Being a letting agent isn’t always easy
You’ve got to balance the needs of tenants with the demands of landlords, and there are a variety of issues and potential complications to be aware of. Fortunately, help is at hand. Door2Let provides an extensive range of letting agent services and guidance that make juggling these demands easier.
Tenant Referencing Services – Tenant referencing is a crucial part of the lettings process. By making sure tenants have had the relevant background checks before contracts are signed, landlords can benefit from the extra reassurance that these people really are who they say they are and can make the necessary rental payments.
Marketing your Property – To find your perfect tenant you need to give your property maximum exposure across a wide range of media. When you instruct us you will automatically benefit from our comprehensive marketing package including exposure on our website with full colour property details.
Accompanied Viewings – Our longer opening hours are essential to maximise viewing opportunities for your property – Accompanied viewings also mean we can use our expertise to help let your property.
Gas Safety Certificate – Any gas central heating system or appliance will need to be certified as safe to use under The Gas Safety Regulations 1998. Inspections must be done prior to a tenant moving in and annually thereafter. Door2Let can arrange for the inspection to be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer who will issue a Gas Safety Certificate. It is also a legal requirement that a copy of the certificate is given to the tenant within 30 days.
Carbon Monoxide Alarms – Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless and tasteless poisonous gas. Best practice is to install a carbon monoxide alarm but these must be installed in any room with a solid fuel installation e.g. a wood burning stove. They should also be tested to ensure they are in good working order at the start of every tenancy – the check-in report should record this safety check.
Electrical Safety – The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 state that anything electrical within the property, or anything that you supply as part of the fixtures and fittings, should be up to current electrical safety standards and safe to use. Landlords must also make sure that the electrical system is safe e.g. sockets and light fittings. Door2Let can arrange for a qualified and vetted contractor to carry out a Portable Appliance Test (PAT) to ensure all appliances with plugs are safe to use.
Cleaning, Inventory & Check-In – Tenants expect a property to be professionally cleaned at the outset, therefore this requires the tenant to return the property cleaned to the same standard at the end of the tenancy. An independent inventory check-in report will serve as a record of the condition of the property at the outset and will be used to re-assess the condition at the end of the tenancy. Wear and tear is to be expected during the course of a tenancy.
The check-in report also records meter readings when accessible. The entry costs of cleaning and inventory check-in are usually paid by the landlord, and at the end of the tenancy these are normally paid by the tenant.
Utility Accounts – The tenancy agreement states which utility bills the tenant is responsible for. It is normally the tenant’s responsibility to pay utilities, council tax and TV licence. The tenant should provide opening and closing meter readings directly to the utility provider. A landlord is liable for bills during vacant periods. Utilities are separate to ground rent, service charges, buildings and contents insurance, which remain the landlord’s responsibility to pay. Tenants are entitled to change utility supplier and all households are encouraged to switch regularly for the best deal.
Deposit Deductions – At the end of the tenancy the tenant is required to request the return of the deposit. Within 10 days of this request the landlord must return any amount from the deposit which the landlord is not intending to withhold. The landlord must also inform the tenant of any proposed deductions. If there is a dispute on proposed deductions then the amount in dispute is transferred to the deposit scheme being used and their alternative dispute resolution service will determine the outcome. This is an evidence-based process decided by an impartial qualified adjudicator. Remember that wear and tear will occur especially if a tenant has been in occupation for a number of years. A landlord is entitled to charge deductions for dilapidations and damages, but cannot claim for betterment. Landlords cannot use the tenant’s deposit as a redecorating budget to improve the property condition, only to restore it to the same condition as the start of the tenancy, save for fair wear and tear. Discussing deposit deductions can be the most difficult part of being a landlord. By using our management service landlords benefit from Door2Let conducting all deposit negotiations and evidence submissions on their behalf in the event of a dispute.