Renting or Letting
Landlords Frequently Asked Questions
These notes are designed to help prospective Landlords who are looking to let their property through a residential letting agency. These are probably the questions that every landlord should ask.
Property for Rent or for Let 1. What are the fee structures for letting agents? Do they charge me or the tenant?
Obviously fees vary and each letting agent will have their own scale of charges and terms and conditions of business. They cover letting the property; or letting and rent collection; or letting and full management. You should ask for a copy of their charges and terms and conditions of business.
2. What do you do for your money?
The core responsibilities will introduce and vet prospective tenants; prepare the tenancy agreements; advise on Inventories, changes to utility accounts and Council Tax; collect the rent and pay the balances to the landlord’s account. When retained on management: pay bills for the landlord, regularly inspect the property, recommending, overseeing and accounting for necessary maintenance.
3. What kind of tenancy agreement should you use?
Hobdens Villages Lettings will use Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreements that comply with the Housing Act 1988. This tenancy agreement has been approved by a solicitor, it incorporates clauses covering the potential problem areas that we as experienced agents recognise. These agreements are far more comprehensive than the standard printed agreements bought for self-completion and are regularly up-dated to take account of changes in legislation.
4. Is letting safe? Can I get my property back?
Yes. It’s safe provided the tenancy agreements are properly drawn up and the correct Notices served. Then, in those cases where legal action is needed for repossession the court should make an order in the landlord’s favour. New Accelerated Court Procedures speed up the process, without the necessity for a court hearing and take the hassle out of the very occasional problem.
5. What if the tenant wants to extend the term of the let?
This is very common, presenting no problem provided both parties agree and a professional agent conducts the negotiations and prepares the necessary paperwork and renewal documentation.
6. What about inventories?
These are essential and it is recommended that an inventory is made by a professional to avoid omissions or errors. They should always be made at the start and finish of the tenancy to identify missing items, breakage’s and damages liable to be covered out of the tenant’s deposit.
7. Obvious legislation aside, what other regulations could affect me?
Regulations are constantly changing, particularly with regard to safety. Currently these cover furnishings, gas and electrical installations. Hobdens Six Villages Lettings will be able to advise you about compliance with these new and any difficult regulations.
8. What insurance covers can protect a landlord?
There are two types of cover for use when letting property: Legal expenses cover, available to most landlords, and rental insurance cover calculated as a percentage of the rent achieved. You must be certain to insure your property for letting and the possible empty periods between lets.
9. What does your agent do if it all goes wrong?
Solicitors may have to be instructed on your behalf to take the tenant to court to regain possession, or correct whatever breach of contract the tenant has committed. Sometimes this is unavoidable and we will advise of likely costs and timescales. We can also instruct solicitors on your behalf, make all appropriate files available to them, appear as a witness and do everything to facilitate a speedy solution.
10. As a landlord or a tenant, I want to know, What is Management?
Management is a service provided by the agent to protect and maintain a property to the standard it was in at the beginning of the tenancy, fair wear and tear excepted. It includes all maintenance and running repairs, except for those items that are clearly the tenant’s responsibility. These were expressed by Lord Denning when he said "The tenant must take proper care of the premises...he must do the little jobs around the house which a reasonable tenant would do". Both Landlord and tenant should clearly understand whether or not management services have been agreed at the outset.
Tenants Frequently Asked QuestionsThis section has been designed to aid tenants who are looking to rent their property through a residential letting agency and consists of questions that every tenant should ask and the answers they should receive.
1. Do I pay any fees to the Agent?
You should not pay introductory fees but there will be certain costs for you to cover, for inventories and for administration including the preparation of the tenancy agreement and taking up references.
2. What money do I need to find at the beginning?
Normally at least a month’s rent in advance and the equivalent of a month to six weeks’ rent to be held as a deposit against damage (and the administrative charges noted above).
3. What information will I need to supply?
The addresses of referees for the agent to write and confirm your ability to meet the rental commitment. These will normally include your bank or building society, employer, previous landlords, or for some, your solicitor and/or accountant.
