Advice for Landlords
Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement
Marketing Your Property
Finding The Right Tenant
Contents Under Hire Purchase
Tenants Reason for Renting
Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement
The Tenancy Agreement is aimed to protect the Tenant against unscrupulous Landlords and the Landlord against sitting Tenants. Once the rent has been agreed, it will remain at the same level throughout the term of tenancy. The same rule applies with any furniture which the Landlord has agreed to leave, as long as it is mentioned in the inventory.
The Landlord is allowed to inspect the property but only by prior appointment and giving at least 48 hours' notice. If Kings are managing the property, regular property inspections will also be carried out. This is an agreement between the Landlord and the Tenant, which is legally binding and an enforceable document. The terms set out in it are not flexible and must be strictly adhered to by both parties.
The tenant may occupy a property on the day the tenancy commences and should vacate it the day that the agreement terminates. The date and frequency of the rental payments is determined before the tenancy commences and is clearly stipulated within the Tenancy Agreement. The agreement will be for a minimum of six or twelve months, or for a period agreed by both parties. If, once the original term has ended, a renewal is required by the Landlord and the Tenant then further agreements are drawn up.
Alternatively, a Memorandum of Agreement may be entered into by both parties, on statutory periodic tenancy. The Assured Short hold Tenancy Agreement will be signed by the Landlord prior to the commencement of the tenancy and signed by the Tenant just prior to moving in. At this time, the Tenancy Agreement will be dated and therefore will be become legally binding for both parties. At this time, the first month's rent and the dilapidations deposit will be paid. If an inventory is supplied, this will be checked and signed by the tenant on the day of move in. Thereafter, a copy will be forwarded to the Landlord. The Landlord will need to check if there are any adjustments and ensure that they are happy with the details contained within the inventory. By simply paying your rent and deposit and moving into the property, you are entering into a Tenancy Agreement.
It is essential that the Landlord obtains the necessary consent, where applicable, for example from the bank, a building society or head lessor. This should be done prior to letting the property in order to avoid any delay and a copy is to be held by Kings on file.
The most crucial elements to a smooth tenancy is finding a suitable tenant. We appoint a Professional Referencing Agency on your behalf to carry out references, including a Credit Check. More in depth references are available at an additional charge but please contact staff at your nearest Kings branch, who will be happy to assist you. If the references have come back and we do not consider the tenant to be suitable, we will search for and find an alternative tenant for you. If the Landlord wishes to meet the tenant, we can arrange it by prior appointment at the property or in our offices. Kings Lettings highly recommend this meeting.
Marketing Your Property
The relationship between the Landlord and the Agent should last for many years and as such at Kings Lettings Property Management, we will endeavour at all times to provide a service which will stand the test of time. From the moment you invite a member of our staff into your property, you will be granted access to a professional company and, through a wealth of experience, Kings Lettings will guide you through the lettings process, hopefully for many years to come. Once instructed, your property will be marketed through the most popular local newspapers and some of the most popular property portals, including RightMove, Zoopla, Find A Property and Prime Location, just to name a few. We will erect one of our distinctive "To Let" boards and your property will appear on our website and in our offices.
The rent needs to be paid on time to the managing agent. Thereafter, either a cheque will be issued to the Landlord or the rent will be distributed into the Landlord's bank account via BACS. This procedure takes approximately three to five working days. A statement is forwarded to the Landlord on the day which the rent is processed.
Tenancy Deposit Scheme
From April 2007, all tenants' deposits must be held in an approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme in order to provide a fair and equitable way of agreeing the return of deposits to tenants. It provides a mechanism for both the protection of the Landlord and the tenant, should a dispute arise in relation to the tenancy.
Kings are members of an approved scheme and all deposits are transferred to a separate custodial account until the tenancy reaches a termination. The deposit will be returned to the tenant if everything is acceptable to the Landlord, which is the reason why we recommend an inventory and regular inspections to be carried out. If there are any problems and the Landlord wishes to withhold the deposit, the case will be handed over to the TDS, who arbitrate in this situation. Kings are not allowed to be involved in any such arbitration, should it reach this stage.
In January 2009, The Deposit Scheme announced that they would not offer protection to Landlords and tenants who had used agents who were not members of the 5 recognised trade bodies. These bodies are, NAEA, ARLA, The Law Society, RICS and the National Approved Letting Scheme. We would strongly advise that any prospective landlords check the accreditation of any Letting Agents before entering into a contract. Kings are members of both ARLA and the NAEA. An article from Mortgage Introducer in December 2008 on mydeposits.co.uk, a Government-approved tenancy deposit protection scheme, is warning Landlords that they must provide sufficient evidence in the event that they feel the need to withhold part or all of a deposit.
Some disputes arise because the Landlord unfairly withholds the deposit. However, a growing number of reputable Landlords who find tenants have damaged their property at the end of a tenancy are having to dig into their own pockets because they do not have enough evidence to justify withholding all or some of the deposit. Landlords are entitled to withhold deposit money to cover damage beyond fair wear and tear that tenants cause during their stay. Under deposit protection legislation, tenants can now formally dispute the amount withheld. If the landlord cannot provide evidence of damage or failure to clean, tenancy deposit protection schemes will often have no choice but to act in favour of the tenant.
