We are an independent residential Letting and Property Management Company, established in 1986, and are members of both the Association of Residential Letting Agents and the Tenancy Deposit Scheme for regulated agents.
Letting and managing your own residential property is a complex and time-consuming affair. This is why many owners engage the services of a professional managing agent to help them protect their investment.
Our wealth of experience and team of highly trained professionals enable us to provide a letting and management service of the utmost quality.
ADVICE ON ‘BEST PRACTICE’ IN PROPERTY RENTAL
If your property is mortgaged it is your responsibility to ensure you have obtained permission to proceed with the letting from your mortgage lender.
Please note each lender has their own policy on this matter and most will make a charge for the time involved in dealing with the administration.
In cases where the property is jointly owned, all parties must formally agree to the letting of the property.
If you own a property as a Leaseholder, you must ensure the terms of the Head Lease allow the property to be let. The Landlord should continue to pay ground rent and communal fees/service charges throughout the tenancy.
It will be necessary to inform your insurers you are letting the property. You must ensure you have accidental damage cover for all tenancies. It is important to make it clear to insurers that there may be periods during which the property will be unoccupied. Please ensure you fully understand the insurers terms and conditions with regard to winter heating and frost protection and be sure to advise us of any such relevant information. Insurance policies for Landlords Buildings and Contents Insurance are available through us – please ask for details.
The property should be presented for rental in the best possible condition to include a professional clean and the garden (if relevant) should be presented in a neat and tidy seasonal condition. In respect of managed properties it is the policy of Hartswood that all inventory compilations and checks are carried out by a professional independent Inventory Clerk. We strongly advise that Landlords using our Letting Only Service also employ the services of an Inventory Clerk. At the end of the tenancy this will greatly assist all parties in avoiding disputes relating to the condition of the property and the fixtures and fittings therein.
Each tenancy is subject to satisfactory references being received. We can also offer a range of insurance policies tailor made for Landlords which include Rent Guarantee and Legal Expenses, Contents and Buildings insurance policies.
SCALE OF FEES
Letting Only Service
8.4% of the gross annual rent including VAT payable at the commencement of the tenancy.
Letting & Rent Collection Service
12% of the gross monthly rent including VAT payable monthly for the full duration of the tenancy.
Letting, Rent Collection & Management Service
18% of the gross monthly rent including VAT payable monthly for the duration of the tenancy
Sale of Property
In the event of any Tenant (or any person or corporate body associated with a Tenant) purchasing the property, whether before or after entering into a Tenancy Agreement, commission shall be payable to Hartswood on completion of the sale at the rate of 1.2% of the sale price inc VAT at the rate applicable at the time of the sale.
A fee of 1.2% of the sale price inc VAT at the rate applicable at the time of the sale will be payable should Hartswood successfully introduce a purchaser for the property.
LETTING ONLY SERVICE
For this service we:
- CARRY OUT AN INSPECTION OF THE PROPERTY AND ADVISE YOU ON THE DECORATIVE CONDITION, FURNISHINGS, EXPECTED LEVEL OF RENT AND ANY STEPS YOU MAY NEED TO TAKE TO COMPLY WITH ALL THE RELEVANT FIRE, ELECTRICAL AND GAS SAFETY REGULATIONS OR OTHER LEGAL REQUIREMENTS.
