First impressions are important.  Properties that are well presented in a neutral décor are more likely to achieve a higher rent and let more quickly. We are able to advise how best to prepare and present your property to help achieve the maximum rental. It is essential that the property is cleaned to a professional standard including carpets, windows, ovens, bathrooms etc and that any outside space is also well presented a week before the tenants check in, to allow the Inventory Clerk to compile an accurate Schedule of Condition of the property.

Lettings Consent. You will need to advise your property finance provider that you intend to let the property and receive their consent to let in writing. If your property is a leasehold you should check that the terms of any superior lease are adhered to. We will require a copy of the lease for clauses to be included in the Tenancy Agreement. You should also contact your insurance provider to advise them of your intention to let the property.

Rent. The rent is usually paid on a monthly basis in advance from the start of the tenancy, this is normally exclusive of telephone, broadband, television license, utilities and council tax unless otherwise negotiated.

Term. The minimum term is six months but generally properties are rented on an annual basis on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement. Should the tenancy continue for a further Fixed Term or on a Periodic basis, you will be subject to a renewal fee as stated in the Terms of Business.

Tenancy Agreement. The Batcheller Monkhouse Tenancy Agreement has been carefully prepared. It states the responsibilities of both Landlord and Tenant/s during the tenancy. Any separately negotiated terms will appear on an Addendum to the contract which will override any clause within the main body of the Tenancy Agreement. Our policy is to prepare Tenancy Agreements and Renewal documents for you.  Please see our Terms of Business for costs.

Overseas Landlords. Under the Corporation Taxes Act 1988, where a Landlord, Individual(s), Company or Trust are resident overseas for longer than six months in any one year the agents are required by the Inland Revenue to deduct tax at the basic rate from rental income net of expenses prior to paying the rent to overseas Landlords. All overseas Landlords should apply to the Inland Revenue for Approval to be paid the rent without tax being deducted. If granted, the agent will be issued with an Approval Number from the Inland Revenue. This will enable us to pass the rental income to the Landlord without deduction of tax. The Overseas Landlords Form (NRL 1) is available for completion online only, a paper copy is no longer accepted by the Inland Revenue. If the property is in more than one name, all legal owners will be required to complete separate online forms. Further information can be obtained from the Inland Revenue at www.hmrc.gov.uk.

Batcheller Monkhouse reference number for Landlords is NA030985.

There are a variety of costs that may be tax deductible from rent received such as:

·         Lettings and Management Fees

·         Water rates, council tax, gas and electricity

·         Insurance policies such as landlord’s policies for buildings, contents and liability.

·         Cost of services including the wages or gardeners and cleaners

Please seek advice from an accountant to avoid paying more income tax than is necessary.

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) Certain HMOs will be subject to Mandatory Licensing with the Local Authority under the 2004 Housing Act and Batcheller Monkhouse will require the License prior to any Tenancy commencing.  This applies to households consisting of five or more persons occupying a property made up of three or more stories. For further information contact your Local Authority or www.propertylicence.gov.uk.

End of Tenancy. If your Tenant is not going to renew and subject to your instructions, we will reappraise the property, advice on pricing, recommend any works required, update the photographs and marketing material and re-market the property.

Tenant References. Once a tenant has been found and you have accepted an offer the first step is to reference them to assess their suitability. We use an independent and professional reference company who will check financial, employment and previous tenant history.

Inventory Batcheller Monkhouse will arrange the services of an independent professional Inventory company.  The Schedule of Condition is an essential document to ensure that the condition and contents of the property are a true record agreed by both the Landlord and Tenant at the commencement of the Tenancy. The Inventory is also used to assess any damages caused by the Tenant, apart from fair wear and tear, at the termination of the Tenancy. The inventory clerk will also read meters and take level readings from oil tanks.

Tenancy Deposit. As part of the Housing Act 2004 the Government introduced tenancy deposit protection for all Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) in England and Wales. Batcheller Monkhouse is a member of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (“TDS”).  The TDS has been developed to ensure that the deposits are protected and that disputes about their return are resolved swiftly, inexpensively and impartially. Batcheller Monkhouse will hold the deposit as Stakeholders in accordance with the statutory requirements. Where there is no dispute at the end of the tenancy, deposits will be returned promptly.  Where there is a dispute you will need to negotiate directly with your Tenant/s. If the property is managed by Batcheller Monkhouse we will negotiate this on your behalf. Only the disputed amount can be held back until both parties agree. If the dispute cannot be resolved, the matter will be referred to and dealt with fairly by the Independent Case Examiner (ICE). The ICE will make a decision quickly and the deposit will be paid out without unnecessary delay. See http://www.thedisputeservice.co.uk.

