May 6, 2017

Letting your property information for landlords

The Eltze Estates residential lettings department has been established over a number

of years and we utilise this depth of experience to offer our Landlords a high quality

service when looking after your property. We have prepared a guide detailing matters

that you should consider prior to letting your property and we are happy make

recommendations and answer any questions you may have.

 

Our rental appraisal

Our rental appraisal is based on the size, condition and location of your property. We then take

into account other let properties prior to providing you with a realistic rental appraisal.

As a rule, the rental quoted is inclusive of any ground rents, service charges and other charges

which fall under the responsibility of the Landlord, if the property involves a more complex

situation, e.g. an Annexe or out-building, Landlords may wish to have bills included. Otherwise

rent does not generally include council tax, water rates, utility bills, buildings or contents

insurance.

 

Payment of rent to the landlord

All rent is paid into the Eltze Estates Client Account by the tenant on an ongoing or periodic basis.

We pay the landlord by electronic transfer once we have cleared funds. Eltze Estates make it a

priority to pay Landlords as soon as possible after the ‘Rent Due Date’ (the day the tenant moves

in) on an ongoing basis.

 

Fees & VAT

Subject to our comments mentioned in our Services & Fees pages, all fees under the

terms of the Agreement will be deducted from each rental payment received throughout the

tenancy. Fees remain payable while a tenant introduced by “the Agent” remains in occupation.

Our fees and any other charges we make will be subject to VAT at the rate being in force at the

time.

 

Tenants

Finding the right tenant for your property is our number 1 priority. Once you have given us your

instructions to market your property we match your property to our database of prospective

tenants. We also place your property on Rightmove, Zoopla and Prime location. All tenants must

fully complete our application forms and pay a fee so that we can reference them. Our references

are dealt with by a specialist referencing agency and only after satisfactory references have been

received, will we then consider recommending a tenant to you for your final decision prior to

proceeding with a tenancy. You will be kept informed throughout this process. Please note,

should you decide to withdraw your property, once references have been pursued and a potential

tenant accepted, you are required to refund the prospective tenants application fees.

References may only take a short period to complete, three to seven days, however we suggest

allowing two weeks prior to a tenant moving in. This allows for all procedures to be in place prior

to arranging a move date. It is generally acceptable to allow a full month from start to finish; of

course this is dependent on circumstances.

 

Tenancy agreement

One of the main reasons for having a form of Tenancy agreement is to set out the Landlord’s and

Tenant’s obligations to each other. Having a clear and comprehensive Tenancy agreement can help

to prevent future disputes. Most tenancies, except for Company Lets, are given under a fixed term

Assured Shorthold Tenancy (minimum being six months); at the end of which, subject to notice, or

agreed extension, the Tenant must vacate the property. We prepare the Tenancy Agreement and

any “Special Clauses” may be added to suit individual requirements. We will only sign as Agent on

your behalf where you have instructed us to do so.

 

Deposits

Landlords are no longer allowed to retain tenant’s deposits; they must be protected using an

authorised protection scheme. We request a deposit for all tenancies (1.5 x the rent), which we

register with one of the government custodial tenancy deposit schemes. Deposits are a security

for breach of provisions in the Tenancy Agreement and we ask for one and a half calendar

month’s rent. The Deposit is refundable at the end of a tenancy, only after the tenant has vacated

the property and providing the property and accounts are in an acceptable condition.

On termination of the tenancy, you are required to either to authorise us to settle dilapidations

(if any), with the Tenant on your behalf in accordance with the Inventory Clerk’s check out

report or settle and dilapidation claim direct with the tenant.

It should be noted, the Landlord, the tenant or the Agent, have the right to refer any dispute

over deposit to the Independent Resolution Service. Their Arbitrator’s adjudication will be final.

Deposits may not be used to set off against rent or any other costs or dilapidations until mutually

agreed after the end of the tenancy.

 

Permission

If there is a mortgage on the property you are thinking of letting you need to obtain permission

from your mortgage company prior to letting. We also recommend that you contact your solicitor

in order to ascertain whether or not written consent is required.

 

Legal

Under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 and the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006. The Landlord must

keep in repair the structure, exterior of the property and the installations for the supply of services

(gas, electric, water, sanitation, space and water heating). The Landlords obligations extend to

the roof, drains and gutters. The property has to be “fit for human habitation” at the start of the

Tenancy and a Gas Safety certificate must be issued prior to let.

