INFORMATION FOR LANDLORDS
Douch Partners Letting & Property Management Ltd is a local, independent firm specialising in Residential Lettings and Property Management. As specialists we are fully focused on the priorities and needs of Landlords and Tenants. We have a wealth of experience in letting and managing our own properties and understand the importance of good Tenant/Landlord relationship, believing that this can be achieved if there is enough time to deal with all issues of a tenancy. We offer a range of competitive management options and as we are a part of Douch Partners Building Contractors we are able to offer you access to skilled tradesmen for complete peace of mind.
We take pride in offering a personal and efficient service, ensuring that your property is given our full attention.
We offer terms of management which cater for the individual landlord’s needs. You can choose from either tenant introduction or one of our management options.
As specialists we are fully focused on the priorities and needs of the Landlord. We understand that letting your property, especially for the first time, can be a worrying experience and with this in mind our most important consideration is providing you the Landlord with the best possible service and the right tenant for your property. We never forget that the property is your most important asset and we can confidently assure you that by instructing us to act as your Letting and Management Agent, your asset will be in professional and caring hands.
We would ask you to read our terms and conditions, and if you decide to select Douch Partners Letting & Property Management Ltd, as you rental agent, would you then please complete the appropriate form.
Our fees are competitive and there are no hidden charges. We are able to cater for investment Landlords and savings can be made on the smallest of portfolios.
A Personal Service
We pride ourselves in offering a personal and friendly Service, whilst at the same time maintaining a high standard of competence and professionalism.
Carefully Selected Quality Tenants
Drawn from a continually updated register, all prospective Tenants are thoroughly referenced and credit checked. In some cases we will also require a guarantor.
Out of Hours Service
For our initial meetings with you we will if necessary be pleased to visit your property outside normal office hours, at a time that is convenient to you, and thus fit in with your busy schedule.
A Tailored Service
Outlined below are basic elements of our Service. However, we maintain a flexible attitude, and are generally able to adapt our Service to meet our client's individual circumstances and needs, for example by providing a part only Service, or occasionally by taking on additional tasks and duties.
This is our fully inclusive Service, which provides for the marketing of the property and carrying out viewings, leading to the introduction and vetting of prospective Tenant’s. This proving satisfactory, we will then go ahead and prepare the tenancy agreement, and if required an inventory. The Tenant will then be checked in against the inventory.
During the tenancy we carry out periodic inspection visits. Should these bring to light any maintenance issues, we will (within the confines of our Management Agreement) recommend, oversee and account for any necessary repairs.
Collecting a deposit of 1 ½ months rent and depositing in accordance with new Housing Act 2004, Custodial Tenancy Deposit Scheme in a designated Client Money Account, from the tenant. Collecting and processing of rental payments is also part of the Service. These will be credited automatically to the Landlord's nominated bank account, less agency fees.
Towards the end of the tenancy, we will liaise with the Tenant, and renew the tenancy agreement or arrange to check them out as applicable.
This Service is suitable for those Landlords who are not residing locally, or would rather not deal with the Tenants directly, preferring all aspects to be handled by an Agent.
Our Tenant Introduction Services includes as above, marketing of the property and carrying out viewings, leading to the introduction and vetting of a prospective Tenant. This proving satisfactory, we will then go ahead and prepare the tenancy agreement, and if required an inventory.
Following this, the first month's rent and a security deposit equivalent to 1 ½ months rent will be collected. The security deposit will have to, in accordance with new Housing Act 2004, Custodial Tenancy Deposit Scheme be deposited in a designated Client Money Account. The rent less our agreed fee will be credited to the landlords account. Managing the tenancy, including the maintenance and rent collection, will then be the responsibility of the Landlord.
A service for landlords who do not wish to be involved in the collection of rent, but have the time to be able to deal with tenants problems and maintenance issues. In addition the Tenant Introduction this service includes: Collecting a deposit of 1 ½ months rent and depositing in accordance with new Housing Act 2004, Custodial Tenancy Deposit Scheme in a designated Client Money Account, from the tenant.
We have found that a good relationship with Tenants is the key to a smooth-running tenancy. As Property Managers this relationship is our job. It is important that the Tenants should feel comfortable in their temporary home, and that they are receiving value for their money. It follows therefore that a well maintained property in a good decorative order will go towards this, whilst also achieving a higher rental figure. Tenants are also more inclined to treat such a property with greater respect.
