A Letting Guide for Landlords

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“We aim to provide a professional service of the highest

calibre whilst combining the traditional values and benefits

associated with a trusted local business”

A Letting Guide for Landlords

Company Profile . . . .3

Letting Your Property . . . .4

Professional Membership . . . .4

A Tailored Service . . . .5

Property Investment . . . .6

Marketing . . . .6

Levels of Service Offered - Full Management . . . .7

Levels of Service Offered - Let Only . . . .7

Fees . . . .7

The TDSRA Scheme . . . .8

Preparing the Property . . . .8

General Advice for Landlords . . . .9

Important Safety Requirements . . . .10

Energy Performance Certificates . . . .11

Summary . . . .11

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Company Profile

We are a local, independent, family run business

specialising in Residential Lettings and Property

Management. Keeleys was established well over

twenty years ago and manages properties

throughout the whole of Cambridgeshire and

extends out into the surrounding Counties of

Norfolk and Suffolk. Our company has a well

established and experienced team who are

committed to providing the highest levels of

professional service whilst at the same time being

sensitive to the needs of all our clients.

As specialists, we are fully focused on the priorities and needs of the Landlord, and unlike

estate agents, our loyalties are not divided by dealing with property sales and mortgages.

We understand that letting your property, especially for the first time, can be a worrying

experience. With this in mind our most important consideration is providing you, the Landlord,

with the best possible service and the right tenant for your property. We never forget that the

property is your most important asset and we can confidently assure you that if you instruct us

to act as your Letting and Management Agents your asset will be in both safe and caring hands.

The information provided within this guide is intended to assist prospective landlords with

practical advice and knowledge on letting a property, as well as acting as an introduction to our

services and us.

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Letting Your

Property

Letting a property may seem simple enough in theory. However, it is an altogether different matter when confronted with the reality of actually finding someone to occupy your property for a period of time. It is then that the horrendous stories of other people’s experiences and misfortunes come to mind. Who do you turn to for advice about how to find the “right” tenant for your property? Who will understand your apprehensions and answer your questions honestly and clearly? Who can you entrust with the responsibility for caring for one of your most valuable assets?

Do you really want to gamble or take unnecessary risks with your largest asset? Why take the chance? We confidently suggest that in offering you the benefit of over twenty years’ professional experience in Letting and Managing properties in Cambridgeshire and the

surrounding areas that you need look no further than Keeleys. We are a well respected independent firm and have earned a good reputation amongst owners and tenants over this long period. This reputation is founded upon a genuine concern for, and personal attention to, the individual requirements of both landlord and tenant and is something we are rightly very proud of.

Our prime objective is to carefully screen applicants to successfully match the right tenants to your property and, in turn, to maximise the income from your investment with the minimum of inconvenience to you.

We aim to remove the hassle from the lettings market. With the ever-increasing burden of new legislation and the overdue tightening of regulations, due in part as a consequence of a few unscrupulous and dishonest agents, we realise that it can seem like a potential minefield to those unversed in the sector.

We welcome the many changes taking place and, by opting for professional representation, we can use our expertise to guide you through the potential traps that may ensnare the unwary. We will not only ensure your compliance with, and appropriate protection from, the various Housing and Rent Acts, (as well as with any new legislation and regulations), but will, at all times, ensure the effective protection of your asset.

Whilst your property is under our care we will endeavour to act as though “we were you” in caring for your asset and, if required, will take initiatives to protect that asset. We would however always act in your best interest and always in consultation with you, as detailed in our management agreement.

Professional

Membership

We are members of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) -the leading professional body for -the letting industry in the UK. Conditions of membership are strict and are intended to offer security to both landlord and tenant alike.

• The Agency must demonstrate that their technical knowledge of the Lettings industry is of a sufficiently high standard and that they have adequate financial controls when dealing with clients’ money. This is achieved through a detailed application process that includes formal interviews.

• The Agency must operate a separate client account. • All member Agents must carry Professional Indemnity

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• Commissions for letting property may only be obtained from landlords.

• The business must operate out of properly designated business premises.

Our membership affords you, our client, the protection of the ARLA Bonding Scheme. This scheme was devised to provide complete protection against the

misappropriation of any money, that may belong to the landlord or tenant, which is held by an ARLA member. The landlord or tenant needs only to show that money rightfully belonging to them has been misappropriated.

