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 being 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.

 

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 Town and Country Planning Act 1990

  • Enquiry, viewing & landlord feedback management

  • Carry out accompanied viewings (as appropriate)  

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

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

  • Agree 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 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 who 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, 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, 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

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:

  • EICR Electrical installation condition report - £120

  • Gas safety certificate - £50

  • Annual Boiler Service & Gas safety certificate - £120

  • EPC Energy performance certificate - £40

  • Portable appliance testing (up to 10 items) - £78

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

  • Inventory & Check-In Condition Report - £125  (Independent Inventory Protection by AIIC)

  • Checkout Condition Report - £100 (Independent Inventory Protection by AIIC)

  • Professional Clean - Quotation on request 

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

  • Non-resident/overseas landlords annual accountant return - £195

  • Smoke alarm (supply & fit) - £20 

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

  • 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 a UK home address 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 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)

  • Rent guarantee protection (no excess):

    • 6-month policy - £59 

    • 12-month policy - £99

  • Home emergency cover (no excess):

    • From £8.00​ PCM 

  • Domestic appliance repair - £30 (fixed labour/diagnostic callout charge)

  • New build snagging survey & report - £250

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 the 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 £59 - £99 (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 promoting 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 landlord. 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.

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 License 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 with Tenant Eviction Key Facts

To view Goodlord Rent Protection with Tenant Eviction Policy Wording

To view Goodlord Landlord Rent Protection Summary leaflet

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