Electrical, gas plumbing, waste, central heating and hot water systems must be safe, sound and in good working order. Repairs and maintenance are at the Landlords expense unless misuse can be established. Interior decorations should be in good condition and preferably plain, light and neutral.
Your property can be let fully furnished, part furnished or unfurnished. Which of these is appropriate will depend on the type of property and local market conditions. We will be pleased to give you advice on whether to furnish or not and to what level. As a minimum you will need to provide decent quality carpets, curtains and light fittings. Remember that there will be wear and tear on the property and any items provided. If letting furnished, you'll find a list of recommended items on page 4.
Personal items, ornaments etc.
Personal possessions, ornaments, pictures, books etc. should be removed from the premises, especially those of real or sentimental value. Some items may be boxed, sealed and stored in the loft at the owner's risk. All cupboards and shelf space should be left clear for the Tenant's own use.
Gardens should be left neat, tidy and rubbish free, with any lawns cut. Tenants are required to maintain the gardens to a reasonable standard, provided they are left the necessary tools. However, few Tenants are experienced gardeners, and if you value your garden, or if it is particularly large, you may wish us to arrange visits by our regular gardener.
At the commencement of the tenancy the property must be in a thoroughly clean condition, and at the end of each tenancy it is the Tenants' responsibility to leave the property in a similar condition. Where they fail to do so, cleaning will be arranged at their expense.
Information for the Tenant
It is helpful if you leave information for the Tenant, e.g. on operating the central heating and hot water system, washing machine and alarm system, and the day refuse is collected etc.
You should provide one set of keys for each Tenant. Where we will be managing we will arrange to have duplicates cut as required.
If your property is mortgaged, you should obtain your mortgagee's written consent to the letting. They may require additional clauses in the tenancy agreement of which you must inform us.
If you are a leaseholder, you should check the terms of your lease, and obtain any necessary written consent before letting.
You should ensure that you are suitably covered for letting under both your buildings and contents insurance. Failure to inform your insurers may invalidate your policies. We can provide information on Landlords Legal Protection, Rent Guarantee Cover and Landlords Contents and Buildings Insurance if required.
Bills and regular outgoings
We recommend that you arrange for regular outgoings e.g. service charges, maintenance contracts etc. to be paid by standing order or direct debit. However where we are managing the property, by prior written agreement we may make payment of certain bills on your behalf, provided such bills are received in your name at our office, and that sufficient funds are held to your credit.
Council tax and utility accounts
We will arrange for the transfer of Council Tax and utility accounts to the Tenant. Meter readings will be taken, allowing your closing gas and electricity accounts to be drawn up. All these matters we will handle for you, however British Telecom will require instructions directly from both the Landlord and the Tenant.
When resident in the UK, it is entirely the Landlords responsibility to inform the Inland Revenue of rental income received, and to pay any tax due. Where the Landlord is resident outside the UK during a tenancy, under rules effective from 6 April 1996, unless an exemption certificate is held, we as Landlord's Agent are obliged to retain and forward to the Inland Revenue on a quarterly basis, an amount equal to the basic rate of income tax from rental received, less certain expenses. An application form for exemption from such deductions is available from this Agency, and further information may be obtained from the Inland Revenue.
It is most important that an inventory of contents and schedule of condition be prepared, in order to avoid misunderstanding or dispute at the end of a tenancy. Without such safeguards, it will be impossible for the Landlord to prove any loss, damage, or significant deterioration of the property or contents. In order to provide a complete Service, we will if required arrange for a member of staff to prepare an inventory and schedule of condition, at the cost quoted in our Agency Agreement.
What is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy?
Most tenancies will automatically be Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST’s), provided the rent is under £25,000 a year and the property is let to private individuals. Tenancies are usually granted for an initial fixed term of either 6 or 12 months. When the fixed term has expired the landlord is able to regain possession of the property once he has given two months written notice to the tenant. In addition, if the tenant owes at least 2 months or 8 weeks rent on the property or have broken any of the points in the contract, possession can be applied for through the courts.
Important Safety Requirements
The following requirements are the responsibility of the owner (Landlord). Where you have signed our Full Management Agency Agreement, they are also our responsibility. Therefore where we are managing we will need to ensure compliance.
Gas - Annual safety check
Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 all gas appliances and flues in rented accommodation must be checked for safety within 12 months of being installed, and thereafter at least every 12 months by a competent engineer - registered gas installer.
Maintenance: There is a duty to ensure that all gas appliances, flues and associated pipework are maintained in a safe condition at all times.
Records: Full records must be kept for at least 2 years of the inspections of each appliance and flue, of any defects found and of any remedial action taken.
