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A practical guide to letting a residential property for Landlords and homeowners. With FREE half-price ‘Find a Tenant’ advertising voucher.

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Contents Introduction ................................................................................................................ 3 So now you need to find a tenant‌. ....................................................................... 5 1. Prepare your property ......................................................................................... 7 2. Check the market................................................................................................ 9 3. Prepare your property details ........................................................................... 11 4. Decide on your letting price .............................................................................. 15 5. Put your property online .................................................................................... 17 6. Manage enquiries ............................................................................................. 19 7. Conduct viewings.............................................................................................. 21 8. Select and check your tenant ........................................................................... 23 9. Prepare your tenancy agreement ..................................................................... 25 10. Move your tenant in ........................................................................................ 27 Useful information .................................................................................................... 29 General Advice for Landlords ............................................................................... 31 Legal rights of tenants- just so you know! ............................................................. 34 Information for the departing tenant ...................................................................... 35 Some ideas for smarter lettings ................................................................................ 37 GR Phelps low-cost letting management ................................................................. 40 Sample Tenancy Agreement .................................................................................... 41 Assured Short Term Tenancy Agreement ............................................................ 42 Inventory of Furnishings - sample ............................................................................ 50 Your notes ................................................................................................................ 51 Appendix .................................................................................................................. 52 Letting rooms in your home: ................................................................................. 53 Useful documents..................................................................................................... 59 www.grphelpsonline.com

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Introduction Finding a tenant online – how it works today The Internet has made a big great change in the UK estate agent and letting management market. This short guide will show you how and give you all the information you need to join the Internet property revolution and find your next tenant online, easier, faster and cheaper than almost any other method. It is not designed to cover all aspects of letting law or management, more as a practical guide to finding a good tenant quickly. Half-price tenant advertising. If you need to find a tenant, please email tenantoffer@grphelps.co.uk and we will advertise your property until let with our Find a Tenant Service at 50% half-price offer (the normal price is £49 + vat).. As well as helping you to write a great advert we will advertise your property or room on all the major websites including: Rightmove, Findaproperty, Zoopla and many others. In fact, you do the viewing and we do everything else. We also offer a full tenant finding service and property management at 7.5%.. About GR Phelps Property Marketing GR Phelps is a UK-wide ‘new-style’ estate agent, mixing local property advisors with advanced Internet and online marketing skills. We give owners, buyers, sellers and landlords more choice, value and service. We can advertise and find tenants in all areas of the UK. If you need accompanied viewings we can provide this in most areas of the UK. Please email info@grphelps.co.uk for more details. The information contained in this guide is provided to help and assist you in letting your property. No liability can accepted for any inaccuracies. Prices and details may vary over time, please check. E&OE. Free rental comparison and market report We will provide a free rental comparison and market report on request. Simply email the property address to info@grphelps.co.uk and your contact details Online links Copies of the many forms and the AST letting agreement contained in this book are available to download from www.grphelpsonline.com under the Articles section ‘Letting newsletter’. Please register to get your free links to dozens of documents, articles and useful links. If you have any questions: info@grpheps.co.uk 0871 288 3834 Sample Tenancy Agreement: This is provided as a sample only and should not be used without legal or professional advice. A copy is available to download from www.grphelpsonline.com with our Lettings Newsletter service.

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So now you need to find a tenant‌. Whether you have just purchased a property to rent, have decided to let your current home or a tenant is leaving one of your letting properties, here is a suggested action plan. 1.

Prepare your property

2.

Check the market

3.

Prepare your property details

4.

Decide on price

5.

Put your listing online

6.

Manage enquiries

7.

Conduct viewings

8.

Select and check your tenant

9.

Prepare your tenancy agreement

10.

Move your tenant in

Your goal is to find a good tenant at the maximum rental in the shortest possible time to avoid any rental voids or vacant periods.

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1. Prepare your property Preparing your property correctly for your intended market is important. For example, if you are aiming for the city worker then space, light colours and a modern feel are preferred. Preparation can mean the difference between letting your property and having it empty for a long period of time. Therefore before you have either your first or your next tenants to view your property make sure you have covered the following. 

Complete any small DIY jobs such as painting.

Clear away any clutter.

Air the property by opening windows and purchasing a few air fresheners. Also remember that some buyers may be allergic to pets, so make sure that all signs of animal smells and hair are removed.

If any of the rooms have very bright colours or carpets, you may want to neutralise them. This does not mean go out and buy expensive carpet.

Get carpets professionally cleaned.

If your bathroom or kitchen looks tired, applying some of the following practises will make a difference. 

Re-paint the ceiling and walls.

Clean, re-grout any tiled areas that are going black.

It may even pay to have a new white bathroom or kitchen suite put in.

Cut lawns.

Make sure front door is immaculate as first impressions count.

Choose the correct lighting for each space, which can improve the mood of the room.

Organise rooms so that their purpose can be seen

During this process always remember that you have now decided to let your property and not to get personal about any changes. The changes that you implement are there to attract the widest possible tenants in your area.