- IMMEDIATELY PLACE THE PROPERTY ON THE INTERNET THROUGH ZOOPLA & ON THE MARKET PROPERTY PORTALS EXPOSING IT TO OVER 8500 PEOPLE A DAY
- CIRCULATE DETAILS OF THE PROPERTY TO NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL COMPANIES, EMBASSIES AND RELOCATION AGENTS
- ERECT A ‘TO LET’ BOARD
- ARRANGE FOR APPROPRIATE STATUS ENQUIRIES TO BE MADE ON ALL PROSPECTIVE TENANTS PRIOR TO VIEWING
- CARRY OUT ACCOMPANIED VIEWINGS
- SUBMIT OFFERS AND SECURE QUALTY PROFESSIONAL TENANTS
- CONFIRM TENANTS RIGHT TO RENT WITH IMMIGRATION CHECKS
- OBTAIN A CREDIT RATING, EMPLOYER’S OR ACCOUNTANT’S REFERENCE AND LANDLORD’S REFERENCE IF APPLICABLE
Additional Fees Apply
- CONTRACT NEGOTIATION AND PREPARATION OF THE TENANCY AGREEMENT
- COLLECT AND HOLD AS STAKEHOLDER FIVE WEEKS RENT AS A DEPOSIT
- REGISTER THE DEPOSIT WITH THE GOVERNMENT APPROVED TENANCY DEPOSIT SCHEME
- CONTRACT EXTENSION NEGOTIATION INCLUDING PREPARATION OF THE EXTENSION DOCUMENTATION
- SERVE FORM 6A NOTICE WHEN POSSESSION IS SOUGHT UNDER SECTION 21 OF THE HOUSING ACT 1988
TENANCY DEPOSIT SCHEME (TDS)
As from 6 April 2007 legally all tenancy deposits will have to be held in a Government approved custodial or insurance-backed scheme. We are members of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS), which enable us to hold deposits for client Landlords. Due to the implementation of the TDS the only way to ensure you (the Landlord) is covered for any discrepancies will be to employ an independent inventory company.
We would advise you employ the services of an independent Inventory Clerk and we can arrange this on your behalf. The Inventory fee for the compilation, check in and check out of the inventory is the responsibility of the Landlord.
LETTING & RENT COLLECTION SERVICE
In addition to our Letting Only Service we would also provide the following:
- ADVISE ON, DEMAND AND ACCOUNT TO YOU FOR THE RENT AND PAY THE APPROPRIATE NET AMOUNT INTO YOUR NOMINATED BANK ACCOUNT
- AN INITIAL STATEMENT WILL BE ISSUED. THEREAFTER THE LANDLORD WILL RECEIVE MONTHLY STATEMENTS
- MAKE FORMAL DEMANDS AND TAKE ALL NECESSARY STEPS TO ENSURE THE RENT IS PAID ON TIME
- OBTAIN A CREDIT RATING, EMPLOYER’S OR ACCOUNTANT’S REFERENCE AND LANDLORD’S REFERENCE IF APPLICABLE
LETTING, RENT COLLECTION & MANAGEMENT SERVICE
In addition to our Letting & Rent Collection Service we would also provide the following:
A detailed inventory of the contents and condition of the property will be required. This would be made by an independent, professional Inventory Clerk
At the commencement of the tenancy the inventory is thoroughly checked by the Inventory Clerk. At the end of the tenancy this procedure is repeated at and a full report compiled. Any discrepancies found will be appraised and dealt with accordingly. Missing/damaged items will either be replaced or where appropriate their value credited to the Landlord's account as compensation.
ENERGY PERFORMANCE CERTIFICATE (EPC)
The property must have an up-to-date EPC before marketing commences and our qualified Energy Assessor will certify the property in line with Government Regulations. Please note the property must be Energy Rating ‘E’ or better to be able to market it for rental.
GAS SAFETY (INSTALLATION AND USE) REGULATIONS 1998
The Regulations direct that all gas appliances and installations must be inspected once a year and records be kept of the inspections. A Landlord has a legal obligation to comply with the Gas Regulations. We will therefore make arrangements on the Landlord's behalf for a safety check to be carried out on an annual basis on all gas appliances and installations.
SMOKE & CARBON MONOXIDE ALARM (AMENDMENT) REGULATIONS 2022
The Regulations direct from 1st of October 2022 Landlords must:
1) Ensure that at least one smoke alarm is equipped on each storey of their homes where there is a room used as living accommodation. This has been a legal requirement in the private rented sector since 2015.
2) Ensure a carbon monoxide alarm is equipped in any room used as living accommodation which contains a fixed combustion appliance (excluding gas cookers).
3) Ensure that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are repaired or replaced once informed and found that they are faulty
We will therefore make arrangements on the Landlord's behalf for Smoke and CO2 Alarms to be fitted where required.
RENT PROTECTION COVER
Your rent is protected through Hartswood up to £2,500pcm. The rent will continue to be paid for up to a maximum amount equal to twelve months rent should your tenants stop paying the rent.
LEGAL & MEDIATION COVER
Protection through Hartswood for up to £100,000 of legal and mediation expenses for serving notices and gaining vacant possession.
