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Professionally managing your property for you

So you get the best rental income for the best return Letting out your property can be a daunting experience, from finding a trusted tenant and understanding your statutory duties to achieving the best rental income for your property, for the best return. These are just a few of the things you need to think about when letting out a property, but don’t worry, our friendly and experienced team is on hand to make life easier for you and ensure you get the results you require. Our market knowledge is second to none and with our bespoke, state of the art systems and wide range of professional property services, we take the stress out of managing your property and will always be on hand to help with advice on every aspect of property letting, from helping you understand your statutory duties, and taking the best photographs of your property to attracting the right tenant and helping you with the inventory too. You can always count on the Blueriver team to look after your most important asset.

‘‘

I have regularly used

Blueriver Cottages as my

letting agent and found them to be very professional. They offer a friendly, value for money

service and have no hesitation in recommending them.

www.bluerivercottages.co.uk


Professionally managing your property for you

Competitive, Transparent Rates At 12.5% + VAT our monthly commission fees are some of the most competitive in the market and we’ll make sure it stays that way. We’re always completely open about our charges which are clearly published on our website and in all our marketing literature and if you are an investment landlord with more than one property we offer great discounted savings on even the smallest of portfolios.

Marketing: Our Promotion = Your Success Our marketing of a property is second to none and we pride ourselves on attracting a global audience via a wide range of marketing channels. Online: As well as featuring your property on our own user friendly website, we’ll also use national property portals such www.findaproperty.com, Zoopla, Prime Location, Globrix and many more, so your property is guaranteed to be seen by a global audience – in fact, some of our current applicants come from as far away as New Zealand and America. Media: We also advertise in local newspapers and use traditional letting boards to reach a local audience. Emails: And of course, targeted emails to our extensive applicant database containing hundreds of potential tenants actively seeking a home.

Keep track of your property 24/7 with our Landlords secure login All our Landlords receive secure access to our property management system enabling you to monitor in real time, what is happening with your property including, viewings, maintenance, correspondence, inspection reports, safety checks and even meter readings 24/7. It even lets you draw down several financial reports, whenever you need them – so can be very useful for that end of year tax assessment!

Insurance for Landlords We know from our customer feedback, that getting the right insurance for your property at the right price is important and so we offer a range of competitively priced insurance products designed especially with Landlords in mind, providing you with the extra security you need at a price that we’re confident you’ll be happy with. Our range of insurances, include; • Guaranteed Rental Insurance • Legal Expenses Cover • Contents Insurance • Buildings Insurance Please call us for a competitive quote.

Carefully Selected Quality Tenants

Relocation service

All prospective Tenants are drawn from our constantly updated register and are thoroughly referenced and credit checked by Rentshield, a leading tenant referencing provider. In some cases, we’ll even require a guarantor who will also be referenced for your and our peace of mind.

We are also part of a UK-Wide Network of Independent but associated Letting and Management Agents, so we’re also able to offer an efficient national relocation service and can offer help to both individual and corporate clients, based within the UK or abroad.

Out of Hours Service For our initial meetings, we will if required, happily visit your property outside normal office hours, at a time that is convenient to you. Just let us know what time suits and we’ll do our very best to accommodate you. We also offer an out of hours emergency phone service, where an experienced, member of staff, will be on the other end of the phone to help with any of your queries, until the time stated in our accompanying email.

Call us on 01803 833682 or visit www.bluerivercottages.co.uk


How much will it cost me?

A tailored service offering peace of mind and great value for money. Although we offer three main property letting services, we pride ourselves on being flexible and are generally able to alter our offerings 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. Just tell us if you need a “pick and mix” service and we’ll do all we can to help.

Full Management This is our all inclusive service - so, if you cannot, or would rather not deal with Tenants personally, then this is the service for you; • Marketing of the property and viewings, leading to the introduction and vetting of a prospective Tenant. • Preparing the tenancy agreement and inventory

‘‘

we receive a reliable and efficient service which is excellent value for money.

www.bluerivercottages.co.uk


How much will it cost me? • Periodic inspection visits. Should these highlight any maintenance issues, we will (within the confines of our Management Agreement) recommend, oversee and account for any necessary repairs. (charge applies)

Letting Only Service Fees: Tenant Finder (all prices are subject to the current rate of VAT)

• Collecting and processing of rental payments. These will be credited automatically to the Landlord’s nominated bank account.

