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LANDLORDS GUIDE

It can be quite daunting if you have never let your property out before, so we thought it would be useful to list out some guidance notes to help.

Before Tenancy

You only get one chance to make a good first impression, so it is worthwhile considering the following:
- Ensure the front of the property and the gardens are well presented to create immediate visual impact
- De-clutter the rooms, they will appear larger
- Make sure all the lights work, a well lit home is inviting
- Finish any of those small outstanding jobs, loose floorboards, missing/broken fixtures, fittings etc
- Freshen up any tired decorations
- Make sure the carpets and floor coverings are nice and clean, ideally hire a professional cleaner to set a high standard you would like the property returned in.

Who do I need to tell?

Before letting your property the following, where applicable, need to be advised of your intention to let:
- Freeholder(for leasehold properties)
- Buildings Insurance Provider
- Mortgage Company
- Any co-owners (all must be named on TA)

What regulations affect my property?

Gas Safety Regulations 1998- A Gas Safe registered Engineer must inspect any gas appliances in a property before a tenant moves in and annually thereafter. A certificate must be obtained.

Furniture & Furnishings (fire safety) Regulations 1998 and subsequent amendments- Furniture manufactured before 1950 is exempt. This is applicable to sofas, beds, bedheads, covers for furniture, cushions, along with other items. Further information can be found on www.opsi.gov.uk, the office of Public Sector Information.

Electrical Equipment Regulations & Plugs and Sockets Regulations 1994- You must ensure that any equipment provided is compliant and that the electrical installation is safe. If you have never had an electrical report carried out on your property, it is highly recommended to do so, all too often electrical faults are not known until something occurs.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm(England) Regulations 2015- A smoke alarm must be fitted on each storey of a property where there is a room used as living accommodation and a carbon monoxide alarm must be fitted where there is a solid fuel burning combustion appliance.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) By law a qualified Domestic Energy Assessor must inspect and produce an EPC. A copy must be given to tenants . They are valid for 10 years.

Do I pay Income tax?

All rental income arising from property in the UK is taxable, regardless of the tax status of the landlord. Income tax is payable on the profit generated so you must declare your rental income to HM Revenue & Customs using a Self Assessment tax return. There are however certain deductible allowances that can be used to minimize your tax liability:
- Insurance, service charges and ground rent
- Cost of repairs, maintenance, redecorations(while property is let)
- Letting Agents fees
- Wear & tear allowance on furnished properties
- Legal & Accountant charges
- Mortgage Interest
- Any unused personal allowance

We are going abroad, anything else we need to do?

Under the Taxation of Income from Land (non-residents) Regulations 1995 and Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988, there is still a liability to pay UK tax on rent received on UK property.

We are obliged by law to deduct tax at the appropriate rate from rent received and pay this to HMRC unless we have received written confirmation from them to pay the income to you without deduction. If you are going to be out of the country for more than 6 months, you should fill out the relevant form NRL1 for individuals, NRL2 for companies and send it to HMRC. The forms can be downloaded from www.hmrc.gov.uk/cnr/nr_landlords.htm or we can supply a copy.

Marketing – Finding Tenants

Our offices are based on Lewes Road, Brighton. We cover the whole of Brighton & Hove and the surrounding areas.
We will call to your property, take measurements and photographs and prepare a marketing description. We will discuss with you the type(s) of tenant that you wish to attract and set an availability date.

The property details are placed in our prominent window display and uploaded to our website, along with advertisement on Rightmove and Zoopla.
Once viewing requests are generated, they will be booked at convenient times for any occupants and accompanied by a member of our staff.

When a viewer expresses an interest to take a tenancy on your property, we will propose them to you with a description of their background. We can arrange for you to meet them if preferred. If you are in agreement in principle, we will move to a Referencing stage.

The proposed tenants will disclose personal details about their income/employment situation, present/previous addresses along with landlords/agents references were applicable and be credit checked.

Once the references are processed, they will be forwarded to you, if satisfactory, we will prepare a Tenancy Agreement for signature.
It is important that you read the Tenancy Agreement as it will form the contract between Landlord & Tenant(s).