Copies to tenants
A copy of the safety certificate issued by the engineer must be given to each new tenant before their tenancy commences, or to each existing tenant within 28 days of the check being carried out.
Health and Safety - Electrical
There are several regulations relating to electrical installations, equipment and appliance safety, and these affect landlords and their agents in that they are ‘supplying in the course of business’. They include the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, the Plugs and Sockets Regulations 1994, the 2005 Building Regulation -‘Part P’, and British Standard BS1363 relating to plugs and sockets. Although the tenanted property there is currently no legal requirement for an electrical safety certificate (except in cases of all HMO’s) it is widely accepted in the letting industry that only safe way to ensure safety and to avoid risk of being accused of neglecting your ‘duty of care’, or even of manslaughter is to arrange such and inspection and certificate.
Consumer Protection - Fire
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended 1989 & 1993) provide that specified items supplied in the course of letting property must meet minimum fire resistance standards. The regulations apply to all upholstered furniture, beds, headboards and mattresses, sofa-beds, futons and other convertibles, nursery furniture, garden furniture suitable for use in a dwelling, scatter cushions, pillows and non-original covers for furniture. They do not apply to antique furniture or furniture made before 1950, bedcovers including duvets, loose covers for mattresses, pillowcases, curtains, carpets or sleeping bags.
Items which comply will have a suitable permanent label attached. Non-compliant items must be removed before a tenancy commences.
Smoke Alarms/Carbon monoxide alarms
It is now mandatory in all tenanted properties, working smoke alarms are installed. We therefore strongly recommend that the Landlord fit at least one alarm on each floor (in the hall and landing areas). All properties built since June 1992 must have been fitted with mains powered smoke detector alarms from new.
If your rental property has got a working solid fuel – open fire or wood burning stove it is mandatory to have Carbon Monoxide alarms installed.
In order to market your property to let, your property needs a valid EPC (Energy Performance Certificate).
In order to issue a valid Section 21 Notice of Eviction to the tenant, you must serve the individual with; with a valid EPC, together with a gas safety certificate, a copy of the government's most up to date 'How to Rent' leaflet (which will be provided at the start of every agreement).
Is you property a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)?
If you property is on 3 or more levels and let to 5 or more tenants comprising 2 or more households (i.e. not all of the same family) it will be subject to mandatory licensing by your local authority. Whether mandatory licensing as above applies or not, if there are 3 or more tenants not all related in any property, it is still likely to an HMO, and special Management rules applies. Ask you letting agent or local authority for details. Lear more here: http://www.communities.gov.uk
The Housing Health and Safety Relating System (HHSRS)
The HHSRS provides an analysis of how hazardous a property is through an assessment of 29 potential hazards found in housing. Landlords have to maintain their properties to provide a safe and healthy environment. The HHSRS is enforced by local authorities. For further information visit http://www.communities.gov.uk/hhsrs
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme
From the 6th of April 2007, all deposits taken by landlords and letting agents under Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST’s) in England and Wales must be protected by a tenancy deposit protection scheme. To avoid any disputed going to court, each scheme will be supported by an alternative dispute resolution service (ADR). Landlords and letting agents will be able to choose between two type of schemes; a single custodial scheme and two insurance-based schemes.
Learn more on http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TenancyDeposit/index.htm
Note: If you the landlord decide to hold the deposit yourself, we will transfer it to you within 5 days of receiving it. You must register it with a Tenancy Deposit Proptection Scheme with a further 9 days if the tenancy is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy. If you fail to do son the tenant can take legal action against you the landlord in the County Court. The Court will make an order stating that you must the deposit back to the tenant or lodge it with the custodial scheme which is know as the Deposit Protection Scheme. In addition a further order will be made requiring you pay compensation to the tenant of an amount equal to three times the deposit. You will be unable to serve a Section 21 Notice on your tenant until compliance with the above conditions and the Court will not grant you a possession order. We have no liability for any loss suffered if you fail to comply.
The Disability Discrimination Act 2005
The DDA 2005 address the limitations of current legislation by extending disabled peoples rights in respect of premises that are let or to be let, and common-hold premises. Landlords and managers of let premises and premises that let will be required to make reasonable adjustments for disable people. Lear more here: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/aboutus/dda_factsheet4-premises.pdf
We hope that the general points covered in this guide will be of assistance to you. If there are any aspects of which you are unsure, please telephone us on tel.:01342 826155 or e-mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively we can visit you at your home to discuss your individual requirements, at your convenience.