Vizors provides a range of letting and management services based on the experience, skills and expertise of our lettings team. As members of ARLA, 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 service.
Over the last few years and, following the introduction of the 1988 Housing Act which offers greater protection and possession rights to Landlords, there has been resurgence in the lettings market.
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 are entering the ‘Buy to Let’ sector as an opportunity for investment.
As a result, Landlords have come to expect extensive knowledge and expertise from the Agency they choose to act in their interests.
WHERE TO START?
1. Local Lettings Agent – we would suggest you find a local agent who is associated to a Trade Association such as ARLA (the Association of Residential Lettings Agents). In choosing us, you have come to the right place.
ARLA is an independent organisation solely concerned with the letting market. It ensures that its affiliated agents meet specific professional standards and fulfil other strict criteria such as provision of a separate client account for collection of clients’ money and availability of a bonding scheme to protect the client in the event of misappropriation of clients’ funds.
2. Having chosen your agent, you will be required to prepare you property for rental and below we list a few guidelines to assist you:
The rental market as with any other is competitive therefore, in order to obtain the best possible Tenants; you must present your property in the most effective way, here are some of the measures we suggest:
Interior walls should be neutral colours and carpets plain
Fabrics and Furnishings (if any) should be able to withstand reasonable wear and tear and be of suitable quality
Animals and their odours should be eliminated
The front door should be clean and the Entrance Hall clear of any obstructions as first impressions are important
The entire property should be clean and well-aired and the garden tidy.
If the weather is cold, heating should be turned on and, in warmer conditions, windows opened
For any other advice contact your Agent
3. Other important considerations for Landlords before Letting:
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 within 6 months of letting your property, flat or apartment 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.
Mail should be redirected with the Post Office.
Further copies of keys will need to be provided, at least two if you have Management Agents acting for you.
Utilities such as gas/electricity/water/telephone & Council Tax will have to be transferred to the successful Tenant.
An Inventory and Check In should be drawn up. 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 and accurate descriptions of the overall condition of wall/floor coverings, kitchen and bathroom fittings to name but a few are essential. Amounts cannot be withheld from the Tenant’s deposit unless the loss or damage is proved to have been caused by the Tenant.
In the event that any dispute concerning loss or damage to your property is not amicably resolved then the matter will be referred to the Courts and arbitration but should be noted that any judgement will be on the basis of written documentation – the Inventory
– The Housing Act 1988 (amended 1996) has given rise to two types of Tenancy: Assured and Assured Short hold Tenancy as well as the existing Company Tenancy and Contractual Tenancy.
A) ASSURED TENANCY
Certain criteria have to be satisfied for a tenancy to qualify for assured status. Assured Tenancy gives the Tenant security of tenure but at a market rent negotiated between the parties. The Landlord may request back possession of the property let on an Assured Tenancy but must obtain a COURT ORDER. This has its advantages but is not as flexible.
B) ASSURED SHORTHOLD TENANCY (AST)
This Tenancy is attractive to Landlords as it offers market rents without security of tenure beyond the contractual term and the majority of Tenancies are based on this format. However, certain criteria must first be met:
a) The Tenant must be an individual
b) The property must be the Tenant’s main residence/home
c) The rent cannot exceed £25,000 per annum
d) The Landlord must not occupy the same property
If the property is let under an Assured Short hold Tenancy, the Landlord can issue a Section 21 Notice to guarantee possession provided the term of the Short hold is expired and not less than two months notice has been given by the Landlord stating he requires possession.
If court action is needed, this can be obtained on a number of different grounds against the Tenant.
However, it should be noted that is a criminal offence under the Protection from Evictions Act 1977, for a Landlord to threaten or forcibly evict a Tenant from their property.
C) COMPANY TENANCY
This is governed by contract law and is not regulated by the Housing Acts of 1988 or 1996. It is used when a Private or Public Limited Company (excluding partnership or sole trader) want to enter into a Tenancy.
There is no security of tenure and rental payments are often made on a quarterly basis by prior agreement.
D) CONTRACTUAL TENANCY
Contractual Tenancy also falls outside the provisions of the Housing Acts of 1988 and 1996 and is not regulated by statute. It is most commonly used where the rent exceeds £25,000 per annum and both parties have the freedom to contract as they choose, but must then rely solely on the provisions of that Agreement.
