WHICH LEVEL OF SERVICE IS THE RIGHT FOR YOU?
As one of the slickest Letting and Management operations around, we receive praise from landlords and tenants every week complimenting us on the speed with which we find a tenant and move the tenant in, minimizing void periods for landlords. Whether you are letting your home for the first time or are an experienced investment landlord, you are in safe hands with Cliftons.
Choosing the right agent
…means peace of mind
A good agent will help you get the most out of your investment, while you rest easy
Knowing everything is being looked after legally and reliably on your behalf. Disreputable Agents do exist, and the consequences of entrusting your property to one of them can be dire. Huge legal expenses, loss of rent, long void periods, loss of your tenant’s deposit and property damage are just some of the many problems that could lie in store for landlords who choose the wrong agent. We are a long-established company with an excellent reputation in the industry and our qualities; make us the natural choice for risk-averse landlords. Whether you are letting your home for the first time or are an experienced investment landlord, you are in safe hands with Cliftons.
Listed below are the two levels of service that we can offer:
LET ONLY SERVICE
The Cliftons "Let Only" service has been designed to assist landlords in finding suitable tenants for their investment properties before passing the day-to-day management back to the landlord.
Cliftons will advise on tenancy law, advertise the property, conduct all viewings, provide tenant referencing services, establish an assured short hold tenancy and move the tenants into the property.
The landlord is responsible for the ongoing collection of rent and management of the tenancy.
•Property Appraisal. An open, honest and realistic assessment of your investment property.
•Tenancy Legislation. Advice on the latest tenancy laws and safety regulations that landlords must follow prior to renting out their property.
•To Let board. A Cliftons branded "To Let" board displayed outside your property.
•Internet Advertising. Promote your property on Cliftons and other popular property portal web sites.
•Viewings. All viewings will be carried out by Clifton’s. We will provide post viewing follow up and landlord feedback.
•Tenant Referencing. Check employment and character tenant references. Provide a credit check on the prospective tenants.
•Tenancy Agreement. Create an Assured Short hold Tenancy agreement.
•Initial Rent & Deposit Collection. Clifton’s will collect the 1st month’s rent and Security deposit. Note: The landlord is responsible for protecting the tenant’s security deposit in a Government approved tenancy deposit protection scheme. Clifton’s can protect the deposit, on the landlord’s behalf, at an additional cost.
•Standing Order. We will ask the tenant to complete a standing order mandate for the future payment of rent directly into the landlord’s bank account.
•Energy Performance Certificate (£52.80 Including VAT)
•Landlords Gas Safety Certificate (£99.00 Including VAT)
•Tenancy Extension Documents (£60.00 Including VAT) – if requested by the landlord
•Inventory / Schedule of Condition. Create an inventory document that describes the condition of the property at the commencement of the tenancy. (various depending on size of property)
For more information get in touch with Cliftons on 0117 9466363 and someone will call you back.
Property Management Service for Landlords
In today's competitive lettings market, properties that are professionally managed are increasingly in demand from both private and corporate tenants. At Cliftons, our Property Management department can take care of the ‘nitty gritty' that comes with being a landlord, giving you the peace of mind that both your property and your tenants are well looked after during the tenancy. With our experience and knowledge of the very latest rules and regulations, we'll also make sure that all legislation and safety regulations are adhered to, so you can rest easy knowing that your property is in safe hands. We're proud to say that our tenants also seem to like our management service; indeed eight out of ten of our tenants in our professionally managed properties chose to renew their tenancy last year.
Both corporate and private "professional" tenants often have high expectations of the management service when they rent a property, so having a designated professional Property Manager on hand to take care of the (sometimes lengthy and frequent) phone calls, requests and resulting work can save you valuable time and a lot of hassle!
Our Property Management team have access to a host of reliable, well-priced and fully-insured contractors, suppliers and tradesmen who are usually available at short notice, ensuring your property (and wallet…) are not put at risk by unscrupulous or unreliable workmen. All our contractors are regularly vetted to ensure we are providing the very best quality of workmanship and competitive prices.
