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Landlords Guide To Renting

Landlords Guide to Renting - Morris Property Office

Morris Property Management Services
Professional Lettings and Sales across Rochdale and Greater Manchester.

Morris Property Management Services has established itself as one of the leading estate agencies in areas of Rochdale, Heywood and Greater Manchester.

Our experience of residential lettings and sales has been established over a number of years. We believe in offering quality services designed to put you first and to ensure the successful sale and or letting of your property

Our lettings and sales guides are designed to help you make the best decision for you and your property. We also offer our clients free home consultations and valuation visits on request.

Find the right Tenant

Finding the right tenant for your property is fundamental. The aim of renting should be to find a tenant that will look after your property, maintain it to the standard they accept it and pay the rent.

We match tenants to properties who we believe will be able to fulfil this criterion. Our matching process is based upon full referencing checks which include affordability for paying the rent, checking on were they have lived previously, confirming that they are who they say they are, credit checks for financial status and in some cases visiting the current address. In cases were credit history is unavailable or is poor a Guarantor will be requested and the full reference process applied.

Only after checking these references and verifying them do we consider proceeding with a tenancy.

Preparation of Move In

On successful verification of references we will contact you and confirm that the prospective tenant has passed and agree a move in date in advance with the tenant. During this period a full inventory of condition and photographs is taken of the property. The inventory will list all furnishings and contains a description of the condition of the property. The tenant and we hold a copy of the inventory together with meter readings. This provides both parties with an opportunity to confirm the accuracy of the document. If a Guarantor has been taken a copy of the inventory is provided also to the Guarantor.

Move In

On the day of move in the tenant is requested to bring their first months rent and deposit, a full receipt for payment is provided. Sometimes we may request the tenant leave a refundable holding deposit to secure a property. Morris Property uses a standard but comprehensive Assured Shorthold tenancy, a copy of which is provided to all parties including the Guarantor (and a Guarantor Agreement). All copies are by each person named on the agreement signed together with copies of property inventory and photographs. Additional copies are available on request. Meter readings are also taken on the day of move in to ensure transfer of liability and written notification is sent to all relevant utility companies and local authorities.

Tenant Deposits

Mandatory tenant deposit protection was introduced in April 2007 and legally requires tenant deposits be registered with a Government accredited deposit scheme. All our tenants pay a deposit, which is held against the move in inventory and pictures and is equal to one calendar months rent.

Deposits are held to help ensure the tenant looks after the property and as a safeguard against unpaid rent. It is refundable at the end of a tenancy, only after the tenant has vacated the property, providing the property and utility bills have been paid in full and after a move out inspection has been finalised and signed by the tenant/guarantor and Morris Property. We are a member of The Tenant Deposit Protection Scheme but other schemes are available should you wish to register or seek further clarification.

For further information visit http://www.mydeposits.co.uk/landlords/faqs.

Managing Your Property

Should you wish us to manage the property through our Full Management Services contract then we will aim to ensure a good landlord and tenant relationship is maintained throughout the course of a tenancy with the key object of ensuring your property is maintained, conditions of tenancy adhered to and rent by how we let your property and how we go onto managing it. Professional management and keeping in touch with a tenant throughout the course of a tenancy is important and our approach is built on this principle.

Periodic Property Inspection and reporting

We inspect all our properties on a cyclical basis and have a build in reminder system in place that is activated on set up of all our tenancies. The purposes of inspections is primarily to ensure that the tenant is settled and discuss their tenancy with a view to renewing (if agreed) but also it is an opportunity to check and confirm that the property is being looked after. A review of rent is also carried out at this time with a view to increasing or confirming a longer tenancy or an increase in rent on renewal. At each stage of this process you will be kept informed and have an opportunity if you wish to be involved and agree to renewal of tenancy and rental review.

Monitoring of Rent Accounts

All our rents are paid by standing order, where housing benefit is paid we ensure that payment is made direct to ourselves and tenants pay shortfalls by Standing Order direct to our company Client Account which is fully indemnified. Our rents are monitored on a daily basis and were arrears are noted we make immediate contact with tenants to put in place payment plans. Our arrears procedure commencement immediately one payment is missed and includes telephone calls, visitors and letters. All rents are paid direct to landlords on the 28th of each month via BACS and a statement of account detailing rent received is sent via choice of contact i.e. email/post.

For further information regarding our rent arrears procedure or for free advice on how to manage tenant arrears please contact our office on 01706 713471 or email morrisproperty@btconnect.com.

Ending a Tenancy

The tenant is required at the end of the tenancy to provide one month's written notice. On receipt of their notice we will make arrangement to inspect the property on the day they leave to ensure that it is handed over to the condition it was accepted in. Reference and check will be made to the original inventory and condition photographs and the final move out meter readings will be taken.. At the move out meeting the tenant and guarantor if applicable will sign off and agree deposit refund an a forwarding address will be noted for purposes of final notification of utility bills and keys logged and returned.

Repairs

Every property at some point will need some work doing to it. If things go wrong and the tenant contacts us, we will immediately contact you. In many cases the problem will be resolved quickly. However, there are two important points to remember when it comes to repairs: Firstly, if a serious fault occurs (water burst, flood, etc) and we are unable to reach you, we will authorise a repair up to the cost equivalent of three times the agreed monthly rent. Authorisation for this is contained within our agency agreement. There is a statutory obligation* for a landlord to make emergency repairs within a specified time frame and therefore, we occasionally need to make a quick decision.

