Landlord

Introduction

New to letting? Having trouble understanding the minefield that is letting legislation, then let us take care of it for you. Whether you are looking to let your home, investing in your first buy-to-let, or are a professional investor landlord, we are here to help, whatever your requirements.

 

With over 25 years’ combined experience and is accredited to industry leaders in letting regulation, we have designed the following services to help you decide what level of service suits you best.

 

However, if you require more of a bespoke package, Harvey W James would be happy to sit down with you and tailor-make something more suitable.

What type of Landlord are you?

At Harvey W James we have had many years of experience of meeting and working with individuals who for one reason or another have a property to rent out.

 

Perhaps the most important thing we’ve learned over time is that the only common thing that links all of these people is that they have become Landlords. Some wanted to do so; others were reluctant to do so, some have made it a profession, for others it’s an onerous obligation that interferes with their lives. In all cases, Harvey W James are there to help out and ensure the relationship between Landlord and Tenant is as smooth as it can be made to be.

 

Utilising our wealth of experience and knowledge we have come to broadly categorise Landlords into three groups.

 

The Personal Landlord

The Personal Landlord has (more often than not) arrived at the point of becoming a Landlord by circumstance. For some, this is very welcome, but for others, it can be a terrifying prospect; however, a common factor is probably that they have inherited or in some way come into the possession of a property which once belonged to a close family. Until recently the most obvious route would have been to list the dwelling for sale and enjoy the proceeds. However, difficulties in the sales market over the last few years have led to the rise of the ‘Personal Landlord’, a position where the inheritor is forced to go down the route of renting the property out rather than it stands empty and possibly degrades. Maintenance costs can possibly be worse due to the lack of occupancy and are incurred without any sort of income to offset them. The inheritance can swiftly become a burden and that is when Harvey W James are called in to help.

 

It is likely, but not always the case, that the Personal Landlord will have some emotional attachment to the property. It may have been where they grew up or were they spent holiday time as a child. This can invoke very strong feelings and a zealous over-protectionist attitude toward the house in relation to total strangers living there. Whilst understandable, it can never-the-less hinder the process of finding a suitable tenant for the property. It is also possible that the house’s new owner is new to the situation of owning a property aside from his/her own home and the prospect of becoming a ‘Landlord’ is in itself is a daunting one.

 

At Harvey W James we pride ourselves on lending a sympathetic ear to all of these concerns, whilst at the same time utilising up to date information and a professional, but the personable approach we assure and allay all fears regarding these matters. Our approach has always been one of “If we owned this house, would we?” This motto has always served us well and if we can apply it without any doubt we know we’ve done a good job.

 

The Professional Landlord

This Landlord has often made a career out of property or at the least a second income stream from owning property specifically purchased for the purpose of renting out. They may have arrived at their current position by starting as a Personal Landlord, but either way as a ‘Professional Landlord’ they’re fairly switched onto the rental market. More than likely they own more than one property and have no emotional attachments to them. Their properties are simply an investment on which they expect a return.

 

Harvey W James acts as an agent for many such individuals, nationally here at home and abroad, our specialist knowledge in tax affairs and our ability to provide a one-stop-shop maintenance service makes us an invaluable advantage to Landlords who as a Professional are looking for an equally professional service.

 

We offer a ‘search service’ for the Professional Landlord actively engaged in wanting to grow their portfolio of property. This service tailored to the individual investor includes advice on location and likely ‘REALISTIC’ rental income. We emphasise realistic because we have had so many Professional Landlords come to us in desperation after purchasing property and not being able to achieve the rental income they were told the property could. I’m afraid there is little we can do about the onerous advice they were given to encourage purchase, but we can assess and achieve the best possible rent for them as soon as possible and get the property producing a return. We can also arrange a meeting with a national award-winning mortgage and life insurance company to provide advice and practical help on how to restructure the mortgage/finance on the property should this be appropriate.

 

The Overseas Landlord

If you live outside of the United Kingdom or are planning to emigrate but are worried about managing and renting out your property, contact Harvey W James and ask about our overseas landlord service.

 

Whether it is sunshine or snow you’re heading for, it makes no difference to the highly specialist service we offer at Harvey W James. Our portfolio includes overseas landlords as far afield as China, India, UAE and America and others closer to home in Europe. Private individuals and military service personnel across the world can get on with their lives assured in the knowledge that their properties are being managed back here in the UK to the highest possible standards by our expert team.

