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Letting

Finding a tenant for your property is only the beginning of being a Landlord. Making sure your tenants can pay their rent and look after your property is paramount. We can advise you on achievable rental values, referencing, agreements, on-going property management.

We hope the guides below will assist you, but if not please feel free to contact us.

Letting & Full Management Service

Our Letting & Full Management service includes:

  • Visiting you at your property, and providing a rental valuation and any other advice that you may require about letting your property.
  • Advising you on compliance with the various safety regulations.
  • Locating suitable tenants. Your property will be advertised across our branch network, on our website and on major property web portals. However we have excellent contacts with various company and other establishment personnel departments, and furthermore usually have tenants waiting.
  • Accompanying potential tenants to view the property or arranging through existing tenants or landlord .
  • Obtaining and evaluating references and credit checks.
  • Preparing a suitable tenancy agreement and arranging signature by the tenant.
  • Collecting a tenancy deposit that will be treated in accordance with current legislation.
  • Arranging an inventory and schedule of condition by a professional inventory clerk*.
  • Agreeing the inventory with the tenant.
  • Supervising the transfer of gas, electricity and council tax accounts into the tenant's name.
  • Receiving rental payments monthly in advance, and paying you promptly, together with a detailed statement from our computerized management systems.
  • If required paying regular outgoings for you from rental payments.
  • Inspecting the property periodically, and reporting any problems to you.
  • Arranging any necessary repairs or maintenance, first liaising with you with the cost of such repairs and maintenance to be borne by you.
  • Contacting the tenant on a routine basis, and arranging renewals of the agreement as necessary*.
  • Checking tenants out as required, re-letting and continuing the process with the minimum of vacant periods to ensure that you receive the optimum return from your property.

*carries additional charge

Let Only Service

Our Let Only Service includes:

  • Visiting you at your property, and providing a rental valuation and any other advice that you may require about letting your property.
  • Advising you on compliance with the various safety regulations.
  • Arranging Gas Safety Certificate, Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), Electrical Testing where required.*
  • Locating suitable tenants. Your property will be advertised across our branch network, on our websiteand on major property web portals. However we have excellent contacts with various company and other establishment personnel departments, and furthermore usually have tenants waiting.
  • Accompanying potential tenants to view the property or arranging through existing tenants or landlord.
  • Obtaining and evaluating references and credit checks.
  • Preparing a suitable tenancy agreement and arranging signature by the tenant.
  • Collecting a tenancy deposit that will be treated in accordance with current legislation.*
  • Arranging an inventory and schedule of condition by a professional inventory clerk where instructed.*
  • Setting up of standing order from tenant to landlord.

*carries additional charge

Guide for Landlords

Before a property can be let, there are several matters that the owner will need to deal with to ensure that the tenancy runs smoothly, and also that they comply with the law. We provide summarised information below. If you require further advice or assistance with any matter, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Preparing the Property

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, but it is important that the Tenants should feel comfortable in the property, and that they are receiving value for their money. It follows therefore that a well presented and 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 and where agreed, rent for a longer period.

General Condition

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 Landlord's expense unless misuse can be established. Interior decorations should be in good condition and preferably plain, light and neutral.

Furnishings

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.

Personal items, ornaments etc.

Personal possessions, ornaments, pictures, books etc. should be removed from the premises, especially those of real or sentimental value.

Gardens

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 a regular gardener for an additional fee.

Cleaning

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.

Keys

You should provide at least one set of keys for the Tenant and one set for us, the Managing Agent in case of emergency access. The Tenant may require additional sets cut at their own expense.

Other Considerations

Mortgage

If your property is mortgaged, you should obtain your lenders written consent to the letting. They may require additional clauses in the tenancy agreement of which you must inform us.

Leaseholds

If you are a leaseholder, you should check the terms of your lease, and obtain any necessary written consent before letting.

Insurance

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 refer you to insurance brokers for advice 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

Where we are Managing Agents 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.

Income tax

When resident in the UK, it is entirely the Landlord's responsibility to inform HM Revenue & Customs of rental income received, and to pay any tax due. Where the Landlord is resident outside the UK during a tenancy, they will require an exemption certificate from HM Revenue & Customs before they can receive rental balances without deduction of tax. Where we are managing the property we will provide advice and assistance on applying for such exemption.

The inventory

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 professional inventory clerk to prepare an inventory and schedule of condition, at the cost quoted in our Agency Agreement.

What is an Assured Short hold Tenancy

Most tenancies will automatically be Assured Short hold Tenancies (ASTs), 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 to 12 months. When the fixed term has expired the landlord is able to regain possession of the property provided he gives two months written notice to the tenant. In addition, if the tenant owes at least 2 months or 8 weeks rent on the property he can apply through the court to seek a possession order.

