Heywoods provide a full range of letting and management services based on over 20 years experience and the skills and expertise of our lettings team.
As members of The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) (now incorporating The Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA)), the Ombudsman for Estate Agents Scheme and The Dispute Service (Tenancy Deposit Scheme) you can be assured that we have a detailed understanding of the lettings and management sector and will ensure that you are given the best possible advice and service.
PEACE OF MIND
When choosing a Letting Agent you need to be confident in their ability to act correctly on your behalf and such confidence can only come from an Agent who is fully regulated to the industries highest standard. Heywoods are members of the leading regulators in the industry.
The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) is the UK’s leading professional body for Estate Agency and now incorporates The Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA) to give one overall governing body to the letting sector of Estate Agency.
Visit NAEA website click here
In accordance with the rules of The National Association of Estate Agents all clients can be reassured to know that all clients money is held in separate clients account which are fully audited each year and protected by the National Association of Estate Agents Clients Money Protection Scheme. We also carry full Indemnity Insurance as required by the National Association of Estate Agents.
The Ombudsman for Estate Agents Scheme is a complaint procedure run by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and set strict rules for member Agents to adhere to.
Visit The Ombudsman for Estate Agents Scheme website click here
The Dispute Service runs The Tenancy Deposit Scheme for Regulated Agents (TDS) which has been developed to ensure that the Deposits Agents hold are protected and that disputes about their return are resolved swiftly and impartially.
Visit The Dispute Service web site click here
PLACING YOUR PROPERTY ON THE MARKET
Before you place your property on the market one of our experienced members of staff will inspect your property and then discuss with you what is the best way to achieve what you want from renting your property. The goals of Landlords in the rental market vary widely. You could be a long term investor who wants to maximise the rental income of the property to the owner of a property going abroad for six months who is more concerned about a tenant who looks after your personal belongings than the amount of rent being received.
Having discussed your specific situation we will give you our suggestions for preparing and marketing the property.
Based on our extensive knowledge of the local rental market we will give you our suggestion of the correct asking rent for the property.
Preparing the Property
The first impression a prospective tenant gets of your property is very important and we will advise you if we feel that anything should be done to improve the way tenants will view the property. As a general rule the better the condition a property is shown in the quicker it will rent.
Furnished or Unfurnished
Now days there is no difference legally whether a property is furnished or unfurnished. There is also no real difference in the rent you are likely to receive and we have found that a lot of landlord have become more flexible to removing or supplying particular items of furniture. Again it tends to be the more flexibility a landlord can have the better.
You will need to decide whether you require us to act as your Letting Agent – marketing your property and finding you a suitable Tenant, or whether you would prefer to engage our full Management Service. This will probably depend on your personal circumstances. Managing a property, dealing with tenants, collecting rent and effecting repairs sometimes at short notice – can demand a lot of your time.
Energy Performance Certificate
As from 1st October 2008, new legislation came into force requiring all rental properties in England and Wales to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) prior to marketing. We can arrange for these EPC’s to be carried out for you. Whilst there is a cost, usually between £60 and £100 these certificates will remain valid for 10 years. If you have had your property on the market for sale recently you will probably have a Home Information Pack (HIP) which does contain an EPC which can be used for complying with the rental legislation.
Viewings on your property
We feel that it is very important for a member of our staff to accompany applicants on all appointments. This is not only for security reasons but mainly so that we can gauge an applicants response to the property and answer any questions they may have. We are very conscious that the initial impressions received on a viewing are very important and therefore we will advise you if we feel that a property should be presented in a particular way.
Once instructed by you we will prepare details of your property including numerous photographs and room sizes. These Details will then be circulated to the numerous applicants registered looking to rent.
Relocation Agents - A large number of tenants in Belsize Park and Hampstead are corporate relocations (ie people being moved to London for their employment by multi national companies, bank, embassies etc) and the majority of these tenants find properties through Relocation Agents. We have excellent relationships with all the leading Relocation Agents and therefore your property will also be circulated to them.
