Lettings… it’s not that EASY!

Lettings… It’s not that easy!

Do you know that there over 150 pieces of legislation That you have to follow which now govern the private rented sector? Yes that is over 150 pieces.

Have you got a gas safety certificate, have you carried out the right to rent and documented everything required, have you issued the how to rent guide, the EPC, legionella risk assessment. Have you got the deregulation act covered. I don’t know where to stop… We have to get it right or complications will occur later on down the line. Not be able to remove your tenants from your property, fines, all of which cause so much stress, Stress that we could all do without.

To get it right we recommend that’s your home work is carried out, you understand what is expected from you as the landlord, and that you have a system in place To make sure you get it right. When you do get it right it makes it all worthwhile.

But Forgetting all the bits of legislation for one moment, we enjoy finding homes for people and families. We get satisfaction when we get it right. in recent months we have helped rehouse a lady who has had to move out of her home due to an insurance claim, we house people moving into the area with new jobs making sure they’re near the right schools for their children, we often have to house people looking due to Marriage breakdowns.

We letting agents do a great job and we love it really. But more importantly we help find homes for people and families, happy homes for happy families

Are you a good tenant?

A landlord expects tenants to live comfortably and peacefully but also expects their property to be looked after whilst in tenancy. I have over
12 years of experience dealing with incoming rents. Most tenants make sure their payments are received on time. However, sometimes there could be payment issues where rent could be delayed. Landlords rely on their rental income, we therefore encourage our
tenants to inform us in advance if they experiencing payment delays. This enables me to dutifully inform the landlord in advance and advise to make provisions to avoid any other costs they may incur because of the delay. It remains the tenant’s responsibility
to inform the agent or the landlord should any payment issue arise.

Remember if you experiencing payment delays, inform your landlord.

Are you a good agent?

At Star Lettings we will inform the landlord of any concerns or maintenance issues that may need addressing. We pride ourselves on being pro-active
and dealing with issues that may arise throughout the tenancy. We act with immediate effect by instructing our trustworthy and professional contractors to attend and fix any problems that may arise. Many times have we sorted out an issue at no cost to a landlord
with our hands on approach. We have heaters and dehumidifiers ready to be taken to houses at short notice. Many a radiator we have bled. We have even switched on a socket at the wall to make a washing machine work! It is amazing how some tenant’s needs more
attention than others.

Are you a good landlord?

Landlords have a duty to maintain their properties to a good standard. We are very lucky to have a great portfolio of manged landlords that make sure their properties are to
a good living standard and invest where necessary. Speaking to our ‘Tenant Find’ landlords we are often being told that they dread when the phone rings and they see it is the tenant calling. The only calls they receive from their tenants is where there is
an issue. Some even avoid carrying out regular visits to check on the house. Our advice to a landlord would be to build up a good relationship with your tenant from the beginning, let them know what you expect from them. And don’t avoid the calls or visits.
This way you can keep on top of maintenance and keep standard high.

Don’t be a landlord who doesn’t visit a house in 5 years and is then surprised when they vacate as to how bad a tenant looked after it.

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Are you a good tenant?

A landlord expects tenants to live comfortably and peacefully but also expects their property to be looked after whilst in tenancy. I have over
12 years of experience dealing with incoming rents. Most tenants make sure their payments are received on time. However, sometimes there could be payment issues where rent could be delayed. Landlords rely on their rental income, we therefore encourage our
tenants to inform us in advance if they experiencing payment delays. This enables me to dutifully inform the landlord in advance and advise to make provisions to avoid any other costs they may incur because of the delay. It remains the tenant’s responsibility
to inform the agent or the landlord should any payment issue arise.

Remember if you experiencing payment delays, inform your landlord.

Are you a good agent?

At Star Lettings we will inform the landlord of any concerns or maintenance issues that may need addressing. We pride ourselves on being pro-active
and dealing with issues that may arise throughout the tenancy. We act with immediate effect by instructing our trustworthy and professional contractors to attend and fix any problems that may arise. Many times have we sorted out an issue at no cost to a landlord
with our hands on approach. We have heaters and dehumidifiers ready to be taken to houses at short notice. Many a radiator we have bled. We have even switched on a socket at the wall to make a washing machine work! It is amazing how some tenant’s needs more
attention than others.

Are you a good landlord?