 

Peace of mind is so important when the great adventure of living and working overseas becomes a reality. We understand the importance of this and that is why we have developed a comprehensive service, based on a thorough knowledge of this area of the lettings business. We are widely recognised and respected as the agent of choice for many overseas landlords and even other agents seek our advice on how to carry out this type of work.

 

Not only does our service offer the complete package to care for your bricks and mortar, but we also offer up to the minute advice on the all-important tax affairs in relation to being an absentee landlord, something which is often overlooked by other letting agents. We ensure that your exposure is mitigated, by supplying HMRC with the correct information and in the correct format. This is vital, to avoid unpleasant tax demands further down the way.

Marketing

The first point of reference for most serious tenants is online. HarveyWJames.com is, without doubt, one of the very best ways of presenting your property visually to prospective tenants, enabling them to browse at leisure through full property details, including photos and floor plans.

Your property will also be advertised on the following main portals increasing exposure to over 50 million visitors a month on Zoopla.com, Rightmove.co.uk, Onthemarket.com, Primelocation.com, Gumtree.com, Sparerooms.co.uk, Facebook Marketplace & other Facebook pages/groups, Movebubble.com, University portals, Google AdWords, WeWork Members Network of 268,000 working professionals plus many more sites. Harvey W James can market selected properties as premium listings or featured properties to ensure your property stands out from others on the market.

Professional, First-Class Service & Peace of Mind

We are motivated, hard-working and committed to delivering the result you expect. We accompany all viewings at mutually convenient times including early mornings, evenings and weekends, to ensure that we are on hand to answer any questions about the property and the local area.  

 

Harvey W James are qualified professionals regulated by the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) and the Property Redress Scheme (PRS) who are leaders in property compliance and best practices.

Every year, unprotected landlords and tenants lose money when funds are misappropriated. Harvey W James is part of a Propertymark Client Money Protection Scheme (CMP) Propertymark (ARLA) will reimburse landlords and tenants who are out of pocket up to £15 million per year should an agent misappropriate their rent, deposit or other client funds.

Tip: Don’t trust your property to an agent who does not offer CMP.

Professional Property Photography – Why is it important

 

​We use the latest full-frame cameras along with specialised wide-angle lenses to showcase your property in its best form. We want your clients to see the most accurate representation of your property possible. We want your tenants to look at the photos and be able to visualise living there, even before viewing it.

Professional photography is essential when marketing a property, so we have put together five reasons of what divides a specialist from an amateur.

  • Professional photographers will notice what others won’t

An amateur photographer will take the shot and not consider what could distract a potential renter from distinguishing the most impressive points of a room. A professional photographer will remove items in the shot that could be a distraction or cause the room to look cluttered such as rubbish bins, kitchen appliances and children’s toys

  • Professionals will assess a room before taking the shot

Instead of standing in the doorway with their tripod, taking one wide-angled photo and moving onto the next room, a professional will decide which angles will represent the room in a way that will appeal the most to viewers.

  • Professionals don’t rush

Someone who wants to do a good job will stay at your property for several hours, making sure they catch the best light. They will often revisit different parts of the property to take more photos as the light changes so that they can select the best ones in post-production. Photographers who hurry to get the job done won’t deliver you the most advantageous finished result for your property.

  • Professionals will pay close attention in post-production

An expert’s work doesn’t stop once the photoshoot is completed. They will go back to their computer and spend hours processing the images to make sure that they are sharp and not under/overexposed. After correcting the levels, sharpness, noise and colouring, they will edit the photos to clone out any loose wires behind televisions, tripod reflections in mirrors or glass and correct converging verticals.

  • Professionals will deliver high-quality images

The images that a professional will use in their brochures and advertisements will be in high resolution whereas an amateur may market your property with pixelated, low-quality images that a potential renter will dismiss instantly.

TIP: Visit our Photo Gallery and see our work (Click Here)

 

Harvey W James will give you:-

  • As a member of ARLA, we ensure that we have the best knowledge and accreditation within the business

  • Independent appraisals of quality properties

  • 400 - 600 live applicants registered to our office

  • Achieve the best price with best offers

  • Properties let within an average of 1-2 weeks

  • Free property staging & dressing service for photography (inc moving furniture, general clean up to make the property presentable)

  • Free Tenancy Agreements that are comprehensive and fully up to date with current consumer legislation and created by PainSmith Solicitors 

  • Free property licensing monitoring service via (automated notifications sent when anything changes that affects your property)

  • Rents paid to landlords within one working day (usually the same day)

  • Provide you with a rental income for the duration of your let and provide services to protect your property asset

  • No contracting fees, our negotiations with contractors are on your behalf – not ours.

