We offer three levels of service, Letting Only, Letting & Rent Collection and Letting & Management. Let's start with our Letting Only service and we'll explain more about our add-on services later on this page.
This is our fundamental service, to which you can bolt on further management options. Although it is our 'basic' service, it is far from.
The most important thing to us by far is the quality of tenant. We are particularly fussy about our tenants. This usually means that we turn away more letting applicants than we actually register, because they don't fit our strict criteria. We do not deal with housing associations, council tenants or those tenants in receipt of housing benefit.
We advertise very heavily on the internet. We do not just market our properties on our own web-site, thelettingline.co.uk but on a host of other property portals, including rightmove, findaproperty, primelocation and propertyfinder. Uniquely, we have a network of Appointed Introducer Agents. Our Appointed Introducers are other businesses that don't have their own letting department, such as estate agents and mortgage brokers, so they introduce their letting enquiries to us.
We make appointments to show the property to our prospective tenants and always accompany viewers. Once we have found a potentially suitable tenant, we would like you to meet them. We set up a simple, informal meeting with you both, which is your chance to have a chat and ask any questions you may have to ensure you feel comfortable with the prospective tenant. Assuming, the meeting goes well and a moving in day is agreed, the next step is to complete reference checks.
YOUR RENT GUARANTEE POLICY
One of the riskiest aspects when renting your property is getting the rent paid. With this in mind, all our tenants come to you insurance backed with a 12 month Rent Guarantee Policy. This means that if a tenant falls into arrears, the insurance company will start paying the rent to you and will also instruct their solicitors to repossess the property on your behalf. (Policy terms apply) This is a standard part of our service which is supplied to you and the premium paid by us. But, in order to qualify for this, the tenants have to be thoroughly vetted by the insurance company who are providing the Rent Guarantee policy, because they are responsible for paying your rent should the tenant fall into arrears. For this reason, the insurance company will want to thoroughly investigate the applicant's status (in many ways like a mortgage application) to ensure the prospective tenant is a viable risk. The checks include current landlord, employment history, income, credit score/checks, address verification etc. Normally, the checks can be carried out in a few days, assuming the relevant referees are available.
TENANCY DEPOSIT PROTECTION
The Government introduced new legislation regarding tenant's deposits on 6 April 2007. All deposits taken by landlords and letting agents for Assured Shorthold Tenancies in England and Wales, must be protected by a tenancy deposit protection scheme. There have been cases in the past whereby landlords have held on to tenant's deposits unreasonably. So, the scheme was introduced to allow tenants to get all or part of their deposit back when they are entitled to it and encourage tenants and landlords to make a clear agreement from the start on the condition of the property. There are two types of tenancy deposit protection scheme that the Government has approved; two insurance-based schemes and one custodial scheme. All schemes provide a free dispute resolution service. While the are two insurance based schemes available, but where there are fees attached to those, we recommend using the custodial scheme (The DPS - www.depositprotection.com).
The Deposit Protection Service (DPS) www.depositprotection.com (Custodial Scheme)
• the tenant pays the deposit to the landlord or agent
• the landlord or agent then pays the deposit into the scheme
Within 14 days of receiving a deposit the landlord or agent must give the tenant the details about how their deposit is protected including:
• the contact details of the tenancy deposit scheme selected
• the landlord or agent's contact details
• how to apply for the release of the deposit
• information explaining the purpose of the deposit
• what to do if there is a dispute about the deposit
At the end of the tenancy:
• if an agreement is reached about how the
deposit should be divided, the scheme will
return the deposit, divided in the way agreed
by both parties
• if there is a dispute, the scheme will hold the
deposit until the dispute resolution service or
courts decide what is fair
The interest accrued by deposits in the scheme will be used to pay for the running of the scheme and any surplus will be used to offer interest to the tenant, or landlord if the tenant isn't entitled to it.
You can find out more information by logging on to their website: www.depositprotection.com
For information on all the schemes available, search for "tenancy deposit schemes" on www.direct.gov.uk
THE TENANCY AGREEMENT
As soon as we have approval from the referencing agency, we draw up the tenancy agreement. Unless we have let the property to a company (where we will use a Company Letting Agreement) the contract is called an Assured Tenancy Agreement. We generally recommend a twelve month contract, but with a Landlord's break-clause which allows you to end the agreement at anytime after six months by serving two months notice. Another key issue is stability. So if the property is potentially available for a year or two (or more!), then it would be good to have the same tenant there for that period, as long as the rent is being paid and the property is being looked after. We encourage longer terms because it is less wear and tear on the property, as well as being cheaper for our clients. Once the contracts have been prepared, we ask you in to sign them. When coming in, we also ask you to bring with you your bank details and your inventory.
The inventory isn't just a list of what's in the property, such as sofa, table & chairs etc. It is a schedule of condition too. We need a firm record of the property's condition on the day of moving in, so that if there is any damage later, we can prove it wasn't there before the tenancy started. It's very much like the pre-delivery check when you hire a car. You check it over before you hire it, making notes about any scratches and scuffs there may be. However, if you give the car back with a dent in the door, you're going to have to pay for it. It's the same principal here. With the Tenancy Deposit Protection scheme now in force, it is more important than ever to prepare a thorough inventory and schedule of condition so that any disputes can be easily settled. You are welcome to supply your own inventory, however, we will be happy to supply you with a professionally prepared inventory and condition report for you. As every property varies in size and the amount of furnishings, we have to quote individually. Please ask one of our representatives for more information.
Generally, on the day of moving in, the tenant comes into our office and pays (in cleared funds) a months' rent in advance and a months' rent as a deposit. After signing the agreement and setting up a Standing Order for the future rent payments, we move them into the property. We tick off the inventory with the tenants and have them sign it to confirm the contents and condition. We then take the meter readings and let the tenant move in. Once back at the office, we write to the gas, electricity and water providers as well as the Council Tax department on your behalf to get the closing bills sent to you and the new accounts set up in the tenant's name. A day or two later, a pack will arrive in the post. In there will be your original copy of the contract, your signed inventory, and a statement. We use electronic banking, so the balance of the advance rent and deposit (if applicable) will be in your account within the following few days. In addition to our letting only service, you can choose two further options...
In addition to our letting only service, we offer a Rent Collection service. We insist that all rents are paid by Standing Order, so instead of setting it up directly to the Landlord, it comes to our dedicated Client's Account. As soon as the rent clears in our account, we pay it on to you. However, if there are any problems with the Standing Order being paid, we will get in touch with the tenant to arrange payment. We have a Chip & Pin machine in the office, so any overdue rents due to bank errors etc. can be taken over the phone. In the unlikely event of not being able to recover any arrears by chasing the tenant, we will make a claim on your Rent Guarantee Policy on your behalf. We will process the whole claim, keeping you in touch each step of the way.
Our management service is broken down into three components. First is the Rent collection aspect (see over). The second aspect is Inspections. Once again, we're using the word 'pro-active'. We carry out regular inspections to make sure the property is being looked after properly. If there are any little issues, we can nip them in the bud. Once we have carried out an inspection, you will receive an inspection report, which will highlight any issues and will detail what we are doing about them. The third component of our management service is Maintenance. If there are any problems at the property, then we are the point of contact for your tenant. We always notify you of the problem. If you don't have someone that could repair it for you, we will send over one of our approved contractors to get an estimate for you. If agreed, we will manage the repair, liaising with the tenant and contractor. We get discounted rates from our contractors, so when we get the invoice in for the repair, we pay it on your behalf with the original invoice sent to you, passing on whatever discount we get. The cost of the repair will be deducted from your rent.