1. Valuation of your property
People from all walks of life are looking to become involved in the rental market whether Investors, companies, people who need to relocate with their work or homeowners who are having difficulty in selling their own properties. Increasingly, large numbers of people who have entered the ‘Buy to Let’ sector as an opportunity for investment. The first step to letting your property is getting a rental valuation. A member of team will be able to book an appointment to assess the property and give you an achievable rental figure.
2. Considerations before letting
It is important for landlords to consider a number of things, from the costs associated with being a landlord (our terms of business provides an indication of the likely cost) to unexpected situations and landlord obligations. Written consent must be obtained from your Mortgage Provider, Freeholder (if property is leasehold). Your insurance company must be notified that the property is to be rented out and appropriate insurance obtained for a tenanted property. There are specialist insurance companies who can provide this and we would be happy to assist you. The Inland Revenue must also be informed that you are letting your property in the UK and failure to do so will incur penalties, interest and other consequences. The Inland Revenue are apt to deal harshly with Landlords who do not declare rental income and it is always best to seek independent advice on tax planning and Capital Gains Tax from a fully qualified Accountant. Your mail should be redirected if you have been living at the property and utility accounts such as gas/electricity/water/telephone & Council Tax will have to be transferred to the successful tenant.
3. Marketing your property
Once you have decided to use Home Estate Agents to market your property, you will be provided with the final terms of business. We will ask that all legal owners provide their ID (passports or driving licence) alongside proof of address (a bank statement or utility bill dated ideally within the last month). We will then take details and high quality images of your property. The energy performance certificate will need to be obtained or commissioned prior to marketing (for more information on the regulations surrounding EPC’s please refer to the below). Following the above we will produce marketing particulars and once the terms of business have been returned, the property will be made “live“ on all web portals including Home Estate Agents Website and Rightmove. A “to let” board will be erected (unless you have confirmed not to erect a board as per the terms of business). We will also be able to advertise your property in the local newspaper advertisement and within our office. We have a database of applicants looking to become a tenant and your property will be sent to these applicants (where their criteria matches the description of the property).
4. Keys and Viewings
We will be happy to accompany viewings at your property and relay the applicant’s feedback to yourself. We currently hold keys for the majority of our properties and will send a confirmation message for appointments arranged. If you have a tenant in situ at the point of marketing, we can contact your tenants and arrange access for viewings.
5. “Offer to proceed”
Once an applicant has viewed a property and is interested in proceeding with it, we will ask them to submit their “offer to proceed”. This will include confirmation on information such as; the amount the applicant is happy to pay per calendar month, the amount of the deposit, are there smokers, pets or children, if they have any County Court Judgements (CCJ’s) or adverse credit, the date the applicant would like to move in, the length of the tenancy and any other information that is relevant to the applicant proceeding with the property. This information is passed over to yourself and you then have the opportunity to ask more questions, meet the prospective tenants, decline, counter offer or accept the offer to proceed.
6. Acceptance of an offer to proceed
Once the landlord has accepted the applicant’s offer to proceed in writing, (subject to any checks required), we will arrange for the applicant to visit our office with their ID (passport) and proof of address (bank statement or utility bill dated within the last month ideally). If the applicants do not have a passport we will require their driving licence and birth certificate as their ID as well as their proof of address. Any applicant proceeding with a rental property after 01st June 2019, cannot been charged for referencing or right to rent check costs (instead the referencing will be conducted by the landlords chosen third party company at the landlords cost, if agreed with the landlord). It is important to note all applicants aged 18 or over, will need to undergo referencing, will need to undergo right to rent checks and will be named in the tenancy agreement. If a guarantor is required then we will also require the Guarantor’s ID (passport), proof of address (bank statement or utility bill) and undergo referencing (the referencing will be conducted by the landlords chosen third party company at the landlords cost, if agreed with the landlord). The costs associated with these references are noted on the terms of business. Once completed all references will be supplied to the landlord for their consideration. Should you choose to accept an applicant without having third party referencing checks conducted, then this will need to be advised within the acceptance of the “offer to proceed”. Should applicants need to obtain references themselves, it is with regret Home Estate Agents cannot recommend any third party company to the applicants, nor arrange for a reference to be conducted on their behalf (however we would be able to arrange this on the landlord behalf should they be paying the costs associated).
