Coastal Lettings. Landlord Information Pack

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1 Coastal Lettings Landlord Information Pack

2 Forging the relationship Once we begin speaking to a prospective landlord about our service, we will first establish whether their property is one which we would be happy to market under our brand. We appreciate that landlords, especially first-time landlords and those who have one or a very small number of properties, may have concerns about the sort of people who may end up living in their properties. We will talk to you about anything that worries you, and if you decide that you don t want people with pets, smokers or tenants who need to pay their rent with housing benefits, we will honour any requests you make of us not to let your house to them. We will seek two references for ingoing tenants from verifiable, reputable sources (employers, ex-landlords, police officers etc, but not friends or family members), and perform a credit check on them in order to be sure that they will be a good tenant. Tenants in receipt of benefits If an ingoing tenant requires any help with paying their rent, our staff have a great deal of experience in filling out the necessary forms and have a great working relationship with the local benefits departments, so that we can minimise any chance of loss of income from rent. Although we will have a good idea about whether a person will be entitled to benefits and what that entitlement will be, it can take up to 6 weeks for a benefit claim to be processed so please be patient if there is a delay in some of your payments at the beginning of a new tenancy. Setting the rent for your property We know that you probably have an idea of what you would like to charge for your property. However, we will need to find out whether this rent is realistic, or indeed whether you could ask for more. To decide what the rent should be, we will look at the rents of other, similar properties in the area, the condition of your property and local amenities. If you will accept tenants who receive benefits, we will need to bear in mind the Local Housing Allowance levels to see how affordable it will be for these tenants bearing in mind the amount they will have to pay to cover any shortfall. Of course, before we market the property and let it, we will agree the rent level with you so you know what sort of income to expect. 2

3 Tenancy technicalities We will issue tenants with an Assured Shorthold tenancy. This is a tenancy which in law guarantees the tenants a home for 6 months. Unless there is a serious breach of tenancy conditions, the earliest we can ask the tenants to leave is after 4 months from the start of the tenancy: this is because the landlord must give at least two months notice to end a tenancy under the law. We will help you with the notices to the tenants. You must go through us in order to issue them so that we know what is happening to the tenancy. Ideally, we would renew a tenancy every 6 months. However, if you do not agree to this and do not give 2 months notice to the tenants to leave, then under the law the tenancy becomes a statutory periodic tenancy, and all the terms of the original tenancy agreement still apply. If the tenant wishes to end a periodic tenancy, they only need to give one month s notice. The landlord must still give two months notice. Unfortunately, just giving the tenants two months written notice to leave the property does not guarantee that they will actually leave. Should they refuse, then we will need to apply to court for an order to remove them, possibly involving a bailiff. We have a great deal of experience in handling these actions ourselves and so while we will be cheaper than using a solicitor, we will have to charge the legal fees back to you in these circumstances. Fortunately, they are rare and extreme. Since 2012, squatting has been a criminal offence so you do not need to worry about tenants claiming under this doctrine. We will carry out tenancy inspections on a quarterly basis. If during a visit we become aware of any serious issues with the property will inform you, and engage with the tenant to rectify the situation as quickly as possible. This means that we may follow up the visit with several, more frequent visits. We do not want your property to be damaged in any way, but neither do we want to make anybody needlessly homeless. We will of course be monitoring how the tenants are paying their rent in order to protect our own income but not least yours. Please be assured that if the tenants do not pay their rent on time, we will contact them immediately. We will discuss all options with you in cases of rent arrears. 3

4 If a tenant tells us in writing that they would like to end their tenancy, we will arrange to inspect their property and tell them everything that they need to do to put your property back to how it was when they first moved in To do this, we will refer to the condition report and inventory which we agreed with you before letting the property. Repairs It is inevitable that during the course of a tenancy things will go wrong in a property and repairs will be needed. Should this be the case, we will notify you as soon as the tenant contacts us. Coastal Housing Group employs its own maintenance labour force and can arrange repairs which will be fully accountable and to our satisfaction, all at very competitive rates. If you agree to us carrying out the work needed at the price we quote, then we will simply be able to deduct the price from the next payment due to you. If you decide that you would rather arrange your own contractor, then we must ask that you arrange the repair in a timely fashion. If their work is not up to standard, in an emergency we may need to send our operatives to rectify the situation. If we do need to carry out our own remedial work or if we decide that the tenants have been waiting for an unreasonable length of time and we need to intervene, then we will do so and deduct the cost from your next payment. This would be an absolute last resort. If we do not act quickly enough, then tenants are within their rights to contact the local Environmental Health department to hold us to account. This would damage our reputation and yours and so we cannot allow this to happen. 4

