WhiteFord Properies - Landlord

Information for Landlords

Letting & Management

Whiteford Properties provides Landlords with a comprehensive, professional and quality service. We aim to remove the day-to-day issues that landlords face by taking over their everyday responsibilities. We never forget that your property is your most important asset and, in most cases, your biggest investment. 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 market your property online to attract the best possible number of potential tenants and, if you are a new landlord, we have the experience to advise you on the best way to maximise your rental potential.

We offer two services: Lettings and Management. These can be offered independently or combined to satisfy your individual needs.

Letting Service

Your property will be marketed making full use of popular property websites www.findaproperty.com and www.primelocation.com. Use of effective marketing techniques are aimed at substantially minimising void periods.

We will introduce and arrange suitable prospective tenants to view the property. Should they indicate interest in your property, we will then obtain a holding deposit and review the offer with you and subject to your agreement will commence with tenant referencing.

Once referencing is complete and satisfactory, we will arrange for the payment of the 6 week damage deposit, first month’s rent and signed Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement to be transferred to you.

In addition we will:

  • Provide a rental valuation of the property, and offer advice as required.
  • Prepare (and sign as Agent for the Owner in the case of Full Management service) a tenancy agreement in accordance with current law.
  • Co-ordinate the preparation of an inventory.
  • Organise the cleaning and inventory check in and check out.
  • Advise tenants of the transfer of utility services to be carried out.

Management Service

Your property will be in the capable hands of our management team. At the start of the tenancy we will arrange Tenant check-in, and an Inventory List and Schedule of Condition if required. We will carry out quarterly property inspections during the tenancy to ensure that the tenants are looking after your property and will notify you of any issues for concern, should these arise.
We will assess required repairs and maintenance and ensure that these are carried out at the best possible price.  This is achieved by drawing on our base of contractors with whom we have well established relationships. Minor maintenance issues can be resolved in-house and will incur minimal or no call out charges. This will result in savings to you, a distinct advantage of a smaller independent company.
In addition, we do not add on any additonal fees for repairs on top of the contractors charge. This makes us unique versus other agents and of course saves you money.

In the case of emergencies, we have a 24-hour contact number for tenants. We will attend to emergencies immediately to avoid further damage and cost to your property.

At the end of the tenancy, we will arrange a tenant check out comprising checking the contents against the Inventory List, Schedule of Condition,  advise you of any deductions required to be made from the damage deposit and organise repairs/cleaning should it be required.

All rent is paid directly to the landlord from the tenant. We will help you set this up.

In addition we will:

  • Advise on, and ensure compliance with, the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 with regard to the inspection, maintenance and keeping of records in respect of gas appliances in tenanted premises, the Owner being responsible for all costs involved.
  • Advise on and ensure compliance with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended 1989, 1993 and 1996) with regard to minimum fire-resistant standards of specified items supplied in the course of letting the property, the Owner being responsible for all costs involved.
  • Advise on and ensure compliance with the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 and other relevant legislation with regard to the condition and safety of electrical equipment and appliances in tenanted premises, the Owner being responsible for all costs involved.
  • Advise on and ensure compliance with Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs).
  • Taking appropriate initial action in the event of any breach of condition of the agreement in an effort to remedy the situation. Where such a breach persists, informing the Owner or the Owner’s nominated representative who will be responsible for taking any further action and meeting any costs involved.

Useful Information

Mortgaged Properties

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.

Leasehold Properties

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 policies. Failure to inform your insurers may invalidate your policies. We can advise landlords on buildings and contents insurance, legal protection and rent guarantee cover, if required.

Bills and Regular Outgoings

We recommend that you arrange for regular outgoings, such as service charges and maintenance contracts to be paid by standing order or direct debit.

Council Tax and Utility Accounts

You will need to notify all relevant authorities, and arrange to transfer council tax and utility accounts to the tenant. Meter readings should be taken to allow your closing gas and electricity accounts to be drawn up. Where you choose our Full Management service, we will handle all these matters for you. However, the suppliers will require instructions directly from both the landlord and the tenant.

