Why Use Us?
Letting your property can be a complicated, frustrating and at times a consuming process. We can smooth the path and make the process painless for you. Our experienced team offers highly professional, personalised and individually tailored advice to achieve the maximum rental possible for your property, whilst ensuring that all legal requirements are met to avoid common pitfalls.
Here are just a few of the reasons you’ll feel secure using our services.
Property Market Knowledge
We are an established agent in the area and have excellent knowledge of the local property market.
Experienced and Professional Employees
Our teams are well trained and keep up to date with any changes in legislation to ensure a highly professional service to our clients.
Accurate Rental Appraisals
We provide honest and up to date rental figures.
Honest Professional Advice
We provide you with the best advice on how to maximise your rental income, and recommend any improvements which may be required to ensure your property stays up to date with current market conditions.
Our marketing campaign ensures your property gets maximum exposure.
We will always try to accommodate our applicants as much as possible! We ensure we are available when required and often extend our hours for evening and weekend viewings. We provide a personal service and regularly update you on viewings and feedback from prospective applicants.
For more information, please call us today or click on the General Enquiry button below.
Before you let your property it is important to consider:
- Is my property suitable to let?
- What is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy and when should I use it?
- What if my tenant doesn’t pay?
- Can I regain possession if my tenant does not want to leave at the end of the agreed tenancy?
- Will the deposit be covered by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme & Deposit Protection Service (The DPS)?
- Which bills are my responsibility and which are the tenant’s?
- What insurance cover do I need?
Landlord Responsibility in Law
Have you covered your legal responsibilities?
Landlords have a duty to ensure the safety of the property they are letting and, if furnished, its contents.
The following are statutory Safety Legislations applicable to letting properties, which must be adhered to by Landlords:
The Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1988
Provisions which apply to rented property let on a tenancy or lease of less than 7 years (including periodic tenancies) or those which may be determined within 7 years, and to periodic tenancies arising from such tenancies. Property occupied under the terms of a licence, e.g. guest houses, bed and breakfast and holiday accommodation, is also covered by these regulations.
The Regulations make the following main provisions in relation to rented property:
- MAINTENANCE. The Regulations place a duty on the landlord to ensure that all gas appliances, flues and associated pipework are maintained in a safe condition at all times.
- ANNUAL SAFETY CHECK. Gas appliances and flues in rented accommodation must be checked for safety within 12 months of being installed and thereafter at least every twelve months by a competent engineer (i.e. Gas Safe registered gas installer).
- NEW TENANCIES. Before any lease commences, it must be ensured that the gas safety check has been carried out on each appliance and flue within the 12 month period before the tenancy commences, or has been or will be carried out within 12 months after the appliance or flue was installed, whichever is later.
- TENANT’S APPLIANCES. Under these Regulations, a landlord’s duty to maintain and check appliances does not apply to gas appliances which are owned by the tenant, nor to any flues that only serve such appliances (although the landlord may have a duty to repair and maintain such flues under separate legislation – see s.11, Landlord and Tenant Act 1985).
- RECORDS. The Regulations require the landlord (or his agent) to keep a record of safety checks on each appliance and flue. The record must include the prescribed information which includes the date of the check, the address of the premises concerned, the name and address of the landlord (or where appropriate, the agent), the description of the appliance/flue checked, any defect identified, any remedial action taken, confirmation that the check complies with the Regulations, and the name and Gas Safe registration number of the person doing the check. The Gas Safe Gas Safety Record Form may be used for this purpose. Records should be kept for 2 years from the date of the check.6. GAS CERTIFICATE. A copy of the safety check record or certificate must be given to any new tenant before the tenant occupies the premises to which the record relates. Also, a copy of the new record must be given to each existing tenant within 28 days of the annual check.Because the Regulations require that a copy of the record is to be given to each existing tenant and any new tenant, this means that all tenants should receive a copy of the report within the prescribed time.7. CONTRACTING OUT. A landlord or agent may not contract out of his obligations under the Regulations, e.g. by making an agreement or stipulation on the tenant under the lease that the tenant must arrange for servicing of gas appliances.8. ROOM-SEALED APPLIANCES. The Regulations prohibit the installation of certain types of gas appliances in certain areas; such as a room used or intended to be used as a bathroom or sleeping accommodation. Although this is a general requirement on all properties, a landlord has additional specific duties under the Regulations to:
- Check that such appliances are not installed in any room occupied or intended to be occupied as sleeping accommodation
- Ensure that the Regulations are not contravened when a room is converted to form accommodation used or intended to be used as sleeping accommodation.
Smoke Detectors Act 1991
The 1991 Smoke Detectors Act requires that all new houses that have been built since 1992 must, by law, have a smoke detector installed, the minimum requirement being one smoke alarm on each level of the building.
This is not a piece of legislation aimed specifically at residential letting property, but aimed at all new buildings. If an agent installs smoke alarms into properties that he manages or they already exist, care must be taken in ensuring that it is clear from the letting agreement who is responsible for the maintenance of the detectors including testing and battery replacement.
To neglect this matter could mean that the landlord or agent is responsible, and in the case of a fire could be held liable for being negligent in their duties. There are different rules covering Houses in Multiple Occupation with regard to the installation of smoke detectors and other fire prevention measures.
The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994
The Regulations require:
- GENERAL SAFETY. That all electrical equipment supplied is safe.In measuring safety, the ‘supplier’ needs to ascertain whether the product will comply with the current UK requirements for safety of domestic electrical products. Without detailed technical knowledge, there is no simple way to define which electrical products conform and which do not.
- INSTRUCTIONS. Where the safe use of the equipment relies upon the user being aware of any particular characteristic, suitable information or instruction booklets should be provided. The instructions should be given in English.
