Ideal for all types of landlords with either single properties or a multiple portfolio, our Managed Service is also perfect for overseas landlords or those clients who simply do not wish to be involved in the day to day management of their properties. When you instruct us as your agent, we take on that responsibility for you, with authority to sign leases, collect rent, renew tenancies and re-let your property, engage contractors, hold clients’ and tenants’ monies, recover arrears and generally act in your place within agreed budgets.
As your Managing Agent we would assume these responsibilities for you to ensure compliance and to protect the interests of both landlord and tenant. Once you have confirmed our instructions to act as your agents, we will start working on your behalf to prepare the property and locate suitable tenants. Our arrangement will then be on-going until terminated by either party in writing.
With our 'Let Only' service, we will hand the property over to you for future management after setting up the tenancy. Our involvement then ends and it will then be your responsibility to collect rent, make interim inspections, arrange any safety tests due and serve any formal notices which may be required (eg to terminate/extend the tenancy).
Your property would usually be let on an ‘Assured Shorthold Tenancy’ (AST) to qualifying applicants for an initial period of six months. After that, and depending on your needs, a new fixed term may be offered, or the tenancy may ‘roll over’ on a monthly basis. As a general rule, we do not let properties to ‘sharers’ or as Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO’s). ‘Company Lets’ cannot be AST’s and individual agreements are made in those cases.
When you’re letting a property it’s vital that you know your tenants are in stable employment (or have other means to pay the rent every month), that they behaved appropriately in their previous tenancy and their references are satisfactory. Not only do we seek personal references but we also work closely with Van Mildert (the UK’s premier Tenant Referencing and Landlord Protection Service) who obtain a variety of references, including a comprehensive credit report, employment and previous landlord references and verified bank statements etc., from which they provide a judgement on whether the tenant is likely to pay the on-going rent on time and whether they are likely to cause problems of any kind.
Whatever the prospective tenant’s employment status, Van Mildert verify their income and confirm the terms of their employment. They run a series of thorough credit history checks to establish the prospective tenant’s financial stability and credit worthiness. Court judgements, bankruptcies, regular missed payments or other concerning facts will come to light and the possibility of the tenant using a fraudulent identity will be reduced. Where the tenant has been living in rented accommodation they contact the previous landlord to find out if the rent was always paid on time and whether the property was maintained acceptably. This is often the most important stage of the process and whilst not infallible, it can reveal a whole host of problems which you’d like to know about before committing to a tenancy.
An in-going deposit (sometimes known as a bond) will be taken for each tenancy, normally equal to one month’s rent plus £100, possibly more depending on the fixtures and fittings but up to a legal maximum of two months. An enhanced deposit is often taken where pets are allowed. This is held by us throughout the tenancy and is protected by a Government-authorised insurance scheme operated in accordance with the Tenants Deposit Regulations (Housing Act 2004) by ‘mydeposits’ who charge a premium for registering each tenancy.
When the tenant leaves the property, the inventory and condition of the property will be checked and the deposit returned in full unless a retention is required. In that case both landlord and tenant must agree the amount to be deducted. If agreement cannot be reached, the deposit will be retained and the dispute will be referred to the Dispute Resolution Service for arbitration. By confirming our agency, you authorise us to protect deposits on your behalf.
A property should be to a satisfactory standard and in good, clean, safe and healthy condition at the start of a tenancy. We will prepare a general statement of condition and detailed photographic inventory of the property (carpets, walls, kitchen, fixtures and fittings etc.) which will help prevent disputes at the end of the tenancy.
An additional fee is payable for a furnished property and we recommend that contents are kept to a minimum. Any items you value, or are not easily replaced and personal effects should be removed. Items of nominal value only may not be individually listed.
Whilst we would always like a property to be in the same condition at the end of a tenancy as it was at the start, it must be remembered that let properties are subject to a ‘fair wear and tear’ clause and will be subjected to the stresses and strains of everyday living.