Income Tax

When resident in the U.K., it is entirely the landlord’s responsibility to inform the Inland Revenue of rental income received, and to pay any tax due. Where the landlord is resident outside the U.K. during a tenancy, under rules effective from 6 April 1996, we, as the landlord’s agent, are obliged to retain and forward to the Inland Revenue every quarter, an amount equal to the prevailing basic rate of income tax from rental received (less certain expenses), unless an exemption certificate is held. An application form for exemption from such deductions is available from this agency, and further information may be obtained from the Inland Revenue.

Inventory

It is most important that an Inventory of contents and Schedule of Condition be prepared, to avoid any misunderstanding or disputes at the end of a tenancy. Without such safeguards, it will be impossible for the landlord to prove any loss, damage or significant deterioration (over and above fair wear and tear) of the property or contents. If required, we can arrange for an Independent Inventory Clerk, to prepare an Inventory and Schedule of Condition, at a cost to be agreed.

Important Requirements

The following requirements are the responsibility of the landlord. Where you have signed our Full Management agency agreement, they are also our responsibility. In which case, we will need to ensure compliance.

Health and Safety – Gas

Gas Safe Register
Gas Safe Register will replace CORGI gas registration in Great Britain on 1 April 2009. It will be the official industry stamp for gas safety. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), who is responsible for regulating gas safety in Great Britain, will oversee Gas Safe Register. Please go to www.gassaferegister.co.uk  to find the latest information.
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 (i.e. a registered gas installer).
Maintenance
There is a duty to ensure that all gas appliances, flues and any associated pipe work are maintained in a safe condition at all times.
Records
Full records must be kept for at least two years of the inspections carried out for 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

Under the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, and certain other regulations, electrical appliances and equipment provided in tenanted premises must be safe. It is therefore necessary to make a visual check to ensure that all electrical items, plugs and leads appear completely safe and undamaged, and to remove or replace any faulty items.

Part P

The Government has amended building regulations to include the safe installation or extension of electrical circuits in dwellings. These changes came into force on the 1st January 2005 and affect any dwelling that has had electrical work carried out from that date. Please go to www.planningportal.gov.uk for the latest details.

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; and 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 and pillowcases; curtains; carpets; or sleeping bags. Items that do 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 managing 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 fits at least one alarm on each floor (in the hall and landing areas).

The risk of being killed or injured by a fire has been estimated at more than 10 times likely in Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs). Section 67 of the Housing Act 2004 states it is a mandatory requirement that mains smoke alarms are installed in HMOs and are maintained in a proper working order.

Energy Performance Certificates

From 1st October 2008 landlords are required by law to provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for all buildings or parts of buildings when they are rented. An EPC for a rented property is valid for 10 years, or until a newer EPC is prepared.

An EPC gives tenants information on the energy efficiency and carbon emissions of a building. The landlord must make this information available free of charge to all prospective tenants.

The EPC looks similar to the certificates now provided with domestic appliances. It comes with a report which includes advice and suggestions on improvements landlords could make to save money and energy.

Deposit Protection

There are two types of tenancy deposit protection schemes available for landlords and letting agents (insurance-based schemes and custodial schemes). All schemes provide a free dispute resolution service.
The Dispute Service (TDS)

  • The tenant pays the deposit to the landlord
  • The landlord retains the deposit and pays a premium to the insurer, the key difference to the custodial scheme

Go to www.thedisputeservice.co.uk  for the latest information about this scheme.

Custodial schemes :

  • The tenant pays the deposit to the landlord or agent.
  • The landlord or agent then pays the deposit into the scheme.

Please go to www.depositprotection.com  for the latest information about this scheme.

Please note that Whiteford Properties can only protect a deposit on behalf of a landlord where Whiteford Properties holds the deposit.