Secondly, once a property is tenanted, landlords have an obligation to ensure it is well maintained. Carrying out repairs quickly is as important for you as it is for the tenant. After all, repairs caught early can save money and protect your asset.

For further information regarding your landlord rights and obligations can be found at: http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/landlord-and-tenant-obligations.

If you have chosen our Let Only service you will receive a full professional pack containing all the relevant legal documents you need to successfully management the tenancy and your property from hereon in. However should you need advice on receipt of your pack please do not hesitate to give us a call? We are always on hand to assist.

What do I need to do to ensure my Letting is Safe?

Annual Landlord Gas Safety Certificate

It is a legal requirement that gas installations in residential tenanted properties are inspected on an annual basis. Inspections must be carried out by a gas safe engineer and have to meet strict conditions before a safety report is issued. A copy of the report must be left at the premises. In addition, we must keep a copy in our files.

We can, at a charge arrange for the safety inspection to be carried out for you by our local gas engineer, unless you have a preferred contractor.

Central heating systems occasionally break down and the cost of repairs can be substantial. For this reason we recommend a service contract issued by British Gas. You are able to spread the cost and pay by monthly instalments. If you decide to take out a service contract or are currently in possession of one, please let us know. The details will be kept in the files and should the tenant have any problems, we will contact your service provider on your behalf.

Energy Performance Certificates EPC

An EPC is provides information on the energy efficient rating of a property ratings can vary from A to G and give an indication as to the performance of the property for energy efficiency i.e. A being very efficient to G being inefficient. An EPC certificate is valid for 10 years and we can were required for an EPC to be provided on your property at the time of instruction. This document together with a copy of the current gas safety is provided to your tenant at commencement of tenancy in our tenancy information pack. You may wish to check if your property, if recently purchased has an existing EPC available by visiting www.epcregister.com.

Alarms

We recommend that all properties should be fitted with at least two smoke alarms. Preferably hard wired. While this is not a legal requirement, failure to take adequate precautions (such as fitting smoke alarms) could lead to a landlord being prosecuted in the event of a fire which resulted in casualties. Smoke alarms are inexpensive and are easily fitted, however the batteries need to be checked regularly, something we will do during our periodic inspections and we ask tenants to do throughout their tenancy.

If your property has gas appliances then you may wish to consider the installation of carbon monoxide alarms (these detect the build up of dangerous gasses). These units cost more than smoke alarms, but again serve a very useful purpose.

Some landlords have burglar alarms fitted that have a user code as well as a master code, (something that must be kept secure). The only means of changing the alarm number is with the Master code. Consequently while your tenants can have the benefit of the alarm they cannot change its settings. Due to the potential environmental impact of a malfunctioning alarm, they should be serviced on a regular basis.

Furnishings

Any furniture left in a property should be safe to use and well maintained. Any soft furnishings must comply with fire regulations and the original fire regulation labels should be attached. If not, the furnishings must be removed from the property and they cannot be stored at the rented address.

Mortgages

If the property is subject to a mortgage, the mortgage lender must be informed of your intention to let. This should be done before a tenant moves into the property. Gaining permission from the building society usually depends upon the mortgage account not being in arrears.

Some lenders ask to see a copy of the lease, which the tenant will be required to sign. We will provide them with this at your request. Lenders may make a small charge to cover administration costs.

Insurance

As a landlord you are still responsible for the building and accordingly the buildings insurance. Please note buildings insurance will not cover the costs of replacing or repairing carpets if they become damaged but it does however cover fixtures and fittings. If the property is furnished or part-furnished you may also wish to consider contents insurance. We are able to offer advice and assistance through our Insurance Services which provide landlord rent and property insurance services.

Tax

Income received from renting property is subject to tax and therefore we strongly recommend that you take advice from an accountant. Expenses incurred can be set against tax liability, as can the interest paid on the mortgage.

Overseas Landlords

Landlords who reside overseas and own rented property in the UK are able to apply to the Inland Revenue for an exemption certificate, which enables us to pay them gross rent (subject to our deductions). However, if they do not apply for exemption, it is a statutory requirement that letting agents deduct tax at source, currently rated at the lowest prevailing tax rate.

In these circumstances, we will withhold the necessary funds from your account on a monthly basis and will issue a certificate at the end of each tax year indicating how much tax we have paid to the Inland Revenue, on your behalf.

Should you reside or subsequently move overseas, you may decide to contact the Centre For Non-Residents, an Inland Revenue office based in Bootle, for an exemption certificate. We are happy to offer more advice about this.

Further information in relation to property tax and overseas landlord tax can be found at HM Revenue and Customs.

Empty Property

The provisions within our agency agreement do not cover your property when it is vacant. If you are concerned about the property and want us to manage it while it is empty, please inform us and we will make arrangements to do so. There may be an extra cost for this service. We can offer a wide range of services designed to ensure landlord properties are safe and maintained during vacant periods and through the winter, from drain downs and inspections through to full secure, alarming and steels.

Finally

We offer all our clients free practical advice either on the phone or through a free home consultation, if you are interested, please contact our office today on 01706 713471 or email, please do not hesitate to contact us - we are here to help.

Further advice and assistance in respect to your obligations as a landlord can be found via the following links:

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