Figures from mydeposits.co.uk, for the third quarter of 2008, show that out of 125 disputes dealt with by independent adjudication, tenants received all or part of their deposit back, 91 per cent of the time. Tenancy deposit protection legislation was introduced to protect the rights of tenants by ensuring deductions from deposits are genuine. The onus is on the Landlord to show that any money being withheld is for a good reason.
David Salisbury, Chairman of mydeposits.co.uk, when commenting on the latest figures, said "Landlords who genuinely need to withhold a tenant's deposit at the end of a tenancy are able to do so but they must take some simple steps to show any deductions are justified and proportionate. Preparing an agreed inventory with the tenant will provide evidence of any damage to the property or furniture, while bank statements can be used to highlight non-payment of rent. Photographic records can be useful, as can any exchanges of correspondence. The vast majority of tenancies end harmoniously but when problems do arise, Landlords need to be prepared to safeguard themselves against abusers of the system. Although the deposit remains the property of the tenant, landlords should not find themselves paying for any tenant's misdemeanours out of their own pockets." For more advice or assistance on the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.thedisputeservice.co.uk
The Tenancy Agreement will specify the term of the contract, which is usually 6 or 12 months. By signing the Tenancy Agreement, both parties are committing to the specific term stated. Failure to abide by this period by either party will result in the contract being breached. Should either party wish to terminate early, then agreement has to be reached that both parties are happy to do so. Confirmation in writing from both parties is required by the Agent. In these circumstances, Kings would recommend a minimum notice period of 2 months.
It is the responsibility of the Landlord to take out buildings insurance. If a property is furnished then the Landlord is also responsible to insure the contents within it that belong to him. The tenant should consider insuring their own personal items. We would be happy to provide you with information about insuring your belongings, if required.
If the Landlord is a non-resident of the UK, the agent will be obliged to retain funds as a provision for taxation or source. Alternatively, a non-resident Landlord can apply to the Inland Revenue to deal with the tax affairs personally. We will be happy to provide the appropriate information and application forms for this purpose. We will hold back a percentage of the rental income until certification from the Inland Revenue is received. If the Landlord is resident in the UK, there is a tax implication from renting a property on an unearned income basis. Although we are not accountants, we can give basic advice on the expenses and costs deductible from a Landlord's point of view. We would also recommend that the Landlord consults an accountant for a detailed calculation.
A thorough inspection of the property is recommended prior to the start of the tenancy to ensure that the structure, roof, plumbing, electrics etc. are all in good working order. If a property is let with many appliances remaining, for example a washing machine, cooker, fridge and freezer then any repairs due to wear and tear or general maintenance are the responsibility of the Landlord. The central heating system and the plumbing are the responsibility of the Landlord and electrics are also the responsibility of the Landlord. If any of the above are damaged due to negligence on behalf of the tenant, then it is the tenant's responsibility to pay for the repair.
All appliances should have operating manuals, where possible. A Gas Safety Record is to be supplied by the Landlord for gas central heating system, gas supply and any gas appliances, which Kings Lettings can organise. This must be current and produced prior to a tenant moving in. All furniture supplied by the landlord must meet the current fire regulations. Kings lettings would normally undertake to discuss this in detail with the prospective Landlord. On a Leasehold property, it is the Landlord's responsibility to pay service and maintenance charges. The Landlord should attend to any internal or external decoration as necessary prior to the commencement of the Tenancy. This can be arranged through the agent if required. The tenants are not allowed to redecorate during the tenancy unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Landlord.
It is the Landlord's responsibility to ensure that the property is in a clean and habitable condition prior to commencement of the tenancy. It is the tenant's responsibility to maintain the standard and cleanliness thereafter. Regular Inspection will be carried out by the Agent, if the tenancy is on a full-managed basis, to ensure that the property is being kept clean. We would advise Landlords to carry out regular checks if the tenancy is on a different basis to full-managed, as this is not carried out by Kings.
A full inventory of the property is required prior to the commencement of the tenancy. This takes account of the following: the items of furniture that are to remain in the property, wall coverings, carpets, curtains and a reasonable description of their condition. This is so that an accurate assessment of damage can be made at the end of the tenancy for dilapidation deposit purposes. On the day of move in, the tenant has to sign the inventory and return to agent. If any changes are required, they are discussed with the Landlord.
We recommend that Landlords appoint a Professional Inventory Company to carry this out for them. Your Kings Branch will be able to advise you on this. A proper Inventory will provide the necessary evidence, should a claim arise through the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, and will protect both Landlords and tenants. When the tenancy starts, the services will change over to the tenant's name, with the appropriate meter readings. The Landlord should not have the utilities disconnected.
The Landlord should ensure that the garden is in a good state prior to the tenancy. The responsibility is then passed over to the tenant. If garden tools are not supplied, it is still the responsibility of the tenant to maintain the garden.
Contents Under Hire Purchase
The Landlord should cover all rental hire payments and hire purchase instalments for the period of the tenancy for items that are already at the property and will remain at the property for the duration of the tenancy. The tenant should cover all rental hire payments and hire purchase instalments for any items that the tenant may wish to supply for their self.
The agent will normally arrange for repair and maintenance on behalf of the Landlord. However, if the Landlord requires a specific contractor in any matter then the name, address and telephone number must be supplied for each area of responsibility; plumbers, electricians, builders. All tradesmen recommended by Kings Lettings are checked for competence and price. However, as they are not Kings Lettings employees, Kings Lettings will not be held responsible for their actions.