Making it seem a more attractive rental than other properties We have found that a good relationship with Tenants is the key to a smooth-running tenancy. It is important that the Tenants should feel comfortable in their temporary home, and that they are receiving value for their money. Therefore 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. Tip: If interior design and soft furnishings are not your areas of expertise - use a Homestager. They can offer help and advice. A list of Homestagers is included in our newsletter links.

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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. Internal decorations and repairs These should be clean and presentable. Repair any broken items – light fittings, door handles, tiles etc and freshen tired or stale rooms with a few coats of light-coloured emulsion. Ensure that all light fittings have new bulbs, ideally long-life, but at least 60 watt. Furnishings It is recommended that you leave only minimum furnishings, and these should be of reasonable quality. It is preferable that items to be left are in the property during viewings. If you are still unsure about certain items we will be able to advise. Make sure you have adequate insurance to cover furnishings. Personal items, ornaments etc. Personal possessions, ornaments, pictures, books etc. should be removed from the premises, especially those of real or sentimental value. Some items may be boxed, sealed and stored in the loft at the owner's risk. All cupboards and shelf space should be left clear for the Tenant's own use. 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, provided they are left the necessary tools. However, few Tenants are experienced gardeners, and if you value your garden, or if it is particularly large, you may to arrange visits by a regular gardener. 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. “A well maintained, neutrally and well decorated property has a better chance of renting quicker with good quality of tenant, and more likely to achieve a higher rental with a longer tenancy.”

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2. Check the market Search the internet in the same way as your potential new tenant might – checking availability, rental and what is available for comparable properties in and around the postcode of your properties. Rental prices are very much influenced by supply and demand. Even if you are confident your rental price is about right, there is no harm in checking – and with the Internet it only takes a view minutes.

Leading UK Property Websites Here are I what and many others consider the most important search sites (portals) and some other sites that I hope you find of use. With this information at your fingertips you will be able to find nearly every property on the market, past rental prices and an almost infinite amount of information about the area which might help you set the best price and write a better advert. We list your vacant property on all these websites and many more besides, all within our standard fixed-fee.

Tip: Once you have uploaded your property we can provide a professional rental comparison report free of charge, email or call.

1. Up my street This is a very useful site if you are researching a market. Good source of information on schools, council tax bands, local businesses and almost everything you might ever want to know about a local area. Click on the articles tab for some good articles on a wide range of topics. Up my street

2. Rightmove Rightmove is the biggest marketplace for all types of property in the UK, by a long way. Whether you are buying, selling or renting it is an essential website. Very fast and easy to use search, plus land registry data, maps, market-trends, graphs, etc.. Rightmove

Findaproperty / prime location A leading property website with a comprehensive search facility for both sales and rentals. Launched in 1997, the site is absolutely packed full of articles, links, news items, maps and more. Findaproperty

Zoopla / thinkproperty A new-age type property portal that displays house information alongside other market data and trends. Actually much more useful than it sounds, especially with all

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the quick links. The fastest growing portal and should pass the others in size if this continutes. Easy to use clear interface too. Zoopla.

Globrix Globrix has quickly grown to become an award winning property search engine listing more UK properties to buy or rent than any other property site" - so boasts the site. Not sure about that though, ask Rightmove! Nice clean property displays with google map link. Tabs on top of search list make it easy to order by price, bedrooms etc. Globrix

Zoomf / email4property Owned by the Trinity Mirror group. Fewer properties than the big boys, but might have a few they don't. Light on bells and whistles, but that might be a good thing, making it very easy to use. Nice 3D map idea, but not quite google maps.

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3. Prepare your property details Property owners and landlords used to count on ”curb appeal” to make a good first impression on potential buyers. Now, with 80 percent of property searchers starting their house hunt online, a home's "picture appeal," or how good it looks in photos posted on the Internet, is taking over as the top way to impress people and get viewings. In a survey home-hunters rated photos as the feature they use most when searching for a home on the web. Online listings with bad pictures -- or worse, no pictures at all -- can cause buyers to overlook your home from the get-go. So how do you make a good impression with your photos? If you're working through an agent, find out who will be photographing your home. Some agents, especially those representing pricier properties, opt to hire professional photographers to get the best shots possible, while others choose to take photos themselves. Look at the agency's website for an idea of the quality of photos you can expect from them. If you're selling your home without an agent, you also have the option of hiring a photographer to take pictures of your home. Hiring a professional can cost quite a lot for a large or prestigious property but can be very cost-effective otherwise. If you'd rather take your own photographers, assuming you have a good digital camera use these tips to take better pictures and attract more interest. Tip: Always take lots of good pictures just after any redecoration or when the property is empty. Summer or sunny day pictures are also the best. These can be used at any time of year. Before You Photograph Invest in a decent camera. A mobile-phone camera will not work. Any point-andshoot digital camera with five megapixels or more will produce good photos. If you're willing to fork over more cash, a digital SLR offers more settings and allows you to use a variety of lenses. A tripod is also a good investment for taking sharp photos. Stage your home. You want to show off the space, not what's in it. Make sure your home is clean, and clear out distracting items like toys, refrigerator magnets and the like before taking photos. If this leaves your home looking a little dull, accents like a vase of fresh flowers can spice it up. While You Photograph Use as much natural lighting as possible. Open the curtains and turn on all the lights to make a room look bright and open. Rely on the camera's built-in flash as little as possible; it creates unattractive shadows and reflects off mirrors and windows. You should also avoid taking photos on rainy days or at night, as this will produce gloomy