All of our Property Managers are in the best position to give you accurate advice throughout the tenancy. Whether it is about ending the tenancy, dealing with the deposit, negotiating the renewal or handling a tricky tenant – our Property Management team will relieve any of the worries associated with letting your property. You can still take advantage of our Property Management Services even if another agent has found the tenant, indeed a number of our landlords choose Cliftons to manage their property even if they have found the tenant themselves!
What does it include?
All as in our standard letting service, which consists of our standard fully comprehensive marketing, introducing the tenant, obtaining references and collecting the rent throughout the tenancy and dealing with the renewal or end of the tenancy.
With our Property Management service, we will also:
· Carry out two inspections each year
· Arrange all repairs and maintenance
· Provide a key holding service
· Arrange payment of your outgoings on the property (e.g. ground rent)
· Comprehensively manage the check-out and deposit negotiation process.
•Energy Performance Certificate (£52.80 Including VAT)
•Landlords Gas Safety Certificate (£99.00 Including VAT)
•Tenancy Extension Documents (£60.00 Including VAT) – if requested by the landlord
For more information get in touch with Cliftons on 01179 466363 and someone will call you back.
We offer extensive press advertising as well as on the internet. All our properties are featured on our website (www.cliftonsestateagents.co.uk) as well as being on Right Move (www.rightmove.co.uk); the country’s largest property portal. We also feature all our rental properties on www.onthemarket.com In addition you will find your property featured in the Bristol Property Live property paper. Also our offices are prominently located on Whiteladies Road which has the benefit of many passersby.
We always endeavour to give accurate and realistic rental valuations. It should be noted that the condition of the property, both internal and external and its location will affect the valuation. We will be more than happy to advise you on this matter, and to discuss with you any work that may need to be done to increase the rental value of your property prior to letting.
At Cliftons we carry out MARAS/UK TENANT DATA tenant referencing checks on all prospect tenants which enables us to swiftly identify unsuitable prospective tenants.
Talk to your mortgage lender first and foremost, when you decide to rent out your house you must let your mortgage lender know of your intentions. Failure to tell your mortgage you are renting out your house is likely to mean you’re breaking the legal terms and conditions of your mortgage contract, so before you do anything else, approach your mortgage lender and ask their permission. You’ll usually have to obtain something called ‘consent for lease’ from your lender before you can get started.
If the property you are letting is leasehold remember to check the conditions of that lease as consent might be obtained from the properties Management Company or superior Landlord. If you are in any doubt it is recommended that you seek legal advice from a solicitor.
LANDLORD PROPERTY INSURANCE
Buy to Let Insurance.
This provides a building insurance policy for property that has been purchased for rental purposes. Landlords insurance can be purchase for either residential property or commercial property. A buy to let building insurance is usually based on a standard building insurance contract but the insurers will note that the property is tenanted and so there will be certain additional covers and restrictions on the policy wording. This form of building insurance policy is much harder to cover than an owner occupied property as many insurers do not like the commercial aspect to the risk. They believe that there is greater exposure to liability claims and that a tenanted property produces more claims. However that said, many insurers are quite prepared to offer landlord building insurance.
Landlord Building Insurance Cover
As mentioned above, this form of building insurance runs fairly close to a standard house insurance policy, the range of cover has to satisfy the lenders handbook or else money cannot be obtained by means of a mortgage. As per usual the Leander will want their interest noted on the policy to satisfy the contract rights act. As the insurance is being arranged for a Landlord, the property owners’ liability section on the policy will also include any injury to the tenant in the property. The section under the standard insurance cover which relates to alternative accommodation is replaced by loss of rent cover. It must be remembered that this cover is in respect of loss of rent by peril (a fire or flood for example) It isn’t tenant default cover. The rating of Landlord insurance depends on a number of factors. Most insurers will want to know the rebuild cost and postcode. Another factor is the type of tenant in the property. These are usually categories as;
Most insurers will require you as a landlord (as does the law) to furnish the tenant with an assured short hold tenancy agreement.