5. FURNISHED OR UNFURNISHED
- Most professional Tenants prefer the property to be unfurnished and it has been found that a Tenant is likely to respect the property more if they have their own possessions. Moreover the difference between rent for furnished or unfurnished is negligible and the Landlord remains responsible for the repair of replacement of any furnishings which become broken or worn (unless this was caused by a deliberate act of the Tenant – see Damage Deposits).
6. MARKETING/FINDING A TENANT –
you will need to decide whether you require your agent to simply market your property and find a Tenant or whether you would prefer to engage the services of their Managing Agents.
Whether you chose to opt for a Managing Agent or not, Vizors as your Letting Agent will firstly provide colour property details and a rental valuation which will be based on the popularity of the area, proximity to transport, rental price of similar property handled and decorative condition.
It is important to price your rent fairly but realistically in order to attract the most suitable Tenant.
Your rental property will be regularly advertised in the local press and publications dedicated to the letting industry as well as displayed in our offices and feature on our website and other sites such as RIGHT MOVE, PROPERTY LIVE and HOMES ON VIEW to ensure maximum exposure. We also contact any listed prospective Tenants, local companies and relocation agents.
Should you decide to employ us as your Managing Agent, we will also field calls, arrange viewings, vet prospective Tenants and obtain references, draw up contracts and advise you on your Safety and Repairs obligations (see LEGAL DUTY OF CARE).
7. FULL CREDIT CHECKING –
thorough credit checks are carried out on all prospective Tenants as we can reserve the right to decline an application where necessary in the interests of protecting the Landlord’s investment.
8. REFERENCES –
these can be obtained through us as your Managing Agent and include references from the Tenant’s employer and previous Landlord.
We can also provide you with/assist you in obtaining a linked insurance policy to safeguard your rental income and provide legal protection (RENT GUARANTEE).
9. DRAFTING OF TENANCY AGREEMENT/LEASES –
the Letting team at Vizors can prepare and supply you with all legal documentation and give practical general legal advice.
10. DAMAGE DEPOSITS –
This is usually equivalent to one month’s rent + £100 and is taken from the Tenant to be held in our Client Account until the end of the Tenancy. Upon vacation of your property, there will be a re-inspection and any refunds will be made within a maximum of 14 days, provided that there are no disputes and all utility accounts have been settled.
The costs of everyday repairs and maintenance are the responsibility of the Landlord but, if we are instructed to manage your property on your behalf, we will pay the contractor out of the Tenant’s rent. We can also organise quotes for approval on any major repair as this becomes apparent.
Under the LANDLORD AND TENANT ACT 1985, Landlords are responsible for repair of the structure and exterior of the property, together with installations for the supply of gas, electricity, water and sanitation.
If the property is not in a good state of repair at the commencement of the Tenancy, the Tenant has the right to insist that repairs are carried out and, in the event that the damage is serious, the Tenant will be entitled to consider the letting as terminated as the Landlord will be in breach of his obligations.
11. COLLECTION OF RENT –
this is usually done on a calendar monthly basis and is forwarded to the Landlord via any previously approved method after any agreed deductions have been made for contractors etc.
12. LEGAL DUTY OF CARE –
Under common law, the 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.
As your Managing Agent, we can carry out safety checks upon your request, deducting the cost from your rent.
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 GAS SAFE registered engineer and a copy of the Current Inspection Certificate must be left at the property.
2. Energy Performance of Buildings (certificate and inspections) (England & Wales) regulations 2007. The landlord must provide an EPC before the property can be marketed. If you require us to arrange this for you we can use one of our contractors who will charge £90 including vat.
3. 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 PAT 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
NB: The penalty for failure to comply with statutory safety legislation is currently a maximum of £5,000 and/or 6 months imprisonment for each offence. This can be harsher in the case of injury or fatality.
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.
13. 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.
BRIEF GUIDE TO SERVICES:
- Advice on letting your property
- Rental evaluation, provision of property details with colour photographs
- Advertising of your rental property in local publications/on our website
- Accompanied viewings and finding of a suitable Tenant
- Status enquiries/reference and credit check of prospective Tenants
- Obtaining security deposit/rent guarantee
- Obtaining competitive quotes for insurance
- Organising/preparing the Inventory and Check-In (additional charge)
- Preparing Tenancy Agreement and Legal Notices ?Arranging transfer of Utilities to Tenant’s name and establishing Council Tax and Water Rates in Tenant’s name
- Advising on compliance with Safety Regulations for Gas/Electricity supplies etc.