  • Being landlords ourselves we promise we will look after your property as if it was our own

  • Simplifying and speeding up the letting processes through property technology 

 

Our Landlord Services

Harvey W James offers landlords a choice of 3 different levels of service. The option you choose will depend on how hands-on you want to be, the level of risk you are prepared to accept, and the time and energy you have available to manage your property investment and tenancy.

 

Tenant finding service – 6% inc VAT

We find you a tenant and organise the tenancy agreement, leaving you with the day to day running of the let.

Tenancy Setup & Administration Service

  • No-Let No-Fee

  • Personal service 

  • Open and transparent fees with no setup fees, free marketing and no hidden cost. 

  • Home visit and consultation

  • Free valuation & landlord marketing guidance pack (comparables report included)

  • Agree on the market rent and find a tenant in accordance with the landlord guidelines

  • Free property staging & dressing service for photography (inc moving furniture, general clean up to make the property presentable)

  • Professional photography (unlimited pictures) with room measurements

  • Detailed property descriptions for marketing purposes   

  • Provide guidance on compliance with statutory provisions and letting consents

  • Market the property and advertise on major portals, blue-chip companies & global network of 80,000 working professionals

  • Erect board outside property in accordance with the Town and Country Planning Act 1990

  • Enquiry, viewing & landlord feedback management

  • Carry out accompanied viewings (as appropriate)  

  • Advice on non-resident tax status and HMRC (if relevant)

  • Solicit good quality offers from potential tenants and forward to Landlord/s

  • Agree to any tenancy conditions / special requirements (with additional clauses including any break clauses agreed)

  • Produce and execute a comprehensive Tenancy Agreement (tenancy agreements are fully up to date with current consumer legislation and created by Pain Smith Solicitors)

  • Collect and remit initial rental and deposit payment from the Tenant

  • Agree on the collection of any shortfall and payment method

  • Deduct any pre-tenancy invoices

  • Make any HMRC deduction and provide the tenant with NRL8 (if relevant)

  • Household utility switching service (transfer of council tax & utilities into the tenant’s name)

  • Key cutting management

  • Tenant check-in at the start of the tenancy

  • Placement of smoke alarm/s & carbon monoxide check (alarms tested, documented & signed by the tenant at check-in)

  • Provide tenants and landlords with a welcome pack, booklets, manuals & any guidance documents required by law  

  • Electronic e-signing and filing facilities

Tenancy Reference Service

  • Tenant interview

  • Fully reference Tenant/s & Guarantor/s

  • Identification check

  • Right to Rent checks - valid visa check - (required as part of legislation)

  • Full credit history check - (which will highlight any CCJ’s & Bankruptcies), 

  • Voters roll confirmation - (if the subject is not located on the current voter’s roll, we will ask for proof of address)

  • Locate information - (which may reveal undisclosed addresses which we can then search)

  • Managing agent / Landlord reference/s: We will contact the landlord or agent whom you are renting from at the moment and obtain a reference from them.

  • Proof of income / Income reference/s: We need to verify that tenant/s can meet the rental obligations and to do this we will need to verify tenant/s current income. As a guide, tenant/s will need to earn at least 30 times the monthly rent per year, split between all named tenants.

  • Tenant Referencing Criteria (Click Here)

Tenancy Compliance Services*

  • Local authority compliance check & free property licensing monitoring service (automated property licence checking)

  • Organising landlord void utility management

  • Organise safety certificates (i.e. Gas Safe, Energy Performance, Electrical Safety etc)

  • Organise risk assessments (i.e. Legionella, Fire Assessment, HHSRS Homes Fitness for Human Habitation 2018 etc)

  • Organise AIIC inventory and property check-in condition report

  • Organise portable appliance testing (PAT)

  • Organise property cleans (domestic or professional)

  • Organise locksmith services

  • Organise furniture, dressing & appliances

  • Organise rent guarantee & tenant eviction protection insurance

  • Organise home emergency cover

  • Organising prepayment meter cards and keys

  • Placement of smoke alarm/s & carbon monoxide check (alarms tested, documented & signed by the tenant at check-in)

  • Money laundering compliance

  • GDPR - General Data Protection Regulation compliance

 

*Please note Harvey W James do not test any apparatus, fixtures, fittings, services or investigate any pest control issues. Interested parties must undertake their own investigation into the working order of these items. 