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photos. For exterior shots, take pictures on an overcast day so the sun doesn't cast dark shadows on your home. Tip: Take 3-4 pictures per room, and the same shot with and without flash just in case. Choose the best angles and compositions. The best way to show off a room is to shoot from a corner or doorway to include as much of the room as possible. This provides context and makes the room look more spacious than a tight shot does. When photographing your home's exterior, stand at an angle to the home rather than straight-on, allowing buyers to see the home's depth. As much as possible, avoid photographing objects that obscure your home, like poles and wires. Don't make your home look like something it's not. While you want to make your house look as good as possible, don't mislead buyers. For instance, a photo taken with a wide-angle lens can make a room look deceptively large. Buyers will be disappointed and irritated when they view your home and see that your seemingly huge bedrooms are actually quite small. Take lots of photos. Digital cameras give you the freedom to take as many photos as you want, so experiment with lots of angles and camera settings. Review the photos later and choose the ones that best represent your house. After You Photograph Touch up the photos. After you've chosen your best photos, you'll probably find that they need a bit of tweaking. Maybe your living room looks too dark, or your home's exterior is framed by distracting telephone wires. Free online photo editing tools like Picasa, Picnik and Snipshot are easy to use and allow you to crop your pictures, adjust brightness and contrast, and correct colours. Suggestion: Subscribe to our Lettings newsletter for free short video guides on how to use these photo editing tools. Cover the essentials. Make sure you include shots of the property’s main elements. Features that shouldn’t be left out include the front and back of the property, bedrooms, livings areas, dining room, kitchen, bathrooms, backyard and any other special attributes, such as a pool or fireplace. Just remember: Honesty is the best policy. After all, when clients eventually see the property, the difference between a picture that is misleading or missing can be annoying.

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Taking photographs – quick summary of tips 

Make sure clutter and things are moved to create a tidy and spacious appearance. Move furniture out of the room if needed

A good outdoor shot is important if you can

Take at least 5-25 pictures, from different angles, light, flash settings, etc

Take pictures from 3ft / 1m off the ground by crouching down – this is how most people look at a room

Edit, enhance and crop the pictures before uploading using a free program such as Picasa (Google download)

Make sure you are not visible in any mirrors

Cover your house number when taking outside shots

Use a good digital camera – not your mobile phone

Describing your property It most cases, the pictures and price, combined with location are 80% of what the property hunter needs to make a viewing decision. Your description should be brief, positive and accurate. The most important things to include about the property are more about location, kitchen, bathrooms, storage and recent renovation or repairs. Internet and cable plus other facilities are also important to mention eg: appliances, etc. 

Take room measurements or check if already on previous listing

Find three to five features about the property

Find something positive to say about the location

Use distance not time when stating proximity

State facts not opinions e.g.

“A bright south-facing room with large bay window”, not “Fantastic light and airy room with brilliant aspect.”

Tip: Research other adverts as if you were a buyer – what attracts to read more or look at property? What makes a property stand out?

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Letting - checklist Checklist to include in your advert, or have ready for when people contact you:

 Singles or couples  Amount of deposit required  Furnished or unfurnished  Appliances included  Recent renovation or repairs  Admin fees / service charge  Pets allowed - which  DHSS / LHA considered  Heat/light/power included or approx. monthly bills  Council tax band  Location to local transport services  References required – type (eg: employers reference)  Smokers/non-smokers  Appliances included  Special features  If short term let considered  Access for wheelchairs etc  Date property available  Dates for viewing Tip: Your advert should state that applicants must bring proof of ID, including proof of address. Suggestion: If you would prefer, for a small additional charge, we can arrange for a local property advisor to visit your property, take photographs and prepare a property description and online listing

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4. Decide on your letting price In renting your property, the asking price is critical in attracting potential tenants. Too low and you could lose hundreds of pounds, too high and nobody comes to view. It is easy to simply re-advertise an existing rental property at the same price as the last tenant was paying. However tempting this may be, it is best to look at your price again, and with the Internet we do not need a traditional letting agent to do this for us. Contrary to popular belief letting agents or landlords do not set letting prices, the market does. All they do is estimate a reasonable property rent based on their knowledge of the property market. At the end of the day tenants determine the price of renting a property based on what they are willing to pay. Follow these steps and you will be able to easily set your rent price as well as any professional letting or estate agent. When setting your rental price do not be tempted to inflate the rent as this will simply drive tenants away and your property will take longer to lease, and more liable to void periods. These are the quickest and easiest steps: 1. Search for similar properties to let in your post code on the big property websites, if you have not already done this. 2. List them out and objectively position your property against them. This is your competition and tenants will be comparing your home with these similar properties. If you feel your property is worth more, ensure you can justify why in the description. 3. Look for similar properties coming on the market and to let in your area at the main websites whilst your property is live. Over 90% of all properties on the market are on these property sites. 4. Take into account micro-location factors. For example, being next to a take away food shop might lower your achievable rental price, but overlooking a park or green area will increase it. When setting your advert price there are few things to be aware: 

Price ceiling - £499 sounds cheaper than £500 – the first digit of a price can have a psychological effect, which is why it so well used.

