Your Questions Answered

How long are tenancies usually?

Unless you have specific requirements for a shorter let, we generally recommend a twelve month contract. We can, if requested, include a landlord’s break-clause allowing you to serve notice of a termination anytime after six months, with two months’ notice, but in doing so, we need to also insert a break clause for the Tenants. However, if your property is available for longer than a year, it would be preferable to have the same tenants there for a longer period, ensuring a continuity of rent, lower fees for you and usually more reliable and careful tenants.


How do deposits work?

All deposits taken by landlords and letting agents for Assured Shorthold Tenancies must be protected by a tenancy deposit protection scheme, ensuring that landlords do not hold on to tenants’ deposits unreasonably.

There are two types of tenancy deposit protection schemes; insurance-based schemes and a custodial scheme, and all provide a free dispute resolution service. The custodial scheme is free to use and is the most straight-forward, and is therefore the option we recommend.

How it works:
1. The tenant pays the deposit to the us
2. We pay the deposit into the scheme
3. Within 14 days of receiving a deposit we tell the tenant how their deposit is protected including:

  • the contact details of the tenancy deposit scheme selected
  • the landlord’s or agent’s contact details
  • how to apply for the release of the deposit
  • information explaining the purpose of the deposit
  • what to do if there is a dispute about the deposit

4. At the end of the tenancy:
  • if an agreement is reached about how the deposit should be divided, the scheme will return the deposit, divided in the way agreed by both parties
  • if there is a dispute, the scheme will hold the deposit until the dispute resolution service or courts decide what is fair
  • the interest accrued by deposits in the scheme will be used to pay for the running of the scheme and any surplus will be used to offer interest to the tenant, or landlord if the tenant isn’t entitled to it.

For more information go to www.depositprotection.com


What part does the inventory play?

The inventory isn’t just a list of items in the property, it is a schedule of condition too. We need a ‘snap-shot’ of the property’s condition on the day of moving in, to resolve any disputes about whether a problem existed prior to the tenancy. Following the introduction of the Tenancy Deposit Protection scheme, it is more important than ever to prepare a thorough inventory and schedule of condition so that any disputes can be easily settled.

You are welcome to supply your own inventory, however, due to the potential scrutiny that it could be under, we recommend that a professional inventory is prepared. We use a specialist firm of inventory clerks and would be happy to arrange a quote for their services.


What happens on moving in day?

Generally, on the day of moving in, the tenants meet in our office to pay (in cleared funds) a month’s rent in advance and a month’s rent as a deposit. After signing the agreement and setting up a standing order for the future rent payments, the tenants are allowed to move into the property.


Who notifies the utilities?

Following move-in, we contact the utility providers (gas, electricity and water) as well as the local authority’s Council Tax department on your behalf to get the closing bills sent to you and the new accounts set up in the tenants’ names. A day or two later, a pack will arrive in the post enclosing all your relevant documentation.


What safety measures do I need to take?

Gas

When renting your property, by law, every gas appliance in your property needs to be serviced and certified by a Gas Safe registered engineer on an annual basis. A certificate must be issued and supplied to the tenant.

  • To arrange a Gas Safety Check, please contact Us.

Electrical appliances and installations

You should ensure that the electrical system as well as any appliances supplied to the property such as cookers, kettles, toasters, washing machines and immersion heaters are safe to use. Although it is not a legal requirement to do so, we recommend that you have electrical safety tests carried out by a qualified electrician to ensure peace of mind. There are two fundamental tests; a periodic test that examines the fixed wiring, lights, circuits, sockets/outlets and consumer units, which can be valid for up to five years, depending on the examiner’s recommendations. The second test is a Portable Appliance Test (PAT), usually carried out annually, for the appliances.

Furniture and furnishings

Furniture intended for private use in rented dwellings must comply with current fire and safety regulations. Furniture such as beds, headboards, mattresses, sofas, scatter cushions and pillows are among those items that must comply. If your furniture complies it should have labels showing this.


What tax am I liable for?

The income from renting your property is taxable, less certain allowable expenditure such as insurance, agents’ fees, maintenance and repairs. We, as agents, are only obliged to deduct tax if you are not resident in the United Kingdom.

  • For more information, consult your tax advisor.


Do I need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC?)

All rented properties require an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). It is illegal to advertise a property to rent unless it has an EPC and failure to do so can lead to a fine being imposed for non compliance.

The EPC (which will last for ten years) is broadly similar to the certificates found on many domestic appliances with an energy rating on a scale from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient).