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.
Lettings & New Homes
204 High Street,
Hertfordshire, EN5 5SZ
Tel: +44 (0)20 8441 9796 (Lettings)
Tel: +44 (0)20 8441 9555 (New Homes)
Fax: +44 (0)20 8441 7976
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 and failure to do so will incur penalties, interest and other consequences. The Inland Revenue are 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, 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 Deposit Protection Service (DPS) for their in-house resolution service to preside over. Both parties are bound by the outcome of the judgement of the (DPS) It should be noted that any judgement will be on the basis of written documentation – the Inventory.
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 6 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) want 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) COMMON LAW AGREEMENT
Common law agreement 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.
Furnished or Unfurnished
Most professional Tenants prefer the property to be unfurnished and 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).
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 chose to opt for a Managing Agent or not, 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 property handled and decorative condition to name but a few.
It is important to price your rent fairly but realistically in order to attract the most suitable Tenant.
Your rental property will be regularly advertised in the local press and publications dedicated to the letting industry as well as displayed in our offices and featured on our website and other leading property portal. These portals include sites such as Prime Location, Right Move, Find a Property, Property Finder, and Statons in-house website to ensure maximum exposure. Our website has been established over many years and many key words used by tenants during their property searches on giant search engines such as Google etc attain high rankings on those essential sites. We also contact any listed prospective Tenants, local companies and relocation agents in our efforts to find suitable tenants.
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.
We believe that taking comprehensive references is an essential part of our service. We only allow an outside independent referencing specialist to undertake this process. The tenant will be responsible for covering this cost. Once successfully completed, the referencing company will assist you in obtaining a linked insurance policy to safeguard your rental income and provide legal protection insurance products such as (RENT GUARANTEE & LEGAL INSURANCE.)
Drafting of Tenancy Agreement / Leases
We take a detailed brief from Landlords before tenancy agreements can be prepared and prepare draught agreements for the landlord's approval in advance of the proposed tenancy. Only once the agreement has been approved by the landlord will it be sent to the tenants for their approval.
This is usually equivalent to six weeks rental and is taken from the Tenant to be held in a Client Account until the end of the Tenancy. Statons Premier Lettings put all client money into the Deposit Protection Service website (DPS.) 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Gas Safe 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. An NICEIC or similarly qualified electrical engineer must carry out these tests on an annual basis and we would also recommend this is done upon change of Tenancy. 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.
NB: The penalty for failure to comply with statutory safety legislation is currently a maximum of £5,000 and/or 6 months 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.
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.
Brief Guide to Our Services
- Advice on letting your property.
- Rental evaluation, provision of property details with colour photographs.
- Advertising of your rental property in local publications/on our website.
- Accompanied viewings and finding of a suitable Tenant.
- Status enquiries/reference and credit check of prospective Tenants.
- Obtaining security deposit/rent guarantee.
- Organising/preparing the Inventory and Check-In (additional charge).
- Preparing Tenancy Agreement and Legal Notices.
- Advising on compliance with Safety Regulations for Gas/Electricity supplies etc.
- Contacting the Tenant and arranging for renewals and/or check-out as necessary.
- For any further information or to discuss a free no-obligation, letting market appraisal for your property please contact a member of our lettings team.
Standard Fees for Landlords
The fees outlined below represent our charges for the ‘Let Only’ service that our company offers. If you require a Rent Collection or Management Service we work in conjunction with Rushbrook & Rathbone who provide these services. Please contact a member of our team on +44 208 441 9796 for further information about this.
• Sole Agency – 8% + VAT (9.6% inclusive of VAT)
• Multi Agency – 10% + VAT (12% inclusive of VAT)
The above fees represent the percentage of the total rent due for the term of the contract under the terms of the Tenancy Agreement entered into between the Owner and the Tenant.
Additional fees may be applicable:
If the tenancy is renewed or extended, or if an option to renew is exercised by the Tenants, the tenancy renewal will be a percentage of the annual rent after the first term and every subsequent year thereafter. The percentage will depend on whether you agreed to a Sole Agency or a Multi Agency agreement for the original fee (see below).
• Sole-Agency - 7% + VAT (8.4% inclusive of VAT)
• Multi-Agency - 9% + VAT (10.8% inclusive of VAT)
The above fees represent the percentage of the total rent due for the term of the renewed contract under the terms of the renewal contract entered into between the Owner and the Tenant.
Administration Fees for Landlords
To protect both you and the tenant there are administration procedures that must be followed as part of the rental process. We have outsourced independent specialists who carry out these procedures for us. This means that in addition to the commission outlined above you will be required to pay their charges once we have found you a tenant. These charges are outlined below.
• Pre Tenancy Set up and Legal Services = £270
Additional administration fees may be applicable:
For example, fees will apply if you require a deposit to be registered (£48), if any substantive changes to the Tenancy Agreement are made at the Landlords request (£42), if the tenancy is renewed (£144). Please contact a member of our team on +44 208 441 9796 for further information about this.