Letting with Statons
The lettings market has seen a resurgence in the last few years, mainly due to the increased protection and possession rights for landlords following the introduction of the Housing Act 1988.
Generation Rent has had a significant impact, causing demand for private rental properties to rise. This has in turn provided investment opportunities for people from all walks of life, encouraging them to enter the rental market. From investors to accidental landlords, we continue to see strong belief in the buy-to-let market.
Changing legislation and regulations can sometimes cause confusion, and landlords expect the letting agent they choose to have extensive knowledge and expertise. All our lettings team are ahead of the game, able to calm any concerns and guide you on the right course for your investment.
Lettings & New Homes
204 High Street, Hadley Green,
Hertfordshire, EN5 5SZ
Tel: +44 (0)20 8441 9796 (Lettings)
Tel: +44 (0)20 8441 9555 (New Homes)
Standard Agency 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
- Sole Agency – 9.6% inclusive of VAT (8% + VAT)
- Multi Agency – 12% inclusive of VAT (10% + 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 entered into a Sole Agency or a Multi Agency agreement for the original fee (see below).
- Sole Agency - 8.4% inclusive of VAT (7% + VAT)
- Multi Agency - 10.8% inclusive of VAT (9% + VAT)
The above fees represent the percentage of the total rent due for the term of the renewed contract under the terms of the renewed contract entered into between the Owner and the Tenant.
Administration Fees for Landlords
To protect both you and the tenant there are certain 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 (inclusive of VAT)
- Tenancy deposit registration (if applicable)= £48 (inclusive of VAT)
- Substantive changes to Tenancy Agreement made at landlord’s request (if applicable) = £42 (inclusive of VAT)
- Extension and renewal documentation for Let Only service (if applicable) = £120 (inclusive of VAT) - payment due prior to renewal start date
Important Considerations for Landlords Before Letting
Before letting your property, you must receive written consent from your mortgage provider or the freeholder, should your property be leasehold. You must also obtain the appropriate insurance for a rental. We can point you in the direction of specialist insurance companies who would be happy to assist.
To ensure you don’t incur any interest, penalties, or any other consequence from the Inland Revenue, you must inform them that your property is to be let out within 6 months. The Inland Revenue are also known for treating landlords who fail to declare rental income harshly. We suggest that you seek the advice of a fully qualified accountant on tax planning and capital gains tax.
Make sure you organise for your mail to be redirected; you can do this easily at the Post Office for 3, 6, or 12 months.
When you have additional keys cut, check that they all work and are without issues. Also, remember to get additional keys should you have management agents acting for you.
You are responsible for all utilities, including gas, water, electricity, council tax and telephone until a tenancy has been secured, at which time they will be transferred to your tenant.
It is imperative that you have an Inventory and Check in. In our experience it can be false economy to prepare this document yourself.
It doesn’t matter if your property is furnished or unfurnished, it is a requirement that an inventory be drawn up for any property being let. The inventory gives accurate descriptions of the condition of the property, its décor, fittings, and finishes, from the carpet to the lampshade. If damage has been caused, you cannot withhold any monies from the tenants’ deposit unless you can prove that it was caused by the tenant during their tenancy; this is why the inventory is vital.
In some cases , you may be able to resolve any disputes amiably. If you fail to come to an understanding then the case will be presided over by the Deposit Protection Service (DPS) and their in house resolution service (ADR). This is a free service with an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement. The judgment is based on written documentation plus the inventory and checkout, and both parties are bound by their decision .
In addition to the Company Tenancy and Common Law Agreement there are two further types of tenancy that have arisen from the Housing Act 1988 (amended 1996):Assured Tenancy ,these are rare as most tenancies are now AST and Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST).
To qualify for an Assured Tenancy status, certain criteria must be met. The advantage of an Assured Tenancy is the security of the tenure between both parties at the negotiated rent. To re-take possession of the property, the landlord must obtain a court order.
Assured Shorthold Tenancy
This tenancy is seen by landlords as the more attractive option and is the format most tenancies are based on. An Assured Shorthold Tenancy doesn’t offer security of tenure after the contractual period, but it does allow for market rent as long as certain criteria are met:
- The Tenant must be an individual.
- The property must be the Tenant's main residence/home.
- The rent cannot exceed £100,000 per annum.
- The Landlord must not occupy the same property.
To guarantee possession of a property to let under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, once the shorthold has expired the landlord can issue a Section 6 Notice. However, this notice cannot be served if the landlord has not given at least two months’ notice to the tenant stating that they wish to regain possession.
We must stress that under the Protection From Evictions Act 1977 it is a criminal offence to try and evict a tenant from your property by force or threat. However, you can obtain a court action against your tenant on a number of grounds.
A Company Tenancy is when a Private or Public Limited Company enters a tenancy agreement. It is worth noting that this type of tenancy is governed by contract law and, unlike Assured and Assured Shorthold Tenancies, is not regulated by the House Acts of 1988 or 1996. With a Company Tenancy, the tenure isn’t secure and, with prior agreement, rental payments tend to be made quarterly.