Fees & Charges
Our fees will generally be a percentage commission at an agreed rate on the amount of rent received, or perhaps a fixed price in the case of a 'Let Only' service. Our experienced valuer will discuss our competitive pricing structure with you during the appraisal of your property. Please note that fees and expenses may be payable if you withdraw your property prior to letting or during a tenancy and additional works for ‘Let Only’ clients may be chargeable. Full details of our Terms and Charges are contained within our Summary of Charges and Agency Agreement.
Banking & Payments
We will collect the first month’s rent and the deposit and once funds have cleared, we will send you an account showing the rent received, less authorised expenses and fees. In some cases there may be a debit balance, depending on costs involved, in which case an invoice will be sent to you.
Fully managed service:
Rent is usually paid to us monthly in advance and assuming those funds have cleared, we will pay net rents due to you after deduction of fees and authorised expenses by bank transfer (BACS) direct into your bank on or about the 10th of the following month. We will pay authorised bills on your behalf out of rents received but only if we have sufficient funds available. The Cost of Preparation of each Lease is shared between Landlord and Tenant.
In the case of a Furnished Property a charge of £90 (inclusive of VAT) is payable for the preparation of a full inventory.
All rents/deposits received are held in non-interest bearing Hackney & Leigh Ltd Clients Accounts at Natwest Bank PLC. All Client Monies are protected under the RICS Code of Conduct.
Money Laundering Regulations
The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 applies to lettings and in common with many businesses, we are required to undertake ‘Customer Due Diligence’ and obtain verification of all new clients who will be asked to provide personal identification and proof of address.
Finance Act 1995 & others:
HMRC provisions require us to submit a return of rents received on behalf of all landlords. In addition we must retain standard rate income tax on net rents received for overseas landlords unless an NRL8 exemption letter and NRL number is obtained from HMRC. If you are an “Overseas Landlord” or will live overseas for more than six months you should register with the Non-Residents Landlord Scheme (if more than one owner, all parties must register). Tax Demands made will be paid in accordance with current legislation by which we are bound. Rental Income is taxable and should be declared on your Tax Return.
Mortgagees, Head Lessees & Insurance
Please Note: You should obtain the consent of your mortgage company before letting a mortgaged property. A leasehold property (eg in a block of flats) may also require the consent of a freeholder or ‘head-lessee’ prior to letting. In both cases we must have confirmation of the consent and details of any terms with which we or the tenants must comply. You should advise your insurers of your intention to let the property. They will advise on any changes to cover and exclusions required.
'HomeLet' specialise in lettings insurance and as an Introducer to HomeLet, we are can provide information on buildings or contents cover. Please also ask for details of their legal protection/rent guarantee schemes.
Repairs & Maintenance
Some repairs and maintenance are to be expected when letting property and whilst we would usually refer expenses to you for authorisation, (unless they result from an emergency in the property) we would normally have discretion to approve work up to a previously agreed limit for ‘no fault repairs’. Where the damage or breakdown is the fault of the tenant, the tenant will be asked to pay. We reserve the right in all cases (including and as a last resort ‘Let Only’ properties where the tenant is unable to contact you) to authorise emergency repairs without reference to you when time is of the essence or in order to preserve the property.
We are able to use our many contacts in the industry to organise property repairs/refurbishment/renovations and will be happy to obtain estimates and contractors and to oversee works on your behalf. Small scale projects beyond our agreed budgets are charged a handling fee of 10% +VAT of the costs. If we are asked to arrange and supervise major works or contracts in excess of £2,000 a fee for this will be agreed with you.
At least three full sets of keys to your property are required; two for the tenants use and one for our retention, (if we are to continue as Managing Agents). If you do not have any spare keys, we will have copies made and your account debited with the cost.
Tenants are responsible for Council Tax and Utilities supplies from the start of the tenancy and new meter readings will be taken. The tenant is also responsible for submitting final readings at the end of the tenancy which we will also check as part of our final inspection for both 'Let Only' and 'Managed' properties. The suppliers will be contacted and the accounts transferred back into your name. As BT will not accept instructions from a third party, you will need to contact them direct if you wish to retain the telephone line. Please ensure that all water pipes and storage tanks are adequately insulated. A terrestrial television aerial should also be provided and it is your responsibility to provide an appropriate valid licence if a TV is included in the let.