 

Rent Collection Service – 8% inc VAT (paid monthly)

We find you a tenant and collect monthly payments on your behalf, leaving you to maintain the property.

  • Our fees are taken monthly, with no upfront cost

  • ARLA qualified property managers

  • 24/7 Online landlord portal for Information (You can view statements, invoices, make a maintenance request and more)

  • Monthly, annual statements & property portfolio statements

  • Security deposit held & registered with a government-authorised scheme

  • Provide the tenant(s) with the deposit certificate and prescribed information within 30 days of start of the tenancy

  • Collecting rent and paying into designated account promptly

  • Pursuance of tenant arrears and servicing of appropriate notices

  • Debt control and recovery 

  • Deducting and paying any regular outgoings on your behalf, if required

  • Submission of non-resident landlords’ quarterly receipts to HMRC

  • To remit and balance the financial return to HMRC quarterly – and respond to any specific query relating to the return from the landlord or HMRC

  • Annual property appraisal

  • Deposit return process

  • Process rent guarantee & tenant eviction protection insurance claims

  • Court attendance

  • Contract negotiation, amending and updating terms and arranging a further tenancy and agreement

  • Preparing and executing all renewal tenancy documentation

  • Rent review service

Rent Review Service

  • Review rent in accordance with current prevailing market condition and advise the landlord

  • Negotiate with tenant

  • Direct tenant to make payment change as appropriate

  • Update the tenancy agreement

  • Serve Section 13 Notice if the tenancy is on a rolling monthly basis

Rent Collection Compliance

  • We are members of the Propertymark client money protection (CMP) scheme

  • CMP Scheme reimburses landlords, tenants and other clients should Harvey W James misappropriate their rent, deposit or other client funds

  • Propertymark will reimburse landlords and tenants who are out of pocket up to £15 million per year with a maximum award of £50,000 per individual claim

 

Technology: Advance Rent Collection Platform

Our platform enables Harvey W James, tenants and landlords to see when rental payments are due and when they have been paid and moreover track each payment through the system until it arrives in the landlord’s account via Harvey W James client account.

  • Real-time data – plugged directly into the banking system, so balances are real-time and accurate

  • One solution - combining portfolio management, accounting and banking

  • Incoming payments - The system assists with automatic identification and allocation of incoming payments.

  • Tenants will always get a receipt when paying rent into a client account and landlords will always get their statements on being paid. 

  • Trusted payments: Agents’ client money and deposits are safe in an audited client environment

  • Invoices & statements - Tenants and owners receive automated invoices and statements.

  • Cloud-based: Access from anywhere at any time and on any device. All team members see the same live information and are protected by the same bank-grade security

  • Express rent payments to landlord/s (Payments are made within 1 working day either at 5 pm or 10 pm after receipt of cleared funds, less our agreed fees and expenses into your nominated bank or building society account. 

  • Owners statement of account will be sent automatically on the 1st of each month.

 

Harvey W. James, Full Management – 10% inc VAT (paid monthly)

We find you a tenant and collect monthly payments on your behalf and provide a comprehensive and hassle-free service. Whatever you or the tenant need, we take care of it.

  • Our fees are taken monthly, with no upfront cost

  • ARLA qualified property managers

  • Keyholding service

  • 24/7 Emergency helpline

  • 24/7 Advanced online repairs and maintenance tool 

  • Setup emergency repairs float 

  • Arranging repairs and maintenance

  • Arrange routine repairs and instruct approved contractors/landlords preferred contractor 

  • Dealing with matters related to managing agents/concierge for leasehold properties  

  • Two annual property inspections by an AIIC inventory clerk (detailed report outlining any issues with property or tenant)

  • Property visits / waiting at the property

  • Dealing promptly with payment of service charges and ground rent

  • Tenant check-in and sign off on the inventory report

  • Completion of legal notices (Section 8, 10, 21, 48, Deed of Surrender etc.)

