Over the years we have picked up more and more business from landlords who have started out managing the properties themselves but who have subsequently elected to involve a third party. Tenants can be very unpredictable in their demands on your time and it can be a very difficult relationship to manage. We are there to act on your instructions and you will have a full time property manager who will mediate on your behalf. Increasingly more of our clients are coming over to a fully managed service and are finding that this actually saves them money in the long term.
We are often asked how long it takes to find a suitable tenant and obviously there is no fixed answer. It depends on the time of the year and the number of tenants looking. However, the process is much quicker than the sales market and it is not unusual for us to market a property and let it within 2 weeks. We will give you advice about marketing your property to ensure that we get the maximum rent for you, the best calibre of tenant and the highest yields. As experts in the local market we are best placed to advise you of a realistic achievable rent and will create your marketing package accordingly.
Absolutely! We employ Homelet to reference all our tenants. To build up an accurate picture of your prospective tenant we carry out a full credit check as well as obtaining references from their employers, previous landlords where appropriate and a bank validation check. We will also conduct the necessary Right to Rent Checks in accordance with the new requirements set out under the Immigration Act 2014. We believe that you need as much information as possible before you enter into a binding agreement with your prospective tenant.
In general your tenant is responsible for the utilities (unless you agree otherwise). We advise the utilities of the change of occupancy and we check to ensure that the bills have been put in your tenant’s names. Under the terms of the agreement that we use, you are indemnified against potential non-payment of utility bills by your tenants.
We are delighted to be able to be able to offer a Guaranteed Rent and Legal Protection scheme to our Fully Managed and Rent Collection landlords. This particular cover is only available to a limited number of agents who meet the most stringent requirements regarding their professional conduct. Unlike many other insurance based schemes, there is no excess for you to pay and you still receive the rent payments on time. It further covers your legal costs in the event of a breach of tenancy.
Some agents only collect the equivalent of one month’s rent as a deposit. We, however, collect on our landlord’s behalf 150% of the rent as a deposit for tenants that do not have pets and 175% for tenants that do. It is widely considered best practice to collect more than just one month’s rent as a deposit and we are committed to protecting your interests as best we can.
In April 2007 The Tenancy Deposit Scheme came into affect. It was born out of the Housing Act 2004 and requires all landlords to register any deposits held against any tenancy, even those created prior to 2007. If you choose a Let Only Service we will pass the deposit to you and you will be responsible for registering it within 30 days of the start of the tenancy and providing the tenant with the relevant prescribed information for your chosen scheme. If you chose a Fully Managed or a Rent Collect Service we will register the deposit on your behalf.
If your tenant disagrees with the level of proposed deductions you intend to make from their deposit at the end of the tenancy, they have the right to raise a dispute with the Tenant Deposit Scheme. In this instance, both evidence packs (the landlord’s and the tenant’s) have to be submitted and an independent tribunal makes a decision. This decision is final and there is no right of appeal. In the event that the inventory or the check out report is compiled by the landlord or their agent, the documentation is deemed to be biased by the tribunal. This results in as much as 50% of the claim being rejected. This could represent hundreds of pounds otherwise justifiably due to you, so we strongly recommend that our landlords use an approved third party inventory clerk.
We require that our tenants take out a cover for a minimum of £2500 accidental damage to your furnishings, fixtures and fittings. So the deposit we hold on your property will always be in excess of £3000 (150% of the rent + £2500). There is also additional cover provided if the tenancy is protected by the Rent Guarantee and Legal Indemnity Policy.
The only monies we require in advance of marketing your property are those to enable us to commission an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for your property. From January 2009 it is a statutory requirement that you have one before your property can be marketed and also to ensure the notice to terminate a tenancy is valid. For landlords who we provide either the managed or rent and collect service for, we give you an interest free payment plan over 12 months.
We are acutely aware that there are a number of agents who are offering a cut price service in the marketplace. There are estate agents who operate a letting department to improve cash flow while the selling sector is depressed. There are others who just cut corners. We believe this is a specialist job and know the pitfalls of not doing it properly. Many landlords approach us each year who elected to go for a cut price service and sadly got just that. There are too many stories of tenants that have been allowed to move in without taking up proper references; tenancy agreements that do not protect the landlord’s interests as they should; rent that has not been charged and therefore not collected; inappropriate tenants put into properties who have caused £1000s of damage; notices that have been served incorrectly or late; deposits that have not been registered and so on. One of the major complaints we hear, however, is that agents just do not communicate with their clients as they should. We have priced our service as competitively as we can with the personnel and systems that we have in place. We know that your asset has to be looked after to ensure maximum yield and we will do just that.
This is a question that we are frequently asked. Obviously the answer varies depending on individual circumstances and attitude to investment and risk. What we can look at are market trends. There has been a significant shift in attitudes in the country to renting – fewer people own their own houses today than they once did. We are moving towards a more European model with professional people looking to the rental sector for long term housing which has increased demand for privately rent accommodation. Sandersons have seen an increasing number of private landlords growing their portfolios often starting by releasing equity from their own homes. Capital growth predictions and estimated yield forecasts would suggest that property ownership is a sound proposition and one people feel more comfortable with than stock and shares where there is no tangible asset. This is clearly too complex a question to provide a generalist answer to, but if you would like to discuss the matter in more detail please do not hesitate to contact your local sales manager.