When becoming a Landlord and before obtaining Building Insurance, you will need to frequent yourself with all the rules and regulations relating to letting a property. There are a number of books with this matter if you have decided to go down the route of LET ONLY. However we highly recommend “Clifton’s Fully Managed Service” to take away any stress or hassle. You will need to have a currant Gas Certificate, make sure the electrics are safe and make sure that any furniture left in the property conforms to the Fire & Furnishings Regulation Act. There are a number of different policies that come under the term Landlord Insurance although cover for building is the most common. To this cover you can add on Landlord Content Insurance as well as a number of other bolt on covers. The main lists of Landlord Insurance Covers are as follows.
Landlord Building Insurance
Landlord Contents Insurance
Landlord Legal Expenses Insurance
Emergency Assistance Cover
Rent Guarantee Insurance
Cliftons Estate Agents are agents for MARAS/ UK TENANT DATA, who are a specialist insurance company for the lettings market. We will be more than happy to arrange a quotation for you, whether it is just for contents or buildings.
Obligations of a Landlord for Buy to Let Insurance
Before you let your property you must make sure that you comply with all the rules and regulations relating to let property
There are several specific legal obligations and responsibilities on a landlord with regard to Fire safety for Furniture & Furnishings; Gas supply and appliances; plus Electrical wiring and appliances. It is essential that landlords take these responsibilities seriously as failure to comply can lead to large fines and even imprisonment. We can advise you further on all these obligations to ensure you have full peace of mind.
· The Gas Safety Regulations
· It is a landlord's legal responsibility to ensure that all the property's gas appliances and fixed installations are maintained in good order and checked for safety at least every 12 months by a Corgi registered engineer. Marsh & Parsons are able to organise gas safety certificates on behalf of our landlords using specialised Corgi engineers. Further comprehensive information is provided on www.gassaferegister.co.uk. As your agent, it is essential that we are in possession of a copy of the valid gas safety certificate before we can release keys to a tenant for move-in.
· The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994
When letting a property, you must ensure that the electrical system and all appliances supplied are safe, as failure to comply with the regulations is a criminal offence that can result in fines, imprisonment, invalidation of your property insurance and the tenant may also sue you for civil damages. These regulations are enforced by the Health & Safety Executive and although there is no statutory requirement to have annual safety checks on electrical equipment as there is with gas, it is advisable for landlords to have periodic checks done by a qualified electrician. In particular, Landlords are advised to ensure that the earthing and insulation of all electrical appliances within the property are safe and are regularly checked. Cabling, fuses and plugs should also be inspected and replaced where necessary with the correct rating for that particular appliance.
We are able to assist in the arrangement of an Electrical Safety Test should you wish us to.
· The Fire and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 and The Fire and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 1993
It is your legal responsibility as landlord to ensure that any furniture complies with these regulations. To make sure your furniture and furnishings meet the regulations we advise you to:
o Ensure that they carry a manufacturer's permanent and fixed label showing compliance at the point of sale.
o If possible, buy new from a reputable retailer as second hand furniture is more risky.
o Keep all purchase receipts
The regulations apply to:
o Arm chairs, three piece suites, sofas, sofa beds, futons and other convertible furniture.
o Beds, Bed bases and headboards, mattresses, divans and pillows.
o Nursery furniture
o Garden furniture which could be used indoors
o Loose, stretch and fitted covers for furniture, scatter cushions, seat pads and pillows.
o Bed bases and mattresses are not required to bear a permanent label but compliance will be indicated if the item has a label stating that it meets BS7177
The regulations do not currently apply to:
o Antique furniture or furniture manufactured before 1950
o Bed clothes and duvets
o Loose mattress covers
o Sleeping bags
Any items purchased for the property after the start date of the tenancy agreement must also comply with these Regulations for the duration of the tenancy. If you have any doubt, it is best for you to consult your local Trading Standards Office.