- Collecting monthly rental payments and providing monthly accounting to Landlords
- Arranging annual gas safety checks (chargeable)
- Periodic inspection of the property and reporting of any problems
- Obtaining competitive quotations and, upon approval, arranging for necessary repairs/maintenance to be carried out
- Sole Agency Agreement
I/We hereby appoint Vizors Estate Agents to undertake the duties of Letting Agent for the purpose of arranging a Tenancy in respect of
Vizors Estate Agents Ltd are hereby granted Sole Letting Rights until cancelled in writing, the landlord having given fourteen days notice.
The Tenancy will be for a minimum period of six months, at a calendar monthly target rent of £ exclusive, in accordance with the Housing Act 1988. The Tenant shall be responsible for all other services.
Fees and Commissions.
I/We agree to pay Vizors Estate Agents an arrangement fee equivalent to 75% of the first months rent +VAT for arranging the tenancy (this includes finding the tenant, serving of notices, preparation of the lease, the taking of references, etc) for the initial period. To include a typed schedule of condition and inventory. We shall either return the deposit in full to the tenant if agreed with the landlord or agree any deductions. If agreement cannot be reached then the deposit will be sent to The Dispute Service Ltd (TDS Ltd) together with any evidence of claims on the deposit. They will reach a binding resolution on both parties
The Dispute Service Ltd, PO Box 541 Amersham, Buckinghamshire, HP6 6ZR Tel 0845 226 7837
Fully Managed Option 1
I/We agree to pay Vizors Estate Agents Ltd an initial a fee of £300 including VAT for letting the property and taking up references, and drawing up tenancy agreements, preparing inventory and schedule of condition and dealing with the transfer of utilities and 12% including VAT of the calendar monthly rent for full management, for collecting the said rent for the initial and subsequent periods. We shall either return the deposit in full to the tenant if agreed with the landlord or agree any deductions. If agreement cannot be reached then the deposit will be sent to The Dispute Service Ltd (TDS Ltd) together with any evidence of claims on the deposit. They will reach a binding resolution on both parties There will be a charge of £30 including VAT to deal with this
The Dispute Service Ltd, PO Box 541 Amersham, Buckinghamshire, HP6 6ZR Tel 0845 226 7837
We shall either return the deposit in full to the tenant if agreed with the landlord or agree any deductions. If agreement cannot be reached then the deposit will be sent to The Dispute Service Ltd (TDS Ltd) together with any evidence of claims on the deposit. They will reach a binding resolution on both parties
Renewal of existing tenancy with current tenant-both services detailed above will incur a £60 including VAT renewal fee, should an existing tenancy be renewed for another fixed term period,
I/We authorise payments to be made directly into the account whose details are given below. I/We acknowledge that this payment method is to be set up by Vizors Estate Agents at no expense to myself/ourselves. However, should any of the bank details change or should I/We require payments to be made to a different account, I/We accept that a charge of £6.00 including VAT may become payable prior to the changes taking effect.
In the event that this agreement is cancelled by the landlord, once a tenancy has been agreed but prior to the arranging of a tenancy, an administration charge of £120 including VAT is payable. If this agreement is cancelled during the period of a tenancy then the charge will be equal to the greater of either:
a. the management fees due to the end of the tenancy agreement.
b. the management fees due to the end of the tenant’s occupation of the property.
I/We authorise Vizors Estate Agents to arrange for any works/repairs that Vizors Estate Agents consider to be of an urgent nature (to an amount equivalent to three months rent). I/we also agree to the invoices in relation to such work being deducted from the rent monies collected. Where no such funds are held by Vizors Estate Agents, I/We hereby agree to pay any invoices within seven days. Vizors Estate Agents hereby agree to seek prior authorisation, wherever practical. The landlord hereby acknowledges that Vizors Estate Agents is unable to accept responsibility to arrange for any works/repairs or regular inspections to be carried out in respect of unoccupied properties available for letting, without prior arrangement with the landlord. Any works/repairs or inspections carried out to said unoccupied properties may be subject to further charges.
Contractors will be charged a fee of 12% including VAT of the invoice amount as a commission to us for arranging the works, organising access, potentially being present to allow access and for arranging collection of monies to pay their invoice should the amount exceed the rent.