Letting Fee

£165

Tenant Finder Fee

75% of the first month’s rent

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) £85 (min. charge)

• Towards the end of the tenancy, we’ll liaise with the Tenant and renew the tenancy agreement or, arrange to check them out as requested and if necessary, find you a new one too.

Inventory Preparation + Check In

£100 (unfurnished) £145 (furnished)

Tenancy Check Out

£45 (unfurnished) £65 (furnished)

Full Management Service Fees

Landlord Rent Guarantee Insurance £70 (six months) £95 (twelve months) approx.

(all prices are subject to the current rate of VAT) Letting Fee

£165

Management Commission

12.5% of the monthly rent

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) £85 (min. charge) Inventory Preparation + Check In

£100 (unfurnished) £145 (furnished)

Tenancy Check Out

£45 (unfurnished) £65 (furnished)

Maintenance surcharge

10% of contractor’s final invoice

Property Inspection Report

£45 (six monthly or annual intervals)

Landlord Rent Guarantee Insurance £70 (six months) £95 (twelve months) approx

Letting Only: Tenant Finder If you’d rather manage the ongoing tenancy process yourself, then our Letting Only service is all you need and includes:

Management Only:

(where the Tenant is already in the property) If you have an existing tenancy in place and either want to change letting agents or, want to hand the whole letting process over to us, then our management only service is best for you. Our service includes: • Periodic inspection visits. Should these highlight any maintenance issues, we will (within the confines of our Management Agreement) recommend, oversee and account for any necessary repairs. • Collecting and processing of rental payments is also part of this 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 requested.

Management Only Service Fees: (Tenant already in property) (all prices are subject to the current rate of VAT) Management Commission

12.5% of the monthly rent

• Preparing the tenancy agreement and inventory.

Maintenance surcharge

10% of contractor’s final invoice

• Following this, the first month’s rent will be collected and credited to the Landlord, less our agreed fee.

Tenancy Check Out

£45 (unfurnished) £65 (furnished)

• Managing the tenancy, including the maintenance and rent collection, will then be the responsibility of the Landlord.

Property Inspection Reports

£45 (six monthly or annually)

• The marketing of the property and completion of viewings, leading to the introduction and vetting of a prospective Tenant.

Call us on 01803 833682 or visit www.bluerivercottages.co.uk

Landlord Rent Guarantee Insurance £70 (six months) £95 (twelve months) approx.


Our Legal, Health & Safety Guide

All you need to know and more Please see below some of the responsibilities that you have as a landlord. Our guide will help you follow the correct procedure with regards to the law and housing act, ensuring you meet your statutory duties and provide you with peace of mind. We know there’s a lot to take in so, if you have any queries, we’re always on hand to help.

Gas: Annual Safety Check Since 1998, all gas appliances and flues in rented accommodation must be checked for safety within 12 months of being installed, and thereafter annually, by a registered engineer (e.g. a Gas Safe registered gas installer). • Maintenance: All gas appliances, flues and associated pipe work must be maintained in a safe condition at all times. • Records: At least 2 years full records of the inspections for each appliance and flue must be kept. Highlighting any defects found and any remedial action taken.

‘‘

They are always on hand to listen and discuss my requirements, and do what they say they’ll do, promptly!

www.bluerivercottages.co.uk


Our Legal, Health & Safety Guide • 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.

related in any property, it is still likely to be an HMO, and special Management rules apply. For more information, just ask us or your local authority for details. Alternatively, visit www.propertylicence.gov.uk

Electric

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)

There are several regulations (far too many to mention here) relating to electrical installations, equipment and appliance safety which affect landlords and their agents And although with tenanted properties, there is currently no legal requirement for electrical safety certificates (except in the case of all HMOs) it is now widely accepted, that the only way to ensure safety and avoid the risk of being accused of neglecting your ‘duty of care’, or even of manslaughter, is to arrange electrical inspections and the issue of safety certificates. There are 2 types of electrical inspection, one of the actual installation and another, of any portable electrical appliances (PAT test).