Landlords have a duty to maintain their properties to a good standard. We are very lucky to have a great portfolio of manged landlords that make sure their properties are to
a good living standard and invest where necessary. Speaking to our ‘Tenant Find’ landlords we are often being told that they dread when the phone rings and they see it is the tenant calling. The only calls they receive from their tenants is where there is
an issue. Some even avoid carrying out regular visits to check on the house. Our advice to a landlord would be to build up a good relationship with your tenant from the beginning, let them know what you expect from them. And don’t avoid the calls or visits.
This way you can keep on top of maintenance and keep standard high.

Don’t be a landlord who doesn’t visit a house in 5 years and is then surprised when they vacate as to how bad a tenant looked after it.

cid:864545509@03012013-261F cid:864545509@03012013-2626 cid:864545509@03012013-262D cid:864545509@03012013-263B cid:864545509@03012013-2634Description: cid:864545509@03012013-2649cid:864545509@03012013-2650

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Inventory importance

Are you taking inventories correctly?

I would like to stress the importance of an inventory.

I have been told by a landlord once ‘I don’t need an inventory because my property is unfurnished’.

I hope that no one agrees with that statement.

I would say ‘would you mind if your tenants took all the internal doors or painted your master bedroom walls, gloss black…… When they leave? Is that okay with you?’

The tenants have not damaged anything, but it would still cost to put these things right, and that should not be at a landlords expense.

I would go as far as to say if you are taking a damage deposit but not going to preparing an inventory, you are wasting your time. I am being honest.

The only thing you would be able to do with the deposit would be to attempt to claim any rent arrears.

Because you have no evidence of anything, damages, or any missing items.

So if you are taking a deposit, please prepare an inventory.

In 2007 it became law the deposit had to be registered, so now if any damages cannot be agreed between the landlord and tenant, and we mustn’t forget the damage deposit is the tenant’s money, it has to be sent to an adjudicator to agree any deductions. An adjudicator will:

• Have never seen your property
• never met you
• doesn’t know you are a good landlord
• doesn’t know you provide great property
• They don’t know the tenant either

So they will only make a judgement on what evidence is put in front of them and that will be the inventory and the checkout. If just one of these documents is missing, you will lose any charges you are more than likely wanting to make.

As law states at all times it is the tenants money, are you as the landlord must prove if you are entitled to a claim of any of his money.

Inventories must be very detailed. If you have a handle on a shower door, write this down and not just ‘shower door’. If you have bulbs in a property that are working, again write these down. Everything has been detailed in description of the item.

We can start with the top of the room the ceiling, the light fittings, coving, walls, windows, curtains, curtains tracks, skirting’s, doorframes and doors. Sockets and carpets, even thresholds. Don’t forget cleanliness.

I once was given a double sided piece of a4 paper for a fully furnished three bedroom property!

You have to be factual

Photographs. We didn’t need them many years ago, but now it is so important, just as important as the detailed document itself. Now with smart phones and tablets it is so easy to add photographs. Don’t forget photographs for checkouts as well.

The checkout report is equally as important. You need evidence at the beginning and the end.

I can’t really argue with a photo. If they is a large stain on the carpet, and you can’t argue with that.

The other important thing is to ensure your tenants sign inventory or at the very least sign to say they have received it and what they need to do with it. Giving a timescale to make any amendments. Without this, the document becomes invalid.

Betterment. Have you heard of this?

I landlord is not allowed to be in a better position than when they were at the start of the tenancy.

Four example if a carpet has an average lifespan of 10 years and the tenant had lived at the property for five years. If the carpet was down 2 years prior to that, it has had seven years of its life span.

The tenant has put 20 hair straight burn marks all over your carpet. You cannot charge a tenant for a whole new carpet. But you can charge the difference for those three years that the carpet has left.

So for example if the carpet cost £100 you can charge of £30.

You have to proportion the amount you are claiming from the tenant’s damage deposit. Be fair and don’t put yourself in a position of betterment.

Regarding how much deposit we can take.

We have another piece of legislation coming in call the ‘tenant fee ban’.

This comes in on the 1st of June 2019 and the limit you can take, will be changing. At the moment being an unlimited amount to, which has been confirmed will be five weeks rent. This will be capped as a maximum.

Let’s talk electrics

Electrical Regulation are set to change in the next couple of years.

The Existing Regulations:

At the moment, landlords are expected to keep electrical installations in good repair and proper working order.

A landlord may be liable for the injury of a tenant or resident caused by defective wiring.