There are a number of types of tenancy agreement which reflect the type of tenancy (a legal right to occupy property) that is being put in place. A tenancy agreement in general terms is an agreement between a landlord and their tenant that contains information relating to the tenants occupation of the property. The agreement will cover matters such as the length of the tenancy, the amount of rent that is payable for occupying the property and, the respective rights and obligations of the landlord and the tenant. The types are as follows;
1. Assured Short hold Tenancy – This type of tenancy is by far the most common type of tenancy agreement. The agreement gives the tenant a legal right to occupy the property for a specified period of time. In addition the landlord has a guaranteed right to be able to take back possession at the expiry of the tenancy.
2. Assured Tenancy - In this type of tenancy agreement the tenant has stronger rights than in most other types of tenancy. This is because there is legislation that sets out some of the minimum requirements that must be in this type of tenancy. Assured tenancies are often granted by Housing Associations.
3. Regulated Tenancy – This type of tenancy grants particularly strong rights to the tenant that make it very difficult for the landlord to evict the tenant unless the tenant breaks the terms of the tenancy agreement.
Any time you have a property to let you should have a tenancy agreement which states the parties’ names of the tenant and landlord. It should also include the rental price, any deposit, the address, the dates of the agreement, and specific obligations both parties must adhere to.
Here are a few other pieces of information typically found in the tenancy agreements:
1. The party responsible for repairs
2. The party responsible for maintenance
3. If the tenant can sublet
4. Pets, smoking and other rules.
5. When the rent is due.
6. The types of payment accepted
7. Changes that could occur such as late fees
8. The party responsible for the utilities
9. How the deposit is paid back to the tenant
On number 9 there are usually steps that must be taken before a deposit will be returned. For example the carpet may need to be professionally cleaned, and any damages that occur as a result of the tenant miss using the property could lead to a forfeiture of deposit, etc.
The tenancy agreement should only be signed by both parties if all information is agreed upon. If the tenant has requests to add to the agreement they should be handed in as written form and accepted by the landlord.
Whether you are on a Let Only agreement or fully managed agreement with us, at Cliftons we have a team of professional tradesman to cover all aspects of property maintenance and so can resolve any problems quickly and efficiently at very reasonable cost if required.
If on a fully managed agreement a figure is agreed with the Landlord to which we can act on behalf of the Landlord to instruct these tradesman to carryout works required. If the quote for repair is greater than this figure a letter of confirmation of acceptance from the Landlord would be requested before works would be carried out.
FURNISHED OR UNFURNISHED
As a Letting and Managing agent, this is one of the most frequent questions we are asked by potential Landlords looking to invest in property to rent in the area. We are specifically asked for the difference in the market value between the two and which is more popular.
Typically these days there is little difference in rental price that can be attained. Although for valuation purposes furnished properties are slightly higher than unfurnished.
There are, however, some advantages to letting an unfurnished property:
The main difference is to wear and tear on the property. Furniture is usually much more likely to wear than fixtures and fittings and therefore you need to factor in the costs of replacing it.
Furniture is more likely to be damaged and if Letting a furnished property the Inventory and Schedule of Condition should indicate the age and state of all the furniture. This gives more evidence if it comes to charging a tenant for damage.
If you decide to let the property with furniture, you should consider carefully to what level. Typically requirements will be for the Kitchen to have all appliances such as oven, fridge/freezer and washing machine as a minimum. Bedrooms should have beds, wardrobes and drawers and there should be sofa, armchairs and a dining table if room permits.
When renting a furnished property you also need to be aware of the following regulations:
- The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994
- The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended1989, 1993 and 1996)
The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, and certain other regulations stipulate that equipment provided in tenanted premises must be safe. It is therefore necessary to make a visual check to ensure that all electrical items, plugs and leads appear completely safe and undamaged, and remove or replace any faulty items. A periodic fixed wiring inspection by an authorized company is recommended. It is also recommended that all portable appliances be tested (PAT) annually.
Although it is not yet a legal requirement to have them tested it is certainly recommended and shows due diligence if a problem does occur.