UTILITY ACCOUNTS/COUNCIL TAX
At the commencement of a tenancy arrangements will be made for utility accounts to be transferred into the name of the Tenant. The same applies to the council tax and where appropriate the water rates. The Landlord's closing accounts will be forwarded to us for payment. The same procedure will be followed when a tenancy ceases - the accounts being transferred to the Landlord or the new Tenant.
An initial statement will be issued. Thereafter the Landlord will receive monthly statements listing income and expenditure supported by photocopies of receipts. We will also forward copies to your accountants if requested along with an annual statement.
One of our Property Managers will visit the property ever five months and report to the Landlord after each visit.
REDECORATION – REFURBISHMENT
When necessary, or at the Landlord's request, we will supervise any redecoration/ refurbishment or purchase items of furniture/equipment. At our discretion a co-ordination fee of 12% inc VAT will be added should the total cost exceed £1000.
The Financial Services Authority Regulations direct only the insured person named on the Policy can make a claim. However, in the event of a possible insured incident occurring, we will arrange for urgent repairs to take place and obtain estimates for you to forward on to your insurance company.
If a property is unoccupied between lettings, or prior to the Landlord taking possession of the property, we will charge a monthly Management Fee of £120 inc VAT. For this fee we undertake to pay all accounts relating to the property and visit once a month. Any additional visits would be charged at £24 inc VAT per visit.
A set of keys will always be kept in our office. If Tenants are unable to be present when repairs are required, with their consent, we will give keys to contractors known to our Company. On the occasions unknown contractors need access, i.e. gas and electric suppliers etc. or the authorised repair company for equipment where a guarantee or insurance policy applies, for reasons of security, we would appoint a suitable person to wait at the property whilst the repair is affected. Their time and travelling costs would be charged to the Landlord.
THE FURNITURE AND FURNISHINGS (FIRE) (SAFETY) REGULATIONS
The Regulations cover domestic upholstered furniture, furnishings, mattresses and other products containing upholstery and must comply with the following tests, each of which measure the flame retardant properties of the furnishings:
(1) Cigarette test
(2) Match test
(3) Ignitability test
Furniture manufactured before 1 January 1950 including period or antique furniture is exempt from the Regulations.
Furniture and furnishings manufactured in the UK and purchased after 1988 would probably comply with the Regulations.
TAXATION OBLIGATIONS FOR OVERSEAS LANDLORDS AND LETTING AGENTS
Receiving Income Gross
Each legal owner of the property will require form NRL1 which can be obtained from our office. This will enable you to apply to Inland Revenue for payment of the net income without deduction of income tax. If your application is approved by Inland Revenue they will send to us a Tax Exemption Certificate which will remain valid until such time the letting ceases or the exemption is for any reason revoked.
Condition for Gross Payment
The Inland Revenue will impose conditions upon you before issuing us with the Tax Exemption Certificate. In order to achieve gross payment the following must apply:
1. It is essential that your tax affairs are up to date.
2. You must agree to fully comply with the requirements of Self Assessment including payments of tax on account during the year and the filing of any Self Assessment Income Tax Return which Inland Revenue requires on time.
Failure to comply with either of these conditions will result in Inland Revenue withdrawing the Exemption following which we will be instructed to commence withholding tax.
If we receive a Tax Exemption Certificate our only tax obligation will be to inform Inland Revenue at the year end of the gross income collected on your behalf in respect of the property or properties we manage on your behalf. The calculation of all tax liabilities and settlements thereof will be your personal responsibility.
In circumstances where we are instructed by Inland Revenue to withhold tax we will indicate on our statements the amount held and will then be required to remit the tax withheld to Inland Revenue on a quarterly basis.
At the end of the year we will then be required to submit a detailed information return to Inland Revenue which will include rents collected, expenses paid and tax withheld and accounted for during the year. We will also provide you with a certificate confirming the amount of tax withheld and paid to Inland Revenue.
We would recommend that you apply to receive your income gross.
In view of the introduction of Self Assessment we do recommend that you seek professional assistance. We are able to refer you to firms of Chartered Accountants who have departments specialising in Expatriate Taxation and who have extensive knowledge concerning the taxation issues of property letting for Overseas Landlords. These accountants work closely with us in order to ensure that all aspects of your property letting are dealt with professionally.
If you would like to receive further information concerning these services please contact our office.