The New Regulations

This regulation already applies to Licensed HMO (House of Multiple Occupation) properties.
Mandatory five-year electrical installation checks on private rented housing will be introduced in a phased approach.
Implementation date has not yet been clarified,
Letting agents and landlords will be given 6 months to familiarise with the new legislation before it comes into force.
A transition period will apply for two years.
In YEAR ONE, all NEW private tenancies will be affected
AND in YEAR TWO, ALL existing tenancies will come within scope.

HMO licensing

Does your HMO (House of Multiple Occupation) need a license? October 2018

We have new licensing rules. These came in October 2018.

The main changes are.

• What is classed as a HMO
• And, minimum room sizes

But first let’s clarify what is a HMO.

HMO is where a property is rented to 3 or more individuals, who are not related. (Making up two or more households)

Therefore let’s say. You rent to 3 nurses… this is HMO.

Or you rent to a girlfriend and boyfriend and they then move a friend in. This actually happens quite frequently…… this is also a HMO

Here in Exeter we had the introduction of Article 4. And if you are renting a HMO in the Article 4 area, you didn’t necessarily need a license (until it is a particular size) but you would need planning.

If you think you fall into this category, review the situation and get advice.

Back to the amendments to the HMO licensing rules.

I licensable HMO used to be classed as a five or more non-related occupants on three or more floors.

Now the story element has been removed. So for anyone who has five or more occupants in the property….. You now own a LICENSABLE HMO

Currently a license costs £760.

You are expected to know this and they have given no grace period for this.

On average, nationwide they are expecting to have an additional 174,000 properties. Lots of money for councils all over the country

These new licensing rules are going to affect a lot of properties.

If you have a HMO that falls into this category. You should have submitted a license by the 1st of October last year. If you haven’t you should do so now. Better late than never

One other key thing is Minimum room sizes in bedrooms and communal spaces. These have now been changed.

The minimum room size of bedroom size is 6.51sqm.

You would need to take into consideration if you have a room in a loft space the floor space would be different if you have some areas that have a restricted height space of below 1.5m, some of these areas will be excluded

The communal room sizes have also changed however this will depend on how many adults are occupying the property.

It is understand that you cannot evict a tenant quickly, therefore if you are renting a room that doesn’t comply you will be expected, within 18 months to end that tenancy or make the room compliant.

If you have a HMO, you should have given a copy of the license to each tenant at the beginning of the tenancy. If you haven’t got proof that you did, you will find it difficult to give your tenants notice. New Section 21 are to be used as from October 2018.

Also remember the licenses are not transferable. So if you sell your property or if you buy one, the license is not transferable.

The Importance of a Proper Inventory

 

Don’t get caught out without a proper inventory!

 

 

I have been working with a landlord for quite some years, mainly helping him with finding him tenants, he is a landlord who wants to look after the property himself and has felt confident that he can manage the property well.  He is a hands on landlord, always responsive to his tenants needs so therefore has got himself a good name, the tenants would recommend him and often give positive feedback.

 

However this year it came to my attention, after seeing sight of his so-called inventory, that he would never be able to make any deductions from a tenant if they caused any damage when they vacate. He has always been lenient when his tenants vacate however if he was to have a particular bad tenant one year, he would come unstuck.

 

His inventory consisted of a piece of A4 paper torn out from a note book, with a simple list of the furniture. No mention of the property itself.  He looked at the inventory as list of the items, no mention of the fixtures, the walls, carpets, radiators or even the kitchen and bathroom!

 

I put to him, how do you prove that the stain on the carpet wasn’t there when they moved in or the wall WAS white and not grey as it is now.  Or even if the property was very dirty and you wanted to get a cleaner in.

 

Don’t get me wrong, he does take the odd deduction from tenants’ damage deposits but tenants have always agreed and no reference to the inventory was ever made.  If it was argued, this would the point.

 

Tenants are now so much more aware of legislation and the right and wrong way of doing things.

 

We laughed together after the event and talked about worst case scenario.  He agreed that just because he did not have an issue in the first place, does not mean he won’t in the future.

 

He is now looking at all of his procedures, his way of doing things, which, to be honest, when you are a long standing landlord like he is, it was ok once upon a time, but things have changed in the industry so much.

 

You don’t have to use an expensive inventory clerk, but you do need to get it right, an extensive list, correct description and condition.  More importantly now …. Photos to back it up.

 

Don’t go make the same mistake and get yourself caught out like my landlord nearly did.