A Tailored Service

The Service

Outlined below are the two basic elements of our Service, the Full Management and the Letting Only. We do however, maintain a flexible attitude, and are generally able to adapt our Service to meet our client’s individual circumstances and needs, for example by providing a part only Service, or occasionally by taking on additional tasks and duties.

Competitive Rates

Our fees are competitive and may be open to

negotiation dependent on the level of service required. We are particularly committed to investment Landlords, especially Buy-to-Let investors, and savings can be made on the smallest of portfolios.

A Personal Service

We pride ourselves in offering a personal and friendly service whilst, at the same time, maintaining the high

standard of competence and professionalism expected.

Carefully Selected Quality Tenants

Drawn from a continually updated register, we use our many years of experience and judgement to initially weed out those we do not consider appropriate, as well as establishing whether or not an applicant will be suitable to proceed with a tenancy in the first place. Every prospective tenant is required to complete a detailed referencing form so that they can be thoroughly referenced and credit checked. In some instances we may also require a guarantor, also thoroughly checked, as a condition of the tenancy.

Out of Hours Service

For our initial meetings with you we will, if necessary, be pleased to visit your property outside normal office hours, at a time that is convenient to you, and thus fit in with your busy schedule.

Insurance for Landlords

We are a certified agent for Rentshield Direct Insurance products who can offer a wide range of competitively priced insurance products designed, specially for Landlords, providing extra security and peace of mind. These include:

• RENTAL GUARANTEE COVER • LEGAL EXPENSES COVER • CONTENTS INSURANCE • BUILDINGS INSURANCE • EMERGENCY REPAIR SERVICE

No Insurance = No Protection No Protection = PROBLEMS!

Life is a big enough gamble without taking unnecessary risks!

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Property Investment

Property Finding & Buy-to-Let

We have accumulated many years of experience in the housing market and have gained numerous valuable contacts, we are therefore able to offer a service where we will source a rental property for you to invest in. We are able to offer you impartial advice on what to buy and what constitutes the most suitable investment with regard to the prevailing market conditions.

We will liaise with local Estate Agents and closely watch the property market for a suitable investment opportunity that we feel will not only provide the best scope for quick and reliable rental income, but that will also give good capital growth. Once the property has been found we can help you arrange a mortgage through an

independent firm of financial advisors - we suggest James Winton financial services - who will tailor a mortgage solution (Buy-to-Let, re-mortgages, 2nd mortgages etc.) to your own requirements.

Once completion has taken place we will market your property and continue to manage it to our high standards. We aim to save you the strain and worry, allowing you to sit back and watch your investment grow, trouble free. Mortgage/arrangement fees for the independent firm of financial advisors are between your landlord and your chosen financial advisor.

James Winton is an Independent Financial Advisor and is in no way linked to, or connected with, Keeleys. Financial advice and fees for mortgages etc. are separate from and independent of Keeleys.

Marketing

We make full use of all the various marketing tools at our disposal, utilising both the traditional and latest

techniques to attract numerous good quality tenants. We have a regular presence in the various property sections of the local media as well as various other publications. We also undertake regular advertising promotions and make full use of the good position we occupy in the

town using our prominent windows to display select vacant properties.

We also have a dedicated Internet presence using both our own website, www.keeleys.net as well as utilising the property markets nationally recognised and leading websites rightmove.co.uk, findaproperty.com, and primelocation.com on which we list and promote all our properties. We are increasingly finding that prospective tenants are choosing to use the Internet to source available vacant properties as here they can not only see a full and up to date property list but, moreover can see full details with accurate descriptions, photographs and rents, thus allowing them to make a more informed choice. This helps us streamline the letting procedure, saving valuable time and money, as prospective tenants have a better idea of what they want and can afford and are therefore much closer to making a decision.

We therefore have, and will continue to have, a continuing program of investment and development of our Internet presence so you can be assured of

exposure not only to the local market but also nationally.

UK-Wide Network

In addition to our local Services, we are part of a UK-Wide Network of independent but associated Letting and Managing Agents, thus enabling us to offer an efficient national relocation service, and are often able to assist both individual and corporate clients, from within the UK and abroad.