Comparison price – you can state an artificially high figure (Was £495 p/w now £475 for quick move), with a discounted lower price – look at Amazon.co.uk for an example.

10% factor – special features of your property, for example a fancy front door or newly decorated bedroom might allow you to charge slightly higher but more than 10% against an identical property is difficult and may require more substantial features or benefits.

Loaded price – price slightly higher so you have room to negotiate if you have too, but not too high that you reduce interest or enquiries.

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5. Put your property online How to advertise your property If you are an ‘active’ landlord or like to keep control when you are letting, which you probably are if you are reading this book, GR Phelps Property can help. We offer an outstanding fixed-fee letting service to help you find a tenant for a low cost and maximum reach, whilst maintaining personal control of your tenants and properties. We advertise on all the top property websites, including Rightmove premium. The simplest, cheapest and easiest way to reach millions of potential tenants is to advertise your vacant property online with GR Phelps. You can upload your property with just one single screen. We then check and approve your advert and post online to Rightmove, findaproperty, Gumtree, globrix, zoopla, google property, prime location, S1 homes, rentright and more. 

Full control over the letting advert and tenant collection

All initial calls and email enquiries managed by GR Phelps

Tenant credit checks and references included – fees paid by tenant.

Upload today, online tomorrow (Monday to Friday)

Suggestion: If you need a TO LET signboard We can provide a signboard with Text back SMS facility anywhere in the UK.

How to list your property: Simply email the property description, photographs and letting details to tenantoffer@grphelps.co.uk and we will be in touch to do the rest.

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6. Manage enquiries IF you use us to advertise your property we will email all calls and enquiries to you as soon as they arrive. Keep a clear list of all applicants and enquiries. It is important to call people back promptly – they are most likely calling lots of properties. Assume every caller or enquiry wants to make an appoint to view. Tip: Arrange all viewings in an ‘open house’ style – saves time and encourages people to make a decision quicker. Use the suggested from to capture information when you call them back. Telephone tenant enquiry Title First name Last name Phone Email Current address

Questions they ask Viewing arranged?

Tips 

Ask viewers to bring proof of ID with them – it saves time later.

Always get a home address and landline number before a viewing.

Take good notes on each applicant

Be pleasant, helpful and friendly

Ask questions about their situation and what they think of the property

Close for a second viewing – on the first viewing and by phone

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7. Conduct viewings On the day Before your advert goes live, have a diary set-up so that you can manage your viewings with dates and times set aside for viewings. For each potential tenant make sure that you have taken their name and number just in case you have to re-arrange the appointment, and also in case they are late and have just got lost. Call them to make sure they are coming.

Before a viewing     

Have a print out of your property details, as they may want to take this away. A blank piece of paper so that you can take any notes while you are showing the tenants around. All the doors are shut so that you can present the room to them. You have planned a route through the property. You have prepared your property. Tip: You can easily print out a property description sheet from your online listing.

Showing the people around Always lead tenants through the property. When you open a door to the room enter first, pointing out all the positive points of the room. If a room is too small to fit everybody in then allow tenants to enter the room while you stand outside pointing out all the positive points. During the course of viewing gather some information about the tenant for example. 

About their job

When are they looking to move

What they like about your property

Gathering information about the tenant, may determine whom you rent to if you have several potentials to choose from.

After a Viewing After two days if the potential tenant has not contacted you, then contact them to see if they are interested, if not interested constructive feedback always useful.

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TENANT ENQUIRY FORM REQUIREMENTS: No of bedrooms: …………………. Furn / Part / Unfurn: ………………………………… Area/s: ………………………………………………………………………………………… Other requirements: …………………………………………………………………………. Max rent: ………………………….. Move reqd by: ……………………………………….. APPLICANT DETAILS: Name: ……………………………... Occupation: ………………………………………….. Address: ………………………………………………………………………………………. Telephone: Work: ……..………… Home: ………..………… Other: …………………… Smokers: ………………………….. Children (ages): ………. Pets: …………………….. Total no of persons: ……………... Sexes and occupations of each: …..……………………………………………………….. NOTES Date of enquiry: ………………….. Origin (where heard of us): ………………………… Remarks: ……………………………………………………………………………………… Record of viewings: Date and time

Property

Result / Remarks

Continue overleaf if necessary

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8. Select and check your tenant GR Phelps offer a quick and low-cost service that takes references (employer and previous landlord), performs a credit check agrees terms with the tenant. The administration charge is paid by the tenant and is available separately and independently of the tenant finding and letting management services. Make sure you keep at least one possible tenant in reserve in case your first choice tenant backs out. Consider asking a tenant who agrees to let your property for a ÂŁ50 holding deposit on the day.