 

Insurance

We recommend that the Landlord obtains building and contents insurance on the property to be

let in order to protect your investment and any counter claim from a tenant if a fault at the

property damages the tenants chattels. A Landlord should inform your insurance company that

the property is to be let as some policies exclude cover for lettings to certain types of tenants.

Tenants are responsible for insuring their own possessions; however, Landlords/Agents cannot

enforce this. It is also possible to take out insurance to cover legal costs of pursuing claims

against the Tenant arising from breech of the terms of the Tenancy, including the costs of

obtaining repossession. Please let us know if you require further information on this type of

insurance.

 

Energy performance certificate

It is a legal requirement to obtain an EPC prior to letting and we can recommend a local company

to complete the EPC. EPC’s have been compulsory since October 2008 and are valid for 10 years.

Presenting your property

We recommend that you prepare your property and the grounds in the best condition possible

prior to let. We have found that better presentation leads to a faster let and reduced void rent

periods. We advise landlords to keep the décor neutral and to address any maintenance issues

well in advance. It is a fact that the better the property is presented, the better the tenants, and

the more likely they are to look after it satisfactorily. Tenants generally look for a high standard in

kitchen and bathroom fittings. It is useful for carpets, curtains and kitchen appliances to be

supplied.

 

Gardens

It is advisable to include a gardening service for very large mature and landscaped gardens.

Generally, the Tenancy Agreement provides for the tenant to maintain the garden, although this

does not usually include pruning trees or large hedges/shrubs etc. The garden should therefore be

handed over in good seasonal order, and we recommend that appropriate tools and equipment be

provided to the tenant for basic gardening.

 

Gas safety certificate

Under the Gas Safety Regulations, Landlords must ensure that gas installations are inspected

annually by a Gas Safe Registered Engineer and provide a certificate to this effect. A copy of the

certificate will be provided to the tenant and we will keep a copy on our file.

Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, all gas appliances must be checked

by professional tradesmen. The Landlords are expected to maintain any items supplied with the

property and in some cases are required to do so by law. Tests must be carried out annually, and a

copy of the safety certificate provided to the Tenant & Agent.

 

Electrical equipment

The regulations 1994 require all electrical appliances to be safe. We recommend that a fixed wiring

test be carried out every five years. In order to ensure the safety of all appliances, including such

items as cookers, kettles, toasters, washing machines, immersion heaters and electric heaters etc. It

is recommended that safety checks PAT (Portable Appliance Testing) be done prior to

commencement of tenancy and thereafter annually. All appliances must have instruction

books/manuals left at the property. Failure to comply with the Regulations could result in

prosecution.

 

Smoke alarms

All rental properties built after June 1992 must have mains operated inter-connected smoke

alarms fitted on every level of the property.  Landlords now (since Oct 2015) have to ensure that

smoke alarms are installed and working and they are fitted in accordance with the manufacturer’s

instructions. With older properties landlords are advised to provide at least battery operated

smoke alarms on each level of the property. We will advise the tenant to check these periodically!!

Carbon monoxide detectors

These are recommended but it is not a legal requirement to do so at the time of preparing this

advice.

 

Furniture

Under the Furniture and Furnishings (Safety Amendment) Regulations 1993, the Landlord has an

obligation to ensure that all furniture in properties being rented, whether new or additional, must

comply with the furniture regulations, by displaying a label stating that they are fire resistant.

Further information about this can be obtained from your local Trading Standards Office.

Legionella risk assessment Legionnaires disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia

caused by the inhalation of small droplets of contaminated water containing Legionella. All man-

made hot and cold water systems are likely to provide an environment where Legionella can grow.

It is mainly free-standing water tanks that come under inspection/risk assessment for landlords.

The landlord is responsible for health and safety of the property and it is a legal requirement to

take the right precautions to reduce any risks of Legionella.

 

Repairs

The obligation of the landlord under the Landlord & Tenants Act 1985, section 11 is to resolve any

maintenance issues quickly. If the tenant notifies us that a problem has occurred we will contact

the landlord immediately and in many cases the problem will be resolved quickly.

