LANDLORD INFORMATION PACK
PDQ Estates Ltd has established itself as one of the leading estate agencies covering the West Cornwall area. Our office is situated in a strategic location to provide us with a sound base in which to serve the community. As well as sales and financial services, we specialise in lettings and property management.
Finding the right tenant for a property is fundamental. We start by establishing criteria for the sort of person you wish to occupy your property. We then match this to prospective tenants who we reference thoroughly to include credit checks.
When dealing with private tenants we take references, usually from their employer, previous landlord and bank. Payments are due every calendar month, in advance, starting from the commencement of tenancy agreement. We do encourage tenants to pay their rent by standing order. However, should they pay by cheque, we allow time for this to clear our bank before forwarding payment to you.
When we initially assess a property we indicate what we believe to be a realistic rent, based on present market conditions. Prospective tenants usually accept our valuation, but there may need to be some room for negotiation. For your peace of mind, PDQ is part of the NAEAs' Client Money Protection Scheme.
We request a deposit for all tenancies. For private tenants, the deposit is equal to 1.25 months’ rent. Deposits are held to help ensure the tenant looks after the property and as a safeguard against unpaid rent. It is refundable at the end of a tenancy, only after the tenant has vacated the property, providing the property and their account are in an acceptable condition. We hold deposits with the Deposit Protection Service which is one of the Government approved schemes.
When the tenant vacates the property, you will have an opportunity to inspect the property yourself prior to the deposit being refunded. Should you wish to do so, you must make arrangements to view the property as soon as possible, once the tenant has vacated.
Commencement of Tenancy
The tenancy commences on the date shown in the tenancy agreement. Prior to the tenant moving in we will compile an inventory and schedule of condition of the property. The inventory will list all furnishings and contain a description of the condition of the property.
Whilst compiling the inventory we also take any meter readings. These readings are then passed on to the appropriate utility companies. At the same time we also inform the council of the change of tenancy.
We are unable to inform British Telecom of the change in tenancy. This must be done by the user of the service. Consequently you must ensure that BT knows you no longer require a service at the property. The tenants have to contact BT should they wish to be re-connected.
All new tenancies commence with a minimum six month assured shorthold contract. If the tenants wish to stay in the property after the fixed term, you have the right to decline if you wish, in which case a Notice Requiring Possession must be served, giving the tenants a statutory two month notice period to vacate the property.
Alternatively, you can allow the tenancy to continue, in which case you can then choose to renew for a period of six months or more. A significant number of tenants do request twelve month contracts.
If you do not wish to commit yourself to a definite period, the contract can become ‘Statutory Periodic’ whereby the tenant is able to remain in the property, under the terms of the original contract, without signing for a new fixed period. Should they wish to leave at any stage during the periodic term, they only need to give one months’ notice. If you require possession of the property you will still need to give two months’ notice.
Please note: when a tenant is issued a Notice Requiring Possession (Section 21 Notice), the tenant must vacate the property on the date specified. However, should the tenant fail to vacate the property, enforcement of this notice can only be arranged through the courts.
Serving a notice requiring possession does not always guarantee that the tenant will vacate the property on the agreed date.
End of Tenancy
PDQ prefer to undertake a pre move-out check of the property a week or so prior to the end date. This gives the tenant the opportunity to rectify any issues prior to their vacation. Once a tenancy comes to an end, we will make arrangements to meet the tenant at the property for the final check, when we inspect the property again and take meter readings and also obtain a forwarding address for the tenant. The deposit is refunded to the tenant once we are certain that everything is in order.
Should there be any issues regarding the property condition, we can then apply for a deduction from the deposit (valid estimates must be obtained indicating the exact cost of repair). Should an agreement not be reached between the landlord and tenant, the case will be presented for arbitration with DPS. We will, however, endeavour to resolve the disagreement as quickly and amicably as possible from within the office.
We conduct regular inspections of all tenanted properties under our management. These inspections serve numerous purposes and allow us to visit the tenant to ensure they are taking care of the property. We also check for signs that something may be wrong with the property. If anything needs attention, we will then inform you as soon as possible, helping to reduce the risk of the problem escalating and the potential cost increasing. These visits can enable us to get to know the tenants better, so that when the lease is due for renewal we can be confident in the advice we offer you.