Free credit checks: As well as normal credit checks, we take-up employment and landlord references. We can provide a full credit checking service payable by the tenant not the landlord.

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9. Prepare your tenancy agreement Tip: This is a critical area – unless you are experienced or legally qualified, it is recommended that an AST is prepared by a professional. We offer a fully personalised and efficient service from just £125 plus VAT.

Introduction to assured and shorthold tenancies What are assured and shorthold tenancies? These are the names of the commonest forms of arrangement for the letting of houses and flats by private landlords. In their current form, they were introduced by the Housing Act 1988 but important changes were made by the Housing Act 1996 with effect from 28 February 1997. In the legislation, the term “assured tenancy” covers both assured tenancies (sometimes called “full” or “ordinary” assured tenancies by landlords) and assured shorthold tenancies. For clarity, this leaflet will refer to assured tenancies and shorthold tenancies to highlight the important differences between the two. An assured or shorthold tenancy is the usual form of letting if: • • •

you are a private landlord and your tenant is a private tenant; the tenancy began on or after 15 January 1989; the house or flat is let as separate accommodation and is the tenant’s main home.

A tenancy will not be an assured or shorthold tenancy if: • • • •

the tenancy began before 15 January 1989; it is a business or holiday let; no rent or a very low or very high rent is charged; you are a “resident landlord”

Assured and shorthold tenancies were introduced to encourage lettings by allowing landlords to charge a full market rent, unlike previous forms of tenancy. Shorthold tenancies also allow landlords to let their property for a short period only and to get it back if they wish after six months. The changes in the 1996 Act make it easier to set up a shorthold tenancy and quicker and simpler to evict tenants who fail to pay their rent or cause a nuisance and annoyance to other local people. If you let on a shorthold tenancy, you can regain possession of your property 6 months after the beginning of the tenancy, provided that you give 2 months’ notice that you require possession. If you let on an assured tenancy, your tenant has the right to remain in the property unless you can prove to the court that you have grounds for possession.

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10. Move your tenant in 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 and alarm system, and the day refuse is collected etc. You should provide one set of keys for each Tenant. Where we will be managing we will arrange to have duplicates cut as required.

Landlord Check-in Checklist Tenancy details Address:

………………………………………....…………………………….……

Tenant:

………………………………………....…………………………….……

Landlord:

………………………………………....…………………………….……

Date:

………………………………………....…………………………….……

References received Personal reference Bank reference Landlord reference Credit check Identity checks made Passport Driving licence Utility bill Bank statement Personal details recorded Next of kin Bank Employer Guarantor Mobile phone Email address Check-in Tenant check-in check list complete Check-in documents received Tenancy agreement signed & dated Inventory Check-in declaration & receipt

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                 

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Useful information

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General Advice for Landlords Mortgage If your property is mortgaged, you should obtain your mortgagee's written consent to the letting. They may require additional clauses in the tenancy agreement. 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. We can advise on Landlords Legal Protection, Rent Guarantee Cover and Landlords Contents and Buildings Insurance 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 such bills are received in your name at our office, and that sufficient funds are held to your credit. Council tax and utility accounts You need to arrange for the transfer of Council Tax and utility accounts to the Tenant. Meter readings will be taken, allowing your closing gas and electricity accounts to be drawn up. Do not forget telephone, TV and Internet services. Income tax When resident in the UK, it is entirely the Landlords 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. Further information may be obtained from the Inland Revenue. 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, if required, arrange for a professional to prepare an inventory and schedule of condition. There are shocking new figures showing that poor inventories are costing landlords ÂŁ12 million a year. The Video Inventory Agency conducted this research.

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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 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 CORGI registered gas installer). Maintenance There is a duty to ensure that all gas appliances, flues and associated pipework 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. It is therefore necessary to make a visual check to ensure that all electrical items, plugs and leads appear completely safe and undamaged, and remove or replace any faulty items. 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 HOW TO FIND A BETTER TENANT FASTER - GR Phelps

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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). The following two pages can be copied and given to the new tenant and departing tenant

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Legal rights of tenants- just so you know! Rent Book: You have a legal right to a rent book (currently if you pay weekly), which must be provided by the landlord free of charge. Your district council has powers to take legal action where this requirement is not complied with. Notice to quit: A notice to quit must give at least 4 weeks written notice of the date on which it is to take effect. Illegal eviction and harassment: It is an offence for your landlord or anyone acting on his behalf to harass you or your household or illegally evict you. This could include interfering with your home or your possessions or cutting of services such as water or electricity with the intention of making you leave your home. Your local district council has powers to take legal action should any of these occur. Security of tenure: You cannot be evicted from your tenancy without a possession order issued by a Court of Law, although you may be liable for legal costs incurred if an order is issued. Help with payment of rent and rates: You are entitled to apply for help with the payment of your rent and rates through Housing Benefit, which is a Social Security benefit paid by the Housing Executive. For further information contact your local Housing Executive office. Uncontrolled tenancies General: You have the protection of the legal rights described in this rent book but other terms and conditions of your tenancy are a matter of agreement between you and your landlord with the exception of repairs and maintenance of gas and electrical appliances and furniture safety which are the responsibility of your landlord. For tenancies starting on or after 01 April 2007 there are additional rights Statement of Tenancy Terms: Your landlord by law must provide you with a Statement of Tenancy Terms free of charge, within 28 days of the start of the tenancy. Repairs: You and your landlord can agree the responsibility to repair, with the exception of gas and electrical appliances and furniture safety which are the responsibility of your landlord. Where the Statement of Tenancy Terms is not clear as to who has responsibility for repairs the law will impose ‘default terms’ for landlord and tenant repair responsibilities. You may be able to get some help from your local district council for some items of disrepair. Tenancies for a certain term: If you do not have a tenancy agreement or the tenancy agreement does not state when the tenancy will end, under the law you have a right to a tenancy that will run for six months initially and after this period will become a periodic tenancy (eg. month to month).

