Looking to Let
Letting your property can be both time consuming and costly. Through our extensive experience of dealing with the rental market we have devised three specialised services to ensure that one of your most important decisions will run as smoothly and trouble free as possible. No matter which service you decide upon, you can feel secure in the knowledge that you have real expert advice and help available at any time. As you will see from the following information our clients are usually young business professionals who desire quality accommodation.
Choosing the right Agent to Let your property is crucial in order protect your investment, and in order to do so they must fit the following criteria.
Do they have membership of at least two professional bodies? this would ensure both probity & protection.
We are members of ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents, the NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents), NALS (National Approved Letting Scheme), and the Office of Fair Trading approved OEA (the Ombudsman for Estate Agents Scheme for both Sales & Lettings).
Have the Lettings Staff received suitable industry training?
Staff training at Landmark is overseen by Director Peter Savage who has over 25 years experience in the Lettings Market, including of course being a Landlord himself. As well as our in house training which is ongoing, lettings & management staff are sent on relevant courses which are run jointly by ARLA & the NAEA. All Lettings staff complete the Legal Comprehension course set by ARLA which covers such topics as the Housing Act, contract law, and safety legislation.
Do they possess good local knowledge?
Landmark have been trading in the E14, E16, and E6 areas since 1994, and have therefore a real in-depth knowledge of the area and its market place.
Do they give accurate valuations?
Quite often Lettings Agents will quote an achievable rent that is higher than that they believe is actually realistic. They do this in order to secure your instruction. This is a practice that is totally unacceptable to any professional company. In the main the relationship between Letting Agent & Landlord is a long term one, those who choose to over-value neither care about or understand this point.
Will Lenders accept their valuations?
Nearly all major Lenders will not accept a “Buy to Let“ rental valuation if not issued by an ARLA approved Agency.
Do they keep pace with changing legislation?
As members of ARLA and other professional bodies we receive regular briefings and advice on proposed changes in legislation, and in time their introduction and application. With statutory changes emanating from both the UK government and Brussels it is vital to remain “up to speed“ , as ignorance of relevant law is no defence.
Should I have a problem during the tenancy can they help?
On the rare occasion that a problem should arise during the Tenancy, we are always happy to assist. Our trained staff can advise on most issues including those covering legal & contractual ones. However, in order to make sure that our clients receive only the best and most up to date information and advise we have retained the services of a Legal Help Line , provided by PainSmith . PainSmith Solicitors are a practice specialising solely in Landlord and Tenant Law. They are widely acknowledged as the leaders in the field and provide training and legal services to many of the all the top Lettings Agents, property investment companies, large estates, other firms of solicitors and private landlords. They are based in Hampshire but work throughout England and Wales. This service is free to all Landmark Clients.
Are they members of The Tenancy Deposit Scheme?
On April 6th 2007 radical changes in the way tenant’s deposits may be held became law. Agents or Private Landlords who not members of a government approved scheme are no longer able to hold a Tenant’s Deposit. We are members of The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS). This an Insurance-based scheme run by an organisation called The Dispute Service and was established back in 2003 to provide independent dispute resolution and complaints handling for the lettings industry. It has been running a voluntary tenancy deposit scheme for use by regulated agents since that time and is backed by the three professional bodies for letting agents in the residential property sector, ARLA, NAEA and RICS. For more information visit the website www.tds.gb.com or call 0845 226 7837.
Frequently asked questions
WHAT SERVICES DO YOU PROVIDE?
When letting your property you have three service options.
First is our Introduction Service. Once we have viewed your property we will commence our marketing plan. We will escort all prospective tenants around your property. All tenants are profiled over the telephone by a fully trained negotiator so we know that we will be showing the right people the right property. Once a tenant has shown an interest in your property we will call to let you know and subject to any offers being agreed we will take up the necessary references. When all references are back and the tenant is ready to move in we will obtain one month’s rent in advance and a 6 week security deposit which is held against any damage or breakages.
