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landlords faq

Letting your property

Some faq that may help you, please call the office if you need any further advice

  • What happens first?

    On your invitation, we will visit your property at a mutually convenient date and time to provide you with a current rental valuation together with an indication of its letting potential. It is always useful for us to know what the minimum rental amount is to permit us the flexibility to do business with the best potential tenant rather than just the wealthiest. Advice as to level and quality of furnishings, decor & fittings would be available, all free of charge and without obligation. If you decide to appoint Intercity Accommodation we will market the property as soon as our management agreement has been signed and keys are received. We will then undertake viewings (always accompanied) with prospective tenants, seek employers’ references, proof of earnings and undertake a legal tenancy agreement on your behalf. A detailed inventory of the condition of the property and its contents will be drawn prior to the tenant’s occupation of the premises.

  • How much will it cost?

    Each time that a new tenant is located a charge, the equivalent of one week’s rent will be made. If an existing tenant simply wishes to accept a further tenancy a small charge of £35 is made to reflect administration time and costs. Our commission rate starts at 11% & VAT. No advance payment is required from you, as these charges will be deducted from the rental income. The Agency will undertake any advertising of your property that we feel may be necessary and there is no charge for this. However in the unlikely event that you wish specific additional marketing, we can discuss with you and advise you on the likely effectiveness and costs at that time.

  • What if I change my mind?

    You are free to do so with written notice to our office at any time whilst the property has not been let and no tenancy has been agreed or is being considered on your behalf. If an application for a tenancy is already being considered then we will be in the process of taking up references for that prospective tenant. If you wish to change your mind at this stage then a charge the equivalent of one week’s rent will be made to cover administrative costs incurred to date. Once a tenancy agreement has been signed you cannot change your mind nor can you change your mind during a tenancy. We will always tell you when the tenancy agreement for your property is due to end. Providing you give us written notice at least two months before this end date then we can take steps to cease the letting if you wish. Otherwise the letting will continue until you give us written notice to stop.

  • How long must the property be let for?

    The minimum period of letting is six months, which means that you cannot gain possession of your property before six months have expired. Longer tenancies are possible and we can discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this if you so wish. Remember that you can usually only obtain possession of your property at the end of a tenancy agreement. Possession before the end of a tenancy is possible only if the tenant has breached one or more of the tenancy terms. It is always helpful if an indication can be provided of the anticipated maximum duration of let. Many prospective tenants may be deterred if the maximum let is only six months. The Housing Act made it lawful to enter into a tenancy of less than 6 months. If you require such a short letting then we can discuss this with you.

  • Can I stipulate the type of tenant I want?

    Yes. You can also stipulate other conditions such as non-smokers, no pets, no children, and no sharers. However it is important to remember that the more conditions you impose the more limited your choice of prospective tenants will be.

  • How can I be satisfied as to the choice of tenant?

    The practice of some companies is to charge commission in advance for the entire duration of the tenancy regardless of whether rent is actually received or not. Our charging structure means that unless a tenant pays the rent due, we cannot collect our commission. Clearly it would not be in our interests to accept a tenant where we have any doubts whatsoever as to their future conduct. At times of low demand there may be pressures to secure a letting for a property that may have been vacant for some time. However we would rather offer you the option of employing another agent than risk securing an unsuitable tenant.

  • What guarantee do I have of getting my property back?

    If the tenancy has expired and no less than 2 months notice has been served then possession is guaranteed. If possession is required during the term of a tenancy then you must be able to prove (to a court if necessary) that your tenant has actually done something which is in breach of the tenancy. There are 17 grounds that may be relied upon of which 9 are discretionary and the remainder are mandatory. An example of a discretionary ground is one where the tenant has not taken good care of the premises. The courts decision as to whether possession is awarded or not depends entirely upon the circumstances of the case. An example of a mandatory ground is one where the tenant has accrued two months rent arrears. Such decisions would be made by the County Court.

  • Do I have to tell my building society?

    If you have borrowings secured against the property then yes. The lender may impose certain conditions and they may also wish the Agency to serve your tenant certain notices. You must also inform your insurance company that your property is going to be tenanted.

  • What about service bills?

    Unless you agree otherwise, the tenant is responsible for the payment of gas, electricity, water rates, council tax (or equivalent) telephone account and personal belongings insurance. The Agency would always take meter readings for the gas and electricity supply immediately before and after each letting with details being advised to the appropriate authorities direct.

  • When will I receive my rent

    The tenant’s obligation is to pay rent within 7 days of the 1st day of each month. You can expect to receive your net rent as soon as your tenant’s payment has cleared the banking system. This will usually be before the middle of the month. It will be paid directly into your bank account and a statement will be posted to you. If your tenant is due to vacate the property, then rent will paid by the middle of the month following vacation in anticipation of repair expenses that may be incurred during the last month. Rent may also be carried forward if a repair invoice is anticipated during the course of the letting. Interest will not be paid on money which is retained providing that the retention is not unreasonable.