4. What are my responsibilities?
These should be clearly set out in your tenancy agreement, which you should read carefully before you sign. If in doubt, ask the agent. There is a duty for professional agents to ensure that anyone relying on them is offered correct advice.
5. What is a tenancy agreement?
It is a legally binding document between you and the landlord, applicable only to you and the property you are renting, that states the amount of rent, the length of the tenancy, your rights and responsibilities. If you rent through Hobdens Villages Lettings your agreement will be an Assured Shorthold Tenancy under the Housing Act 1988.
6. How long does it all take?
Normally, about ten working days to take up and confirm references, clear your cheque covering the first rent period and the deposit, arrange for inventories and the transfer of utility accounts into your name.
7. How long is a typical let?
An Assured Shorthold Tenancy under the Housing Act 1988 has to be for a minimum if six months and can be for no longer than a year. But..
8. What happens if I want to stay on or leave early?
Tenancies are frequently renewed and agents often agree the terms for renewal at the beginning and include them in the tenancy agreement. If you’re likely to leave before the end of the original term agreed, you must negotiate break clauses to be written into the agreement. If not, you will remain responsible for the rent until the end of the term agreed, unless a new and satisfactory tenant can be found.
9. What else do I have to pay for?
The tenant usually pays the utility bills such as gas, electricity, water and telephone during the course of the tenancy, TV. licence, etc; and the Council Tax applicable to the property.
10. What must I do at the end of a tenancy?
Ensure you fulfil your obligations stated in the tenancy agreement to leave the property in the condition it was in at the start, or deductions will be made from your deposit. If you have moved furniture, return it to where you found it at the time of the inventory.
11. How do I get my deposit back?
After an inventory check and condition inspection, provided there are no missing items or damage, your deposit should be returned shortly after you leave the property. You cannot set your deposit against the last rent payment due.
12. Who has been holding my deposit?
Hobdens Villages Lettings holds deposits in a designated client’s deposit account. There is a legislative requirement for the registration of tenants’ deposits with one of the four Government approved deposit registration schemes. Hobdens Villages Lettings is a member of and registers deposits with MyDeposits, one of the four schemes.
13. What is a holding deposit? Do I get it back?
Hobdens Villages Lettings does not require holding deposits. Holding Deposits can be required by agents when you make an offer on a property. If, for any reason, you decide not to go ahead by an agreed date, the holding deposit or part of it will be retained against administrative costs already incurred. Otherwise it will be off-set against the first rent and full deposit payments. If the landlord decides not to proceed then the holding deposit will be returned. Paying a holding deposit in no way legally obliges either party to enter into the tenancy.
All fees quoted are inclusive of VAT.
Application StageTenant Referencing fee - £72 per person
If a Guarantor is required - £72 per guarantor
Guarantee Agreement - £28
Move In CostsHobdens Rental Set Up Fee which includes:
* The provision of a Tenancy Agreement in respect of this letting.
* Inventory and dilapidation report compilation and the initial check-in of the tenant on the Tenancy Start Date.
* On site checkout and agreement of inventory with the tenant on Tenancy End Date.
* The registration of tenants’ deposit with the Deposit Protection Service (DPS).
* Notification of change of occupants and meter readings where applicable, to utilities and District Council.
This fee is dependent on the size of property you are renting –
1 Bedroom - £310
2 Bedroom - £340
3 Bedroom - £370
4 bedrooms + - £400
Deposit – 6 weeks rent (The deposit is held with the Deposit Protection Service)
1 months rent in advance
Other FeesTenancy renewal fee - £60
Tenancy amendment fee - £60
Late payment of rent fee (14 days) - £30
Copy of inventory - £30
At the end of your tenancy you will be required to arrange for the cooker and carpets to be professionally cleaned. If for any reason you do not organise this and we have to arrange any cleaning we will make a charge of £24 per item which will be deducted from your deposit.