Should a dispute arise between myself (the Landlord) and the tenant, I/We hereby agree to let Vizors Estate Agents act as arbitrators and agree to abide by their decision.
Terms & Conditions
1) Fees & Commissions.
Fees are due and payable immediately on a tenant entering into a tenancy agreement with the Landlord. It is agreed that Vizors Estate Agents will deduct such fees due from rent monies collected. In the event of a local authority demanding repayment whether in part or in full of housing benefit from Vizors Estate Agents and where the funds being demanded have been passed to the Landlord, then I/We hereby acknowledge that I/We (the Landlord) shall be responsible for refunding all monies to the agent without any deductions whatsoever and immediately.
Should the property at any time be sold to the tenant introduced by Vizors Estate Agents the Landlord will be liable to a charge of six months loss of commission as compensation.
2) Sole Agency/Sole Letting Rights.
Vizors Estate Agents will be the sole Letting Agents from the date of this Agreement for a period of 12 weeks and thereafter until terminated in writing, by either party, giving 14 days notice. Should the property be let during our agency period, all fees will be payable to Vizors Estate Agents irrespective of the introducer. During the period of Sole Agency the Landlord will not instruct any other agent to let the property.
I/We confirm that no introduction of a prospective Tenant has already been made. The right is specifically reserved to terminate this agreement at any time if the terms and conditions are unacceptably changed by the Landlord or become unacceptable to Vizors Estate Agents. In these circumstances, the cancellation fee, as outlined overleaf, would then become payable.
The Landlord is hereby advised to ensure that there is insurance cover in force in respect of buildings, and contents if applicable, and that the insurer is aware that the property is available for letting. The insurance company must also be notified of the date of occupancy. In addition, if the tenant is claiming housing benefit the insurer must be made aware of this fact.
In the event that the Landlord takes up residence outside the United Kingdom, then, in accordance with the Finance Act 1995, a deduction in respect of Income Tax will be made until a valid exemption certificate is obtained from the Inland Revenue and lodged with Vizors Estate Agents.
I/We, (the landlord(s)), hereby certify that should this property be the subject of a mortgage agreement, prior permission has been sought and obtained from the mortgage lender and that I/We have a copy of this authorisation which I/We am/are willing to produce on request for the letting of the property.
The Tenancy Deposit The Agent is a member of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, which is administered by :
The Dispute Service Ltd
PO Box 541
Phone 0845 226 7837
Fax 01494 431 123
If we are/the Agent is instructed by you/the Landlord to hold the Deposit, we/ the Agent shall do so under the terms of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
The Agent holds tenancy deposits as stakeholder (if not already specified within the Tenancy Agreement).
At the end of the tenancy covered by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
If there is no dispute we/the Agent will keep any amounts agreed as deductions where expenditure has been incurred on behalf of the Landlord, or repay the whole or the balance of the Deposit according to the conditions of the Tenancy Agreement with the Landlord and the Tenant. Payment of the Deposit will be made within 10 working days of written consent from both parties.
If, after 10 working days following notification of a dispute to the Agent/Member and reasonable attempts have been made in that time to resolve any differences of opinion, there remains an unresolved dispute between the landlord and the Tenant over the allocation of the Deposit it will (subject to 6.4.3 below) be submitted to the ICE for adjudication. All parties agree to co-operate with any adjudication.
When the amount in dispute is over £5,000 the Landlord and the Tenant will agree by signing the Tenancy Agreement to submit the dispute to formal arbitration through the engagement of an arbitrator appointed by the ICE although, with the written consent of both parties, the ICE may at his discretion accept the dispute for adjudication. The appointment of an arbitrator will incur an administration fee, to be fixed by the Board of The Dispute Service Ltd from time to time, shared equally between the Landlord and the Tenant. The liability for any subsequent costs will be dependent upon the award made by the arbitrator.
The statutory rights of either you/the Landlord or the Tenant(s) to take legal action against the other party remain unaffected.
It is not compulsory for the parties to refer the dispute to the ICE for adjudication. The parties may, if either party chooses to do so seek the decision of the Court. However, this process may take longer and may incur further costs. Judges may, because it is a condition of the Tenancy Agreement signed by both parties, refer the dispute back to the ICE for adjudication. If the parties do agree that the dispute should be resolved by the ICE, they must accept the decision of the ICE as final and binding.