  • Rent guarantee protection and tenant eviction management

  • Home emergency management

  • Portfolio management

  • Management while the property is vacant in-between tenancies

  • Snagging management for new build properties

  • Right to Rent management (ensuring tenant/s visa/s are valid during the tenancy term)

  • Tenancy checkout service

  • Advising on deposit deductions

Tenancy Checkout Service

  • Agree with tenant check out date and time appointment

  • Instruct inventory provider to attend

  • Negotiate with landlord and tenant any disbursement of the security deposit

  • Return deposit as agreed with landlord and tenant to relevant parties

  • Remit any disputed amount to Scheme for final adjudication

  • Unprotect security deposit

  • Instruct contractors; obtain quotes; organise repairs/replacement/cost of any broken or missing items

Contractor Compliance Service

  • Arranging access and assessing costs with contractor

  • Ensuring work has been carried out in accordance with the specification of works

  • Retaining any warranty or guarantee as a result of any works

  • Obtaining more than two contractors quotes

  • Price guarantee, landlords receive the best possible prices

  • Harvey W James does not add surcharges to third-party contractors’ invoices, neither do we claim any referral fees back

 

Technology: Advance Repair Reporting Platform

Our repairs platform makes reporting repairs easy for both agents and tenants. Simple and accurate reports through a picture-based system, with translation into English from over 40 languages. No more lengthy, confusing phone calls. Tenants use their PC, mobile, or tablet to easily report their issues or receive online guidance to solve issues themselves.

  • Guides tenants to help them fix simple issues themselves

  • Creates detailed reports for agents and contractors

  • Translates tenant repair requests from 40+ languages

  • Reactive repair reporting

  • Works order management

  • Contractor management

  • Planned maintenance

  • Automated reminders & feedback collection

  • Complete audit trail

  • Before any job is closed, tenants are asked for feedback on how contractors are performing

  • "The Contractor App"* (helping contractors manage jobs on the move and ensuring full visibility at all time) - 

  • Click Here

The Contractor App - Download available on App Store or Google Play 

The Contractor App is the official app for contractors to access our repair system easily on the go, it features:

  • All job details at the tap of a button
  • Never miss a job again with push notifications
  • Receive and send comments to agents/occupiers directly from the app.
  • Call or email the occupier directly from an issue
  • Submit quotes
  • Set appointment times – you can do this offline too!
  • Mark a job as complete and even add photos of a completed job – you can do this offline too!
  • Get things done on-site even if you have no access to the internet
  • Submit invoices
  • Map locations, allowing you to plan your route to a property
 
Commission Refunds
  • If the tenancy is terminated before its full term, we will refund commission paid by the Landlord on a pro-rata basis subject to a minimum fee of £1250 (Inc VAT) for our letting Service. The refund will apply from either the termination date, resulting from notice served by the tenant, or the earliest date at which the tenant could legitimately vacate in accordance with any provision of a break clause in the tenancy agreement. The date applied will be that which represents the greatest period of occupancy. The refund is only payable where the property is re-let by us and is paid once the new letting undertaken by us has commenced.  Where the Landlord terminates the tenancy before the full term or does not comply with their obligations under the tenancy agreement, no refund is payable.

 

Tenancy Renewals

  • Letting Service – 0%

  • Rent Collection – 6%*

  • Full Management – 8%*

*(2% reduction in the event that the tenancy continues for a greater period than the original term – minimum tenancy term of 12-month applies)

 

Harvey W. James, Property Portfolio Management – Quote on request

Beyond optimising the day to day returns on your investments, we can advise on the strategic growth and realisation of portfolio value, including refurbishment and major works. We are on hand to help you achieve your investment goals.

Other costs to consider:

  • EPC Energy performance certificate - £35

  • Gas safety certificate - £35

  • Annual Boiler Service & Gas safety certificate - £70

  • EICR Electrical installation condition report with certificate - £75

    • Fuse box supply and fit with certificate - £300

    • Supply & Fit - Bathroom light (IP rated) - £50

    • Gas pipe earth bond - £40-£50

  • Portable appliance testing - £30

  • Emergency lights certificate - £40

  • Smoke & heat detector certificate - £40.00

  • Fire risk assessment - £150.00

  • Fire alarm safety certificate - £60.00

  • Legionnaires & Human habitation risk assessments - £25 (free service for managed properties)

  • Professional deep clean - quotation on request 

  • Additional property inspections with a detailed report by an AIIC inventory clerk - £35