Every property at some point will need some work doing to it. If things go wrong and the tenant contacts us, we will immediately contact you. In many cases the problem will be resolved quickly. However, there are two important points to remember when it comes to repairs:
Firstly, if a serious fault occurs (pipe burst, flood, etc) and we are unable to reach you, we will authorise a repair up to the cost equivalent of three times the agreed monthly rent. Authorisation for this is contained within our agency agreement. There is a statutory obligation* for a landlord to make emergency repairs within a specified time frame and therefore we occasionally need to make a quick decision.
Secondly, once a property is tenanted, landlords have an obligation to ensure it is well maintained. Carrying out repairs quickly is as important for you as it is for the tenant. After all, repairs caught early can save money.
Tenants have the right to contact Environmental Health if repairs are not being attended to promptly and any ensuing enforcement order could include extra repairs. Work not done can be undertaken by them and they may add an additional charge on top of the repair bill, which could be hefty.
(*The obligation of the landlord is stated in the Landlord & Tenants act 1985, section 11).
It is a legal requirement that gas installations in residential tenanted properties are inspected on an annual basis. Inspections must be carried out by a registered engineer and have to meet strict conditions before a safety report is issued. A copy of the report must be left at the premises. In addition, we must keep a copy in our files.
We normally arrange for the safety inspection to be carried out for you by our local gas engineer, unless you have a preferred contractor.
Central heating systems occasionally break down and the cost of repairs can be substantial. For this reason we recommend a service contract issued by British Gas. You are able to spread the cost and pay by monthly instalments. If you decide to take out a service contract or are currently in possession of one, please let us know. The details are kept in the files and should the tenant have any problems, we will contact your service provider on your behalf.
As from October 2015 it is a legal requirement for all rental properties to be fitted with working Smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarms. A carbon monoxide detector must be fitted in any high risk room, i.e. those containing a heating appliance – gas cookers/hobs and wood/solid fuel stoves/fires are considered high risk. At least one smoke alarm should be fitted to each floor of the building. Failure to take adequate precautions could lead to a landlord being prosecuted in the event of a fire which resulted in casualties.
Some landlords have a burglar alarm fitted that have a user code as well as a master code, (something that must be kept secure). The only means of changing the alarm number is with the master code. Consequently while your tenants can have the benefit of the alarm they cannot change its settings. Due to the potential environmental impact of a malfunctioning alarm, they should be serviced on a regular basis.
Any furniture left in a property should be safe to use and well maintained. Any soft furnishings must comply with fire regulations and the original fire regulation labels should be attached. If not, the furnishings must be removed from the property.
If the property is subject to a mortgage the mortgage lender must be informed of your intention to let. This should be done before a tenant moves into the property. Gaining permission from the building society usually depends upon the mortgage account not being in arrears.
Some lenders ask to see a copy of the lease, which the tenant will be required to sign. We will provide them with this at your request. Lenders may make a small charge to cover administration costs.
As a landlord you are still responsible for the building and accordingly the buildings insurance. Please note buildings insurance will not cover the costs of replacing carpets if they become damaged but it does however cover fixtures and fittings. If the property is furnished or part-furnished you may also wish to consider contents insurance.
Income received from renting property is subject to tax and therefore we strongly recommend that you take advice from an accountant. Expenses incurred can be set against tax liability, as can the interest paid on the mortgage.
Overseas Landlords- Landlords who reside overseas and own rented property in the UK are able to apply for the Inland Revenue for an exemption certificate, which enables us to pay them gross rent (subject to our deductions). However, if they do not apply for exemption, it is statutory requirement that letting agents deduct tax at source, currently rated at the lowest prevailing tax rate.
In these circumstances, we will withhold the necessary funds from your account on a monthly basis and will issue a certificate at the end of each tax year indicating how much tax we have paid to the Inland Revenue, on your behalf.
Should you reside or subsequently move overseas, you may decide to contact the Centre for Non-Residents, an Inland Revenue office based in Bootle for an exemption certificate. We are happy to offer more advice about this.
The provisions within our agency agreement do not cover your property when it is vacant. If you are concerned about the property and want us to manage it while it is empty, please inform us and we will make arrangements to do so. There will be an extra cost for this service.
We require adequate sets of keys for the property. One set is handed to each tenant upon occupation and one is retained in our office for use in the event of an emergency. Please be aware that should you wish to use or collect these keys at any time, we will require proof of your identification as a security measure.
Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us- we are here to help.