Assessment of rent
The level of rent, which can be achieved on a property, will be determined by the current level of demand for rental accommodation in your area. A prospective tenant will also consider the location of the property, the quality of furnishings/fixtures that are being left and its general condition. One of our Property Managers will visit your property and evaluate its rental value based on these things. It is normal that furnished/unfurnished properties are let at a rental inclusive of buildings insurance, and in case of leasehold properties, ground rents/service charges. The tenant is responsible for council tax, water rates, gas, electricity and telephone.
As our Property Manager will point out to you every possible precaution is taken to ensure the tenant placed in your property will provide a trouble free tenancy. A prospective tenant will be interviewed by one of our property managers, and if deemed suitable for a tenancy, M & M Properties employ the services of a professional company specialising in the vetting of tenants for residential property. If a tenant wishes to proceed with a property they will be charged an administration fee, and complete the appropriate application form, providing information including employment details, salary and where they have resided for the last three years. Once all checks have been carried out we will make our recommendations for the tenancy to be formally granted, or the property placed back on the market, depending on the findings of the outside reference company.
Inventory and schedule of condition
A detailed inventory and schedule condition will be drawn up prior to the first tenant moving in. It is important to maintain a certain standard expected by landlord and tenant, and therefore it may be necessary for us to instruct gardeners and cleaners prior to the commencement of the tenancy. This would be carried out after obtaining the appropriate instructions from the landlord, and charged at the cost agreed. The detailed inventory will be updated and methodically checked before each tenancy commences. This document will form part of any claim for dilapidation against future deposits.
Furnished or unfurnished
There is now more demand for unfurnished than furnished property. When leaving the property unfurnished you are required to leave carpets, curtains and lampshades throughout, and we advise leaving three main kitchen appliances i.e. Cooker, fridge and washing machine although this is not essential. Any kitchen appliances left at a property will remain the responsibility of the landlord, unless otherwise specified.
During tenancies, tenants are requested to report all defects promptly to us. If it is of an urgent nature e.g. burst pipes, it would be repaired by our chosen maintenance engineer at our discretion to avoid further damage, and or cost to you. For less urgent defects we would contact you and gain permission before proceeding. This is of course for defects caused as a result of normal wear and tear, and is your responsibility as the landlord. Any fault caused by the tenant will be repaired at their own cost. We would request that details of all service contracts, and current guarantees are given to us at the time of instruction. If the property is fitted with a central heating system we would recommend arranging an annual service contract to avoid expensive breakdown costs.
Our management team will visit your property and view both the inside and outside. This is to gain an understanding of how the tenants are living in the property, and to also look for possible defects that should be addressed (it should be appreciated that any overview can only extend to apparent or obvious defects and would not amount in any way to a survey). We cannot accept responsibility for hidden or latent defects. M & M Properties are not qualified surveyors or structural engineers. None of our property managers hold professional qualifications in property maintenance. A written report can be provided on request after a property visit has been carried out.
Transfer of services
We will read the gas and electric meters and arrange for the transfer of the services at the commencement of each tenancy. However as the telephone providers will not deal with managing agents you will need to arrange disconnection and your final account before leaving the property. Incoming tenants will make their own arrangements for the reconnection of the service. Water meters are generally transferred by us into the tenant's name; however, in some situations it will be necessary for the landlord to remain responsible. Where there is a water meter M & M Properties will notify the water company, and an estimated bill will be raised. M & M Properties do not read water meters without prior agreement with the landlord. Our Property Managers will advise accordingly regarding this.
Please note: M & M Properties formally notify the electric and (where applicable) the gas suppliers in writing of changes to the bill payer. We will also supply meter readings. M & M Properties cannot guarantee that the utility company will always act on such communications appropriately, but will always keep accurate records to ensure protection of our landlord clients.
Collection of rent and accounting
At the commencement of the tenancy we will collect the first month's instalment of rent in advance in cleared funds. The tenant will thereafter pay the rent on the first of each month by standing order. The landlord will be paid into a designated bank account by the twentieth of the same month. Our accounts department will provide a detailed monthly statement showing the rent received, and any deductions including our service charge and other expenses. The forwarding of statements to accountants or another third party is carried out by us at your request with no extra cost. We will, if instructed, settle the landlord's closing accounts for gas, electricity, water and council tax.
Tenancy agreements and notices
Your property will be let under an assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement as defined in the Housing Act 1988, as amended in 1996 and 2004. The Agreement will be for a fixed term no less than six months and would not end sooner, unless both the Landlord and Tenant were both in agreement. The rent would remain the same during this set period with any increase, if requested, being obtained at renewal of contracts for a further term.
Assuming that no breach of the Tenancy Agreement has occurred the provisions for recovery of possession in section 21 of the Housing Act would apply. The landlord would be required to serve a minimum of two months notice prior to the end of the agreement when looking to recover possession.
