1. OUR SERVICES
We can act on your behalf in one of two ways as follows:
Letting Only Service
Fee: 1 months’ rent [subject to a minimum fee of £500].
Plus the cost of any advertising and the Energy Performance Certificate [if required]. All charges are subject to VAT.
- Inspection, general advice and assessment of rental value.
- Production of letting particulars and advertising.
- Accompanied viewing by a member of staff.
- Interviewing prospective tenant(s) following completion of an application form.
- Obtaining references and a security bond (deposit).
- Preparation of Tenancy Agreement.
- Arrangement of an Energy Performance Certificate at Landlord’s cost.
- Register and collect deposit for Deposit Protection Service [DPS] or Tenancy Deposit Scheme [TDS].
- Payment of deposit to DPS/TDS and accounting to client.
- Schedule of Condition and photographs. Any disputes will be charged.
- Ensuring that the property has fitted smoke alarms and a carbon monoxide detector.
- Reading of meters.
N.B Services in connection with any dispute relating to the refund of the deposit are excluded from this fee.
Fee: There is an initial £300.00 plus advertising plus VAT, set up charge then a monthly 15 % plus VAT commission charge thereafter. This is subject to a twelve month term.
Includes the Letting Service, as above plus the following services:
- Handling the tenancy deposit and dealing with the Deposit Protection Scheme/Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
- Collection of rents.
- Regular monthly statement of account, or periods to suit clients
- Overseeing minor repairs up to £250, excluding VAT.
- Obtain quotes.
- Instruct Contractors.
- Oversee work.
- Liaison between client and tenant.
- Preparation of inventory of contents at the beginning of the tenancy and checking inventory at the end of the tenancy. Normal wear and tear must be accepted however.
- Serving of notices.
- Regular inspections.
- Arrangement of annual inspection of gas installations.
- PAT testing of electrical appliances is recommended but is not a legal requirement, but can be arranged at the expense of the Landlord.
- Any dispute arising at the termination of the tenancy relating to the refund of the deposit.
Repairs over £250 which can be organised on the basis of a fee of 12½% + VAT of the contract price (excluding VAT).
We are able to arrange insurance on the Landlords behalf to protect against non payment of rent. Michael C L Hodgson use a company called Letsure who provides specialist solutions for the rental market. A premium of £95.00 would cover the first 6 months of the tenancy. This would apply to both our Let Only and Management Services. We will be happy to provide further details of this service upon request.
2. TENANCY DEPOSIT SCHEMES
As part of the Housing Act 2004 all deposits paid under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy have to be ‘protected’ within 14 calendar days of receipt by the Landlord or Letting Agent.
Michael CL Hodgson use ‘the Deposit Protection Service [DPS] and the Tenancy Deposit Scheme [TDS]’ for the protection of deposits handled on behalf of Landlords for managed properties. Effectively this means that the deposit paid by the tenant is forwarded on to DPS/TDS and is held by them for the duration of the tenancy. The deposit is returned to the tenant if the Landlord/Agent is satisfied that the terms of the tenancy agreement have been complied with. If not then the Landlord is entitled to keep some or all of the deposit. If the tenant disputes a claim and the parties cannot settle the matter amicably then DPS/TDS will deal with the dispute through their resolution service.
In the event of a dispute arising at the end of the tenancy relating to the condition of the property and the refund of the deposit, for non managed property, Michael CL Hodgson will not be involved. However, if required Michael CL Hodgson will assist with the dispute, at an hourly rate of £100 + VAT.
Generally we recommend that a deposit is at least equivalent to one month’s rent, but preferably up to one and a half times the monthly rent, payable at the commencement of the tenancy.
The DPS/TDS is open to all Landlords and Letting Agents and is a free service.
3. YOUR TENANTS
Our best efforts are used to match the right tenant to the right property, making sure references are obtained and these are followed through correctly.
All new tenancies commence with an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreement, which allows both tenant and landlord flexibility should either of their circumstances change. Initially an AST is guaranteed for a fixed term of six months but only a limited security of tenure is given to the tenant. After the initial six-month period, a tenant can be offered a further six-month tenancy, or the tenancy can continue on a Periodic basis. This carries the terms and conditions of the original agreement forward but on a month-by-month basis. During the Periodic Tenancy, the tenant can give notice of one month and the Landlord can give notice of two months if it is necessary to regain possession of the property.
4. UNOCCUPIED PREMISES
Michael CL Hodgson Limited accepts no liability or responsibility for the maintenance or repair of, or for any damage to, the property at any time. If the property is vacant when adverse weather conditions are likely, frost damage may occur to water and heating systems and sanitary appliances. Our clients are strongly recommended to take all necessary action to protect their property from such risks and to ensure that they have adequate insurance cover.
5. NON-RESIDENT LANDLORDS
If you are going abroad for a period of time longer than six months, and this is the reason for you wishing to rent out your property, you normally must become part of the Non-Residents Landlord Scheme. Their Help Line is 0151 472 6208, you will be able to explain your particular circumstances to see how the Scheme affects you. Unless we receive an Exemption Certificate to cover the rentals paid, we would have to deduct tax at source and refund this to the Inland Revenue. It is therefore important that you go into this matter as soon as possible.