Appliances are often the most likely to break down and need replacing and obviously the more that are supplied the higher the cost of annual testing.
For these reasons we recommend that TV's radios, toasters and kettles etc are not supplied even in furnished properties.
In addition if a TV is supplied then legally the house owner is responsible for the license if the tenant does not apply for one.
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended 1989, 1993 and 1996), and other regulations provide that specified items supplied in the course of letting property must meet minimum fire resistance standards. The regulations apply to all upholstered furniture, beds, headboards and mattresses, sofa beds, futons and other convertibles, nursery furniture, garden furniture suitable for use in a dwelling, scatter cushions, pillows and non-original covers for furniture. They do not apply to antique furniture or furniture made before 1950, bedcovers including duvets, loose covers for mattresses, pillowcases, curtains, carpets or sleeping bags. Items which comply will have a suitable permanent label attached. Non-compliant items must be removed before a tenancy commences.
Renting furnished does have some benefits. Tax allowance is given for wear and tear and on the cost of replacement (but not original purchase) of furniture and appliances. Guidance should be sort from a tax advisor on what can and cannot be claimed.
TAXATION – UK RESIDENTS
When letting out a property whether it was your previous residential home or a portfolio of properties on a buy to let mortgage you must be aware that all rental income is subject to UK income law at the relevant rate. It is your duty as the Landlord to inform the Inland Revenue that income is being received through rental. There are various books and websites that cover this subject or information can be obtained from the Inland Revenue direct. If you are thinking of becoming a first time Landlord and you would like advice from an accountant we have several firms locally that we can recommend if required.
TAXATION – NON UK RESIDENT LANDLORDS
Tax advice for Overseas Landlords
Where a landlord may be considered non-resident for tax purposes he has to pay United Kingdom Income Tax on any rents received from Property in the UK under the Finance Act 1995. Unless an “Exemption Certificate” is received from the Inland Revenue specifically permitting Marsh & Parsons to pay rental monies to the landlord without the deduction of tax, Marsh & Parsons is obliged by Law to deduct tax at the appropriate rate as directed by HM Treasury on all monies received and account to the Inland Revenue for these monies on a quarterly basis.
Whilst landlords are responsible for obtaining their own “Exemption Certificate”, we can advise you of how to go about it and supply you with the relevant forms to fill in. It’s important to note that the certificates are non-transferable between agents. It is also important to note that where a landlord is collecting rent directly and is non-resident for tax purposes then the Tenant becomes liable for the collection of tax due and Marsh & Parsons are obliged to advise him/her accordingly.
ACCOUNTING – PROPERTY MANAGEMENT
Rental payments are taken in advance. Collection of this money will be taken from the Tenant’s first month’s rent once the lease has been signed. This is sent direct to you, (minus our fees) no more than one week after the commencement of the tenancy.
This payment will be by Standing Order, either directly from the Tenant’s Bank or Building society account, or your Tenants may pay us directly by Standing Order for the first payment and direct thereafter. As we act as a collection service upon your behalf we will an undertaking to pay you cleared funds within one week of the rent arriving in our Client Account.
ACCOUNTING – LETTING SERVICE
As above we will collect the Tenant’s deposit and the first month’s rent prior to the tenancy commencing and forward onto you minus our fees the rental income and place the deposit on your behalf into the DPS.
Assured Shorthold and Common Law Tenancies and Tenancy Deposit Scheme
It is standard practice for us to hold an amount from the tenant equivalent to 1 months rent during the tenancy against the satisfactory performance by the tenant of all the various obligations under the tenancy agreement – in particular those relating to the cleanliness and condition of the property. Our professional tenancy agreement contains all the relevant clauses in the tenancy agreement setting out who is to hold the deposit, what the deposit can be allocated for and the end of tenancy procedures and timescales for its refund. In general, the best way for a tenancy deposit (bond) to be held during the tenancy is by the ARLA member agent as “stakeholder” between the parties (landlord and tenant). This means that at the end of the tenancy the agent should get the agreement of both sides before making any deductions for damage, cleaning etc.