The recent Tenant Fees Act has capped deposits at a maximum 5 weeks rent for a property with an annual rental of less than £50,000.

Rent & Legal Protection You can protect your rental income by taking out a Rent & Legal Protection Insurance in case your tenant’s circumstances unexpectedly change during their tenancy which could affect their ability to pay rent. Please contact us for further information.

Property Management. Our experienced Property Management team offers a comprehensive 24/7 service for peace of mind. Apart from any day-to-day problems and three annual visits to the property, we will also arrange all pre-tenancy requirements such as: EPCs, Gas Safety Check & Portable Appliance Tests, Inventory report with Check In & Out, professional cleaning, gardening, transfer of utilities, key cutting and holding service.

Void Management. Batcheller Monkhouse is able to offer a Void Management Service. This allows you to go away on holiday or have a general respite from managing your property on a weekly basis. Please see the Terms of Business for further information.

Rent Collection. We have a proven record of efficient rent collection and prompt funds transfer to our Landlords’ accounts. Monthly statements are sent to keep our Landlords up to date with all income and expenditure. We monitor current legislation, regulations and tax requirements to ensure compliance and peace of mind.

Renewals. Batcheller Monkhouse will contact the Landlord three months and the Tenant/s two months prior to the end to the Tenancy to ascertain if you and they wish to renew the Tenancy.  We will negotiate the extension of the tenancy including, an agreed rent increase if applicable, any additional clauses necessary and prepare and execute the Renewal Agreement for either another Fixed Term or Periodic Tenancy. A fee will be charged at this stage, please see the Terms of Business.

Keys. We require a set of keys to conduct viewings and a further two sets for the occupants at the commencement of the Tenancy. If we are managing the property, we will retain a further set of keys.

Appliances. It is essential that you provide operating manuals for each appliance at the property. For Managed properties we will require information relating to all appliances such as warranties, service history and maintenance agreements you may have.

Pets.  It may be an advantage to consider permitting pets and to advertise “Pets at Landlord’s discretion”. We are no longer allowed to charge a higher deposit to allow a pet to reside but we can offer tenants the option to pay a slightly higher rental figures which would allow them to have the pet.

Gardens. It is the Landlords responsibility to trim, cut back and lop hedges, trees and shrubs prior to the commencement of a tenancy. General garden maintenance to include tending the flowerbeds and grass cutting is the responsibility of the Tenants unless separately negotiated. Where a Tenant is responsible for the gardens, the Landlord should provide an appropriate lawnmower in good working order and garden tools. In most cases, the Landlord is normally expected to maintain larger gardens or additional land, which will be negotiated as part of the rent.

Chimneys. All chimneys should be swept prior to the start of a tenancy, and the Tenant/s are required to have them swept annually or at the end of the tenancy, unless otherwise stated and to provide certificates.

Cesspits/Septic Tank. Cesspits should be emptied prior to the start of a tenancy, and the Tenant/s will be asked to do the same on an annual basis or at the end of the tenancy, unless otherwise stated and to provide receipts.

Oil Tanks. We strongly recommend that the Landlord has the oil tank filled at the start of the tenancy, and the Tenant/s have it filled at the end of the Tenancy, helping to avoid any disputes.

Swimming Pools. The responsibility for the running cost of a swimming pool varies. The responsibility for the cleaning and maintenance should be agreed during negotiations and then included in an Addendum to the Tenancy Agreement.

Burglar Alarms. Maintenance of security systems at the property is the Landlords responsibility and any monitoring is generally the Tenant/s responsibility.

Gutters. It is the tenant’s responsibility to keep all gutter and downpipes clear of debris under the terms of the Tenancy Agreement throughout their tenancy. The Landlord is responsible to keep in repair and proper working order drains, gutters and external pipes.

STATUTORY REGULATIONS

The responsibility for compliance with the following regulations is a personal obligation of the Landlord.  Failure to comply with safety legislation is a criminal offence and will lead to prosecution, fines or imprisonment.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). As from 1 October 2008 it became a legal requirement for all Landlords and Agents to display an EPC prior to marketing a property. Any property found not to have an EPC could result in a heavy fine for both Landlord and Agent. The EPC is valid for 10 years and can be updated following any refurbishment.  The certificate is compiled by an Energy Assessor and will give potential applicants ratings for the energy and environmental impact of the property.  Batcheller Monkhouse can arrange for an EPC to be prepared for your property.