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Information for the departing tenant Your End of Tenancy Checkout - Handing back the Property In accordance with the terms of your tenancy agreement, you have two main obligations to consider when ending your tenancy: 1. The property and contents should be handed back in the same condition as they were at the beginning of the tenancy, but allowing for normal wear and tear. 2. The rent must be up to date, and all bills settled. The Checkout We will contact you in due course to make an appointment time for your checkout. This will need to be fixed for a time when you are literally ready to close the door and hand back the keys. During the checkout we will check the condition of the entire property and contents against the inventory, and record gas and electricity meter readings if relevant. The following notes are intended to help you prepare for the checkout, so that the event runs smoothly, and to minimise the risk of misunderstandings, deductions from your deposit, last minute problems or surprises: The Inventory It is a good idea to start your preparations now by running through your copy of the inventory to remind yourself about the contents and condition at the start of the tenancy, and to check for damaged or missing items. Normal Wear and Tear Please note that normal wear and tear does not include damage, nor excessive wear and tear. Preparing the Property and Contents 1. All soft furnishings especially carpets, curtains and mattresses should be left clean, paying special attention to any heavy stains and marks if applicable. This may mean having carpets professionally cleaned, and curtains dry cleaned and pressed. 2. All kitchen utensils, equipment and appliances should be cleaned, the fridge and freezer defrosted, food should be removed from all the cupboards and all hard surfaces should be washed down and cleaned, including the kitchen floor, which must not be 'sticky'. 3. All bathroom/WC furniture and fittings should be thoroughly cleaned with a proprietary bathroom cleaner/disinfectant paying particular attention to any stains or marks. 4. All the woodwork, skirting boards etc. should be washed down. 5. Any linen, towels etc. should be laundered and pressed and left in the appropriate places.

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6. All items of furniture should be dusted, cleaned and left in the appropriate rooms. 7. All electrical goods and appliances, including light bulbs and any garden equipment should be in good working order. 8. Gardens and patio should be free from weeds and lawns cut. 9. No rubbish should be left on the premises, except in the wheelie bin. 10. All sets of keys must be handed over. Internal keys for cupboards, windows etc. should be left in their locks. Final Bills You should contact the appropriate offices for telephone, water rates, and council tax and arrange for final bills. For gas and electricity it is generally easier to inform them of the final meter reading after the checkout. We will record these reading during the checkout. Mail Forwarding You should make arrangements with the Royal Mail. Viewings It is possible that we may contact you to arrange to show the property to prospective tenants. It is a condition of your tenancy agreement that you allow us to do so. However we will give reasonable notice, and endeavour to do so at your convenience. Return of Deposit Please note that your deposit will not be returned at the checkout. It will be refunded by company cheque sent by 1st class mail to your forwarding address normally within 24 hours. Where it is necessary for us to obtain estimates for replacements or remedial works, there may be a further delay, but we will endeavour to keep this to a minimum. Pre Checkout Visit It is our normal practice to carry out a pre-checkout visit to the property, about two weeks before you are due to leave. The purpose of this visit is to point out to you any particular areas which require your attention. Once the final checkout has taken place, you will not have access to the property, and therefore any remedial work will have to be carried out by contractors at your expense.