You may have heard of the new Tenancy Deposit Regulations which apply to any Assured Shorthold Tenancies. We are signed up to the Deposit Protection Scheme (DPS) (as recommended by ARLA) which means that in the event of an unresolved dispute or stalemate over the allocation of the deposit, it can be referred to the scheme for a prompt, independent, third party adjudication, providing a resolution which is fair to both landlord and tenant. Cliftons Estate Agents will ensure that your tenancy agreement is in full compliance with these regulations. Failure to comply with the new regulations can incur extremely hefty fines so it is essential they are taken seriously.
Inventories – what, why and how?
An inventory is an essential part of any tenancy. It is, in effect, a written ‘benchmark' against which the condition and contents of the property can be measured at the start and end of the tenancy. It should be drawn up by an independent professional inventory company and without it, in the case of a dispute over the deposit, it is almost impossible to claim any damages or dilapidations at the end of the tenancy.
The inventory comprises three parts:
· The inventory document – this is a written report detailing the fixtures and fittings in a property. Providing there are no major changes to the property or its contents from one tenancy to another, the inventory may be used for successive tenancies.
· The check-in report – this is a separate report drawn up against the inventory which details the specific condition of the fixtures, fittings and of the property generally at the very start of the tenancy.
· The check-out report – this is the report drawn up at the very end of the tenancy detailing the condition and contents against the original check-in and inventory to assess any damage or dilapidations (aside from fair wear and tear) that may have taken place during the tenancy.
Neither landlord nor tenant is actually required to be present for the check-in or the check-out as it is carried out by an independent party. Clifton’s have a number of excellent inventory companies that we can instruct on your behalf to ensure your property is protected against damage by the tenant. Inventory prices will vary depending on the size of your property and its level of furnishing; however we are able to advise on approximate costs. It is common practice for the tenant to bear the cost of the check-in whilst the landlord is responsible for the cost of the inventory itself and the check-out.
Anyone looking to rent at the moment will make a beeline for with a half-decent garden will get a better rent.
Weirdly, however, most tenants are utterly useless gardeners – at least, our experience.
All tenants like the idea of a beautiful garden. But once they start living there, they tend to treat the property as if they were in a hotel. One solution is to employ a gardener instead of letting the garden go to wrack and ruin. This way your investment is cared for and when the property is ready to re let, it still attracts the best tenant and the best price.
Again these points can be covered on Cliftons fully managed properties.
With our Property Management service we arrange the full crossover of utilities therefore require all the relevant account numbers.
If letting your family home for the first time we recommend instructing “The Post Office” to forward on your mail.
SELLING YOUR PROPERTY
If at any time you wish to sell on your property Cliftons as one of the area’s leading Residential Estate Agents can assist in confirming its true market value and achieving the best sale price. As an existing Landlord we offer reduced rates on our sales fee. It is not unusual to negotiate terms between existing tenants and Landlords. For further information or advice in this subject we have very experienced staff to talk to for guidance and advice.
Becoming a landlord can be very daunting and even if you are an existing landlord you will be well aware of the potential difficulties in letting a property. At Cliftons we have great experience in dealing with all types of tenants and as such we are in a great position to remove the hassle from you. Please consider our management package to see if you think we would be worth appointing as your management team.
SCHEDULE OF CHARGES
The foregoing charges will be taken from the first month’s rent of each new tenancy (i.e. each different tenant, not a renewal to the same tenants).
6 months tenancy agreement 48% of first months rent (Including VAT) (minimum £300.00 Including VAT)
Renewal of lease to same tenant £60.00 (Including VAT)
There is a onetime payment from the first month’s rent of 48% of first months rent (Including VAT) (minumum £300.00 Including VAT)
Monthly charge 10.20% Including VAT
Renewal of lease to same tenant £60.00 Including VAT
Should you ask us to handle the management of more than one property we are happy to discuss terms on a multi let basis.