RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT
|Cottage near Aylsham|
A lovely property which
is always in demand
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Information for Landlords
If you are thinking of letting a property, then it is essential that you seek proper advice. There are now many letting agents, but extremely few are personally operated by qualified property professionals. As an individual, John Bell FRICS, a chartered surveyor, has been successfully letting and managing properties on behalf of homeowners and investors since 1970, having commenced his own practice in 1981. It is the policy of John Bell Management to provide a truly individual comprehensive service, so that the absent owner can relax in the knowledge that their property is being carefully looked after. We recommend that you read the How to Rent Guide, which is published by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Our Management Service Includes:
- Selection of tenants, including checking of references.
- Preparation of tenancy agreements.
- Preparation of inventories, including furnishings and decorations.
- Advising on rent.
- Obtaining deposit from tenant.
- Rent collection and preparation of regular statements.
- Arranging repairs.
- Regular internal and external inspections.
- Attending to routine management enquiries from tenants, local authorities etc.
- We are professionally qualified property professionals (not just members of a trade organisation).
- We are required to adhere to a strict Code of Conduct imposed by our professional organisations, The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Association of Residential Letting Agents.
- Whilst we take care to avoid problems with tenants, we are able to offer a comprehensive insurance scheme to our clients to protect them against the costs of obtaining possession and lost rent, in the event of a dispute with the tenant.
- All money is kept in a fully bonded and separate "Clients Bank Account" and our accounts are independently checked at regular intervals.
Professional indemnity and third party insurance are held.
Type of Tenancy
Since the passing of the Housing Act 1988, most lettings will be 'Assured Shorthold Tenancies'. We normally recommend using this format for a minimum initial fixed term of 6 or 12 months, although other periods can be agreed. The Landlord is committed to the initial fixed term.
However, as a result of recent ‘unfair contract terms’ legislation, the Tenant may now be able to leave after the first three months of the fixed term, but only if he/she can find a suitable alternative tenant who is acceptable to the Landlord (the Landlord’s approval not to be unreasonably withheld), and if the Tenant pays to the Landlord any reasonably incurred expenses.
If the landlord requires possession at the end of the tenancy, then at least 2 months should be served using the prescribed form. It should be noted that if the tenant fails to leave, then it is still necessary to approach the Court to obtain a possession order, although procedures are now much quicker and easier than they were a few years ago.
If you have a mortgage on the property, you should obtain the consent of the lender prior to arranging any letting. We will assume that you have their consent, unless you advise us otherwise. They may have special requirements which must be incorporated into the Tenancy Agreement.
If you make a profit from the letting, then you may be required to pay tax at the appropriate rate. Different tax rules apply to landlords living overseas. If approval is not obtained, then tax may have to be deducted from rents before they are credited to your account. However, as letting agents approved under the Inland Revenue Non-Resident Landlords Scheme, we will help you to complete the necessary forms, and upon approval will be able to send rents to you without deduction of tax. As part of the Scheme, we are required to send the Inland Revenue an annual statement of your income and expenses. You may also find it useful to appoint a qualified accountant to deal with your tax affairs whilst absent.
It is important that you notify your existing insurers that you intend to let, because if you fail to do so, it could affect your policy and cover. We are not authorised under the Financial Services Authority Regulations to give any advice regarding insurance. However, we can inform you that there are a number of companies who specialise in providing insurance cover for let properties, including AgentAssure (see below). Subject to their terms and conditions, they are able to offer Rent Guarantee Insurance, Legal Protection Insurance, Building Insurance and Contents Insurance for let properties. For further details, click the link below:
In the case of furnished lettings, it is essential that all soft furnishings comply fully with the current Fire Safety Regulations. Failure to do so is a criminal offence. For short term unfurnished lettings, we recommend that you leave carpets, curtains and a cooker. This will make it much easier to find a tenant.
In most cases, the landlord is responsible for repairs to the structure and exterior of the property (including drains, gutters and external pipes). This liability also extends to the maintenance of the installations for supplying gas, water and electricity; the repair of sanitation appliances; and appliances used for space and water heating. A valid Gas Safety Certificate should be provided before the commencement of the letting, and annually thereafter. Tenants are usually required to keep the interior in good repair and decorative condition (fair wear and tear excepted).
You should appreciate that if you are away for say a three year period, and during your absence there is a tenancy change every six months, then it is difficult to blame one particular tenant for deterioration of internal decorations, unless of course some obvious damage has occurred. Owners remember what their house was like when they went away and expect it to be the same when they return. They forget that if they had lived in the house for the same three year period, the property would also be likely to need some attention.
We normally make the tenant responsible for paying council tax, water charges, electricity, gas, telephone and fuel bills. You should arrange for your own final readings to be taken prior to your departure.
Energy Performance Certificates
You will need to provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) which will be valid for ten years, to prospective tenants, the first time you let or re-let your property after 1 October 2008. EPCs can only be produced as a result of a survey by an ‘accredited’ Domestic Energy Assessor. They are used to collect standard information on the property including its size, how it is constructed and its hot water and heating systems. The information is then fed into a government approved software programme which produces the EPC. The cost is usually about £65.00 to £100.00. This must be available before we start marketing the Property. We would be happy to arrange this for you if required.
If you instruct us to act on your behalf, we will enter into a formal Management Agreement which sets out the terms agreed. It also gives mandates for certain payments to be made from rents collected, and authority to order repairs (up to a pre-agreed limit). This Agreement may be terminated by either side upon giving one months notice.
We hope that this information has been helpful. If you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact us.
The information contained on this webpage should only be regarded as a general guide. It is not an authoritative interpretation or statement of the law, which only the Courts, or a lawyer specialising in the subject can give. If you are in any doubt, or require a definite opinion, then specialist legal advice should be obtained.
Normal Management Service
Rent collected monthly and statement sent quarterly - 11% of rents receivable. Where the management period is less than 6 months, a 15% fee is payable.
Rent collected monthly and statement sent monthly - 15% of rents receivable.
In addition, each time we let the property during our management, a fee of £65.00 is charged to include:-
- Finding a suitable tenant.
- Checking references.
- Preparing Tenancy Agreement and checking Inventory.
- Preparing and serving any Rent/Housing Act Notices.
- Collection of deposit from tenant.
- Accompanied viewing of the property.
Letting Only Fee
If we are instructed to let the property, but not undertake management, then for providing services 1 to 6 above, a charge based on 50% of the first month's rent is made, subject to a minimum fee of £100.00.
The above charges do not include:-
- Travelling expenses for accompanied viewing which is charged at 30 pence a mile (does not apply to properties in Aylsham).
- Advertising expenses (at cost).
- Cost of obtaining Credit Reference Search - normally about £20.00 each.
- Cost of obtaining Bankers Reference if required. - normally about £10.00 each.
- Preparation of first inventory and schedule of decorations- from £25.00.
- Cost of Energy Performance Certificate (if requested).
- Inland Revenue Stamp Duty (if applicable)
We do not charge V.A.T.
In the event that you decide not to let the property, or we are unable to secure a tenant, then we reserve the right to recover our reasonable advertising, travelling and other expenses. However, if we do find a tenant willing and able to proceed with the tenancy, but you decide not to let, we will make a charge based on the 'Letting Only' fee above.
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