apartment in the UK and failure to do so will incur penalties, interest and other consequences. The Inland Revenue is apt to deal harshly with Landlords who do not declare rental income and it is always best to seek advice on tax planning and Capital Gains Tax from a fully qualified accountant.
• Mail should be redirected with the Post Office.
• Further copies of keys will need to be provided, depending on the number of tenants, if you have management agents acting for you.
• Utilities such as gas, electricity, water and Council Tax will need to be transferred to the new tenant.
• A professional inventory must be drawn up. This is an important legal document which forms an integral part of the tenancy agreement and, as such, it is a false economy to prepare your own in most cases.
A professional inventory is required whether the property to let is furnished or unfurnished and accurate descriptions of the condition of wall and floor coverings, kitchen and bathroom fittings to name but a few, are essential. Amounts cannot be withheld from the tenant’s deposit unless the loss or damage is proved to have been caused by the tenant.
In the event that any dispute concerning loss or damage to your property is not amicably resolved then the matter will be referred to the courts and arbitration
JULY 16 2008. Please note that in line with new government regulations, virtually every property offered for rent from October 1st 2008, MUST HAVE an Energy Performance Certificate ( EPC ) www.communities.gov.uk/planningandbuilding/theenvironment/energyperformance/ 16 2008. Please note that in line with new government regulations, virtually every property offered for rent from October 1st 2008, MUST HAVE an Energy Performance Certificate ( EPC )
Any prospective tenant must, upon request, be given access to the EPC.
The landlord is responsible for the EPC.
Field & Sons will be happy to arrange for the EPC to be carried out. Please speak to one of our lettings staff about this.
4. TENANCY – The Housing Act 1988 as amended in 1996, has given rise to two types of Tenancy: Assured and Assured Shorthold Tenancy as well as the existing Company Tenancy and Contractual Tenancy.
A) ASSURED TENANCY
Certain criteria need to be satisfied for a tenancy to qualify for assured status. Assured Tenancy gives the tenant security of tenure but at a market rent negotiated between the parties. The landlord may request back possession of the property let on an Assured Tenancy but must obtain a COURT ORDER. This has its advantages but is not as flexible.
B) ASSURED SHORTHOLD TENANCY (AST)
This tenancy is attractive to landlords as it offers market rents without security of tenure beyond the contractual term and the majority of tenancies are based on this format. However, certain criteria must first be met:
a) The tenant must be an individual
b) The property must be the tenant’s main residence/home
c) The rent cannot exceed £25,000 per annum
d) The landlord must not occupy the same property
If the property is let under an Assured Short hold Tenancy, the landlord can issue a section 21 Notice to guarantee possession, provided the term of the shorthold has expired and not less than two months notice has been given by the Landlord stating he requires possession.
If court action is needed, this can be obtained on a number of different grounds against the tenant.
However, it should be noted that is a criminal offence under the Protection from Evictions Act 1977, for a landlord to threaten or forcibly evict a tenant from their property.
C) COMPANY TENANCY
This is governed by contract law and is not regulated by the Housing Acts of 1988 or 1996. It is used when a private or public limited company (excluding partnership or sole trader) wishes to enter into a tenancy.
There is no security of tenure and rental payments are often made on a quarterly basis by prior agreement.
D) CONTRACTUAL TENANCY
Contractual Tenancy also falls outside the provisions of the Housing Act of 1988 and 1996 and is not regulated by statute. It is most commonly used where the rent exceeds £25,000 per annum and both parties have the freedom to contract as they choose, but must then rely solely on the provisions of that agreement.
5. FURNISHED OR UNFURNISHED - Most tenants prefer the property to be furnished however, it has been found that a tenant is likely to respect the property more if they have their own possessions. Moreover the difference between rent for furnished or unfurnished is negligible and the Landlord remains responsible for the repair of replacement of any furnishings which become broken or worn (unless this was caused by a deliberate act of the tenant – see Damage Deposits).
6. MARKETING/FINDING A TENANT – you will need to decide whether you require your agent to simply market your property and find a tenant or whether you would prefer to engage the services of their managing agents.
Whether you choose to opt for a managing agent or not, Field & Sons, as your letting agent, will firstly provide colour property details and a rental valuation which will be based on the popularity of the area, proximity to transport, rental price of similar properties handled and decorative condition to name but a few.
It is important to set your rent fairly but realistically in order to attract the most suitable tenant.
Your rental property will be displayed in our offices and feature on our website and all the major property portals.
We also contact any listed prospective tenants, local companies and relocation agents.
Should you decide to employ us as your managing agent, we will also handle calls, arrange viewings, vet prospective tenants and obtain references, draw up contracts and advise you on your safety and repairs obligations (see LEGAL DUTY OF CARE).
7. FULL CREDIT CHECKING – thorough credit checks are carried out on all prospective tenants and we reserve the right to decline an application where necessary in the interests of protecting the landlord’s investment.
8. REFERENCES – are carried out by an independent referencing company.
9. DRAFTING OF TENANCY AGREEMENT/LEASES – the letting team at Field & Sons will prepare and supply you with all legal documentation and give practical general legal advice.