Fire Regulations state, that all upholstered furniture, beds, headboards, mattresses, sofa-beds, futons and other convertibles, nursery furniture, garden furniture (suitable for use in a home), scatter cushions, pillows and nonoriginal covers for furniture must meet minimum fire resistance standards. This does not apply to antique furniture or furniture made before 1950, bedcovers including duvets, loose covers for mattresses, pillowcases, curtains, carpets or sleeping bags. (It’s easy to know if your items comply as they will have a suitable permanent label attached!) Please remove any non-compliant items before a tenancy commences.

Smoke Alarms All properties built after June 1992 must be 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 liable, should a fire cause injury or damage in a tenanted property where smoke alarms are not fitted. Therefore, we ask that you fit at least one alarm on each floor. i.e. one in the hall and one on the landing.

Multiple Occupancy Households (HMO) If your property is on 3 or more levels and let to 5 or more tenants, comprising 2 or more households (i.e. not all of the same family) it will be subject to mandatory licensing by your local authority. Whether mandatory licensing as above applies or not, if there are 3 or more tenants not all

The HHSRS provides an analysis of how hazardous a property is, through assessment of 29 potential hazards found in housing. Landlords have to maintain their properties to provide a safe and healthy environment. The HHSRS is enforced by local authorities. For further information visit www.communities.gov.uk/hhsrs

The Deposit Protection Service Since 6 April 2007, all deposits taken by landlords and letting agents under Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) in England and Wales, must be protected by a tenancy deposit protection scheme. Landlords and letting agents must not take a deposit unless it is dealt with under a tenancy deposit scheme. To avoid any disputes going to court, each scheme is supported by an alternative dispute resolution service (ADR). Landlords and letting agents can choose between two types of scheme; a single custodial scheme and two insurance-based schemes. For further information visit www.direct.gov.uk/en/TenancyDeposit/index.htm Important Note: If you (the landlord) decide to hold a deposit yourself, we’ll transfer it to you within 5 days of receiving it. You must then register it with a Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme within a further 9 days, if the tenancy is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy. Failure to do so will mean that, the tenant can take legal action against you in Court. The Court will make an order stating that you must pay the deposit back to the tenant or lodge it with the custodial scheme, known as the Deposit Protection Scheme. Plus, a further order will be made requiring you pay compensation to the tenant of an amount equal to three times the deposit. You will also be unable to serve a Section 21 Notice on your tenant until compliance with the above conditions and the Court will not grant you a possession order. We have no liability for any loss suffered if you fail to comply.

The Disability Discrimination Act 2005 The DDA 2005 extends disabled people’s rights in respect of premises that are let or to be let, and common hold premises. Landlords and managers of let premises and premises that are due to be let, will be required to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people if a request has been made to do so. For further information visit www.dwp.gov.uk

Call us on 01803 833682 or visit www.bluerivercottages.co.uk


Don’t forget…

A few more things to consider... Mortgage If your property is mortgaged, you’ll need your mortgagee’s written consent to the letting. They may require additional clauses in the tenancy agreement of which you need to inform us.

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

Insurance Are suitably covered for letting under both your buildings and contents insurance? Failure to inform your insurers may invalidate any claims. Let us know if you need any advice on Landlords Legal Protection, Rent Guarantee Cover and Landlords Contents and Buildings Insurance – we’d be happy to help.

‘‘

Blueriver are always very helpful and I have no hesitation in recommending them to their future customers.

www.bluerivercottages.co.uk


Don’t forget…

Bills and Regular Outgoings

The Inventory

We recommend that you arrange a standing order or direct debit for regular outgoings e.g. service charges, maintenance contracts etc. However, if we manage your property, we may, by prior written agreement, pay certain bills on your behalf, provided such bills are received in your name at our office, and that you have sufficient funds available.