  • Resident & Non-Resident/Overseas landlords annual accountant return - £350

  • Smoke alarm (supply & fit) - £20 

  • Carbon monoxide alarms (supply & fit) - £25

  • Rent guarantee protection (no excess): 6-month policy - £134 / 12-month policy - £198

  • Home emergency cover (no excess): Gas & Electric – From £8.00 PCM

  • Key cutting services (including fobs and other devices)  

    • Key copying service will be charged at £15.00 (one-off cost for our time to duplicate additional sets) + Key cutting charges

    • Key posting service by recorded delivery to the UK home address only will be charged at £15.00 (one-off cost for our time)

    • Key collection or drop off service will be charged at £15.00 per hour (our 'by time' rates are: £15.00 for the first hour and £7.50 for any half-hour thereafter)

  • Property visits / waiting at the property - £15 per hour

  • Lock change - £30 (labour per lock + cost of replacement lock)

  • Domestic appliance repair - £35 (fixed labour/diagnostic callout charge)

  • New-build snagging survey & report - £250

  • Instruction/Withdrawal Guidance - If you instruct us to proceed with the proposed tenancy and subsequently withdraw such instructions, you agree to meet the costs of the expenses incurred by the tenant and a contribution towards our advertising costs of £300 inc VAT.

  • Deposit dispute: If we have to submit a dispute to the DPS (whether raised by you or the tenant) to collate and complete the necessary administration (up to 4 hours allocated and £15 for any hour thereafter)

  • If we have to attend court on your behalf as a witness, we will charge a fee - £120

  • Non-Resident Landlord Scheme - Quarterly tax return by Harvey W James (No advice) - £60 per return

  • Landlord Tax Return Service - Fixed fee, All-Inclusive buy to let accounting package for UK & Overseas Landlord – £350 per Annum

  • We will levy a supervision charge of 10% (subject to a minimum amount of £300 inc VAT) on to the cost of any protracted refurbishment or building works e.g., when we are required to meet other people at the property.

  • Property licensing application handling service

    • Selective licence application - Local Authority Compliance Check & 1-hour consultancy (up to 5 tenants) (excluding licence application fee) - £195

    • Additional licence application - Local Authority Compliance Check & 1-hour consultancy (up to 6 tenants) (excluding licence application fee) - £295

    • Mandatory HMO application: Harvey W James does not manage HMO properties

    • Floorplanning service - £50

    • Consultancy service £100 per 60 minutes

  • Additional fees will be payable for dealing with referrals to the rent assessment committees or any other Court or Tribunal proceedings or for protracted correspondence on your behalf. You will be charged at an hourly rate of £90.  If you decide that specialist solicitors should be instructed you will also be responsible for their fees and any other expenses incurred in dealing with such matters.

 

NB. Post Redirection Services Harvey W James LTD will not accept any responsibility for re-direction of Mail, Prices are Inclusive of VAT

 

Finding a good Letting Agent

The Association of Residential Letting Agents ARLA has a database of member agents, searchable by area. Using an ARLA agent is highly recommended. Although anyone can set up as a letting agent without any qualifications or experience, ARLA ensures that its members have basic industry qualifications.

 

It also requires them to comply with a stringent code of practice. All members are bonded so that if a member does fold, owing money to clients, those clients can claim their money back. Members are also required to have professional indemnity insurance and procedures for dealing with complaints.

 

Many letting agents work alongside estate agents, who deal with property sales, based in the same office. While it can seem reassuring to go with a large agency, particularly if they are part of a recognised brand, some agents suggest clients receive a better service from specialist letting agents.

 

Some estate agents only have one desk dedicated to lettings and see it as a side business, preferring to concentrate on sales. Estate agents deal who mainly in property sales are used to short-term relationships with their clients, whom they will probably never see again once the sale is completed.

 

They might not have the experience to offer quality, long-term, customer care needed in lettings.

 

To provide our clients with peace of mind, we have chosen to regulate Harvey W James registering with the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) and the Property Redress Scheme (PRS) who are leaders in property compliance and best practice.  (Click Here)

 

What you should look for when choosing an agent

 

Ask the agent how often they let out properties in your area. Go for an agent that has a lot of experience letting out your type of property in your area. Ask if they have an extensive client list – both landlords and tenants. Perhaps they can put you in touch with a landlord who has used their services.

 

They should have a history of letting to reliable, trustworthy people on a long-term basis. You want your tenants to pay their rent on time on a regular basis and stay in the property as long as possible.