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
The tenants we attract at Statons tend to prefer an unfurnished property, as most will already have furniture of their own, whilst others prefer to put their own stamp on what is to be their home. The rental difference between a furnished and an unfurnished property is negligible when you take unto account the cost of repair and upkeep of the furnishings you supply.
Finding a Tenant and Marketing Your Property
There are a couple of options available to you in this regard; we can simply market your property with the sole purpose of finding you a tenant, or we can fully manage the property on your behalf. Regardless of your decision, we will market your property extensively with quality photographs, and an online presence including the major property portals such as Primelocation, Rightmove, Find a Property, and our own website. Another powerful resource is our exclusive database of prospective tenants, local contacts and reloction agents. Your property will also be advertised in the local press and within regional publications, as well as being displayed in our offices.
Prior to marketing, we will provide you with a rental valuation that takes into account various factors such as the style and condition of your property, location and access to transport.
In the interest of protecting a landlord’s investment we undertake thorough credit checks on all prospective tenants. We reserve the right to decline an application.
An independent referencing service carries out comprehensive reference checks on all prospective tenants. It is the tenant’s responsibility to cover the cost of this essential part of the service. Once a completed process is successful, it is important to safeguard your rental income with legal and protection products; the referencing company can assist you in finding the right insurances.
Drafting Tenancy Agreements
Before we prepare any tenancy agreement we take a detailed brief from each landlord. Once drafted, we will seek the landlord’s approval prior to sending the agreement to the tenants for them to check and also approve.
The rental deposit tends to be six weeks’ rental, which we place into the Deposit Protection Service (DPS) for the duration of the tenancy. At the end of the tenancy, when a tenant has vacated and an inspection satisfactorily undertaken, the deposit can be refunded within a maximum of 28 days. This is on the basis that all utilities have been paid and there are no disputes.
It is worth remembering that, as landlords bound by the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, you are responsible for the everyday repairs and maintenance of the property, including the structure and exterior.
A tenant can insist on repairs being undertaken should the property not be in a good state of repair at the start of the tenancy. If the damage is serious, as a landlord you will be in breach of your obligations and the tenant is entitled to terminate the tenancy.
We usually forward all rental income to our landlords on a calendar month basis via a mutually approved method. There may be deductions to the rental income due to agreed contractors undertaking work on your property.
Duty of Care
It is considered a legal offence under common law to let a property that is not safe or fails to comply with safety legislation; this could result in legal action and prosecution. Failure to comply with current legal safety requirements could result in a £5,000 penalty and/ or imprisonment for 6 months for each offence. Should any non-compliance result in a fatality, the penalty can be harsher.
The Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1994 (amended 1998)
A Gas Safe engineer must undertake annual inspections and safety checks of all gas installations and appliances. It is your responsibility to ensure that maintenance is carried our and that a copy of the current inspection certificate is provided to the tenant prior to the start of the tenancy.
The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 & Electrical at Works Regulations 1989
To ensure that all mains voltage household electrical appliances are safe, they need to be tested preferably on an annual basis, or at the start of each tenancy. Any faulty items that cannot be repaired should be disposed of. It is essential that all tests are carried out by an NICEIC or equivalent electrical engineer. All instruction manuals must also be left in the property.
Furniture and furnishings
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1998 (amended 1989 & 1993)
All items with which you furnish your property must meet fire resistance standards and bear the label to confirm this. This includes soft furnishings such as sofas, cushions, padded headboards, and mattresses. If an item does not display the label or you cannot confirm its resistance to fire, then it must be removed or replaced.
We know your tenants’ safety is a priority when letting a property, which is why smoke detectors should be placed on each floor.
Our lettings team are on hand to offer advice to landlords on legal safety requirements; alternatively, we would recommend you contact a qualified solicitor.
An overseas landlord is defined as a landlord who lives abroad or spends long periods of time overseas.
As an overseas landlord, and even though you may be a non-UK resident, the same Inland Revenue regulations apply as though you were in the UK.
An accountant or tax expert will be able to provide the detailed advice you need, but as a guide you need to obtain an exemption certificate to authorise you to receive ‘gross’ property rental payments, in other words, excluding the income tax deduction required by law to be taken by your letting agent or tenant. You must contact the Inland Revenue Financial Intermediaries Claims Office (FICO) to apply for the exemption certificate.
Our services along side Rushbrook and Rathbone include the following:
- Detailed lettings advice specific to you and your property
- Accurate valuation of your property based on current market conditions
- Extensive marketing, including property details, quality photographs, online presence, and advertising in local publications
- Finding the right tenant for your property
- Accompanying every viewing
- Undertaking all credit and reference checks on prospective tenants
- Ensuring the deposit is secure
- Organising the inventory and check-in/check-out if required
- Drafting the Tenancy Agreement and legal notices
- Advising on your safety and legal responsibilities as a landlord and informing you of any changes to the same as they arise
- Proactively organising renewals to prevent void periods
We would welcome the opportunity to provide you a free, no-obligation letting market appraisal on your property.