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Some ideas for smarter lettings The goal of every smart landlord, like yourself, should be maximise the profitability on each and every property you own. Successful property investing is more about cashflow than just capital growth. After all, the capital growth of a property is largely set when you buy or influenced by market forces and things outside of your control. Good cashflow however, is something you can definitely do something about. Here are some great ideas that will help to achieve maximum rental values with minimum void periods, reduced costs, less hassle and less stress. Write a good advert. Make sure your property sounds like somewhere nice to live for the price you are asking. Use ‘power’ words and make positive comments about these few key feature areas: Location, decor, storage, kitchen, bathroom, parking, garden, views etc. Include more information not less; average monthly utility bills, local area information, etc. Quality photographs. Take good pictures and plenty of them. Use the best one for your main advert photograph (maybe not the outside picture). Also, make sure you have pictures ready to use whenever you need them – you tenant could leave tomorrow. Low tenant fees. Your property might be exclusive and highly desirable or one of many very similar. Either way, do not charge high administration tenant fees and make sure your letting agent does not either. This is a major turn-off for tenants and is seen as greedy and unfair. In not charging high tenant fees (typically referencing costs) you can make your property more attractive without any cost to you. About £100 is reasonable.) All inclusive. People pay for convenience and less hassle. Give tenants a choice of renting with bills included or without. Calculate an all-inclusive price by working out your average monthly costs for gas, electric, broadband and water and dividing by 11, not 12. This covers your administration and leaves a margin for price increases. Insert a ‘fair usage’ clause in your tenancy agreement that can be taken from the deposit if exceeded. Change furniture regularly. This is a great idea for single room lettings and student accommodation. Good quality and low cost furniture can easily be sourced from Ikea and others. Change pillows, mattresses and kitchen utensils every tenant change, and leave them with their packaging on so the tenant so see they are new. Highlight this in your letting advert. You may be able to charge slightly for rent and the property may rent quicker too. Advertise online. You can now reach millions of tenants quickly and cheaply using the larger Internet portals such as Rightmove, Findaproperty, Zoopla, Globrix and others. However, many of these can only be accessed by professional estate agents, so make sure your letting agents list online with at least these four, without additional cost to you. Tenants who look on these sites, rather than newsagents windows, are often better quality and may pay more for a higher quality property. Call all tenants monthly, and let them call you. They are your customers after all. If you have a letting agent managing your properties, make sure they do this and call you as well. A recipe for a stress free life is “no surprises”! Always assume no news is bad news. HOW TO FIND A BETTER TENANT FASTER – page 37


Respond quickly to property problems, a happy tenant is more likely to stay. More tenants leave ‘bad’ landlords than leave bad properties. A broken shower, vermin, dripping taps or faulty appliances can quickly become a source of annoyance. Sorting out problems quickly builds goodwill and makes your tenant more likely to stay and accept reasonable annual rent increases. Check rent is paid on time and in full every month. Act promptly if a payment is missed, don’t bully the tenant, try and work out a solution, but do not delay in taking legal action if necessary. Accurate bookkeeping. Keep track of all receipts and allocate them against properties as you, not the end of the year. Offer 24 Emergency call out cover. This can often be outsourced and provided by a property maintenance company. Having this in place can help rent your property quicker and for a high monthly amount. What-if planning. Before buying a new property, carry out a three year cash flow analysis looking at various combinations or mortgage rate/rental fee increases and decreases. Important for properties that you currently own as well. In particular, expected the unexpected (see below). What-if’... 

Rental values drop by 20%?

Mortgage payments increase by 50%?

If both of the above happen at once?

The property is unlet for two months?

Budget for: 

New electric appliances every three years.

Annual certificates and safety checks.

Normal wear and tear maintenance.

Annual boiler servicing and replacement every ten years.

Replacement locks on tenant change over.

Inventory checks.

Furniture refresh.

Quarterly or monthly property checks. If the tenant knows you are going to inspect the property regularly, they are more likely to keep it in good order. Be nice. Send your tenants birthday and Christmas cards. It is just a nice thing to do. Increase rents annually in with inflation and current local rental rates. Alternatively, trade waiving a rent increase for signing a new 12 month contract. Go Green. If you are including gas and electric in your monthly rent make sure you every possible energy saving device going, including loft and wall insulation and long life light bulbs. There are sometimes generous government grants available for

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these. Even if the tenant is paying the bill, lower energy costs make the property more attractive. Free wi-fi and cable TV. These can cost you nothing or a few pounds a month, but make your property far more attractive and may let quicker and for longer. Be legal. Make sure you comply with all regulations, all if the time. Store scanned copies of all certificates online so you can or print them out for prospective tenants. Remember they are vetting you as well as the other way around. Rental guarantee insurance. This can avoid any gaps in rental, which might be important. Not cheap, but can be worth for some properties. Repaint and refurbish annually. You do not have to do the whole property, but an odd-job man touching up paintwork and doing a few minor repairs keeps the property looking smart should you need to re-let quickly and the current tenant happier. Include a cleaning service option. Find a local cleaner or cleaning company and negotiate an attractive rate for the tenant and include details in your advert. This might or not be used, but can potentially make the property more attractive to some tenants, and important if letting to working professionals. Reconsider your ‘singles only’ rule. Many landlords advertise properties as singles only. However, in many cases couples can be much better, particularly if they both work. You will be able to charge 25-50% higher rental than for a single, and the property is usually kept cleaner and tidier. Tenant turnover is always statistically lower for couples than singles. Give a discount for quarterly and annual advance payments or longer term agreements without break clauses. This might make your property more attractive to company lets or longer term tenants and lock tenants in. Discounted tenant replacement. Demand that your letting agent finds new tenants free or for a reduced rate within their management fees. If they don’t find, find one who does. We hope you find these ideas useful and you can use some of to maximise your rental income and make your life as a landlord a little easier. If you are looking for a letting management company that can deliver on all of these ideas as part of their standard service for no extra charge then: justdoproperty@grphelps.co.uk

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GR Phelps low-cost letting management Fixed-Fee Letting and Property Management Service: A full-service property and lettings service for a low monthly fee of 7.5% How it works We look after and manage all aspects of day-to-day landlord and tenant contact on your behalf, including telephone and email contact, monthly rental payment checks, bookkeeping, property problem solving, emergency call outs, documentation, tenant sourcing plus all administration tasks.