If there is a dispute I/we must remit to The Dispute Service Ltd the full deposit, less any amounts already agreed by the parties and paid over to them. This must be done within 10 working days of being told that a dispute has been registered whether or not you or I/we want to contest it. Failure to do so will not delay the adjudication but The Dispute Service Ltd will take appropriate action to recover the deposit and discipline me/us.
The Agent/we must co-operate with the ICE in the adjudication of the dispute and follow any recommendations concerning the method of the resolution of the dispute.
If the Landlord warrants that all the information he has provided to the Agent is correct to the best of his knowledge and belief. In the event that the Landlord provides incorrect information to the Agent which causes the Agent to suffer loss or causes legal proceedings to be taken the Landlord agrees to reimburse and compensate the Agent for all losses suffered.
7) Bank Details.
The client’s money, obtained from both deposit and rent, is held with:
Natwest Redditch Branch.
The sort code of the bank is 54-30-35.
The deposits are held in account number 38590778.
The rent is held in account number 05329485.
No interest will be paid on money held within either account whether the accounts are interest-bearing or not.
8) Legal Requirements.
As per point 12, Legal Duty of Care.
The above mentioned regulations are subject to change and I/We accept responsibility for ensuring that any amendments to either existing legislation and conditions made mandatory by new legislation are fully met. I/We accept that Vizors Estate Agents have the right to have mandatory work and / or inspections undertaken at the property if I/We fail to comply with any act of legislation affecting my property. I/We hereby agree that this does not make Vizors Estate Agents responsible for doing the work and agree to meet all cost incurred ensuring the tenancy complies with legislation.
9) Data Protection.
The landlord(s) hereby acknowledge(s) and agree(s) to the agent storing information relating to both the property and the landlord on computer.
9.1 I/We the landlord(s) or authorised representative(s) warrant that I/we have title and power to enter into a tenancy agreement and that all necessary licenses and consents (if any) have been obtained.
9.2 I/We hereby authorise the under mentioned agency company to act on my / our behalf in the letting of the property (address as above), during the letting period and to sign any tenancy agreements where required.
9.3 I/We have read, understand the above terms and conditions and agree that they will apply for the letting of the above named property for let and to enter into a tenancy agreement.
The signing of this agreement means that the property will have vacant possession and will be available to let upon the agent finding a tenant(s).
I/We have read and understood the Terms and Conditions stated herein and duly name Vizors Estate Agents as Sole Letting Agents.
*All charges may be subject to change given a minimum ninety days notice.
for and on behalf of Vizors
Post Code ___________ Tel No ___________________ Mobile No___________________________
Name of Agent: Vizors Estate Agents
Address of Agent: 17 Church Green East, Redditch, Worc. B98 8BP
Customer Contract Reference Number:…………………………………………………………………………..
You have the right to cancel this contract within fourteen days of the date of the contract. Please note that this cancellation period means that marketing of the property cannot commence until after the fourteen day period, unless you sign the agreement for the commencement of work.
If you wish to cancel the contract you MUST DO SO IN WRITING and deliver personally or send (which may be by electronic mail) this to the person named below. You may use this form if you want to but you do not have to.
(Complete, detach and return this form ONLY IF YOU WISH TO CANCEL THE CONTRACT)
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Customer Cancellation Notice:
Name of Agent : Vizors Estate Agents
Address of Agent : 17 Church Green East, Redditch, Worc. B98 8BP
Customer Contract Reference Number (To be written by Agent)……………………………………………………………...…
I/We* hereby give notice that I/We* wish to cancel my/our* contract. *delete as appropriate
Name of Customer:………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Address of Customer:………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Your cancellation notice takes effect on the day of posting.
Agreement for the Commencement of Work
I (Name of Customer)………………………………………………………………………
Customer Contract Reference Number ……………………………………………………………...…
Date of Contract:…………………………………………………………………………………
Name of Agent Vizors Estate Agents
I would like the performance of this contract to begin before the expiry of the cancellation period.
Thus I understand that I have a 14-day period from the date of the contract in which I may cancel this work; however I will be liable to pay for the materials supplied or ordered, services received or ordered and work undertaken up to the time of cancellation.
I confirm that I wish the work to start on ………………………………………