Letting your property
A member of our qualified team will visit your property to provide 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 insist you set the rent at a given rate, we 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 initial inspection of the property suggestions will be offered about how to best prepare your property for rental purposes. Matters of decoration for example will be discussed plus 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!)
Energy Performance Certificate provider
Government legislation in 2007 meant all homes for sale required a HIP (Home Information Pack), part of which was an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). An EPC provides information on how to make your home more energy efficient and reduce carbon emissions, plus all necessary legal documents including searches and titles. In 2010 the government withdrew HIPs but kept the Energy Performance Certificate which still exists today. At Crofts Estate Agents we have our own in house EPC assessor which means that rather than us arranging multiple appointments for your photographs, property description and EPC etc, we can perform all of them at once - at a time convenient to you. This also serves to protect you from financial penalty, as the Ombudsmen can fine any vendor and Estate Agent £200 where an EPC has not been produced within seven days of the property being marketed. It's worth noting that all homes bought, sold or rented require an EPC. Call our office to book your EPC now on 01472 200666 Ext 1 or complete the form below.
The property will be marketed by matching it to prospective tenants on our constantly updated database. Resulting matches will then be notified of your property by their preferred method, either post, e-mail or SMS. (SMS has proved to be a massive sales generator for us) a distinctive Crofts To Let board, presence on www.rightmove.com, our own website and onthemarket.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 £22.00 inc. VAT per single box. This fee will be deducted from the first month's 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 met by our staff, which helps us to assess the character of the persons and either propose they apply for the tenancy or to the contrary. In support of any application, all tenants over the age of 18 will be asked to produce £75 per person referencing fee, proof of income, I.D, bank statement, pay slips, references and they 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.
Credit check and referencing of prospective tenants
Each potential tenant will be required to complete a very thorough application form and pay the aforementioned referencing fee. Along with this form we require three months' bank statements, three months' pay slips, photographic ID and proof of address. We then ask for relevant references, which could include employer, previous or current landlord or personal character references. In certain cases - where applicable - we may require a guarantor. The guarantor is checked in exactly the same manner as the tenant. Each tenant is also subject to a credit check. The process is designed to offer the landlord the best possible choice and peace of mind that we will do all we can to guarantee a good tenant and a successful letting.
Preparation of tenancy agreements
Here at Crofts we have been dealing with lettings for more than 20 years and have vast experience within the industry, this has allowed us to produce a very thorough and legally strong tenancy agreement that will protect both the landlord's and tenant's interests. Moving forward, it's important that both parties know they each have equal responsibility to produce a successful short or long term letting.
Full digital photographic inventory
We try not to leave anything to chance at Crofts, therefore as well as taking multiple high quality photographs of your property for the inventory, we also compile a thorough written inventory, describing rooms and potential problem areas. At the end of the tenancy our evidence is therefore easy to realise, and if necessary prove if disputes arise. A CD of photographs is produced and a concise and accurate record of the written inventory are both are signed and dated by the tenant to confirm their acceptance of how the property was when they signed and moved in.
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.
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 according 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 the 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 be credited to our account even though it left the tenant's 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.
Monthly or yearly statements
Landlords need to be kept in the picture and therefore we endeavour to produce a monthly statement on the day that you are paid your rent so you can see any deductions made and when the tenant paid their rent. If necessary, to help with tax returns, we will produce a single yearly statement which is ideal to send on to your accountant without having to trawl through your accounts.
Full property management
This is our standard package and it means that the whole process of letting your property is taken care of by us. We collect rent, deal with deposits, plus maintenance and any ongoing issues that may arise. Leaving you to enjoy your time and benefit from your investment.
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 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 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 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. On the day, or just before, 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 CD 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 the tenant will complete a declaration 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.