6. FURNISHED OR UNFURNISHED
There is not a significant increase in the perceived rental value of your property if it is furnished. Contents insurance is available specifically for rented accommodation, but it tends to be more expensive than a normal Contents Insurance. All gas and electrical appliances must be checked prior to any letting and documentation provided as evidence of their safety. As well as the obvious central heating installations, this also includes appliances such as fires, cookers, kettles, irons etc.
There are regulations applying to foam filled furnishings, which must be made from fire resistant materials.
It is recommended that all properties should be fitted with at least two smoke alarms. Smoke alarms are inexpensive, easily fitted and they can and do save lives. Once installed these devices must be checked on a regular basis.
You may also like to consider the installation of carbon monoxide alarms, which detect the build up of dangerous gases.
For your information the Statutory Regulations are as follows:-
A) Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 1993
The articles below must adhere to the 1993 Regulations:
Sofas, beds, bed-heads, children’s furniture, garden furniture suitable for use in a dwelling, scatter-cushions and pillows, stretch and loose covers for furniture.
Exempt: Curtains, carpets, bedclothes (including duvets), and mattress covers.
All furniture manufactured before 1st January 1950 is not covered by the regulations as defective inflammable materials were not used prior to that date.
Any furniture manufactured after March 1990 is likely to comply, but if the appropriate labels are not on the furniture, compliance is in doubt and checks should be made with the manufacturer.
B) Gas Safety (Regulations) 1994
ALL gas appliances and gas installation pipe work are to be checked for safety at least once a year by British Gas or a member of the Council for Registered Gas Installers (CORGI). A current safety certificate must be available for inspection.
C) Electrical Equipment (Regulations) 1994
ALL electrical appliances in let property must be checked regularly and serviced.
It is important to ensure that all electrical appliances and fittings within the property are safe and in good working order. Unlike gas regulations, there is no law that says you must have a landlord electrical safety certificate. But, should any electrical fittings or appliances within your rental property cause harm to a tenant you could be held liable. Failure to comply with the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 and The Consumer Protection Act 1987 is a criminal offence and may result in a large fine or even imprisonment.
What is ‘PAT’ Testing?
The inspection and testing of electrical equipment or 'PAT Testing', as it is usually called, is the procedure whereby electrical equipment is formally visually inspected and instrument-tested for electrical safety. PAT testing is mostly carried out in either the workplace, rented accommodation or in residential care homes, etc. Also, some venues such as concert halls and market stalls are now insisting on seeing evidence of PAT Testing of the electrical equipment used by the performers or those that are renting the stall.
PAT testing is short for 'Portable Appliance Testing', which is unfortunate because this suggests that the inspection and testing procedures only apply to truly portable equipment; this is not the case. With PAT Testing, virtually all items of electrical equipment that have either a standard 240 volt three-pin plug or a 16 Amp 240 volt (blue) or 110 volt (yellow) round plug/socket attached are formally inspected and tested: portable, movable, hand-held, stationary, fixed, built-in, IT equipment and extension leads. Furthermore, the word 'testing' implies that the equipment or appliance is only checked over with test instruments. However, this too isn't the case, for the procedure also involves the important use of formal visual inspection. In fact, many of the items that fail are the result of close, visual inspection: plugs with gaping holes, bare copper wires, free-standing electric fires with one foot either missing or hanging off, plugs with paper clips acting as a fuse, filing cabinets placed on top of power cables, etc.
PAT Testing in the workplace, rented accommodation or in residential care homes etc., whilst not a legal requirement in itself is usually carried out on an annual basis to determine whether the electrical equipment in use there is, in simple terms, 'safe, well-maintained and suitable for the purpose for which it is being used', which certainly is a legal requirement. NB. In the case of electrical equipment in rented accommodation or residential care homes, the scope of the legislation only covers equipment that has been supplied by the landlord or care-home company (the 'supplier'); it is not concerned with personal equipment owned by tenants or residents.
It is a legal requirement that such electrical equipment, and in particular the items being used in the workplace are, in simple terms, 'safe, well-maintained and suitable for the purpose for which it is being used' - at all times. It is not the inspection and testing that is the legal requirement, but the fact that the electrical equipment, at all times, must be 'safe, well-maintained and suitable for the purpose for which it is being used'. And the penalties for non-compliance can be severe: in certain cases, unlimited fines and imprisonment, not to mention the harm done to someone in the event of a serious electric shock, or the damage done to property in the case of a fire (more than 2,500 people are either killed or injured as a result of electrical fires in the UK every year, and more than thirty people are directly killed by electric shock).
If your property is mortgaged you must contact your local building society or bank and inform them of your intention to let your property. The Private Rented Sector has grown rapidly since the 1988 Housing Act, due to the problems of negative equity, security and mobility and Building societies and banks are disposed to view your actions positively. You may be charged for their consent and such Bodies usually ask that you put your property in the hands of a reputable Agent experienced in dealing with Leases, Tenancy Agreements and other relevant Notices. You must also inform your Insurance Company of your intentions.
8. ENERGY PERFORMANCE CERTIFICATES [EPC]
It is a legal requirement to incorporate an EPC in the letting particulars.
If an EPC is not available, then the agents will arrange for an EPC to be produced by an approved Domestic Energy Assessor.