Letting your property
- Free no obligation valuation
- Advice on preparation to let
- Energy Performance Certificate provider
- Distinctive To Let board
- Web portal marketing – Findaproperty etc
- Regular inclusive advertising in local press until let
- Finding suitable tenants
- Credit check and referencing of prospective tenants
- Preparation of tenancy agreements
- Full digital photographic inventory
- Utilities and council tax transfer
- Collection and dispersement of deposits through DPS
- Electrical safety tests arranged and supplied
- Gas safety certificates arranged and supplied
- Rent Collection
- Monthly or yearly statements
- Full property management
- Regular property inspections
- Arrangement of maintenance
- Tenants move out inventory checks
- Notices of repossession
- Always at the end of the phone answer you queries or specific needs.
Crofts Estate Agents has been operating as a residential lettings company since early 2006. Our staff have over 40 years of experience in the industry and have used this to create our friendly but professional service. During our brief history the company has seen unprecedented growth but even today we still see the demand of rental properties far our stripping supply. This is due to many factors including our position on Cleethorpes busiest thoroughfare St Peters Avenue, our marketing and our reputation as market leaders of service and product. In fact during this period many of our new clients have been referrals from other landlords happy with the service they have received. Purchasing property for investment is usually the largest single financial undertaking after the purchase of your own home that you will ever be likely to make. The returns are very attractive but many would-be landlords are not fully aware of the pitfalls, legislation and responsibilities relating to renting property to the public. Utilising the services of an experienced and suitably qualified letting agent to manage your property and tenancies is always recommended; at the very least we would recommend that you have an agent available to consult if things start to go wrong. At Crofts, our job is to alleviate your concerns and make you aware of your responsibilities. By employing us as your managing agent you can be confident that we will reduce the stresses and worry, leaving you to enjoy the benefits of your investment unhindered.
A member of our team will visit your property to give a free rental valuation and recommended deposit. Rental valuations are determined by several factors, primarily Market Conditions, Location, Type of Property etc. Additionally different Landlords require different returns for similar properties depending on their personal circumstances, your circumstances will be discussed and the rental value will be proposed based on these considerations. We would never force you to set the rent at a given rate, we will only offer our opinion based on current market conditions at the time of assessment; the Landlord always has the final say.
Preparation of your property
During the first inspection of the property suggestions will be offered how to best prepare your property for rental purposes. Matters of decoration for example will be discussed and any furnishings. Sometimes it is wise to change certain colour schemes to a more neutral feel. It may appear like an additional expense at the offset but if it results in your property being let sooner, it should be considered money well spent (an empty property brings in no rent!)
The property will be marketed by matching it to prospective tenants on our constantly updated data base, these people will then be notified of your property by their preferred choice, either post, e-mail or SMS. (SMS has proved to be a massive sales getter for us) a distinctive Crofts To Let board, presence on our own website and on findaproperty.com. Initial linear newspaper advertising will be included in the initial start up costs. Any additional box advertising can be requested by the landlord and will be charged at £20.00 + VAT per single box. This fee will be deducted from the first months rent. If a property were to be withdrawn from the market the outstanding amount payable would become payable immediately
Finding suitable tenants
Any prospective tenant making enquiries is being assessed by our staff for suitability from the first time they make contact with us by filling out an information form, this will help us decide if they are suitable to view the property. During the viewing we will take care to assess the character of the persons and either propose they apply for the tenancy or to the contrary. To apply the all tenants over the age of 18 will be asked to produce £35 per person application fee, proof of incomes, I.D, bank statement, pay slips, references and will be credit checked. After reviewing all of the evidence a recommendation will be made to the landlord and then the landlord will make a final decision.
The landlord must ensure that sufficient property insurance is in place for the duration of any period that Crofts Estate Agents are the managing agents. DO NOT assume that your insurance policy will cover you during occupation by a tenant, most normal home insurance policies will not, so check with your insurance provider. Additionally some insurance policies will only cover a
property that is left vacant for periods of 30 days or less. Whilst we will endeavour to ensure your property is tenanted all of the time, we must make you aware that occasionally the property may be vacant for periods in excess of 30 days. In this instant it will be your responsibility to contact your insurance provider to inform them that the property will be vacant for in excess of
30 days at which point they will advise you of any additional premium due or reduced cover. Crofts can also provide landlord insurance to provide cover for void periods or non payment of rent.