You should also ask how the agent vets tenants. Some will do a full credit check, others simply ask for copies of bank statements or personal references.

 

Ask the agent how they intend to market the property. Small agents with limited resources might simply put a sign up outside the property and a small ad in their shop window. Bigger companies might charge a slightly higher rate, but they will have the resources to advertise in the press, which will reach more people.

 

Ask if the agent can provide rent guarantee and legal expenses cover. This type of insurance ensures you will be compensated if a tenant defaults on their rent and will also cover expenses for legal action you take to evict them. From £134 - £198 (6/12 Month Polices) 

Above all, a good agent is trustworthy. They should be happy to answer all your questions and be upfront about their fees, services and procedures. All the paperwork should be transparent and easy to understand. For standard lets, they should use a model of the Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement or something based on it.

 

This agreement is flexible and straightforward and is recommended by ARLA. Any terms of the agreement that are not standard should be explained clearly.

 

In general, you should not have to pay any fees until the property has been let, but check this with each agent.

Can I Instruct more than one letting agent at the same time?

 

Yes, you can. Instructing multiple agencies means that you can have as many letting agents as you wish to promote your property for you...providing you are willing to pay multiple fees that are usually charged at a higher rate, of course.

 

In fact, the vast majority of letting agents would prefer you to offer your property to let on a sole agency basis, and the reason why is obvious: As sole agents, they will be guaranteed the commission should your property be let.

 

Therefore, multiple agency are not ideal for either party: agents or landlords. Letting agents don't like them and landlords often don't receive the service they deserve, despite inflating their costs considerably.

 

So, why would anyone use multiple agents?

 

Good arguments for doing so are few and far between. Many people mistakenly believe that taking on multiple agents will increase visibility, speed up the let, and ultimately bring in more money, but this can often backfire.

 

Let's address each one individually:

  • Increased visibility and reach - Property portals such as Zoopla make it easy for renters to search by area these days, regardless of the letting agent they are registered with, so increased visibility isn't really a good enough reason for renters to pay a higher rent/fees.

  • Faster Let - It's certainly true in some instances that signing a multiple agency agreement will result in a quicker let, but at what cost? Will the faster let be because of pushy agents fighting tooth and nail to get low offers accepted just so they get the commission instead of their competitors?

  • Better price - Many believe that pitting agent against agent will result in a higher price for their property but, as we mentioned in the previous point, this is often not the case. It's also worth pointing out that renters in the higher end of the market are shrewd and aren't interested in playing games. In short, many prospective tenants will be put off by an unscrupulous agent's shenanigans. They simply will not tolerate being played off against other renters, and rightly so.

 

What do we think

 

As a letting agent, we have an on-going relationship with our landlords which tends to develop and deepen over time.

Such a relationship is built very heavily upon trust. The landlord wants the agent to accurately appraise the property’s worth. He assumes that the agent will then market the property in the best possible light and as widely as possible. He requires the agent to ensure that the best possible tenants are secured and, more importantly, that the entirely inappropriate applicants are politely declined.

 

The agent surely has a better knowledge of the legal implications and will keep the landlord fully compliant. The deposit will be kept legally and monies due to the landlord will be paid expediently, accurately and properly accounted for. The property will be visited periodically and, for the duration of the tenancy, the landlord’s interests will be of paramount importance. 

 

If at any time in this relationship, the landlord has issues with Harvey W James, then it is entirely right and proper that he has an opportunity to raise such issues. And it is fair to expect them to be resolved, or for the landlord to express his displeasure by terminating his agreement.

 

Whilst a landlord must sign terms of business with us, we don’t insist on such an agreement being on an exclusive basis. That said, we will invariably disinstruct ourselves in the very unlikely event that a landlord wishes to appoint another agent. That might sound contradictory, but in fact, it isn’t. What in effect we are saying is that we believe that we will do a very good job and keep our promises and, therefore, a landlord will have no need to look elsewhere. If, however, he wishes to do so, for whatever reason, then he is free to do so with our blessing and without penalty. But at that juncture, we’ll choose to distance ourselves from the whole process. It goes without saying that we wouldn’t be happy to lose a landlord, but why keep one exclusively against his wishes?

 

The bottom line is that as a result, we are very definitely accountable for our actions. We genuinely do only promise what we can deliver and we do then genuinely take all steps to ensure that we come across.