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Levels of Service

Offered

Full Management

This is our fully inclusive Service that provides for the inspection, appraisal and full marketing of the property. It also includes the carrying out of accompanied viewings that will eventually lead to the introduction and vetting of a prospective Tenant. This proving satisfactory, we will then go ahead and prepare the tenancy agreement and an inventory. The Tenant will be checked in against the inventory and at the same time we will also arrange for the transfer of liability of the Council tax and utility accounts.

During the tenancy your property will be entrusted to our ARLA trained staff who will oversee all aspects of the tenancy. This will include the management of the property and carrying out periodic visits. Should these bring to light any maintenance issues we will (within the confines of our Management Agreement) recommend, oversee and account for any necessary repairs.

We provide statements of account, including all income and expenditure, and generally assist with ensuring compliance with Inland Revenue requirements. Collecting and processing of rental payments is also part of the Service. These will be credited automatically to the Landlord's nominated bank account.

Towards the end of the tenancy we will liaise with the Tenant and renew the tenancy agreement, or arrange to check them out, as applicable. We inspect the property at the end of the tenancy and will expect to find it in as good a condition as it was supplied in at the start of the tenancy - fair wear and tear expected. We shall hold a security deposit, in excess of one month's rent, in a separate bank account that is refundable subject to any

amounts retained to cover dilapidation. As mentioned previously we are a fully bonded firm, through ARLA, thus giving you additional peace of mind. If the tenancy is to be terminated the property will automatically be re-advertised and re-let at the earliest possible opportunity unless prior notice has been given to the contrary. Where the property is empty we shall visit at least once each week in the winter periods and once every two weeks in the summer.

This Service is suitable for those Landlords who are not residing locally, or would prefer all aspects to be handled by an Agent.

Letting Only

Our Letting Only Service includes the inspection, appraisal and full marketing of the property plus the carrying out of accompanied viewings and eventually leads to the introduction and vetting of a prospective Tenant. This proving satisfactory, we will then go ahead and prepare the tenancy agreement and, if required, an inventory at no extra cost.

Following this, the first month's rent and a security deposit will be collected. We will hold the deposit until the end of the tenancy. The rent will be credited to the Landlord less our agreed fee. Managing the tenancy, including the maintenance and rent collection, will then be the responsibility of the Landlord.

Fees

For our standard comprehensive Full Management service we have a very simple fee scale where we charge only a management commission - there is no set up fee and no administration fee and we only get paid once you, the Landlord, start receiving rent. Our Letting Only service is a single one off fee. Simple and hassle free - just the way we like it!

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Full Management:For this service we charge an

ongoing management fee based upon our aim to always tailor a service that responds to the individual needs of our client. Our actual commission level is dependent upon the level of service required, but is always very competitive, and one which we will be more than happy to discuss with you.

Letting Only:To carry out this service we will charge a

percentage of the first month's rent. Please contact us for more details.

For both our Full Management and Letting Only services we are able to provide a Rental Protection and Legal Expenses Warranty. This provides complete peace of mind and is available at a very reasonable extra cost.

The TDSRA Scheme

ARLA’s Tenancy Deposit Scheme

for Regulated Agents

The TDSRA scheme is to resolve deadlocked tenancy disputes over the apportionment and settlement of deposits following the end of a tenancy. When the letting agent is holding the deposit but cannot negotiate a settlement between landlord and tenant, all details of the dispute, along with the deposit money that cannot be settled, will be sent to the Independent Case Examiner for the Scheme. This will then be subject to expert third party adjudication and the apportioning of deposit money.

More information is available from the TDSRA web site www.tds.gb.com

This breakthrough scheme, which replaces the scheme abandoned by government, went live on 6th April 2007 and more than 300 ARLA members are already signed up. ARLA expects that the other two professional bodies; the RICS and the NAEA will join the scheme in the very near future. This is because it will greatly simplify the task of both agent and landlord as well as reassuring tenants that there will always be a fair deal through independent adjudication when they use agents signed up to TDSRA.

Welcoming the Deposit Scheme, Shelter Director Adam Sampson said, "The ARLA Scheme will provide greater assurance to private tenants that their money will be held securely and returned speedily and fairly. ARLA's very welcome move needs to be backed by legislation to introduce a statutory default scheme for landlords and agents who fail to follow ARLA's lead in ensuring that the tenancy deposit rip off is ended once and for all."