7. Holding Deposits
You may insist that the applicants pay a holding deposit to reserve the property on rental market. This will be the equivalent to one week of the monthly rental amount. This is calculated at monthly rental amount, multiplied by 12 (number of months in the year), divided by 52 (number of weeks in the year). Should references and right to rent checks be acceptable, the holding deposit is put towards the first month’s rent in advance. If a holding deposit is paid then the property will be removed from the online market. Please note that not all rental properties will require a holding deposit, if no holding deposit is taken then the property will remain marketed and viewings may be conducted up until the required funds have been paid and the tenancy commences. In light of the tenant fee act 2019, there are very limited reasons why a holding deposit could be non-refundable to the applicant. The holding deposit (if taken) is not necessarily able to be provided to the landlord should a tenant fail to conduct the tenancy agreement.
8. “Right to rent” checks
It is a landlord’s legal obligation to ensure that any tenant has the right to rent in the UK, we will conduct “right to rent” checks on all applicants aged 18 or over. The costs for this are noted in the terms of business. All applicants will need supply their ID (passport) and proof of address (bank statement or utility bill dated within the last month) unless these documents have already been supplied. If any applicant does not have a passport, we will require the applicant’s driving licence and birth certificate as their ID alongside the proof of address. Please note that the passport must be valid, if any applicant has a visa or other permits to live in the country these must also be supplied. If the permission for a tenant is not permanent then you will be liable to conduct right to rent check during the tenancy term. At this stage the “right to rent checks” are submitted, the property will be marked as “let agreed” and the tenancy agreement will need to be conducted within 14 days (unless otherwise agreed). When the “right to rent” checks have been returned to Home Estate Agents, a copy will be supplied to the landlord for consideration.
9. Drafting the Tenancy Agreement
Once all checks are conducted for all applicants and a date has been agreed between both parties (this date would be within 14 days of the property being made “let agreed” unless an extension has been confirmed). A tenancy agreement (as well as a guarantor agreement if applicable) will be drafted and sent to all parties along with confirmation of any outstanding funds required. Any changes should be noted as soon as possible as fees may apply to change the agreement. Once the tenancy agreement has been approved by all parties (or no alterations made within 3 working days), the applicants will need to arrange a “move in” appointment with a member of staff.
10. The remaining documents and points to confirm
We will ask you to provide a valid gas safety certificate (where there is a gas supply to the property), a valid energy performance certificate, confirmation that you have the legally required CO and smoke alarms installed in the property (and that they are working), a legionnaires report (if applicable), a valid electrical condition report and an inventory for the property. If you do not have the above documentation, Home Estate Agents can arrange for these to be carried out (costs can be found on the terms of business or upon receiving an estimate). Some of the above documents are legal requirements whilst others are strongly recommended. We will also ask for keys to be provided if they have not already been submitted (where properties are managed we will request a set of keys to be held in our office for the duration of the tenancy).
11. Final preparations before move in
After the remaining documents are prepared or provided to Home Estate Agents by the landlord or their appointed contractors we will arrange a “move in” appointment with the applicants in the office.
We recommend that the landlords conduct an Inventory/Schedule of Condition and this will usually have been prepared before move in. A gas safety certificate (except where there is no gas) and an energy performance certificate are legal requirements for all properties and copies will be provided to the applicant on the “move in” appointment.
12. Funds required from the applicant prior to tenancy commencement
If the applicants have paid a holding deposit for the property they will be required to pay the remainder of the first month’s rent in advance, any other advanced rental payment agreed and the tenancy deposit prior to keys being collected and the tenancy commencing. The tenancy deposit is the equivalent of five weeks rent (subject to the monthly rental amount) and will be calculated at the monthly rental amount, multiplied by 12 (number of months in the year), divided by 52 (number of weeks in the year), multiplied by 5.
If applicants have not paid a holding deposit, then they will be required to pay the first month’s rent in advance, any other advanced rental payment agreed and the tenancy deposit prior to keys being collected and the tenancy commencing. The tenancy deposit is the equivalent of five weeks rent (subject to the monthly rental amount) and will be calculated at the monthly rental amount, multiplied by 12 (number of months in the year), divided by 52 (number of weeks in the year), multiplied by 5.
