White Estates provides a range of letting and management services based on the experience, skills and expertise of our lettings team. We have been established for over 20 years and with our fully trained 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 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.
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, here are some of the measures we suggest:
- Interior walls should be neutral colours and carpets plain.
- Fabrics and Furnishings (if any) should be able to withstand reasonable wear and tear and be of suitable quality
- Animal 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 and 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 please contact us.
Important considerations for Landlords before Letting:
- Written consent must be obtained from your Mortgage Provider/Freeholder (if property is leasehold).
- Your Insurance Company must be notified that the property is to be rented out and appropriate insurance obtained for a tenanted property. There are specialist insurance companies who can provide this and we would be happy to assist you.
- The Inland Revenue must also be informed within 6 months of letting your property, flat or apartment in the UK. 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, at least two if you have Management Agents acting for you.
- Utilities such as gas/electricity/water/telephone & Council Tax will have to be transferred to the successful Tenant.
- An Inventory and Check In should 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.
- The Inventory is required whether the property to let is furnished or unfurnished and accurate descriptions of the overall condition of wall/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 but should be noted that any judgement will be on the basis of written documentation – the Inventory
Tenancy – The Housing Act 1988 (amended 1996) has given rise to two types of Tenancy: Assured and Assured Short hold Tenancy as well as the existing Company Tenancy and Contractual Tenancy.
A) Assured Tenancy
Certain criteria have 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 £100,000 per annum
d) The Landlord must not occupy the same property
If the property is let under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, the Landlord can issue a Section 21 Notice to guarantee possession provided the term of the Shorthold is 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) wants to enter into a Tenancy.
D) Contractual Tenancy
Contractual Tenancy also falls outside the provisions of the Housing Acts of 1988 and 1996 and is not regulated by statute. It is most commonly used where the rent exceeds £100,000 per annum and both parties have the freedom to contract as they choose, but must then rely solely on the provisions of that Agreement.
Full Credit Checking – thorough credit checks are carried out on all prospective Tenants as we can reserve the right to decline an application where necessary in the interests of protecting the Landlord’s investment.
References – we obtain references through a referencing agency or in house.
Drafting of Tenancy Agreement/Leases – the Letting team at White Estates can prepare and supply you with all legal documentation and give practical general legal advice.
Damage Deposits – This is usually equivalent to six week's rent and is taken from the Tenant to be held in our Client Account and/ or protected by The Deposit Protection Service (DPS) until the end of the Tenancy. Upon vacation of your property, there will be a re-inspection and any refunds will be made within a maximum of 28 days, provided that there are no disputes and all utility accounts have been settled.
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 the rent proceeds. We can 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.
Collection of Rent – We collect the rent which is forwarded to the Landlord via any previously approved method after any agreed deductions have been made for contractors etc.
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 can arrange for safety checks upon your request to be carried out, 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 CORGI registered engineer and a copy of the Current Inspection Certificate must be left at the property.
2. Electricity - (The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 & Electricity at Works Regulations 1989- the Landlord must ensure that all mains voltage household electrical appliances and equipment is tested and safe to use. Any non-repairable items must be replaced and removed.
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, settees, 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 to each floor of the property being let.
The above is only a guide to the legal safety requirements and should you have any further enquiries, we would be happy to discuss it further.
Overseas Landlords – you are considered an overseas Landlord if you live abroad or go to work abroad for lengthy periods of time.
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.
Breif Guide to Services:
We offer a Let Only and Full Management Service.
Depending on your choice, our lettings services can incorporate the following:
• Ensuring that prospective Tenants are accompanied on viewings by a member of staff.
• Holding keys to the property.
• Introducing a Tenant.
• Negotiating an acceptable rent.
• Obtaining references.
• Negotiating and preparation of a tenancy agreement.
• Collecting, holding and protecting the deposit.
• Arranging for a professional, independent Inventory Clerk if applicable.
• Advising utility companies and the local authorities of the change of occupancy.
• Preparing a statement of account less deductions. Paying the rent to the Landlord.
• Ascertaining from the Landlord and the Tenant whether or not the tenancy is to be extended.
• On receipt of a Notice to terminate the tenancy by the Tenant/ Landlord, advising the other party of the same.
• Upon the tenant(s) vacating the premises, dealing with the practical arrangement including checking of inventory if applicable and transferring utilities into the Landlords name and sending the inventory report to the Landlord.
• Dealing with the refund of the deposit and apportioning costs agreed by both the Landlord and Tenants.
Our hands-on management service includes the following:
• Arranging payment of the Landlords rental income to a his bank account
• Visiting the property during the tenancy.
• Arranging any cleaning, repairs or replacements that are found to be necessary and apportioning the charge as appropriate between the Landlord and the Tenant.
• Notifying the Landlord of any defects in the premises that may be brought to our attention.
• Negotiating with the Tenant in respect of dilapidation.
• Arranging and maintaining the Gas Safety Certificate record by gas safe registered engineers.
• We have a pool of reliable contractors at our disposal such as plumbers, carpenters, electricians and painter and decorators.