How do I know the Tenants will be Suitable?
One of the principal functions of a managing agent is the identification and referencing of a quality tenant. We will extensively market your property using many forms of advertising including the web and direct contact with a wide range of 'blue-chip' companies and relocation organisations. Our aim is to secure the right tenant at the right rent in the shortest possible time.
Whether or not a Landlord decides to accept a Local Housing Allowance (LHA) tenant in their property is very much a personal one. The advantage of LHA tenants is that there is always a ready supply and so void periods in properties can be minimised. A significant change in LHA compared to the previous Housing Benefit regime which it replaced is that the rent is almost always paid direct to the claimant, your tenant and usually lunar monthly in arrear. However this does have the advantage that any LHA errors and attempts to reclaim overpayments to the tenant can no longer be made against the Landlord or their Agent.
On your behalf we will take references on every tenant who is to be named in the tenancy agreement, which will normally mean everyone over 18 intending to reside in the property
To ensure this vital process is carried out as objectively and thoroughly as possible we use an independent professional referencing company - any fees involved are paid by the tenant. The report sent to us by the credit referencing company will be actioned on the basis that the conclusion deems the applicant to be a suitable tenant and acceptable to underwriters for legal and rent protection policies.
This process will include full credit referencing and, providing they can be obtained, various financial references such as current and previous employment confirmation, current lender or previous Landlord reference and a bankers reference.
To further strengthen your position we may decide to also take a Guarantor to reinforce the tenants' ability to meet their commitments to you.
How do I know that the Tenants will look after my Property?
Depending on which service you require, we regularly inspect the property during the tenancy and report our findings to you.
From our extensive experience we know that if the tenant understands their occupancy of your property is being closely monitored they are more likely to maintain a higher standard of care in that property.
The tenancy agreement makes reference to the fact that we have the right to visit the property at times acceptable to the tenant, provided reasonable notice has been given. If you want to visit the property yourself during the tenancy we will try to arrange this for you, but again the tenant is entitled to prior notice.
What if there is any Damage?
On taking occupancy the tenant lodges a deposit equivalent to between four and six weekâ€™s rent. During a fully managed tenancy this deposit is held in a secure client account throughout the tenancy by Castle Estates as Agent of the Landlord unless it is an AST in which case, by Law, the deposit must be held as Stakeholder.
When tenants are checked out of a property an assessment is made of any redecoration or minor repairs which cannot reasonably be accepted as fair wear and tear by comparison against the original inventory. We will agree with the tenant and you the landlord the amount that will be withheld, obtain estimates by way of confirmation and the net deposit then remaining will usually be released to the tenant. We will arrange for any necessary work to be carried out prior to the next tenant moving in.
What if the tenant does not agree the proposed deductions?
If it is an AST and the tenant does not agree the deductions then they cannot simply be deducted from the deposit. Any such dispute would then need to be referred to the relevant deposit scheme administrator for an adjudication decision.
What about Repairs and Maintenance?
Repairs are of course necessary to each and every property throughout the length of the tenancy and Landlords must be prepared for this eventuality.
Repair and/or replacement of major electrical items as they age such as cookers, washing machines, fridges, freezers and boilers must also be expected.
We will make arrangement, on your behalf, with our local contractors or a contractor of your choice to carry out any such necessary works.
We will agree in advance the level of responsibility you wish us to have in arranging repairs and replacements, and then proceed accordingly, without further reference to you, or as discussed and agreed.
Where there is an emergency repair, such as a burst pipe or a gas leak, there are different legal obligations on all parties. Common sense has much to do with decisions taken to limit any further damage to the property or minimise health and safety risks to the tenants in such situations.
Where a property is vacant between November and March it is essential that the heating remains on to provide additional protection against cold weather problems. If the property is to be empty for an extended period we would strongly recommend that you ask us to instruct our contractor or instruct your own contractor to drain down the system.
In such circumstances we may need to act first and then report to you. However, it is also made clear to tenants that only in the most extreme emergency circumstances should they consider instructing their own contractor and that should they do so they may be liable themselves for the full costs.
Major repairs will, of course, be discussed with you first, estimates obtained for your approval and the subsequent works supervised by us and reported to you as necessary.
About the Garden
Before the Tenants move into the property the garden should be in good order. We can make arrangements on your behalf for a gardening contractor to carry out any necessary work. Tenants are generally responsible for the upkeep of the garden and you should provide sufficient gardening tools and a mower for their use, these items being included in the inventory. Alternatively, you may wish us to arrange for a regular gardener during the tenancy and reflect this cost in the rental charged.
About three months prior to the end of the tenancy we will contact you to receive your further instructions. We will then take the appropriate action with the Tenant to renew their tenancy or schedule their check-out.
The property will be re-marketed if the incumbent tenants are not renewing their tenancy.