Health and Safety, and other Legal Requirements

The following requirements are the responsibility of the owner (Landlord). Where we are managing the property they are also our responsibility. Therefore where we are managing we will ensure compliance, any costs of which will be the responsibility of the landlord.

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 upon installation andat least every 12 months thereafter by a competent engineer (e.g. a GAS SAFE/CORGI registered gas installer).
Maintenance: There is a duty to ensure that all gas appliances, flues and associated pipe work 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.

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 with tenanted property there is currently no legal requirement for an electrical safety certificate (except in the case of all HMOs) it is now widely accepted in the letting industry that the only safe way to ensure safety, and to avoid the risk of being accused of neglecting your 'duty of care', or even of manslaughter is to arrange such an inspection and certificate.

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

All properties built since June 1992 must have been fitted with mains powered smoke detector alarms from new. Although there is no legislation requiring smoke alarms to be fitted in other ordinary tenanted properties, it is generally considered that the common law 'duty of care' means that Landlords and their Agents could be liable should a fire cause injury or damage in a tenanted property where smoke alarms are not fitted. We therefore strongly recommend that the Landlord fit at least one alarm on each floor (in the hall and landing areas).

Is your property a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)?

If your 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 be an HMO, and special Management rules apply. We would advise all Landlords of HMOs make enquiries to the local authority in current local licensing requirements.

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)

the HHSRS provides an analysis of how hazardous a property is through 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.

Tenancy Deposit Protection

From 6 April 2007, all deposits taken by landlords and letting agents under Assured Short hold Tenancies (ASTs) in England and Wales must be protected by a tenancy deposit protection scheme. Landlords and letting agents must not take a deposit unless it is dealt with under a tenancy deposit scheme. To avoid any disputes 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 types of scheme; a single custodial scheme and an insurance-based scheme.

The Disability Discrimination Act 2005

The DDA 2005 addresses disabled people's 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 are to let will be required to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people. Under the new duties, provided certain conditions are met (for example, that a request has been made), landlords and managers of premises which are to let, or of premises which have already been let, must make reasonable adjustments, and a failure to do so will be unlawful unless it can be justified under the Act. Landlords will only have to make reasonable adjustments and they will not have to remove or alter physical features of the premises.

Energy Performance Certificates

All rented properties marketed now require an energy performance survey/inspection carried out at least every ten years.
We hope that you will find the above information useful. If there are any aspects of which you are unsure, please ask us. We look forward to being of assistance to you in the letting and management of your property.

Finding a property

The first step is to contact us to provide details about yourself and the accommodation you require, we then search our database for suitable properties for viewing. If not urgent, we log your details so that we can contact you as suitable properties become available. It is wise to start looking about a month before you wish to move, as the better properties are viewed and reserved quickly. Our tenancies are granted for a minimum term of 6 months. We regret that we cannot assist DSS claimants.

Viewings

Viewings will be arranged at times to suit you, including early evenings and on Saturdays, and you will invariably be accompanied by a member of staff, who can give advice and answer any questions you may have.

Reserving the property

Once you have decided on a property, you will need to reserve it by paying a ‘reservation fee’. If the landlord declines to grant the tenancy due to unsatisfactory references or if you decide not to proceed for any reason, or if you fail to provide complete and accurate information in your application you agree to forfeit this fee.

References

As a minimum we will require satisfactory references from your employer and a previous or current landlord. We may also require a personal reference, and sometimes a guarantor. In addition a credit check will be undertaken. We may use the services of an independent referencing company to obtain and evaluate these references.

Rents

Rents are normally quoted on a calendar month and payable monthly in advance. The tenant is usually also responsible for Council Tax, Water Rates, Gas, Electricity and Telephone costs. All rents are payable by bank standing order to our company bank account.

Deposit

A security / dilapidations deposit will be taken and as per the June 1st 2019 regulations be capped at a maximum of five weeks rent.

ACCESS

The Landlord will ensure that:

  • Where access is required for routine inspection(s), the tenants receive notification of the date, time and purpose of the visit not less than 24 hours in advance. Save in circumstances where issuance of such notice is impractical and that tenant privacy and entitlement to freedom from unnecessary intrusion is respected.
  • Business is pursued by the Landlord in a professional, courteous and diligent manner at all times.

SECURITY & INSURANCE

Before leaving the house check that all windows and doors are closed. It is the tenant’s responsibility to insure their personal possessions NOT the landlords. Whilst insuring your own possessions you would be wise to include public liability and or accidental damage to the landlords’ fixtures and fittings.

REPAIRS AND MAINTENANCE

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Reporting Repairs

If we are the Managing Agents, your first point of contact is Rice Chamberlains. You should contact us either by telephone, an email or in writing as detailed at the end. When you report your repair please make sure that you give us a daytime contact number. The contractor will contact you and arrange a convenient time to call.