13. The “Move in” appointment
On the “move in” appointment, all applicants and guarantors will have needed to have visited our office to sign the tenancy agreement and guarantor agreement (if applicable). Therefore if any applicants or guarantors have not already completed the relevant paperwork (including signing the tenancy agreement) then they will need to be present on this appointment. Failure to comply with this may mean that the tenancy agreement is void and collection of keys delayed. The tenancy agreement must be signed prior to the release of keys. At this time it is usual for other documents to be signed, such as the prescribed information forms relating to the deposit, move in declaration confirming the documents provided and a photo copy of the keys provided. Once all documentation has been signed and any remaining funds have been received, keys will be released and the tenants will be able to move into the property. If you have been provided with an inventory on your “move in” appointment, the applicants will need to check, sign and return within 3 working days of receiving it. If the inventory is not returned it is taken as accepted. The applicants will be informed whether your property is managed by Home Estate Agents or by the landlord. If your property is not managed by Home Estate Agents than the tenants will be given your contact information to reach you after “move in”. If the property is managed by Home Estate Agents then please see below for further information on page 6-10.
14. Payment to Landlord
We aim to pay the first month’s rent (minus any fees or expenses) to the landlords chosen bank account within 7 working days. We will require you to ensure that the bank accounts we hold for you are up to date and it is your responsibility to notify Home Estate Agents of any bank account changes or payment requirement.
15. During the tenancy
Once the tenancy has commenced, if it is managed by Home Estate Agents, we will be the first port of call for all queries. Our offices are located on the Leigh and Thorpe Bay Broadways, in our Leigh Branch we have a dedicated lettings team that are on hand to help with any issues should they arise throughout the tenancy. This information is provided to give a guideline of our services after the “move in” appointment, however this is not a comprehensive list and should any other issues arise we are on hand to help where possible. We aim to provide excellent service to landlords and tenants and work extensively to maintain these relationships.
16. Payment of rent
The first month’s rent must be paid in cleared funds prior to the keys being released. After this the tenants will be requested to set up a standing order to pay the rent each month. The appropriate bank account details would have been provided to the tenants at the time of the “move in” appointment. It is the responsibility of the tenant ensure that this has been set up correctly with their bank prior to the rent due date.
17. Late rent payment
If the rental payment has not been received within 7 days of the rent due date, then we may issue the tenants with a rent demand. Though we do our best to send a reminder to ensure there is not a problem with making the payment, this is not always possible. Common reasons for late payments are that the bank may have overlooked the payment, the tenants may have failed to set up the standing order correctly or there may have been an administrative error with the payment. We ask tenants to make us aware of an issue with the rental payment being made, to ensure that Home Estate Agents are notified immediately so that we can liaise with yourself as you may otherwise look to take appropriate measures.
The tenant is responsible for the payment of council tax, telephone or internet use, water, gas and electricity accounts at the property during the tenancy. It is the tenant’s responsibility to notify the relevant companies and the local authority of the commencement date and vacation date to ensure no unnecessary costs are incurred however we do recommend the landlord also advises the relevant companies as to avoid any delays. The tenant is also responsible for ensuring that a valid television licence is in place for the duration. Council tax and insurance are payable by the tenant unless otherwise stated. You may wish to check with your providers that the tenants have set up these accounts.
19. Property visits
Throughout the tenancy it is important that property visits are undertaken at regular intervals and our standard practice is to have these conducted every six months. These visits are arranged with tenants for a suitable time and tenants do not have to present. A report shall be subsequently written and sent across to the landlord. The report should include photographs of the property to document the schedule of condition (providing the tenant consents to images being taken). Property visits are crucial and therefore should be regularly carried out.
At the beginning of the tenancy a set of keys will be provided to the tenants. As good practice we try to release two sets however sometimes this is not possible if we have only been provided with one. Tenants are allowed to copy these keys however it is imperative that all sets (including any copies made or new keys) are returned at the end of the tenancy to Home Estate Agents.
21. Landlord gas safety certificates
Gas safety certificates are a legal requirement for all landlords and must be carried out annually (where there is a gas supply in the property). At the time when the gas safety certificate needs renewing we will contact you to confirm if you would like us to book in a suitable appointment for a gas safe engineer to attend the property and carry out the check. As this is a legal requirement it is imperative this is carried out at the earliest convenience.
Throughout your tenancy you may encounter some maintenance issues. These can range from small works such as decoration to larger issues such as burst water pipes etc. Whatever the problem, it should be reported to Home Estate Agents as soon as possible to ensure that subsidiary issues do not occur. The lettings department is very experienced in dealing with maintenance problems and usually the earlier it is reported the easier it is to repair. We work closely with a range of contractors who are fully qualified in their skilled areas. The lettings department will then prioritise the reported issue. Please see below for our classifications of maintenance issues broken down into emergency, urgent and non-urgent repairs. Please note these lists are not comprehensive but give examples of each classification.