In order to avoid misunderstanding or dispute at the end of a tenancy, it’s extremely important that an inventory of contents and schedule of condition be prepared. Without these safeguards, it is impossible to prove any loss, damage, or significant deterioration of your property or contents. For a small fee, we’d be delighted to prepare an inventory and schedule of condition on your behalf. Please see our agency agreement for details.

Council Tax and Utility Accounts We’ll happily arrange for the transfer of Council Tax and utility accounts to the Tenant and for meter readings to be taken, allowing your closing gas and electricity accounts to be drawn up. However, don’t forget that BT and other telephone providers require instructions directly from both the Landlord and the Tenant personally.

Income Tax When resident in the UK, it is the Landlord’s responsibility to inform the HMRC of rental income received, and pay any tax due. Where the Landlord is resident outside the UK during a tenancy, he/she will require an exemption certificate from the HMRC before he/she can receive rental balances without deduction of tax. Of course, if we manage the property for you, we’ll provide advice and assistance on applying for such exemption.

What is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy? Most tenancies will automatically be Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs), provided the rent is under £25,000 a year and the property let to private individuals. Tenancies are usually granted for an initial fixed term of either 6 or 12 months. When the fixed term has expired, the landlord can then regain possession of the property provided he gives two months written notice to the tenant. In addition, if the tenant owes at least 2 months or 8 weeks rent on the property he can apply through the court to seek a possession order. We think we’ve covered most of the important things you need to consider before letting out your property. However, if you think we’ve left something out or have any queries regarding the information above, don’t forget we’re always here to help.

Call us on 01803 833682 or visit www.bluerivercottages.co.uk


A few tips for Preparing your Property

To get the tenant you want and the returns you need A good relationship with your tenant is the key to any smooth-running tenancy. As Property Managers this relationship is our job, but we feel that it is also important that the Tenants are comfortable in their temporary home, and that, like you, they are also receiving a good service. Therefore, a well presented and maintained property, in a good decorative order will go towards this, whilst also achieving a higher rental income and greater return on investment. Tenants are also more likely to treat such a property with greater respect and stay longer – so it’s win, win all round!

A Good General Condition Electric, gas, plumbing, waste, central heating and hot water systems must be safe, sound and in good working order. Repairs and maintenance are at the Landlord’s expense unless misuse

‘‘

we have nothing but praise for Phil and his team and the high level of service that they provide to us and our tenants.

www.bluerivercottages.co.uk


A few tips for Preparing your Property

is established. And to reach a wider audience, we recommend that interior decor should be in good condition and preferably in light and neutral colours. Your tenants will then be able to put their own stamp on their temporary home with soft furnishings - making your home feel more like theirs, so they’ll look after it with more care!

Energy Performance Certificates Since October 2008, all landlords must make EPCs available free of charge to prospective tenants at the earliest opportunity. This should be when they are first given written information about the property or view it, and before any rental contract is entered into. EPCs are valid for 10 years and can be reused as many times as required within that period. For more information on this please, visit www.bluerivercottages.co.uk/Practical-andLegal-Issues

Furnishings It’s up to you if your property is let out fully, part or unfurnished. Which of these is suitable depends on the type of property, local market conditions and the rental income band you want to be in and we’ll always be on hand to advise you on this. As a minimum, you’ll need to provide decent quality carpets, curtains and light fittings throughout. And remember, there will be wear and tear on the property and any items provided, so it’s a good idea to buy good quality furnishings that will last – if you need to keep costs to a minimum, Ebay is a great place to buy.

Personal items, ornaments etc.

Gardens Please keep your gardens neat, tidy and rubbish free. Although, tenants are required to maintain the gardens to a reasonable standard, they can only do so if they are left the necessary tools. In our experience, few Tenants are skilled gardeners, so if you value your garden, or if it is particularly large, you may wish use our regular gardener. Just let us know and we’ll be happy to arrange this for you for a small fee.