The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 are designed to tackle the least energy-efficient properties in England and Wales – those rated F or G on their Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The Regulations set out the minimum level of energy efficiency for private rented property in England and Wales.

In relation to the domestic private rented sector, the minimum level is an EPC rating of band E, which means that, subject to certain requirements and exemptions:

a) from the 1st April 2018, landlords of relevant domestic private rented properties may not grant a tenancy to new or existing tenants if their property has an EPC rating of band F or G (as shown on a valid Energy Performance Certificate for the property);

b) from the 1st April 2020, landlords must not continue letting a relevant domestic property which is already let if that property has an EPC rating of band F or G (as shown on a valid Energy Performance Certificate for the property). Batcheller Monkhouse can provide further information if required.

The Landlords Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. Landlords are responsible for ensuring that appliances and pipework in tenanted premises are maintained in good order and in a safe condition so as to prevent risk or injury to any person.  The regulations require that the installation of appliances and pipe work are checked for safety prior to the commencement of a tenancy and every 12 months thereafter by a qualified “Gas Safe” Gas Engineer.  A record of the safety check must be supplied to the Tenant and a copy kept by the Landlord and the Agent for at least two years. We will authorize a Landlords Gas Safety if we are not in receipt of a copy three to five working days before the start of the Tenancy. Batcheller Monkhouse can arrange for the required certificate on your behalf, cost to be advised.

The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994. It is a legal requirement and the Landlords responsibility to ensure that ALL electrical appliances and all wiring in the property are safe.  From 1st January 1997, all new electrical appliances must carry a CE mark and instruction booklets or clear working instructions must be provided. Newly installed plugs and sockets must also comply with the Regulations. We recommend that the property have a PAT (Portable Appliance Test) at the start of a tenancy by a qualified and registered engineer, and every 12 months thereafter on non-hard wire appliances.   Batcheller Monkhouse can arrange the required certificates on your behalf, cost to be advised.

The Furniture & Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulation 1988; The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulation 1993. All upholstered furniture (soft furnishing) should conform to the regulations.  This includes items such as: beds, headboards, mattresses, sofas, cushioned chairs, cushions, loose cover fabric and filling materials. Items exempt are bed linen, loose covers for mattresses, curtains, carpets and furniture made before 1950 or re-upholstered furniture made before 1950.  Most furniture purchased after 1998 should have a label to comply with the legislation. Non-compliance is a criminal offence and carries strict penalties for Landlords and Managing Agents.

The Building Regulations 1991: Smoke Alarms: Smoke Detectors Act 1991 All properties built since June 1992 must be fitted with mains-operated interlinked Smoke Detectors/Alarms on each floor.  Whilst properties built before that date, are not included under the statutory requirement, all properties to be let are fitted with Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms and these are regularly serviced.  If the alarms are battery operated, then they must be checked at the commencement of each Tenancy.

CO (Carbon Monoxide) Detectors must be placed in every room that is used for living accommodation and which contains any form of solid fuel heating i.e a wood burning stove, solid fuel Rayburn, Parkray or open fireplace (whether used or not).

Immigration Act 2014

A Landlord has a duty to ensure that the Tenant has a Right to Rent in the UK and a record of the tenant’s right to rent the property under the Immigration Act 2014 and recheck the Tenants Right to Rent as requested by the Act. Such records must be retained for at least 12 months after the tenancy has ended

Smoke alarms must be fitted at the Landlords expense, one for each floor level with living accommodation. Any existing alarms must be checked by the Landlord, thereafter the tenants must check and test the alarms regularly and pay for any maintenance costs, including replacement of worn out batteries.

Water Hygiene in Temporarily Unoccupied Premises

In order to reduce the risk of contamination and possible resultant ill health (e.g. Legionnaires Disease). It is important that all water outlets are flushed through after periods of inactivity to prevent the use of water which has become stagnant.

We recommend that if your property has been unoccupied for a prolonged period (e.g. for more than seven days), the procedure detailed below is carried out prior to using the water: Draw water through each hot/cold water outlet. Water should be discharged from the outlet for a minimum of five minutes.

Hot water cylinders must be heated to 60°C (and at that temperature maintained for a minimum of one hour). Flush all toilet cisterns.

PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT US WITH ANY QUESTIONS OR QUERIES YOU MAY HAVE