If a serious fault occurs (burst pipes, flood, etc.) and we are unable to reach you, we will

authorise a repair at our discretion. Authorisation for this is contained within our agency

agreement and a price limit will be agreed. There is a ‘statutory obligation’ for a landlord to make

emergency repairs within a specified time frame and therefore, we occasionally need to make a

quick decision on the landlords behalf to complete the repairs quickly. Eltze Estates are not able

to pay any Contractors, unless we have funds available to meet any charges for repairs or are

instructed by the landlord to pay contractors from rent monies, if sufficient funds are available

from the rent.

Tenants have the right to contact Environmental Health if repairs are not being attended to

promptly and any ensuing enforcement order could include extra repairs. Work not done can be

undertaken by them and they may add an additional charge on top of the repair bill, which could

be hefty.

Subject to our engagement on a “Full Management” basis, and our holding sufficient funds on

your behalf, we will pay on receipt of invoice, current outgoings such as insurance premiums,

ground rents, service charges and any other arranged charges if we have your instructions to do so.

We cannot make any expenditure payment that exceeds the amount held in balance. Any interest

on Client or Tenant monies held, or commission payable by any Insurers or Contractors will accrue

to “the Agent”.

 

Tenant repairing obligation

Although many repairing obligations are by law, down to the Landlord, the Tenant also has a duty

to use the premises in a “good tenant-like manner”. This means that they will be responsible for any

repair costs that are due to negligence, especially, where prompt notice is not given to the Agent

and further damage/deterioration occurs, even if the repair would otherwise fall under the

responsibility of the Landlord. Generally, the Tenant is responsible for the condition of the interior of

the property and the landlord the exterior.

 

Inventory

We strongly recommend that a detailed Inventory of the property’s condition and contents is

prepared by a professional inventory clerk. The landlord’s will find it very difficult to make any

recovery from the deposit if this is not done even if the property is to be let unfurnished. The

inventory should record the condition of the walls, carpets, curtains, and any fixtures etc. which

helps avoid any dispute at the end of the tenancy. Inventory Clerks are not employed by us. Whilst

every care will be taken in instructing the Inventory Clerk, we cannot accept any responsibility for

any omission or error on their part.  The charge for Inventory preparation and Inventory check-in is

borne by the Landlord and the check-out fee is generally paid by the tenant.

 

Professional clean prior to letting

We advise that Landlords have the property thoroughly cleaned by a professional firm, prior to let.

This sets the ‘bench mark’ against which the property can be re-assessed when the tenant

vacates.

 

Data protection

The Data Protection Act gives individuals the right to know what information is held about them.

Information supplied by you will be held on our manual and computer records in accordance

with the Agent’s notification under the Data Protection Act 1994 and as amended by The Data

Protection Act 1998.  The Client agrees that the Agent may from time to time disclose such

information about the Client to third parties for the better performance of the Agent in carrying

out their service to and on the Client’s behalf.

 

Instructions to solicitors

You will be informed of any rent arrears or breaches of covenant brought to our attention. If it is

necessary for a solicitor to take action, you will be responsible for instructing your own lawyer and

for all fees involved.

 

Termination of tenancy

We recommend an initial term of 12 months with a six month break clause. The Tenancy will

continue unless a notice to terminate is served after the initial term. When a Tenancy continues

after a fixed period, it is generally referred to as a ”Statutory Periodic Tenancy”, the period being

monthly. The AST agreement provides that the tenant must give at least one month’s notice to

vacate the premises. If you require possession of the property you still need to serve two months

notice in the form of an S21 Notice and there are two types of this notice, S21(1)(b) for fixed

tenancies and an S21(4)(a) for Periodic Tenancies. The notice itself does not force tenants to

leave, it is simply the first step to court action where required.

There is also a general minimum period of two months on ether part to serve notice, in a twelve

month term with a mutually beneficial “break clause”, and this will be stated in the AST

Agreement. Please note, serving notice requiring possession does not always guarantee that the

tenant will vacate on the agreed date.

If necessary we the Agent will take steps to serve lawful Notice upon a Tenant, it is very

important that a Landlord’s Notice is in the correct form, as otherwise the Landlord will not be

able to use it in court proceedings for possession. As your appointed Agent, we have power of

attorney over the tenancy, to sign Notices on your behalf. Sometimes a tenant with a fixed-term

may want to vacate earlier. Strictly speaking they are liable for the whole of the fixed term. Some

Landlord’s are prepared to release early, if a replacement Tenant has been found.