We will collect the balance of move-in monies. One month’s rent in advance and a six week damages deposit.

The deposit will be transferred into the Custodial deposit scheme administered by DPS, alternatively we can pass the deposit to Landlord for protecting if we receive written confirmation of the relevant schemes details. It is important that the deposit is protected in a government approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme within the necessary timescale.

How much deposit is taken?

A deposit equivalent to 6 weeks rent is paid as standard. The deposit must be registered within 14 days of being received with a recognised deposit protection scheme. This can be used for damages or rent arrears. It is important to remember these are tenant(s) monies and can only be used at the expiry of the tenancy with the tenant’s agreement or the relevant tenancy deposit schemes judgement in the case of disputes.

How do I ensure the property is looked after?

It is very important to ascertain the exact condition of the property and its fixtures, fittings and any furnishings at the commencement of each tenancy. This is achieved by having an Inventory/Schedule of condition carried out. An independent Inventory clerk will call to the property and complete a detailed report. The tenant(s) are given a copy when the tenancy begins. A check-in is booked (on Managed Properties) with the tenants and a member of staff will run through the Inventory with them and confirm its accuracy.

At the end of a tenancy an Inventory Clerk will attend the property and complete a Check-out Report. This will ascertain any differences against the original Inventory. Please note ‘fair wear and tear’ must be allowed for according to the tenant type that occupied the property. If there are any dilapidations attributed to the tenants, they should be costed and the tenants communicated with as to the amount of any deduction from deposit sought.

What if I want to make a claim and the tenants do not agree?

If the tenants do not agree to any part of a proposed claim for dilapidations, the monies in question will then be ‘in dispute’ and set aside. The balance of the tenants deposit is returned. The Tenancy Deposit Scheme in question will then adjudicate on the matter. They will ask for all evidence to be presented to them to prove the claim is just and warranted. This will include a copy of Inventory/schedule of condition, check in/out and any other relevant information.

Can I guarantee the rent?

Yes. With daily circumstances able to change, often out of a tenant’s control, it is worth considering the scenario of a tenant not being able to pay their rent. The deposit can be used towards rent arrears, but not until the end of the tenancy. The specialist company we use to reference the tenants are able to offer a Rent Guarantee Legal Expense Insurance for total piece of mind.

Managing the property

With busy lives, many of our Landlord clients have opted for a Managed Service. If this is chosen, much of the work is undertaken by ourselves on your behalf.

On the Terms of Business, you agree a figure you are happy for us to spend on any necessary repairs without having to contact you. If you have preferred contractors, we will hold their details on file and instruct them as and when the tenants report any faults. If any relevant contractors are not known, we will instruct those that we use on a regular basis.
Each month, a statement is sent to you, detailing rent received and any deductions.
We inspect properties on an interim basis and forward a report to you after.
For a copy of our Terms of Business, detailing each of our services, please email info@gkwhites.co.uk

Fee Schedule

Introductory Only 2 weeks rent plus vat, subject to a minimum fee of £400 plus vat (£480 inclusive)
Rent Collection Service 8-10% of the rent plus vat (9.6-12%inclusive)
Full Management Service 9-12.5% of the rent plus vat (10.8-15%inclusive)

Tenancy Agreement and subsequent renewal £50 plus vat (£60 inclusive)
Inventories
Studio £90, 1 bedroom £102, 2 bedroom £114, 3 bedroom £126, 4 bedroom £138, 5 bedroom £150, 6 bedroom £162, 7 bedroom £174
Based on Unfurnished. Add £6 for Furnished.
Check Out Reports
Studio £90, 1 bedroom £96, 2 bedroom £102, 3 bedroom £114, 4 bedroom £120, 5 bedroom £132, 6 bedroom £144, 7 bedroom £156
Based on Unfurnished. Add £12 for Furnished
Hourly rate £60 - for any additional services requested, i.e. court attendance, shopping fee, progressing insurance claims, charged on a time spent basis, agreed prior.

All above are vat inclusive