CONTACT OUR OFFICE ON 01472 200 666 TO ARRANGE YOUR NO OBLIGATION INSURANCE QUOTE.
Preparation of Tenancy Agreement
The Tenancy Agreement is prepared Under Part 1 of The Housing Act 1988 as amended under Part 111 of The Housing Act 1996 specifically for each individual tenancy. There is no additional charge for this service. The tenancy agreement we use has been created by ourselves, and has been assessed by our specialist litigation Solicitor with Wilkin & Chapman of Grimsby. The tenancy has been presented in court on several occasions and has faired well after being scrutinised by legal professionals. Unlike the many standard agreements used by other agents, usually on average 4 sides of A4, our agreement consists of 18 sides of A4, it has been written to be both fair and balanced. There is an additional section in our agreement where the landlord can insert specific covenants (conditions) that they feel are appropriate, we will advise in these circumstances, an example being ‘no decoration may be carried out at the property’.
Preparation and administration of inventory
Before the commencement of any Tenancy a full Inventory and Schedule of Condition of the property and any fixtures, fittings and furnishings is prepared. The Inventory is produced to validate the condition of a property upon the vacating of the premises at the termination of an agreement. Providing protection for both the Landlord and the Tenant. The inventory is an important item; one poorly prepared could possibly result in additional repair expenses to the Landlord in the event of a dispute. If no inventory or schedule of condition is performed on a property it is
very difficult for a landlord to make deductions for any reparations, as there is not enough substantial evidence should the tenant dispute the deduction. Basically it would be a case of ‘your word against theirs.’ Most agents will usually undertake a written inventory, it is difficult to accurately record the condition of a property using simply text, as one may interpret something differently to someone else and disputes can easily arise. With this in mind we take a different approach by taking a full digital photographic and digital video of all aspects of the property, you cannot dispute these images. ‘A picture paints a thousand words,’ a tenant really can’t argue with any decisions made! On, or before the day the tenant moves into the property a member of staff will go to the property and photograph and sometimes video the entire property inside and out, adding narratives where necessary. The images are then recorded to a compact disc using a laptop computer at the property; a duplicate disc is also produced. The tenant then reviews the pictures and video; both copies of the CD are then signed by the tenant, one is retained by the tenant the other is held on file. In addition to this a declaration by the tenant is completed to the effect that they accept in full the contents of the disc as evidence of the condition and state of the property at the commencement of the tenancy.
When a Landlord entrusts us with the care of their property we will take details of the services pertaining to the property, including gas, electricity & water suppliers with current meter readings. When a suitable tenant is found for the property all of the service providers will be notified with the details of the new residents. The same applies for the purposes of Council Tax. At the end of the Tenancy the appropriate companies will be informed of the new person responsible, either yourself or hopefully a new Tenant.
On or before the day of the commencement of a Tenancy we receive a full deposit from the Tenant equivalent to at least 1 months rent. The keys will not be handed over and the Tenancy will not be allowed to begin until we have the cleared deposit in our Clients Account and the 1st month’s rental payment in advance. Deposits are all kept and secured through the DPS, a government approved scheme. All deposits are kept in a secure deposit scheme in line with current law.
Arrangement of Gas Safety and Electrical Appliance Safety Checks
It is the Landlords Responsibility to ensure that his property conforms with the following regulations:
To comply with ‘The Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1994’ any property that that is let and contains gas appliances as part of the tenancy, must have all such appliances checked annually. The Inspecting Engineer must be employed by the Gas Board or be a Corgi registered company. A Certificate must be provided informing all parties as to which appliances and installations have been inspected and that they satisfactorily meet the current appropriate regulations. To comply with ‘The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994’ all electrical appliances provided with a tenancy in let accommodation must be safe. This rule is applicable to both old and new electrical items that have been provided for use to the Tenant. All Domestic plugs within the bounds of the tenancy must conform to BS1363 with insulated conductors and be fuse rated accordingly to the appliance they are connected to. We have local contractors who provide us with preferential rates who we can utilise to carry out these mandatory inspections on your behalf. There is no fee for this arrangement service. To comply with ‘The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety Amendment)
Regulations 1993’ only if the property is let part or fully furnished. The regulation relates primarily to the materials used in the construction of soft furnishings such as mattresses and settees etc. the law basically requires that each item of such furniture is manufactured and displays the safety standard applicable to these regulations. We will provide appropriate documentation in event of your property being furnished relating to the details of this regulation.