 

What Happens Next

 

Once you have found an agent you are happy with, they should get the ball rolling quickly. They should keep you informed of any developments and interest shown in the property. You can ask to meet prospective tenants so you can get a better idea of whom you are renting to.

 

If you have asked the agent to manage the property, they should keep you informed of any problems or work that needs to be done. Unless you have agreed otherwise, they should always ask for your approval before any work is carried out. If work is likely to be expensive, ask the agent to get quotes from at least two different tradespeople.

 

Prices are Inclusive of VAT

Useful Information

 

Lettings Summary Features and Charges Guide

 

To view our Summary Features and Charges Guide

Lettings Terms of Business

 

To view our Letting Terms and Conditions

Does my property need a Licence and why do I need them?

With each London borough operating different licensing rules, it can be very confusing to know whether your property needs a licence and which particular licenses are applicable to your property. It depends on a number of factors.

For further information regarding property licensing

Tenancy Agreement (Assured Shorthold Tenancy)

A tenancy agreement is an agreement between you and the tenant and can be set for a period of 6 months to seven years. The most common being set between 12-24 months.

 

Once your tenant's references have been confirmed by you, the tenancy agreement will be sent to you via the online platform powered by Goodlord. At this stage, you will be able to read and digitally sign the agreement or if unsure, you will be able to send the document to your solicitor to read first.

Break Clauses

Depending on the individual circumstances, both landlord and tenant are sometimes reluctant to commit to a fixed term tenancy unless it includes a provision that allows the tenancy to be terminated before the expiry of the original fixed term. This type of provision is called a break clause or an option to determine. Either party may only end a fixed term tenancy before the conclusion of the term if there is a break clause in the tenancy agreement.

 

When a break clause is included in the tenancy agreement, it is therefore common that both parties are required to give two months written notice to the other party to terminate the fixed term. This has the advantage of a more equitable notice arrangement; both parties are bound to give the same length of notice. However, in a monthly periodic tenancy, only one month’s notice is required.

 

If a tenancy agreement does not contain a break clause, both parties will need to agree to surrender the tenancy in order to terminate. If the landlord does not agree to the surrender, the tenant will be contractually obliged to pay rent for the entire length of the fixed term.

 

To view our draft Tenancy Agreement

Tenant Referencing

 

Prior to the tenancy being offered, credit, employer, previous landlord and bank references may be obtained in respect of all tenants by professional referencing agencies acting on our behalf. Any offer of a Tenancy is strictly subject to satisfactory references being passed. In certain circumstances, a guarantor may be required who is of sufficient means to guarantee the payment of rent.

 

The following information will be collected:

               

  • Identification

  • Current and previous address

  • Nationality & Right to Rent Checks

  • Credit information

  • National Insurance and employment status

  • Future employment and any other income

  • Bank statements and pay slips

  • Landlord References

  • Any offer supporting documentation

 

To view the full referencing criteria

To view sample referencing report 

Energy Performance Certificates EPCs

 

Landlords in the UK must have an EPC obtained once every 10 years. In Scotland, an EPC must be obtained prior to advertising, whereas in the rest of the UK an EPC must be in the process of being obtained during advertising, and then provided to tenants on move-in. 

 

For further information regarding Landlord energy performance certificates

Rent Guarantee & Tenant Eviction Protection 

 

Introducing Goodlord Rent Protection & Eviction Cover, this insurance policy, arranged by Motorplus Limited is underwritten by UK General Insurance Limited on behalf of Great Lakes Reinsurance (UK) SE. This cover is provided to you in return for payment of the premium. This Rent Protection with Tenant Eviction insurance policy is designed to provide you with cover for rent arrears due from a tenant under a tenancy agreement and legal expenses cover should you need to pursue a claim in respect of evicting tenants from the property, as defined in the cover section of your policy wording

  • LEGAL EXPENSES COVER - Cover for up to £100,000 should the tenant need to be evicted.

  • RENT PROTECTION - Cover for lost rent if the tenant defaults. Choice of cover levels from up to £2,500 up to a maximum of

       £15,000 per month for up to 12 months.

  • VACANT PROPERTY COVER - No excess to pay.

  • Up to 75% of the monthly rent paid for up to two months after eviction.

  • NIL EXCESS - No excess to pay

To view Goodlord Rent Protection Insurance Terms of Business

To view Goodlord Rent Protection with Tenant Eviction Policy Wording

To view Goodlord Landlord Rent Protection Summary leaflet