10. DEPOSITS – This is usually equivalent to six weeks rent and is collected from the tenant at the commencement of the tenancy. In the case of an assured shorthold tenancy, the deposit, which will be protected by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme is lodged in a CLIENT ACCOUNT, the details of which, along with the tenancy details, are registered with the TENANCY DEPOSIT SCHEME within 14 days and all details are provided to the tenant.This deposit is held for the duration of the tenancy, at the end of which the property will be inspected and subject to dilapidations ( if any ) the deposit is refunded within 14 days of receiving written confirmation.
In the event of a dispute over dilapidations ( if any), then either party may notify the dispute to the Dispute Service. Both parties will then be required to submit evidence and the deposit ( or relevent part of it) will be forwarded to the insurance based scheme. Once an adjudication has been made, the scheme administrator will allocate and pay out the disputed amount within 10 days of the findings.
For more information about The Tenancy Deposit Scheme... click here> http://www.thedisputeservice.co.uk
The costs of everyday repairs and maintenance are the responsibility of the landlord but, if we are instructed to manage your property on your behalf, we will pay the contractor from rents received. We will also organise quotes for approval on any major repair, as this becomes apparent.
Under the LANDLORD AND TENANT ACT 1985, landlords are responsible for repair of the structure and exterior of the property, together with installations for the supply of gas, electricity, water and sanitation.
If the property is not in a good state of repair at the commencement of the tenancy, the tenant has the right to insist that repairs are carried out and, in the event that the damage is serious, the tenant will be entitled to consider the letting as terminated as the landlord will be in breach of his obligations.
11. COLLECTION OF RENT – this is usually done on a calendar-monthly basis and is forwarded to the Landlord via any previously approved method after any agreed deductions have been made for contractors etc.
12. LEGAL DUTY OF CARE – Under common law, the landlord must ensure that properties to let are safe and failure to comply with safety legislation is considered a criminal offence resulting in legal action and prosecution.
As your managing agent, we will carry out safety checks upon your request, deducting the cost from your rent.
1. Gas – (The Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1994 (amended 1998) – the landlord must maintain gas installations and all gas appliances through annual inspections and safety checks carried out by a Gassafe registered engineer and a copy of the current inspection certificate must be handed to each tenant.
2. Electricity - (The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 & Electricity at Works Regulations 1989 - the landlord must ensure that all mains voltage household appliances and equipment is tested and compliant. Any non-repairable items must be replaced and removed.
An N.I.C.E.I.C. or similarly qualified electrical engineer must carry out these tests on an annual basis.
All operating instructions must be left in the property for the tenant’s benefit.
3. Furniture and Furnishings – The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety)Regulations 1988 (amended 1989 & 1993) - soft furnishings (such as mattresses, sofas, bed bases, cushions and padded headboards) must meet fire resistance standards and bear a permanent label confirming this. If compliance cannot be proved, the item must be removed and replaced.
4. Smoke Detectors – whilst only properties built after 1992 legally require the fitting of smoke detectors (Building Regulation 1991), we would strongly recommend that smoke detectors are fitted on each floor of the property being let.
NB: The penalty for failure to comply with statutory safety legislation is currently a maximum of £5,000 and/or 6 month’s imprisonment for each offence. This can be harsher in the case of injury or fatality.
The above is only a guide to the legal safety requirements and should you have any further enquiries, we would recommend that you contact a qualified solicitor who will be able to verify these in full.
13. OVERSEAS LANDLORDS – you are considered an overseas landlord if you live abroad or go to work abroad for a minimum of 6 months.
It is important to firstly note that Inland Revenue regulations apply even if you are a non-UK resident. Moreover, non-resident landlords must apply to the Inland Revenue Financial Intermediaries Claims Office (FICO) for authorisation (by way of an exemption certificate) to receive payment of property rental ‘gross’, that is without deduction of income tax by the letting agent or tenant as required by law.
NB: The above is merely a guideline and for fully qualified advice, you should contact an appropriate accountant or tax expert.
BRIEF GUIDE TO SERVICES. FULL MANAGEMENT
• Advice on letting your property
• Refurbishment and maintenance advice. Field & Sons has an in house building and decorating team.
• Rental evaluation and provision of property details with colour photographs.
• Advertising of your rental property in local publications and on our website.
• Accompanied viewings and finding of a suitable tenant.
• Status enquiries, reference and credit checks of prospective tenants.
• Obtaining security deposit.
• Organising the preparation of the inventory and check-in (an additional charge).
• Preparing the tenancy agreement and legal notices.
• Arranging the transfer of utilities, council tax and water rates in the tenant’s name.
• Advising on compliance with safety regulations for gas and electricity supplies etc.
• Collecting monthly rental payments and providing quarterly accounting to landlords.
• Arranging annual gas safety records (chargeable).
• Periodic inspection of the property and reporting of any problems.
• Obtaining competitive quotations and, upon approval, arranging for necessary repairs/maintenance to be carried out.
• Contacting the tenant and arranging for renewals and/or check-out as necessary.
Call your nearest Field & Sons office or Request a Valuation below: