MILLERS LETTING AGENTS
Have established itself as one of the leading estate agencies in Epping and the surrounding areas. Our offices are situated at strategic locations to provide us with a sound base from which to serve the community. As well as sales and financial services we specialise in lettings & management. Our services are designed to put the landlord first and to ensure the successful management of your property.
Finding the right tenant for a property is fundamental. We start by establishing with yourself criteria for the sort of person(s) you wish to occupy your property. We then match these details to applicants that we have registered looking for accommodation and call to book an appointment to view. We also advertise on the following websites www.rightmove.co.uk www.findaproperty.co.uk www.propertyfinder.co.uk www.primelocation.co.uk www.homesonview.co.uk & www.millersepping.co.uk along with the local West Essex property Mart
Once we have found a suitable tenant(s) the successful applicant will be required to complete an application form. We use a professional credit checking agency RENTSHIELD DIRECT to carry out our reference checks and Rentshield charge a fee to carry out this task which we pass on to the tenants. If a tenant’s references are declined then the tenancy will not proceed. If a tenant knows they stand to loose their reference monies, they ask to take our documents away and we never hear from them again.
RENT GUARANTEE & LEGAL EXPENSES
As an added benefit in using our MANAGED SERVICES we take out a policy which guarantees your rent for the first SIX months of the contract (subject to conditions); and any legal expenses which may arise in the unlikely event that the tenant fails to pay their rent and we are forced to seek legal possession. After the first SIX months, you will be offered the option to renew the cover, at a cost to yourself. Unfortunately agents are UNABLE to offer this service to NON MANAGED tenancies. For further detail please contact our office.
We expect a damage deposit from ALL our tenants, which is equal to 1.5 months rent. Deposits are held to help ensure the tenant looks after the property and safeguard against unpaid rent. It is legislation that deposits are held by a third party; Millers use the Deposit Protection Scheme The DPS. It is refundable at the end of a tenancy only after the tenant has vacated the property, providing the house and their account are in order. When the tenant vacates the property, you will have an opportunity to inspect the property yourself prior to the deposit refund. Should you wish to so do, you must make arrangements to view the property within 48 hours of the keys being returned. In our managed service this is taken care of for you.
Prior to the tenant moving in arrange for our inventories clerk to compile a full inventory of the property. The inventory gives an accurate description of the general condition of the accommodation and a list of all its items and furniture: this is confirmed by a gallery of photographs supplied on a CD so there are no complications at the end of the contract. A copy of the inventory and a CD of photos will be issued to both parties. Whilst compiling the inventory we take the meter readings, which can be passed on to the appropriate service companies. At the same time we also inform the council of the change of occupancy. We are UNABLE to inform British Telecom BT or similar telephone supplier, this must be carried out by the account holder. Consequently you must ensure that BT knows you no longer require a service at the property. The tenants then have to contact BT should they wish to be re-connected. Please be aware that an extra charge applies for the inventory.
All new tenancies commence with a minimum six month assured shorthold contract. The contract is written that after the initial period the contract will then continue on what is know as a periodic tenancy (month to month under the terms of the original contract). Should you wish for the tenants to leave you must serve the required notice to quit.
NOTICE TO QUIT
If a tenant decided to vacate the property at the end of the initial SIX month period they would have to give ONE months notice to quit on the fifth month; if you require possession of the property you will need to serve TWO months notice to quit (section 21) on the fourth month. The notice must be served on or before the monthly rental payment date. If notice is given after the rental payment date then the notice will not start until the next calendar month. If however the tenant fails to vacate the property, enforcement of this notice can only be arranged through the courts. Serving a notice to quit does not guarantee that the tenant will vacate the property on the agreed date.
END OF TENANCY
Once a tenancy comes to an end a final inspection must be carried out, if we manage a property we make arrangements to enter the property and confirm that the condition is similar to the start of the tenancy, is clean and ready for re letting (fair wear and tear accepted). We will check the accommodation against the inventory and photographic evidence, take meter readings as well as obtaining details as to where the tenant has moved to inform the services. The deposit is refundable to the tenant once we are convinced that everything is in order. If you wish, you can inspect the property before the deposit is refunded. This must be done within 48 hours of key return. If for any reason there are any disputes with how the property has been left, the first course of action is to give the tenant an opportunity to rectify the problem. If the tenant does not rectify the situation, we can then make a deduction from the deposit (valid estimates must be obtained indicating the exact cost of repair or cleaning). Failing an agreement between the landlord and tenant, we act as arbitrators. We will aim to resolve the disagreement as quickly and amicably as possible. Our decision is final and both parties must agree to abide by our judgement.
During our management we conduct regular inspections of all tenanted properties every 12 weeks. These inspections serve numerous purposes and they allow us to visit the tenant in the property and ensure they are looking after it. We also check for signs that something may be wrong with the property. If something needs attention we can then inform you as soon as is practical, helping to reduce the risk of the problem becoming worse and the cost escalating. These visits also help us get to know the tenants better, so that when the lease is due for renewal we can be confident in the advice we give to you. You will receive a written report detailing any findings and with photographic evidence if necessary.