5 What we expect from you Getting started There are several things that we need from you before we can take your property on to manage it. We have a great deal of experience in letting property, so please do not worry we will help you every step of the way. Firstly, we need the keys. We cannot access your property or let it without a set. As good practice, we would like two sets. We will supply both to the tenant and expect both back once the tenancy is over. Should the tenant lock themselves out before returning the keys, then we will arrange for a locksmith to attend. The tenant will be charged for this. Before we let your property, we will take utility meter readings. However, as we are not the occupant, it will be your responsibility to inform your supplier once the property is let and have the bills transferred into your tenants names. Of course, we will also be informing the tenant of their duty to arrange utility supply. When the tenant vacates, if we are to remain as agents then we will instruct the tenant to end their account with their supplier and tell them to put the accounts into the name of Coastal Housing Group. If we cease to be the agent, then you will need to tell the suppliers that you have taken back control of the property yourself. In accordance with the law, we require that an annual gas safety check is carried out. We will require the production of a valid certificate on taking control of the property, however should you not have one, we can arrange a check to be carried out for you for a fee. We will also require an electrical safety certificate, although these remain valid for 10 years. If you do not have a valid certificate, Coastal Lettings will arrange one for you, for a fee. Also a legal requirement since October 2008 is the energy performance certificate. We cannot let the property without one, so if you have a certificate, we will need a copy. Otherwise, Coastal Lettings has access to staff trained in the production of these documents, and we will arrange one for you in return for a fee. A standard term in agency agreements is for the property owner not to visit the property without the agent being present. We understand that this can appear harsh, but we need to guarantee our tenants that they will be able to enjoy the property as their home and that 5

6 they will not be disturbed without good reason. We must ask that you do not visit the tenants without letting us know first so that we can arrange the visit if you should have any concerns. If you are a buy-to-let landlord, we will require written consent from your mortgage provider saying that you can rent out the property. Coastal Lettings will carry out Land Registry searches on all properties it takes on, so any undeclared interests secured on the property will be recorded. Therefore, in order to ensure a smooth and efficient service, please be honest with us and we will be honest with you. We also need you to have appropriate landlord s insurance. This will help should the worst happen and could save you a lot of expense. It is not a legal requirement, but it is good practice to install smoke alarms at any rented property. You could be held liable if anyone is hurt as a result of your failure to provide them, so we recommend you fit them. If you are not confident in this, Coastal Lettings will arrange to fit them for you for a fee. If you leave any soft furnishings at the property, they will need to have a label clearly indicating that they are safe in the event of a fire. If any items do not bear this label, you will have to remove them. Whilst we will do everything we can to make things as easy as possible for you, it is important to note that income you receive from renting a property is subject to tax. Please seek advice from a tax accountant as soon as you can; this one is down to you alone. If you live overseas, you may apply to the Inland Revenue for an exemption certificate. If you don t have this certificate, then we have to hold on to the taxable amount every month and pay it to the Inland Revenue. At the end of the year, we must issue a certificate detailing how much we have paid to the Inland Revenue for you. 6

7 Checklist We need you to supply; Written consent from your mortgage provider (where appropriate) Two sets of keys A completed Landlord Contact Details form A completed Landlord s Bank Details form, with the authorisation to keep the details signed Signed Landlord and Agent agreement Insurance documents Gas safety certificate* Electrical safety certificate* Energy Performance certificate* (* - Coastal Lettings can arrange these for you, for a fee) Coastal Lettings will arrange; Marketing and advertising for your property Inventory and condition report (to be approved and signed by yourself) A pre-letting photographical survey Meter readings Rent setting Land registry title searches Credit checks on tenants If at any time you require any advice or help, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to help you. 7

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