Gas or fumes

If you think that you have a gas leak, can smell gas, or think that you or any of your family is suffering ill effects caused by fumes from a gas appliance, you should take the following actions: If there is a strong smell of Gas IMMEDIATELY CALL a gas engineer. You should:

  • Put out any cigarettes, don’t light any naked flames (lighters/ matches) and switch off electric fires.
  • Check that all cooker knobs are turned off.
  • Check if a pilot light has gone out on a cooker or boiler. If there is a leak turn off the pilot light if you can.
  • Turn off the gas meter control level - located to the side of your gas meter where the supply comes in.
  • Do not operate electrical switches or doorbells - either on or off
  • Do not switch on or off any lights/sockets or appliances
  • Open your doors and windows to air your home.
  • Do not use your telephone or mobile telephone. It is possible that either one could cause a spark and ignite any gas in the area.
  • Do leave your flat/ house and go outside

If the gas smells returns phone a gas engineer and follow the above precautions. Inform Rice Chamberlains as soon as possible about what has happened.

If there is a slight smell of Gas, take the following precautions:

  • Check that all cooker knobs are turned off.
  • Check if a pilot light has gone out on a cooker or boiler.
  • If there is a leak, turn off the pilot light if you can, or turn off the gas supply (the lever is next to the meter)
  • Put out cigarettes, naked flames and switch off electric fires.
  • Open your doors and windows to air your home.
  • Wait until the smell of gas has gone before re-lighting pilot lights.

The possible side effects of exposure to gas fumes include: Headaches, Migraines, Feeling light headed and Nausea.

Burst Pipe

Turn off the Mains water stopcock. This is typically found under the kitchen sink or near the toilet. Turn on all your taps to drain the water in the pipes if water is running down a light fitting switch it off and remove the appropriate fuse from the fuse box. Contact Rice Chamberlains as soon as reasonably practicable.

Note

Ensure you are familiar with the Central Heating System and that there is sufficient heat in the house in cold winter periods to avoid burst pipes. If you go away in the winter leave some heating on and inform Rice Chamberlains of your absence.

Electricity

If the power to your home and your neighbor’s home suddenly goes off, contact your electricity supplier.

If the power to an appliance goes off check the plug and fuse box.

Note: If you have a key meter remember to check that you have credit.

Landlord’s Repair Responsibilities

The Landlord is responsible for the upkeep of:

  • The structure of the building
  • The outside of your home, which includes the communal areas
  • The plumbing, electrical and heating systems that were originally provided by the Landlord (not including those that you have installed yourself). These include: The roof, drains, gutters and outside pipes, outside walls, doors, window sills, window frames & glass.
  • Outside painting and decoration Internal walls, skirting boards, doors & door frames, door jambs, thresholds, floors and ceilings (but not internal painting & decorating)
  • Major internal plasterwork, Flues, chimneys and chimney stacks (but not cleaning the chimneys). Also fences, pathways, boundary walls, steps, ramps and stair-lifts.
  • Garages and outbuildings (where provided by the Landlord), common entrances, stairways, lifts and lighting Rubbish chutes
  • Water pipes & tanks, gas pipes and electrical wiring
  • Electrical sockets and smoke detectors (where fitted by the Landlord), light fittings (but not plugs or other fittings that are not fitted by the Landlord)
  • Basins, sinks, baths, toilets, flushing systems and waste pipes
  • Water heaters, boilers, fireplaces, fitted fires and radiators Re-tiling in bathrooms and kitchens.

Please Note: There are certain repairs that if caused by you, a member of your household or a visitor to your home, may result in the Landlord asking you to pay for the cost of making the repair (for instance, broken windows or doors).

Tenant’s Repair Responsibilities

You are responsible for: Internal decoration, minor repairs, maintenance of appliances and fittings installed by you that do not belong to the Landlord (unless the Landlord has agreed to adopt them). This includes:

  • Painting and decorating of the inside of the property
  • Altering doors for carpets
  • Replacing lost or damaged keys (The Landlord will charge you for the actual cost of replacing keys and fobs plus a reasonable cost for their time in doing so)
  • Repairing small plaster cracks
  • Replacing electric plugs, fuses & light bulbs
  • The upkeep of your own garden
  • Plumbing in your own washing machine
  • Replacing the toilet seat
  • Bath and sink plugs.

If repairs are necessary to any of the Landlord’s furniture or fittings, contact Rice Chamberlains immediately. Do not make your own arrangements to have the repairs done as you may have to pay for them and any damage incurred. You should also report repairs to us that are the Landlord’s responsibility to carry out.

