LG James are proud to be able to offer you the full spectrum of property letting and management services under one roof. This is made possible by the experience, skill and expertise of our lettings team which also ensures we are well placed to have a detailed understanding of the lettings and management process. This in turn allows us to be able to give our customers the best possible service.
Over the last few years and following the introduction of the 1988 Housing Act, offering greater protection and possession rights to Landlords, there has been a continued resurgence in the lettings market. People from all walks of life are now looking to become involved in the rental market, whether they are professional 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, and many home owners have realised that it is possible to retain their property, let it out, and still purchase their next home.
As a result, Landlords have come to expect extensive knowledge and expertise from the agency they will trust with letting what is probably their biggest asset.
1. In an extremely varied area such as Corby, it is imperative to use an agent that has experience and knowledge of the local market. This is something that our team can certainly offer. Feel free to question us on our knowledge!
2. Having chosen your agent you will be required to prepare your property to be let out, and below we list a few guidelines to assist you. The rental market can be very competitive, so in order to obtain the best possible tenants and achieve the best price for the property it is crucial to make yours stand out from the rest.
3. Other important considerations for landlords before letting a property:
4. Tenancy – 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.
The Tenant must be an individual
The property must be the Tenant’s main residence/home
The rent cannot exceed £25,000 per annum
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.
5. Furnished or Unfurnished - The majority of professional tenants prefer the property to be unfurnished and it has been suggested 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 - When taking the decision to let your property, you will need to decide whether you require your agent to simply market your property and find a tenant or whether you would also like to engage the services of their management department to manage the property on your behalf.
Whether you opt for let only, rent collection, or our full management service, LG James as your Letting Agent will firstly a provide you with a written rental valuation. This is be based on the property type, size and decorative order - combined with popularity of the area, proximity to transport, and achieved rental price of comparable property. 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 being featured on our website lgjames.co.uk, and on leading property portals such as rightmove.co.uk, primelocation.com, findaproperty.com, zoopla.co.uk, globrix.com amongst many others. 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 lG James 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 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 28 days, provided that there are no disputes and all utility accounts have been settled.
11. The Inventory - This is an important legal document forming an integral part of the Tenancy Agreement.
Unfortunately many Landlords fail to realise its importance (both in legal and financial terms) and try to “save money” by preparing their own inventory.
More often than not this proves a false economy, as amounts cannot be withheld from a tenant’s deposit in compensation for loss or damage unless it can be proved that the loss or damage was actually caused by the Tenant.
Technically the document should be called an “Inventory and Condition Report”, as an inventory simply list the contents of a property not and their condition. This is useful if the items are missing but not if they are damaged. If the condition of the particular item is not accurately described and the inventory was signed by the tenant prior to taking occupation, how can it be proved that the tenant caused the damage?
Unfurnished properties also require an inventory and a ‘check in’ and ‘check out’ report as there will always be wall and floor coverings, kitchen and bathroom fittings etc, the condition of which needs to be documented.
Where a dispute cannot be resolved amicably by referring to the contents of the inventory, check-in and check-out reports then details of the disputed amount will be sent to the ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) who will base their decision on the contents of the inventory, and the contents of the check-in and check-out reports. Their decision is final and cannot be appealed. We strongly recommend that you allow us to arrange for an Inventory (prices upon request).
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 deal with any day to day concerns. 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.
12. 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.
13. 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.
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.
14. 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.
With a wealth of knowledge within the Property Industry and years of experience your property will be safe in our hands.