 

Section 21 notices

We serve a Section 21 Notice to obtain possession of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, upon receipt

of the Landlord’s written instructions. The Notice must be served at least two months prior to the

expiry of the fixed term or in operation of a ‘Break Clause’ at month four for the tenant to vacate at

month six. If the tenancy is in a ‘Periodic’, at least two periods notice must be given. It is vital that

the correct Notice is served, in the correct format.

 

Maintenance agreements and contractors

It is agreed that where independent specialists and contractors are required, for the purpose of

any repairs, refurbishment or maintenance issues they are employed by the Landlord or agent

acting on the client’s behalf.

Major appliances including plumbing and heating, should be presented in good order and where

possible be covered by maintenance agreements. We should be advised of all items covered by

guarantee, and we should hold copies of these guaranties on file. Also where possible instruction

manuals should be provided, Landlords are expected to maintain any items supplied with the

property and in some cases are required to do so by law (gas appliances).

Taxation of a non resident landlord The situation is complex and we would recommend that

you consult your Accountant in this respect.  If you are resident in the UK, you should declare your

residential lettings income to the IR annually as it is assessable for income tax.

The Inland Revenue does have wide powers to hold the Agent liable for tax on a Landlord’s letting

income.  If the Inland Revenue assesses “the Agent” for income tax payable by the Landlord, as a

result of a letting arranged by “the Agent”, then the right is reserved to deduct such amounts as are

necessary, to meet the liability to the Revenue from the rent received. If you are resident abroad

during the “let” period, you must inform HM Revenue and Customs. We are obliged to deduct,

retain and pay tax quarterly, until the Inland Revenue confirms liability for the year in question and

it has been cleared, or an Approval Reference has been granted.

Void periods and visits Our usual Full Management service does not include supervision of the

property when it is not let. During this time, non emergency defects noted whilst accompanying

prospective tenants, will be advised to the Landlord. Those of an emergency nature will be

attended to without delay. However, should a Landlord wish “the Agent” to regularly visit the

property, a fee of £35.00 + VAT per visit will apply.

Under our F/M Service, when a property is let, visits will be performed approximately three/four

times a year. These visits will involve checking for visible defects and any maintenance issues or

any problems brought to our attention, and we will be advising on any action required. It should

be noted that we will be observing how the property is being kept and we will submit periodic

reports where necessary. It should be appreciated that a visit, although thorough, cannot be

considered complete or to be a structural survey.

 

Properties in multiple occupation

If you are letting to three or more unrelated people (i.e. not of the same family) who share living

accommodation, then, it is likely that the property will be an HMO. There are regulations which

Landlords have to comply with and some HMO’s will need the Landlords to apply for a licence for

the property, from their local authority. These are mostly the larger HMO’s i.e. buildings consisting

of three or more storeys, and occupied by five or more tenants in two or more households.

However, local authorities also have the power to widen the remit of licensing to include smaller

properties. If you run an HMO, you should contact your local authority to see what the situation is in

your area, and whether you will need to be licensed. There are stringent penalties for non-

registration of relevant properties and for breach of conditions, which includes fines of up to

£20,000. Further information can be obtained from www.propertylicence.gov.uk

 

Keys

We require three sets of keys for the property. Two sets are for the tenant upon occupation and

the other is retained in our office for emergency use.

 

Access for the landlord

We suggest that Landlords visit the property from time to time to ensure that the property is in

good condition. The Agreement provides for the Landlord to have access; however, he should never

enter the property without the Tenants consent, except in an emergency. The “covenant of quiet

enjoyment” that is implied in all tenancies, provides for the Tenant to occupy the property without

interference.

 

Sale of a let property

We reserve the right to charge a commission fee where a let property is sold to the current tenant

or another party introduced by Eltze Estates. A fee of 1% plus vat of the final sale price is payable

on completion of the sale by your solicitor.

Income tax

The tax situation may be complex and we would recommend that you consult your Accountant in

this respect. Landlords who reside overseas and own rented property in the UK are able to apply

to the Inland Revenue for an exemption certificate/number and we recommend that this is done

as soon as possible. If you are resident abroad during the “let” period, we are obliged to deduct,

retain and pay tax quarterly, and complete an annual return to the Inland revenue confirming this

is the case until such time that the Inland Revenue confirms liability for the year in question and

it has been cleared, or an Approval Reference has been granted and given to the Agent.