Preparing the

Property

We have found that a good relationship with Tenants is the key to a smooth-running tenancy. As Property Managers this relationship is our job. It is important that the Tenants should feel comfortable in their temporary home, and that they are receiving value for their money. It follows therefore that a well-maintained property in a good decorative order will go towards this, whilst also achieving a higher rental figure. Tenants are also more inclined to treat such a property with greater respect.

General Condition

Electrical, gas plumbing, waste, central heating and hot water systems must be safe, sound and in good working order. Repairs and maintenance are at the Landlords expense unless misuse can be established. Interior decorations should be in good condition and preferably plain, light and neutral.

Gardens

Gardens should be left neat, tidy and rubbish free, with any lawns cut. Tenants are required to maintain the gardens to a reasonable standard. However, few Tenants are experienced gardeners and, if you value your garden, or if it is particularly large, you may wish us to arrange visits by our regular gardener.

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Cleaning

At the commencement of the tenancy the property must be in a thoroughly clean condition and, at the end of each tenancy, it is the Tenants' responsibility to leave the property in a similar condition. Where they fail to do so, cleaning will be arranged at their expense.

Information for the Tenant

It is helpful if you leave information for the Tenant, e.g. on operating the central heating and hot water system, washing machine, alarm system and the day refuse is collected etc.

Keys

You should provide one set of keys for each Tenant. Where we will be managing we will arrange to have duplicates cut as required.

General Advice for

Landlords

Mortgage

If your property is mortgaged you should obtain your mortgagee's written consent to the letting. In the unlikely event that they may require additional clauses in the tenancy agreement, you will need to inform us so that we can write them into the contract.

Leaseholds

If you are a leaseholder you should check the terms of your lease and obtain the necessary written consent before letting.

Insurance

You should ensure that you are suitably covered for letting under both your buildings and contents insurance. Failure to inform your insurers may invalidate your

policies. Several specialist insurance companies exist who are able to provide insurance products that are specifically tailored to the needs of landlords, providing Contents & Buildings Insurance as well as Legal Protection & Rental warranty if required.

Bills and regular outgoings

We recommend that you arrange for regular outgoings e.g. service charges, maintenance contracts etc. to be paid by standing order or direct debit. However where we are managing the property, by prior written agreement, we may make payment of certain bills on your behalf provided that such bills are received in your name at our office and that sufficient funds are held to your credit.

Council tax and utility accounts

The Council Tax and utility accounts will be transferred to the Tenant. Meter readings will be taken, allowing your closing gas and electricity accounts to be drawn up. All these matters we will handle for you however, British Telecom will require instructions directly from both the Landlord and the Tenant.

Income tax

When resident in the UK, it is entirely the Landlord's responsibility to inform the Inland Revenue of rental income received, and to pay any tax due. Where the Landlord is resident outside the UK during a tenancy, under rules effective from 6 April 1996, unless an exemption certificate is held, we as Landlord's Agent are obliged to retain and forward to the Inland Revenue, on a quarterly basis, an amount equal to the basic rate of income tax from rental received, less certain expenses. An application form for exemption from such deductions is available from this Agency and further information may be obtained from the Inland Revenue.

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The Inventory

It is most important that an inventory of contents and schedule of condition be prepared in order to avoid misunderstanding or dispute at the end of a tenancy. Without such safeguards it will be impossible for the Landlord to prove any loss, damage, or significant deterioration of the property or contents. In order to provide a complete service we will arrange for a member of staff to prepare an inventory and schedule of condition that will include a photographic record.

Important Safety

Requirements

The following requirements are the responsibility of the owner (Landlord). Where you have signed our Full Management Agency Agreement they are also our responsibility. Therefore, where we are managing a property, we will need to ensure compliance.

Health and Safety - Gas

Annual safety check

Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 all gas appliances and flues in rented accommodation must be checked for safety within 12 months of being installed, and thereafter at least every 12 months by a competent engineer (i.e. a Gas Safe Registered Gas Installer)

Maintenance

There is a duty to ensure that all gas appliances, flues and associated pipe works are maintained in a safe condition at all times.

Records

Full records must be kept for at least 2 years of the inspections of each appliance and flue, of any defects found and of any remedial action taken.

Copies to tenants

A copy of the safety certificate issued by the engineer must be given to each new tenant before their tenancy commences, or to each existing tenant within 28 days of the check being carried out.