Programmed Maintenance

This is work that the Landlord needs to do in order to keep your home and the estate in general good condition. It includes:

  • Contracts for servicing lifts, boilers, and heating systems
  • External painting, planned replacement, or the maintenance of certain parts of the building, which may wear out or require servicing (roof tiles, fencing, etc)

HEALTH AND SAFETY

Gas Appliances

The Landlord will ensure that:

  • All means of use and supply of Mains gas and alterations and repairs to gas installation shall comply with the current Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations.
  • All gas appliances will be serviced annually by a competent Gas Safe registered technician and a record of the safety check will be issued to each existing tenant within 28 days of the check being completed and to any new tenant before they take up occupancy
  • All repairs to gas and supply pipe work and appliances will be carried out by registered Gas Safe fitters.

Electrical Installations and Appliances

The Landlord will ensure that:

  • All repairs and improvements in electrical installations comply with the current IEE Wiring Regulations.
  • All components used in electrical wiring installations and repairs comply with the International Standard and all appliances will be installed in accordance with the Manufacturer’s instructions.
  • All electrical appliances provided by the owner are functioning in accordance with the Manufacturer’s operational limits and are capable of being operated in a safe manner.
  • Appliances should be visually inspected on a regular basis for wear and tear and in the event of any defects found they will be remedied. In addition a Portable Appliance Test (PAT) should be carried out by a competent electrician at not less than two-year intervals. A record of the PAT should be kept for reference.

MANAGEMENT OF DISPUTES

When disputes between Landlord and Tenants arise a reasonable and prompt approach in dealing with the issues by both parties is the key to an amicable and effective resolution of the problems. The Landlord will:

  • Respond reasonably and promptly to tenant or tenant’s representatives in regard to any complaints or difficulties raised by tenants.
  • Maintain courteous professional relations with tenants during any dispute.

AT THE END OF THE TENANCY

Notice

When you wish to terminate the tenancy give Rice Chamberlains written notice as specified in your tenancy agreement. To ensure your deposit is paid back quickly, arrange to have all your bills paid up to date and provide the necessary receipts/proof. Agree with Rice Chamberlains what is required. Remember to cancel your Standing Orders. We will require your written permission for any future references you may require which we are able to provide for an additional fee.

Deposits

Tenants are issued with clear written guidelines regarding the standard of cleaning and other arrangements for bringing the tenancy to an end. This is to avoid any misunderstandings regarding the standard of cleanliness and condition of the property expected at the end of the tenancy. The deposit will be dealt with in accordance with the relevant tenancy deposit scheme.

Rice Chamberlains Lettings (Head Office)

27-29 St Mary's Row, Moseley B13 8HW

Tel: 0121 442 4040

Email: lettings@ricechamberlains.co.uk

Holding Deposit (per tenancy)

One Week’s Rent.

This is to reserve a property. Please Note: this will be withheld if any relevant person (including any guarantor(s)) withdraw from the tenancy, fail a Right-to-Rent check, provide materially significant false or misleading information, or fail to sign their tenancy agreement (and/or Deed of Guarantee) within 15 calendar days(or other Deadline for Agreement as mutually agreed in writing).

Security Deposit (per tenancy)

Rent under £50,000 per year – Five Week’s Rent.

Rent of £50,000 or over per year – Six Week’s Rent.

This covers damages or defaults on the part of the tenant during the tenancy.

Unpaid Rent

Interest at 3% above the Bank of England Base Rate from the Rent Due Date until paid in order to pursue non-payment of rent. Please note: This will not be levied until the rent is more that 14 days in arrears.

Lost Key(s) or other Security Device(s).

Tenants are liable to the actual cost of replacing any lost keys(s) or other security device(s). If the loss results in locks needing to be changed, the actual costs of a locksmith, new lock and replacement keys for the tenant, landlord any other persons requiring keys will be charged to the tenant. If extra costs are incurred there will be a charge of £15 per hour (inc VAT) for the time taken replacing lost key(s) or other security device(s).

Variation of Contract

Tenant’s Request £50.00 (inc VAT) per agreed variation.

To cover the costs associated with taking landlord’s instructions as well as the preparation and execution of new legal documents.

Change of Sharer (Tenant’s Request) £50.00 (inc VAT) per replacement tenant or any reasonable costs incurred if higher.

To cover the costs associated with taking landlord instructions, new tenant referencing and Right-to Rent checks, deposit registration as well as the preparation and execution of new legal documents.

Early Termination (Tenant’s Request)

Should the tenant wish to leave their contract early, they shall be liable to the landlord’s in re-letting the property as well as all rent due under the tenancy until the start of the replacement tenancy. These costs will be no more that the maximum amount of rent outstanding on the tenancy.

Please call us on: 0121 442 4040 or email lettings@ricechamberlains.co.uk

Or phone our out of hours Contractor: HM Services: 079958 594 922

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