Cleaning At the beginning of the tenancy, please ensure that your property is meticulously clean throughout. Then at the end of each tenancy, it is the Tenants’ responsibility to leave the property in a similar sate as they found it and where they fail to do so, cleaning will be arranged at their expense.

“How to” Guide Our tenants tell us, that it is really helpful to leave a useful information or “how to” guide at your property. Include relevant information such as, how to operate the central heating and hot water system, and appliances such as the washing machine and alarm system etc. Plus we also recommend you leave other useful information such as the day refuse is collected etc.

Keys Please provide one set of keys for each Tenant staying at your property. If we are managing your property on your behalf, we’ll arrange to have duplicates cut as required.

Personal possessions should be removed from the premises, especially if they are of real or sentimental value. If you want to store some items at your property, we suggest putting them in sealed box and storing them in the loft, but please be advised that this it at your own risk. Don’t forget to leave all cupboards and shelf space clear for the Tenant’s own use.

Call us on 01803 833682 or visit www.bluerivercottages.co.uk


What happens next

Six simple steps to becoming a landlord So, now that you’re ready to let out your property, we look forward to hearing from you;

by phone on 01803 833682 by email at info@bluerivercottages.co.uk  or simply by completing the contact form on our website: www.bluerivercottages.co.uk/contact-us There’s now just six simple steps to becoming a landlord:-

1.

Once you have contacted us, we’ll arrange a convenient time to visit you, discuss your requirements and carry out a market appraisal. After we’ve agreed the rental asking price and required timescales etc, we begin marketing your property in earnest via a variety of high profile marketing channels as outlined earlier.

‘‘

Phil and his team are positive, enthusiastic and full of ideas. Their service is efficient and good value. We would thoroughly recommend them.

www.bluerivercottages.co.uk


What happens next

2.

All prospective tenants registered on our database will be contacted and encouraged to view your property. All viewings of your property will be accompanied by us and when a prospective tenant wishes to take up a tenancy, a holding deposit is taken and references applied for via our selected credit search agency, Rentshield Direct. We’ll also request an employers’ reference and a current/previous landlords reference (if applicable), to give you peace of mind. Rest assured, that as Landlords ourselves, we would not place a tenant in your property that we would not house in one of our own properties.

3.

As soon as we’ve received satisfactory references, a date for occupation is agreed and a legally binding tenancy agreement is signed, based on the ‘Assured Shorthold Tenancy’. At the time of signing, the first months rent is paid up front, along with a deposit equivalent to one months rent. Rent is then paid to us on a monthly basis by standing order. After the deduction of our commission, the balance is then forwarded onto you.

4.

Prior to occupation a full inventory is prepared, which we’ll go through with the tenant/s and obtain their signatures. A copy will be retained and used when inspecting the property upon the tenants vacating. Gas and electricity meter readings are taken at the time the tenants sign the tenancy agreement and the utility companies are informed of the tenant’s details for future payments. As mentioned earlier, the tenants are required to make their own arrangements with regards to re-connecting a telephone line.

5.

We’ll need a copy of an up-to-date gas safety certificate and if required, can arrange a gas safety check for you. With our Full Management service, we’ll regularly inspect your property during the term of the tenancy and of course deal with any issues. Should you need any remedial work or an appliance fixed, we’ll obtain estimates from one of our approved maintenance contacts and submit these for your approval.

6.

Two months prior to the end of the tenancy agreement, we’ll write to both your and the tenant to confirm your requirements for a further letting period, or continuation of the existing tenancy. With our Full Management Service, we also inspect the property at the end of the tenancy and check the inventory. We will not agree to the repayment of any deposit to the exiting tenant until we are entirely satisfied. We hope we’ve covered all you need to know and more about letting out your property, however if you have any queries, please visit our website www.bluerivercottages. co.uk or simply ask one of the experienced member of our team, - we’re always on hand to help and take the hassle out of letting out your home. We look forward to helping you via letting and/or the ongoing management of your property and hope to see you soon.

Phil and the team at Blueriver

Call us on 01803 833682 or visit www.bluerivercottages.co.uk


Residential Lettings Landlords Information Pack