Collection of Rent from the Tenant and Payment to the Landlord
We will collect all rent due on your property from the tenant. Generally, this is done by setting up a standing order from the tenants’ bank account to our own account; occasionally tenants will prefer to make regular payments by cheque or cash. Once we have received cleared funds from the tenant we will credit your account directly by electronic transfer. We aim to make this payment minus our commission charge and any other relevant deductions to your account within 7 working days of receiving cleared funds. Additionally you will receive an annual statement of your account, (or monthly accounting if preferred, by request only) detailing the rent received and any charges that we may have deducted. NB. Due to the banking system there can be delays beyond our control with respect to payment dates i.e. ‘if a tenant sets up a standing order for his rent due date on the 1st of each month, the money will leave their account on the 1st. It sometimes takes several days to actually be credited to our account even though it left the tenants account on the 1st, for example the 4th. Likewise we could make the net payment to the landlords account on the 4th, but it would not credit this account for up to five days further, being the 9th.
Dealing with all Tenant Enquiries Regarding the Property
Whilst we manage your property all correspondence from the tenant will be handled by ourselves, if we feel it necessary to contact you with respect to the matter in hand we shall do so initially by telephone usually supported by a letter. By providing this service YOU will not have deal with the routine enquiries encountered from your tenants WE WILL. Occasionally Tenants can be very demanding and regularly contact the landlord with problems or concerns, we feel this should be our responsibility to deal with such matters, leaving you free from worry and able to continue with your own business unhindered.
Arrangement of any Maintenance and Repairs on the Property
It will probably be necessary during the term of most tenancies to carry out some type of maintenance or remedial repair to your property. To alleviate your personal involvement regarding such matters Crofts Estate Agents can arrange for such works to be carried out on your behalf. At the contract agreement stage of the professional relationship with the landlord we will agree a fixed price for any maintenance or repairs that we are able to authorise without having to gain authority directly from the landlord. By having this agreement we will not have to bother you for every small, but necessary, activity to be carried out at the property. As a guide the amount agreed is usually between £100 or £200. Fees in respect to this aspect are deducted from the net rental income after the commission has been deducted. If the cost of any maintenance goes beyond the agreed amount we will contact you to ascertain your authority before work is commenced. However, if we are unable to contact you for any reason, and the nature of the problem is considered by us to be detrimental or unsafe for the property or tenant we reserve a right to instruct a contractor without your direct authority. Such an occurrence would only come into effect in extreme situations. The fees for any works beyond the agreed authorised limit will be payable directly by you to the contractor involved. Before instruction to the contractor we would first require you to acknowledge the estimate or quote and accept financial responsibility in writing. If you do not pay the contractor directly we reserve the right to deduct any fees due to the contractor from the gross rental income after our commission has been deducted. Local specialist contractors known to us will undertake any repairs or maintenance to be carried out that is beyond the expertise of our usual contractor, such as gas servicing etc. We will endeavour to employ contractors that we have employed ourselves previously or those that come highly recommended by fellow professionals. Occasionally we have found that the landlords prefer to arrange any work themselves, this is your prerogative but if we can help we would be more than happy to do so.
Regular Visits to Check the Condition of the Property
Throughout the duration of any Tenancy we manage, we carry out regular visits to check on the state of repair of the property and also to verify that the tenant is caring for the property and fulfilling their contractual obligations. We aim to visit each property at least three times during any 6 Month tenancy period; occasionally we may feel it necessary to visit a property more frequently than this if we have any cause for concern. During these visits it is not always possible to ascertain all aspects of any inventory in force with respect to damages or omissions, realistically this can only be assessed fully once the property is vacated and cleared of all of the tenant’s personal belongings. Something Crofts Estate Agents Ltd will do for you at no extra charge is to check any property we are managing that is between tenancies, i.e. vacant. We feel that this is an essential service as this is a time that a YOUR PROPERTY, YOUR MONEY.