Gas leak, water leak, no heating or hot water, the property is not secured following burglary etc. These will be treated with the upmost urgency and shall be dealt with as soon as possible. Contractors will be called out within 24 hours to assess the situation and make the property safe (where issues have been reported on a working day prior to 5pm). If resolving the issue is dependent on the fitting/delivery of parts we will endeavour to have the fault repaired as soon as possible.
no cooking facilities, blocked drains causing an upsurge, broken appliances etc. These will be dealt with within a reasonable time frame and a contractor shall be booked at the next available time slot. Resolving these issue may be dependent on the fitting/delivery of parts however we will endeavour to have the fault repaired as soon as possible.
minor maintenance issues, damaged or broken fixtures etc. These issues will be dealt with within 28 days (subject to your instructions and parts required).
In order to repair the reported fault contractors will require access to the property. Tenants do not have to be present for these visits and we will use keys should the tenant not be able to allow access. Appointments shall be made at the next available slot with the contractor. Contractors will be passed your contact number to arrange access directly with yourself.
All repair work and costs must be agreed by yourself before giving the go ahead except where the issue is deemed as an emergency or you have previously consented to works up to an agreed value.
23. End of the fixed term tenancy
The tenancy will be agreed on a fixed term period, for example 12 months or 6 months. At the end of this fixed period the contract automatically extends onto a rolling periodic tenancy. When the fixed term contract comes to an end, there are numerous options available. Firstly, you can do nothing and the contract will continue on a rolling periodic tenancy and the standard tenant and landlord obligations remain the same as noted in the original tenancy agreement. Secondly, if you would like to renew the contract this can be done to give more security and a second fixed term tenancy, you must inform us prior to the end of the tenancy that this is your intention. Lastly, you may wish to serve notice on the tenants. Please see the below points for more information on notice, renewal of the tenancy agreement or continuing on a periodic contract.
Continuing on a rolling periodic tenancy
If we do not receive a request to renew your tenancy agreement or notice is not given by either party, then the contract will be extended onto a periodic tenancy agreement. This means that there is not a fixed term agreed for the tenancy but instead it rolls on a monthly basis. The same tenant and landlord obligations stand as noted in the tenancy agreement. However the tenant is only required to submit you with one months’ notice, landlords are always required to submit two months’ notice to the tenants in writing (in line with their payment date).
Renewal of tenancy
If you would like to renew your tenancy you will need to contact Home Estate Agents in advance to notify us. We will then contact the tenants to ensure they are in agreement with the renewal of the tenancy. Should they accept the renewal tenancy, new contracts will be drawn up and sent to all parties. These renewal tenancy agreements will need to be signed in the office by the tenants and an appointment for this will need to be made. If you renew the tenancy at an increased rental amount then a new standing order may need to be set up by your tenants.
If you serve notice on your tenants, you must ensure that notice is served in the correct way to make it effective. Landlords are required to give two months’ notice to vacate whether on a fixed term or periodic term tenancy. It is important to note that notice should be given in correlation with the rent payment date. If early vacation is sought, this can be arranged if both tenant and landlord agree to it. If you have a break clause in the tenancy agreement two months’ notice can be given by either party from this date prior to the end of the tenancy term. Notice must be served to Home Estate Agents on a working day (Monday-Friday before 4pm) and it must be provided in writing.
24. End of tenancy visits
An end of tenancy visit will usually be conducted by the landlord or a third party. This will note the condition of the property. After this visit has taken place and a copy has been received, we will forward this onto you. We will then follow your instruction on the release of the deposit.
25. Return of the deposit
We will follow our landlord’s instruction on the release of the deposit and should any dispute arise tenants can use the DPS alternative dispute resolution service. Please note we will require the Landlord’s written consent to release or claim from the deposit prior to being able to respond to a DPS request. We understand that there is no legal time frame for the landlord to instruct the release of the deposit but good practise would be to do this within one week of the tenants vacate date.
Office Contact Details
Home Estate Agents Leigh Office: 01702 480033
Home Estate Agents Thorpe Bay Office: 01702 588885
Hayley Campbell, Lettings Manager: 01702 480033 (Option 2)
Kyran Clary, Assistant Manager: 01702 480033 (Option 2)
Rental Admin Team
We aim to provide a high level of service to our clients at all times. However should you feel you have not had an acceptable experience, we aim to have the issues resolved effectively and efficiently. With regards to this you can come into the office and speak to the employee in question or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Should you wish to speak to the owner of the company please address your enquiry to Sue Kelly on 01702 480033.