Health and Safety - Electrical

Under the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, and certain other regulations, electrical appliances and equipment provided in tenanted premises must be safe. Currently it is therefore necessary to make a visual check to ensure that all electrical items, plugs and leads appear completely safe and undamaged and that any faulty items are removed or replaced. Under forthcoming new regulations it will soon be necessary to have all electrical appliances tested prior to the beginning of a new tenancy. It is currently our policy to strongly

recommend that owners have the electrical installation at the property checked, by a qualified electrician, prior to the commencement of the first tenancy.

Consumer Protection - Fire

The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended 1989 & 1993) provide that specified items supplied in the course of letting property must meet minimum fire resistance standards. The regulations apply to all upholstered furniture, beds, headboards and mattresses, sofa beds, futons and other convertibles, nursery furniture, garden furniture suitable for use in a dwelling, scatter cushions, pillows and non-original covers for furniture. They do not apply to antique furniture or furniture made before 1950, bedcovers including duvets, loose covers for mattresses, pillowcases, curtains, carpets or sleeping bags.

Items, which comply, will have a suitable permanent label attached. Non-compliant items must be removed before a tenancy commences. Smoke Alarms

All properties built since June 1992 must have been fitted with mains powered smoke detector alarms from new. Although there is no legislation requiring smoke alarms to be fitted in other ordinary tenanted properties, it is generally considered that the common law 'duty of care' means that Landlords and their Agents could be

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liable should a fire cause injury or damage in a tenanted property where smoke alarms are not fitted. We therefore strongly recommend that the Landlord fit at least one alarm on each floor (in the hall and landing areas).

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

If there is a gas supply at the property it is strongly recommend that owners should have a Carbon Monoxide Detector fitted.

Energy Performance

Certificates

From 1st October 2008, all rental properties with a new tenancy in England and Wales will be required by law to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

Prospective tenants will now be able to see at a glance how energy efficient and environmentally friendly your property is. If you have invested in energy saving measures your properties will perform well and will stand out, if not you may find it harder to rent out in future. EPC's look similar to the energy labels found on domestic appliances such as fridges and washing machines. The energy efficiency and environmental impact of your property will be rated on a scale from A to G (where A is the most efficient and G the least efficient) as shown above. Current running costs for heating, hot water and lighting will also be shown on the certificate, together with a list of recommended energy saving improvements.

Either you or your letting agent will have to commission one from an accredited Domestic Energy Assessor

(DEA). They will visit your property to assess the age, construction and location of the property as well as its current fittings such as heating systems, insulation, double glazing etc.

It is recommended, especially if you have a reasonably high turnover of tenants, that you do not wait until you have a vacancy but arrange for one as soon as possible since after the 1st October 2008 you will not be able to rent a property without an EPC.

We can arrange for an EPC to be carried out at your property to ensure that you comply with the law. If you do not have one you could be fined £200 for

non-compliance. The EPC is currently valid for ten years.

Summary

Whether you leave your property furnished or unfurnished the same legal safeguards apply to your rights of repossession. Legislation regarding soft furnishings and gas and electrical appliances have now to be considered, and we can advise you in this respect. We will regularly and frequently visit your property to ensure all is well.

We are certain that you will feel reassured that Keeleys, a fully bonded Registered Firm, hold your interests

paramount and that our long experience in the field of Property Management ensures excellent service. We hope that the general points covered in this guide will be of some assistance to you. If there are any aspects of which you are unsure, please telephone our office. Alternatively we can visit you at your home to discuss your individual requirements, at your convenience.

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CLASSIC, A NAME YOU CAN TRUST

Levellers Lane, Eynesbury, St Neots PE19 2JL

Tel 01480 477336

www.classic1992.co.uk | www.work-rest-play.co.uk Open: Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat 9am-3pm

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There is no guarantee of performance of an PV system and every effort has been made to insure the accuracy of the system for calculating Return On Investment (ROI). The user must still satisfy themselves of the costs and likely paybacks before purchasing any PV System.

CLASSIC, A NAME YOU CAN TRUST

Unit 10 Levellers Lane, Eynesbury, St Neots PE19 2JL

Tel 01480 477336

www.classic1992.co.uk | www.work-rest-play.co.uk Open: Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat 9am-3pm

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Telephone:

01207 272 761

Fax:

01207 272 784

email: bdm@response-print.com

Top Supplier of High Quality Corporate Brochures and Street Plans

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