  • What about repairs?

    You would be expected to repair/replace any item supplied by you within the property if it deteriorates or breaks down. This duty does not extend to the tenants belongings. Additionally, Landlords are not obligated to repair/replace items which have failed due to tenant negligence or in cases where a superior alternative exists; although many Landlords exercise discretion in such circumstances. You would not normally be expected to improve the property beyond its original condition although you may wish to do so to ensure a long and successful letting. We will ask you whether you want to arrange for repairs yourself or whether you wish our office to arrange them on your behalf or indeed a combination of both. The Agency can use your appointed, qualified tradesman providing that s/he is able to respond with reasonable speed to instructions. This is vital to retain the confidence of tenants. The Agency will always appoint our own contractors to deal with emergency repairs in your absence and out of office hours. A charge based on 10% & VAT of the invoice cost will be levied in respect of administrating repairs on your behalf. The Agency also offers an insurance policy at a cost of £7.35 per month, which provides free labour and parts for most urgent repairs (excluding central heating boilers). The policy offers a response time of 4 hours which in our experience is generally maintained. A specimen policy is available upon request.

  • What about any damages or rent arrears?

    A deposit will always be claimed in advance from your tenant which will generally be marginally more than one months rent. Careful selection of tenants mean that damages are rare but in this unlikely event the tenant will be responsible to you for damages which exceed the value of the deposit held. Larger deposits (up to a maximum of 2 months rent) can be requested although this is a practice more common in London and may deter a speedy letting. A detailed inventory of contents will be drawn prior to each of every new letting, which you may inspect upon request at any time prior to or during the occupation, by your tenants of your property. This will then be used on your tenant’s departure to check the property. Deposits are returned once your tenant has given vacant possession of the property. You are welcome by prior appointment to inspect the property at the same time of the check-out by prior appointment. Any claims for unreasonable wear and tear (that have not already been identified by the Agency) must be made within 7 days of the tenant’s vacation. If your tenant does not pay his rent or the cost of any damages then we will advise you how you can apply for possession of the property. Although the Agency prides itself on never having had rent arrears on any client’s account, we are nevertheless able to offer insurance policies in respect of this risk for most lettings.

  • What about legal costs?

    Although this is very unlikely, there are insurance policies that are available. We can advise you on these.

  • How long will it take to let?

    Letting a property is similar to selling a house in that the price, quality and particularly location are all factors. The times of peak demand are generally July/August/September and properties that are competitively priced and in the most popular areas will be let earlier than those that are not. Forecasting the letting market has its uncertainties but it is clear to us that there is a distinct reluctance by many very mortgage-worthy people to undertake the lengthy commitments of home loans. Hence there has been significant expansion of the private rented sector led by the demand from quite mobile, well paid career individuals. As a guide we would say that an average property becoming available at a time of average demand would take approximately 4 weeks to let.

  • Can I try to sell it whilst it is tenanted?

    It is extremely difficult to market a property as being for sale whilst it is tenanted. Selling agents & their clients do not have the interests of tenants uppermost in their minds and from experience this often leads to unacceptable disruption to your tenant. In short your property must be wholly for sale OR wholly to rent. If you sell your property to your tenant before the tenancy has expired then the outstanding commission that we would have expected to receive for the remainder of tenancy will be due. If you prefer we can charge you 1% of the sale value instead if this works out to be less.

  • How often will the property be inspected?

    Whilst the property is vacant the property will be visited as many times as there are prospective tenants wishing to view. There is no restriction to your access rights at this stage. Once the property is let, inspections must be undertaken strictly by prior appointment with the tenant via your Agent - except for emergencies. The Agency obtains monthly inspection rights for all properties but where appropriate, inspections may be more or less frequent.

  • What happens with vacant properties?

    Empty properties are always at risk. We do not manage vacant properties although the property may be visited during the course of viewings with prospective tenants. Your insurers will normally wish to be notified by you of any period exceeding 30 days that the property may be unoccupied. Additionally you may wish to fit a timer switch to internal/external lighting. During winter months you may be advised to drain the water supply system or to operate background central heating.

  • Will I have to pay income tax on the rent?

    You must declare to the Inland Revenue all your rental income. There are many allowable expenses that you can claim before tax is finally charged including your agent’s charges, mortgage interest, buildings insurance and repair costs. There is also an allowance of 10% for wear and tear for furnished properties. In many cases these expenses can reduce the annual tax bill to a negligible level.

  • Will I have to pay income tax on the rent?

    You must declare to the Inland Revenue all your rental income. There are many allowable expenses that you can claim before tax is finally charged including your agent’s charges, mortgage interest, buildings insurance and repair costs. There is also an allowance of 10% for wear and tear for furnished properties. In many cases these expenses can reduce the annual tax bill to a negligible level.

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