Our second option is our Rent Monitoring Service. With this you get all of the above benefits with the added security of knowing that we will be collecting your rent and monitoring swift payment. Rent will then be forwarded to you by any option you wish. Most payments are made via our on-line banking service, which provides the quickest possible way of getting the rent to you.
Our final service is the Full Management Service. Once again you will get all of the above benefits but with the peace of mind that we will always be the first point of contact for your tenant. Normally we will agree a maximum amount that we can spend on your behalf for routine maintenance, contacting you for approval for any sum over that amount. We can also arrange for payment of any regular outgoings, i.e. service charge, ground rent, etc. This service is really ideal for non-resident landlords or for those who are too busy to get involved with the day to day running of a rented property.
WHAT REFERENCES DO YOU TAKE OUT ?
As standard we take the following references for a Private Let:
|Bank Reference :||Stating status of customer|
|Employment Reference :||Stating position held, length of employment, salary and reliability|
|Landlord’s Reference :||Stating length of time at property, was rent paid promptly and condition of property at surrender.|
|Character Reference :||Stating length of time known and character assessment.|
|Credit Check :||Giving the applicant a credit score, how long they have been living at the address supplied and any adverse credit history.|
We are very thorough with our referencing procedure, as our main priority is to find you a tenant who will be able to afford the rental and who will maintain the property in the same way that it was found. There are situations where not all of the above are obtainable and any exceptions to our standard practice must be confirmed by you first. An example of this is first time workers who have been living at home and who have not rented before. 95% of our tenants are young business professionals.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE YOU TO LET MY FLAT ?
On average a property should be on the market for no longer than 20 days. In the peak times it is not uncommon for property to be let the same day! Once your property is let, we will remarket the property one month before the tenants are due to leave. This ensures that we minimise any vacant periods.
WHAT ABOUT LENGTH OF CONTRACT ?
The minimum period is six months. The only exceptions to this are holiday lets and company lets. The optimum period is 12 months. Most of our clients opt for the third option which is a break clause agreement. This means that after the minimum period the tenant or landlord may serve a fixed notice period to terminate the agreement. From the tenants’ point of view this offers flexibility, especially in an uncertain job market, and from the landlord’s viewpoint this will give us at least one month to find another tenant for the property. However, it is not unusual for our tenants to stay in a rented property for 2 or 3 years.
WHAT FURNITURE SHOULD I LEAVE ?
As unfurnished property represents only about 15% of the market place, we advise all our landlords to offer their property furnished.
The following list is for suggested contents only as clients’ needs vary from one person to the next:
The following acts as a guide only, as requirements will vary slightly from client to client:
- Cooker/Built in oven
- Washing machine/Dryer
- Matching dinner and tea sets for 6/8 people
- 3/ 4 Saucepans/Frying Pan
- Rubbish Bin
- 1/ 2 Casserole Dishes/Storage Containers
- Dustpan and Brush
- Iron and Ironing Board/Vacuum cleaner
- Electric Kettle
- Set of Cutlery
- Bread Board/Utensils/Carving Set
- Mixing Bowls
- Dining Table and 4 Chairs
- Three Piece Suite
- Display Cabinet/Coffee Table
- Set of Glasses 6/8
- Place Mats
- Bed and Mattress - good condition
- Chest of Drawers & Wardrobe
- 6/ 8 Tea Towels,4/ 8 Bath Towels
- 2 Duvet covers for each bed
- 2/ 3 Pillows and Cases for each bed
WHO PAYS THE UTILITIES ?
The tenant is responsible for all out-goings on the property. The landlord is responsible for service charge, ground rent and buildings and contents insurance.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE TENANT MOVES OUT EARLY ?
It is very rare for one of our tenants to move out early. We are very thorough with our referencing. We explain the implications of signing an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement so tenants are aware of their legal obligations. In all cases, from the outset we ensure that the right length of agreement has been signed, be it either a fixed term or a break-clause term.
We hope that this goes some way to answering some of your initial queries. However we cannot possibly answer every question here and welcome you to call our office with any further questions you may have. We also offer a free, no-obligation rental valuation service. To take advantage of this fill out our landlord form and a rental valuer will be in contact shortly.