Every property at some point will need some maintenance work being carried out. If things go wrong and the tenant contacts us with a problem we arrange to visit the accommodation isolate the issue. We will then contact you not just with the problem, but with a cost effective solution. In the majority of cases the problem can be resolved quickly. However there are two important points to remember when it comes to repairs. Firstly, if a serious fault does occur (water burst/ flood) and we cannot contact you; we will authorize a repair up to a cost equivalent of one months agreed rent. Authorization for this is contained within the sole agency agreement you signed.
Secondly, once a property is tenanted you do have an obligation to ensure it is well maintained. Carrying out repairs quickly is often as important for you as it is for the tenant. After-all repairs caught early enough can save you a lot of money. Remember tenants do have rights. Tenants can contact the Environmental Health because repairs are not being attended to quickly and the ensuing ‘enforcement order’ could include extra repairs and a significantly higher final bill. Work not done will be carried out by them and they will add a hefty additional charge on top of the repair bill.
*In the Landlord & Tenants Act 1985 under section 11, it is implied as a covenant in the tenancy agreement that the landlord is:
(a) to keep in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling (including its drains, gutters and external pipes).
(b) to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling, for sanitation and for the supply of water, gas and electricity as well as those for space heating and heating water”
(journal for residential property professionals- July 1996, issue2, volume4)
It is a legal requirement that every gas appliance and gas central heating system has to be inspected on an annual basis. They have to meet strict conditions and a safety report must be issued. (This report or copy of it must be kept with our files).
You can use British Gas (who charge per item inspected) or a private gas engineer (some of whom have a flat rate, regardless of the number of appliances). Remember for an inspection to be complete, the piping must also be inspected and the person conducting the inspection MUST be GAS SAFE registered. We can arrange for the safety inspection to be carried out for you by one of our local gas engineers. Once the inspection has been completed, we keep a record of the date. A safety report must be issued every twelve months Central heating systems do break down and unfortunately it always seems to happen at the most inconvenient of times such as a Bank Holiday or when you are away. The cost of repairs can be substantial and there is often little option but to have the work done. For this reason we recommend a service contract. British Gas offers a policy which serves the majority of systems very well. They also allow you to spread the cost and pay monthly instalments. (Details of the scheme along with an application form can be found in your Pack.) If you do take out a service contract or have one already then please let us know. The details will be kept in the files and should the tenant have any problems, we can contact your service provider on your behalf during our management.
It is our recommendation that all properties should be fitted with at least two smoke alarms. While this is not a legal requirement, failure to take adequate precautions (such as fitting smoke alarms) could lead to a landlord being prosecuted if something did happen. Smoke alarms are inexpensive and are easily fitted. They can, and do, save lives. Once installed these devices must be checked on a regular basis. If your property has gas appliances then you may wish to consider the installation of carbon monoxide alarms (these detect the build up of dangerous gasses). These units cost a little more than smoke alarms but again do serve a very useful purpose.
More and more landlords are having burglar alarms fitted that have a user code as well as a master code which must be kept secret. A master code means that changing the alarm number is only possible with this number. Consequently while your tenants can have the benefit of the alarm they cannot change its settings. Alarms (like any peace of electrical equipment) can malfunction. This is not only annoying for yourself and neighbours but it is also leading to increased calls from police officers for a list of such nuisance alarms (the implication being that if an alarm is frequently sounding for no valid reason the police refuse to respond). We would therefore recommend that the alarm is checked on a regular basis.
If any furniture is left in a property, then you as landlord have a duty to ensure it is maintained and (for electrical / mechanical equipment) repaired should it become faulty, provided of course this is not as a result of negligence or malicious damage by the tenant. Any soft furnishings (Chairs & beds etc.) that are left in the property must comply with fire regulations, and a label clearly stating so should be attached. If not then the furnishings must be removed from the property. They cannot be stored at the rented address.
If the property you wish to rent is subject to a mortgage then the mortgage lender should be informed that you intend to let the property. This should be done before a tenant moves into the property. Gaining permission from the building society usually depends upon the mortgage account not being in arrears. Some lenders do ask to see a copy of the lease which the tenant will be asked to sign and we will happily provide them with this. The lender may make a small charge to cover administration costs.
As a landlord you are still responsible for the building and accordingly the buildings insurance. Please note buildings insurance will not cover the costs of replacing or repairing carpets if they become damaged but it does however cover fixtures and fittings. If the property is furnished or part-furnished you may also wish to consider contents insurance.
Income received from renting any property is subject to tax (we strongly recommend that you take advice from an accountant). Expenses incurred can be set against this liability (see enclosed leaflet) as can the interest paid on the mortgage (if MIRAS is dropped or does not apply to the property). Enclosed in this pack you will find A Brief Guide to Lettings & Tax. Overseas Landlords Up until April 1996 landlords who moved out of the United Kingdom had to have tax deducted by their agents. Now however a landlord can apply for an exemption certificate from the Inland Revenue (we can supply the application forms). If you are awarded exemption we can send all the rent money to yourself (a copy of the exemption certificate must be held by ourselves) without a deduction for tax.
The agreement you signed when the property was put on our books does not cover periods when the property is vacant. If you are concerned about the property and want us to manage it while it is empty, you must inform us of this and we can make arrangements to do so. (There will be an extra cost for this service.)
We would normally require two sets of keys to the property; one will be handed to the tenant on occupation while the other will be retained in our office for emergencies. Note: If you wish to use or collect these keys at any time- you must bring proof of identification as a security measure.
If you do have any problems, feel free to contact us - we are here to help.