A landlordís guide to residential lettings with Frank Harris and Company
We offer two levels of service to residential landlords:
1. Let & rent collection service – this includes the marketing of the property, appropriate advertising, the introduction of a suitable tenant, the taking up of references and negotiating the terms of the tenancy between the prospective tenant and the landlord.
We collect the initial funds (the rent and the security deposit), hold the deposit (as stakeholder) throughout the term, draw up the tenancy agreement document and arrange the inventory.
Additionally, we will receive the rent on behalf of the landlord, demand the rent in absence of payment, forward net rents to the landlord as well as preparing and submitting regular statements to the landlord and/or their accountant.
2. Letting and Management Service – this includes all of the services listed above. In addition we will:
- Pay out, from the rent received, when instructed, any outgoings such as ground rent, service charge
- Deal with any day-to-day maintenance matters including minor repairs
- Undertake inspections of the property
Some basic information about residential lettings
Tenancy Agreement – Our experienced lettings staff are able to advise landlords about the different types of tenancy and the legal aspects of a typical tenancy agreement.
Deposit – A deposit (usually equivalent to 6 weeks rent) is taken from the tenant prior to the start of a tenancy. This is to cover breakages, missing items and any damage over and above normal wear and tear. We hold the deposit as stakeholders throughout the term of the tenancy and refund it to the Tenant (less any deductions) after the end of the Tenancy. All deposits taken on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy are held according to the terms of the Tenant Deposit Scheme.
References – We apply for references on all prospective tenants.
Inventory – We will instruct an independent inventory company to draw up an inventory, conduct a check-in of the tenant at the start of a tenancy as well as a check-out at the end. The landlord pays for the drawing up of the inventory document and the check-in while the tenant pays for the check-out (usually this is taken from the deposit). Without a proper inventory it is very difficult to make any kind of claim against the deposit for damages, breakages or missing items.
Tax – Income tax is payable on rental income arising from a property in the UK. It is the responsibility of a landlord to declare their income when completing their annual tax return. Non-resident landlords should apply to the HM Revenue & Customs for an exemption certificate in order for us to make payments of rent without withholding any against possible tax due. Further information is available by speaking to one of our members of staff or by contacting the HMRC directly here www.hmrc.gov.uk/cnr/nr_landlords.htm
Insurance – It is the landlord’s responsibility to insure their property and the contents during a tenancy. A landlord should always inform their insurers that the property is to be let, as this may affect the cover and/or premium. Contents insurance for let properties is obtainable from specialist insurers. Leasehold properties usually include the buildings insurance as part of the service charge, but we would advise all landlords to check with the freeholder/superior landlord or block management company.
The Fire and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 and (Fire Safety Amendments 1993 Regulations – this legislation stipulates it is an offence to furnish a let property with furniture and furnishings which do not comply with these regulations.
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994 and as amended 1998 – It is the landlord’s responsibility to maintain the gas appliances (if any) at a property. It is also a requirement that a safety check is carried out prior to any tenancy and annually thereafter for as long as the property remains let. We will not let a property until we are in receipt of a copy of a current landlord’s Gas Safety Record. A copy of this should be left in the property as well.Decorations – We would recommend that a property should be offered in good condition and any decorations required are carried out prior to marketing. As an extra service we are able to assist landlords if necessary. Please contact a member of the Lettings department for further information about this.