Deposits and the tenants dispute service
M & M Properties will secure a minimum of a month and a half deposit held by us on your behalf as security against dilapidations caused to the property by the tenant (the Property Manager dealing with your prospective let will advise you how much deposit he/she has secured. Whilst the worst dilapidations we usually witness may be some additional cleaning or gardening at the end of the tenancy, we will usually seek to secure the largest deposit negotiable providing you the landlord with as much security as possible.
Rules and regulations
Electrical Safety Regulations
There are a number of pieces of legislation including the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations of 1994 which relate to the supply and maintenance of electrical equipment, household appliances and/or the cables plugs and sockets which connect them.
We recommend that before a tenant takes occupation of your property a Fixed Wiring and P.A.T. (Portable Appliance Test) is carried out by a qualified electrician. Common electric items included in rented properties are: electric cookers, microwave ovens, electric kettles, vacuum cleaners and table lamps.
- GENERAL SAFETY - Electrical appliances should be checked before every let. If there is any doubt as to the safety of any electrical item it must be removed. Therefore be vigilant when you see worn or cut flexes, broken casings or other safety defects. The regulations stipulate that appliances need to be checked by a qualified electrician.
- REPLACEMENT - whereas once it was common for landlords to use second-hand appliances in properties to save money, the new regulations make this inadvisable. If clients insist on putting in second-hand electrical goods, then they must be tested by a qualified electrician.
Whilst at present there is no specific statutory requirement placed upon landlords to prove that such items are regularly checked or tested by a qualified electrical engineer (IEE wiring regulations BS 7671 Standard) M & M Properties strongly recommend to landlords that appropriate ongoing checks of equipment should be scheduled and kept up to date.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors
From October 10th 2015 a Landlords must fix working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in every home they rent out.
Landlords will be required to install smoke alarms on every floor and test them at the start of every tenancy. We strongly advise mains connected smoke alarms to avoid misuse or management by the tenant. Rooms which are at a high risk, such as those where a solid fuel heating system is installed will need to have carbon monoxide alarms installed.
Health and safety legislation requires that landlords carry out risk assessments for the Legionella bacteria which cause Legionnaires' Disease and thereafter maintain control measures to minimise the risk. Most rented premises will be low risk but it is important that risk assessments are carried out and control measures introduced.
Landlords are under a duty to ensure that the risk of exposure to tenants, residents and visitors by Legionella is properly assessed and controlled via a risk assessment from a competent person. For further information and who to carry out this assessment please ask one of our property managers.
The Gas Saftey (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994
ON THE 31ST OF October 1994 the Gas Safety Regulations came into force. They are designed to provide standards for the installation and maintenance of gas appliances, meters, pipework etc. Landlords should be aware of the general provisions in the regulations for all new gas pipework and appliance installations and conditions for on-going maintenance.
- GENERAL SAFETY - Appliances should be safe. Work on gas appliances and fittings must only be carried out by a qualified gas fitted (GAS SAFE Registered).
- FLUES - All flues should be correctly fitted and checked for blockage every twelve months. No open flue appliances are to be installed in bedrooms or bathrooms.
- PERIODIC INSPECTIONS - Landlords must ensure that all gas appliances in rented property are checked for safety at least every twelve months. Records must be kept of such checks, date of inspection and any defects noted and rectified.
- INSTRUCTIONS - Instruction booklets should be available for all gas appliances.
Our recommendation: As the above regulations stipulates you, as the owner, are responsible for gas appliances left at your rented property. We recommend that you employ the services of British Gas, and take advantage of their various service contracts or use a local GAS SAFE registered plumber.
The contact telephone number of British Gas or a local plumber are available on request, and if you have any queries regarding these regulations you should raise these with our property management team, who will be delighted to assist you.
Furniture and Furnishing Regulations
On the 1st of March 1993, the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire and Safety Amended) 1993 regulations came into force. As from the 1st of January 1997 any furniture supplied as part of a new let must comply with these regulations. These regulations directly affect the way in which you, the Landlord, may furnish your rented property.
All upholstered furniture or furnishings must meet the Fire Safety Regulations. An exclusion to note, however, is furniture manufactured before the 1st of January 1950. Apparently defective flammable materials were not used prior to this date and therefore "period" or antique furniture is exempt. Generally, items manufactured in the UK after 1990 are likely to meet the required standards and display the appropriate permanent label confirming its compliance.
Items the regulations apply to:
- Three piece suites, sofas, arm chairs
- Scatter cushions, seat pads, bean bags
- Convertible sofa beds, futons
- Loose covers on upholstered furniture
- Conservatory furniture, garden furniture suitable for indoors
- Antique furniture or furniture manufactured prior to 1950
- Carpets and curtains
- Duvets, Pillow cases and Linen
- Mattress protectors
These regulations make it an offence to supply in the course of business any furniture that fails to meet the cigarette test and ignitability test. Currently the offence carries a punishment of six months imprisonment or a level 5 fine (currently £5000). These penalties are only for non-compliance and should there be a fire, the landlord could be held liable to greater penalties.