- LABELLING. The 1994 Regulations require that any equipment supplied in the EEC after 9th January 1995 shall be marked with the appropriate CE symbol (subject to the Transitional arrangements below). In practise, the CE labelling requirement only applies to manufacturers when equipment is first placed on the market.
- TRANSITIONAL ARRANGEMENTS. Equipment supplied in the letting of property will thus be supplied equipment already placed into the supply chain. The transition arrangements allow the supply of electrical equipment which either complies with the provisions of the 1994 Regulations or complies with the provisions of the 1989 Regulations. Thus letting agents may continue to provide non CE labelled equipment as long as it is compliant with the 1989 Regulations.
The Furniture and Furnishing (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 as amended in 1993
Since January 1997, it has been unlawful for landlords to supply upholstered furniture in rented property which does not comply to 1988 standards as set out in The Furniture & Furnishings (Fire)(Safety) Regulations 1988 (as amended).
The reason is that upholstered furniture made before 1988 may contain foam which is capable of engulfing a room in seconds with toxic fumes. The new standards require furniture to be filled with safer materials and be covered by material with greater fire resistance. Consequently, the regulations apply to the covering and the filling material of these furnishings.
What is covered by the regulations?
All upholstered seating furniture, beds, mattresses, headboards, sofa beds, futons, scatter cushions, seat pads, loose and stretch covers.
Furniture bought new after 1988 should be labelled to indicate it complies. Since 1993 it has been illegal to sell second-hand furniture which does not comply (furniture made before 1950 is the exception).
You will also need to make sure you have:
- Certificates meeting these regulations where appropriate
- An inventory of all items left in the property and a property condition report
- Carried out a Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) for all electrical appliances.
- Got permission from your mortgage lender if you have a mortgage on your property or told your freeholder
- Told your insurers.
Energy Performance Certificates (EPC)
Private residential landlords are required to provide an EPC when renting out a home to new tenants.
The EPC remains valid for 10 years and can be used for all new tenants in that period; it is only required for self-contained properties, ie they are not necessary when a tenant rents a room with shared facilities.
Using an agent
You can advertise and manage your property yourself, but it can be stressful and time consuming, so we are here to help you. We will provide you with necessary advice and written confirmation of our terms, conditions and costs for acting on your behalf before you sign anything.
Finding a tenant is one thing, but making sure that the tenant is suitable is another.
We, as Property Managing Agents, make sure that all necessary references are taken out and help with the preparation of suitable Tenancy Agreements and inventories. Once we have found a suitable tenant we then undertake regular inspection visits, to ensure your property is being suitably maintained.
We charge competitive fees for this service which includes the following:
- Advertising in the press, on our website, and property portals
- Regular checks of your property
- Preparation of annual expenditure report for tax purposes
- Settling of repairs and maintenance bills
We will agree with you a regular inspection schedule for both tenanted and untenanted properties.
Repairs & Maintenance
All necessary maintenance and repairs will be organised and executed immediately in order to avoid further damage. We will agree pre-approved expenditure levels and seek your approval for repairs over a prescribed amount.
This service is included if the property is managed by us.
Payment of bills
All regular payments that are the Landlord’s responsibility e.g. service charges, will remain the responsibility of the Landlord
Notice to Tenants
At an agreed time prior to the termination of the tenancy agreement, a letter will be sent to the tenants on the landlord’s request in order to ensure the tenants renew their agreement on time or vacate the property as per the original tenancy agreement.
The Finance Act 1995 and Taxation of Income from Land (Non-Resident) Regulations 1995
Both the Letting Agent (or Tenant where there is no Letting Agent) and the overseas Landlord are obliged and responsible to deduct tax from the rental income.
Letting Agents are required BY LAW to withhold tax from rental income unless specifically exempted in writing by HMRC. Exemption is expressed by means of a letter detailing an Approved Number. This is commonly referred to as Exemption Certificate although HMRC terminology is Approved Number. The Letting Agent is required to:
- Register with HMRC details of ANY Landlord (and property) for whom the agent had received income during the year, along with details of the gross income for each.
- Account for and pay over quarterly, tax at the current rate on the net rent less allowable expenditure within 30 days of each quarter end for Overseas Landlords (i.e. non residents).
- Forward to HMRC an Annual Statement detailing income and expenditure and showing the payments made to HMRC on behalf of each Overseas Landlord by the 5th of July each year.
- Issue to the Landlord a certificate in a prescribed form stating the tax payable for the year according to the returns submitted by 5th of July each year.
The Landlord can apply for an exemption from deduction by the agent from HMRC whereby rental payments may be made to them without tax being deducted, subject to the submission of an Annual Statement of income and expenditure and the net tax liability to HMRC. ONLY Landlords can make the application and ONLY on receipt of confirmation FROM HMRC DIRECT to the Letting Agent in the form of a letter of exemption detailing an Approval Number can the agent pay rents gross to the Landlord.
HMRC will impose the following conditions on the Landlord before issuing the Tax Exemption Certificate:
- The Landlord’s UK Tax liabilities must be up to date
- The Landlord agrees to fully comply with the requirements of Self-Assessment *
- Failure to comply with any of these conditions will result in HMRC withdrawing the exemption, following which the Letting Agent will be instructed to commence withholding tax from the date of receipt of notice of withdrawal.
For more information, please call us today or click on the General Enquiry button below
Please note these are general guidelines which are accurate at the time of compilation. We are however not qualified accountants and therefore strongly recommend that you take independent tax advice.
* Under Self-Assessment, taxpayers are required to calculate their own tax liability and submit figures to HMRC directly or via their tax adviser. HMRC can provide an information pack and guidance notes to assist you in this matter.