OUR CONCERN! Property is at its’ most vulnerable to damage and unwanted visitors. We will aim to visually check vacant properties weekly to ensure all is well.
Preparation of any Notices for Possession of the Property
Crofts Estate Agents will organise any standard notice for possession of your property, being a Section 21 Notice or Section 8 Notice, whichever is the most appropriate in the circumstances. The main purpose of such notices is to inform the tenant in a prescribed form of your intentions to re-possess the property in accordance with the appropriate Housing Act enforceable at the time. Crofts Estate Agents Ltd will not be accountable for any legal expenses or court costs incurred, for example possession of a court order; this remains the financial responsibility of the landlord and will be payable directly to the legal service provider. We will not instruct a solicitor unless we receive written authority from you directly, stating that you accept full financial responsibility. A member of Crofts Estate Agents will represent you as the landlord in court should you wish not to be present. We will also prepare all of the evidence required for any court hearing. This service is included for all new tenancies that have been initiated using our own tenancy agreement and only if there is a satisfactory inventory in force (as determined by us,) if deductions are to be included in the court application for any damages repairs or omissions. If there is a requirement to apply to the courts regarding a tenancy that we have taken over the management of the cost of preparation of evidence, serving of any notices and representation in court will be charged at a rate agreed at that time, but will be subject to a minimum of £100.00 for each case. Once the tenancy has been reverted to our own tenancy agreement and commission is paid at our standard rate this service will become fully inclusive.
Full Inventory Check of the Property at the end of the Tenancy Period
At the end of each tenancy, a full inventory check will be carried out to ascertain the current state of the property against the condition at the commencement of the tenancy. Crofts Estate Agents will have the final say regarding any damage, omissions or neglect that may have been caused by the tenants. Any damages or neglect, fair wear and tear accepted, will be paid for from the tenants deposit fund, any work will be carried out and paid for before the tenant receives any deposit refund. In the unlikely event that the deposit held does not cover the cost of repairs.
Crofts Estate Agents will not be held responsible for such costs. In this instance we will advise the landlord of the options available to him. Fair wear and tear is difficult to ascertain, as there is no specific definition, so you must accept that Crofts Estate Agents based on our own experience will determine this aspect.
Refunding the Tenants Security Deposit
If any deductions are to be made from any deposit holding, Crofts Estate Agents will determine that the tenants deposit first covers any fees payable to us from the tenant. Such fees being for any arrears letters issued to the tenant by us and any fees charged to the tenant for any cheques that may have been referred to the drawer (bounced.) The fees we charge for 7-day arrears letters is £10.00, 14-day arrears letter is £20.00, and the fee for each time a cheque is referred to the drawer is £10.00. Secondly any rental arrears will be satisfied from the balance remaining, from which our commission at the current rate will be deducted. Any surplus remaining will then be presented for use in effecting any reparations. Only once we are happy that the property is returned to us in a satisfactory condition and we have all of keys in our possession will we refund the tenants deposit, it is at this point that the tenancy is ended.
Carrying out any Additional Specific Landlord Instructions.
At Crofts Estate Agents we have tried to cover every aspect of service to minimise the worry for the landlord. If a specific landlord has special instructions regarding his / her property these should be discussed at the time. Charges for additional services specific to special instructions will be discussed at the time. If we can do anything to help you we will make a point of doing everything we can to satisfy your needs. Such examples would be where the landlord is resident overseas and additional tax implications are involved, or if the landlord wishes us employ the services of an accountant to satisfy the requirements for personal tax returns.
Additional Important Notes:
Before entering into a landlord / agent contract with Crofts Estate Agents we recommend that all of the terms of conditions herein are fully understood before the signing of any contracts. If necessary we would advise you to take the advice of a solicitor before entering into any legally binding agreement. The Landlord / Agent contract should be read in conjunction with this document. If you have any general queries about the content of this document please raise them with a member of staff. We may consider offering reduced commission rates for landlords with portfolios of 5 or more properties if we undertake the management of all of the properties. If your property is subject to finance (being mortgaged or otherwise) it is your responsibility to ensure that you have obtained the relevant permissions from the lender involved. Crofts Estate Agents will not accept any responsibility with respect to lack of permissions being obtained.
Any further queries please contact us on one of the following and we will be more than happy to help!