Websites - Your property will be immediately uploaded to all the web sites we utilise in order to maximise the exposure to potential purchasers. Besides the exposure on our web site, we are also affiliated with the following national property websites that will feature your home:
Advertising – We will advertise your property in a suitable publication to ensure that it is fully marketed. We are constantly reviewing the best publications within which to advertise and below is a list of some of the publications we have used.
Hampstead & Highgate Express
London Property News
The Evening Standard The Sunday Times
American in London
Office and window display Suitable photographs of your property will be prominently displayed in our premises in order to optimise exposure to the market place.
PREPARING FOR A TENANT
Offers - All offers are promptly notified to you. An offer will include the rent a tenant is prepared to pay, the date from which they want to take the property and any ‘wish list’ items. Once an offer has been accepted we shall take up references on the prospective tenant and prepare a draft Tenancy Agreement.
References - Full references will be taken from the prospective Tenant’s bank, employer and previous Landlord. If the references are not suitable of if we feel anything suspicious about a prospective tenant we will immediately inform the landlord. We would prefer not to let a property than to let it to the wrong person.
Tenancy Agreements - The type of Tenancy Agreement will depend on the Tenant and Property. We shall prepare a draft of a suitable Tenancy Agreement and send this to both the landlord and tenant for approval. If you are in any doubts about the Tenancy Agreement you should consult your solicitor.
Inventory - We very strongly advise all landlords to have a professional independent Inventory for the property. This is an important legal document which forms an integral part of the Tenancy Agreement and, as such, it is a false economy to prepare your own in most cases.
The Inventory is required whether the property to let is furnished or unfurnished as it will not only list the contents of the property but also its condition and will form the only proof of the property at the start of the Tenancy. Without a professional independent Inventory any disagreement at the end of a tenancy becomes the landlord’s word against the tenant’s.
We will be happy to organise a professional independent Inventory on your behalf.
Important considerations for Landlords before Letting
Written consent must be obtained from your Mortgage Provider and/or Freeholder (if property is leasehold) if required.
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 within 6 months of 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 advice on tax planning and Capital Gains Tax from a fully qualified Accountant.
Safety Legislation - Under common law, a Landlord must ensure that properties to let are safe and failure to comply with Safety Legislation is considered a criminal offence resulting in legal action and prosecution. We can arrange for these safety checks to be carried out on your behalf.
1. Gas – (The Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1994 (amended 1998) – the Landlord must maintain gas installations and all gas appliances through annual inspections and safety checks carried out by a CORGI registered engineer and a copy of the Current Inspection Certificate must be left at the property.
2. Electricity - (The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 & Electricity at Works Regulations 1989- the Landlord must ensure that all mains voltage household electrical appliances and equipment is tested and safe to use. Any non-repairable items must be replaced and removed. An NICEIC or similarly qualified electrical engineer must carry out these tests on an annual basis and we would also recommend this is done upon change of Tenancy. All operating instructions must be left in the property for the Tenant’s benefit.
3. Furniture and Furnishings – The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety)Regulations 1988 (amended 1989 & 1993) - Soft furnishings (such as mattresses, settees, bed bases, cushions and padded headboards) must meet fire resistance standards and bear a permanent label confirming this. If compliance cannot be proved, the item must be removed and replaced.
4. Smoke Detectors – whilst only properties built after 1992 legally require the fitting of smoke detectors (Building Regulation 1991), we would strongly recommend that smoke detectors are fitted to each floor of the property being let.
The above is only a guide to the legal safety requirements and should you have any further enquiries, we would recommend that you contact a qualified solicitor who will be able to verify these in full.
OVERSEAS LANDLORDS – you are considered an overseas Landlord if you live abroad or go to work abroad for lengthy periods of time.
It is important to firstly note that Inland Revenue regulations apply even if you are a non-UK resident. Moreover, non-resident Landlords must apply to the Inland Revenue Financial Intermediaries Claims Office (FICO) for authorisation (by way of an exemption certificate) to receive payment of property rental “gross”, that is without deduction of Income Tax by the letting agent or Tenant as required by law.
NB: The above is merely a guideline and for fully qualified advice, you should contact an appropriate Accountant or Tax Expert.