Key features        

Single point of contact and experienced back-office administration staff. We take over full tenant contact - taking care of all calls and emails to and from all your tenants, so you don’t have to. Monthly checking of rent on a per tenant basis, with immediate follow-up and action on late payment. Monthly courtesy calls or emails to your tenant and to you. Full online management of all property documentation, including certificates, tenancy agreements, etc. Free bookkeeping service included. Your property stored online for quick re-advertising. Review and sourcing of best price energy and utility services on an annual basis. *All prices plus VAT.

Our service can include a comprehensive 24/7 emergency assistance call-out insurance service, which covers your property for up to £500 of parts, labour and call-out charges. Call for details.

Options     

 

Quarterly property checks and visits, with audio and photographic report. Annual property valuation and market appraisal for either rents or property value. Inventory checks, with or without video Tenant eviction service. Annual trading and accounting summary Best quote’ sourcing for renovation, repairs, insurance and maintenance, with optional project management. Sourcing of new tenants for you to vet when required.

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Sample Tenancy Agreement This is provided as a sample only and should not be used without legal or professional advice. A copy is available to download from www.grphelpsonline.com with our Lettings Newsletter service.

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Assured Short Term Tenancy Agreement Commencement Date

Postcode:

Property Location This Agreement is between: The Landlord:

The Tenant

The Agent: (if applicable)

The Guarantor (if applicable)

The rent is Payable (monthly / weekly etc) Deposit

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The parties This Tenancy agreement (‘the tenancy’) is between the parties listed previously or stated below. This Agreement is between: The Landlord:

The Tenant

The Agent: (if applicable)

The Guarantor (if applicable)

And is offered and accepted on the following terms and conditions. The accommodation The tenancy concerns the following accommodation

Postcode: The accommodation includes the fixtures, fittings, furniture and furnishings specified in the inventory checked and signed by the landlord and the tenant and attached to this agreement.

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Tenancy terms Period of tenancy :________________________________________ The tenancy starts on: Day: _________Month: __________Year: 201_ (The entry date) including that day. The period of the tenancy is for _____ months from the start of this tenancy. Unless the landlord or the tenant has brought the tenancy to an end at, or before, the end of the period, the tenancy will continue on a month to month basis until terminated in terms of this agreement. Rent The rent is £ _______ Per (month/week): ____________ payable in advance on the

_______day of the (month/Week) ____________

(This includes the sum of £ _____ for the payment of rates (if any) and £ ______ for the following services (if any)

The rent should be paid in the manner indicated in paragraph 1.7. The Guarantor Agrees to pay, immediately on demand of the same, the rent, if the tenant misses payments in the manner indicated in paragraph 1.7 Method of Payment By Standing Order to the landlord/ agent By cheque to the landlord/ agent By cash to the landlord/agent By Housing Benefit (tick as appropriate) Either party to this agreement can change the method of payment by giving the other party one month’s prior written notice. Notes (must be agreed and signed by all parties)

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General Terms Rent Book The landlord will provide the tenant with a rent book, free of charge, as required. The tenant must make the rent book available to the landlord/agent for updating. Rates The Landlord / Tenant*is responsible for the payment of the rates. (*delete as appropriate) Rent increases The landlord is entitled to increase the rent on the anniversary of this agreement and each anniversary thereafter except that the landlord shall not be entitled to increase the rent during the first year of the tenancy. At least two months’ written notice of any rent increase will be given by the landlord. The tenant will be entitled, on receipt of such a notice, to terminate the tenancy as provided for in Section 5 of this agreement, before the increase takes effect. Bills The tenant is solely liable for the payment of all charges for the supply of utilities (such as electricity, gas, water and telephone), in respect of the accommodation during the period of the tenancy. The tenant will take all reasonable steps to transfer such utilities into his/her own name. The tenant must not seek, or allow, disconnection of any utility, or alter the identity of the supplier without the prior written permission of the landlord. The tenant will be liable for the cost of reconnection of any of these services. Deposit The tenant is required to pay a deposit of £ _____. The deposit will be held as security by the landlord against non-payment of rent by the tenant and for any damage caused to the property by the tenant. The deposit will be returned to the tenant within 14 days from the end of the tenancy less any deductions for sums properly incurred by the landlord under the tenancy. Breach If the landlord or tenant is in material breach of any terms or conditions of the tenancy either party is entitled to terminate the tenancy immediately or take the appropriate legal action in respect of the material breach. Joint and several liability If more than one tenant signs the agreement each will be liable together and individually for all obligations of the tenancy. Declarations by tenant The signature of the tenant on this agreement confirms the following: 1. that the tenant has not knowingly or carelessly given false or misleading information to the landlord in connection with obtaining this tenancy; 2. that the tenant made a full and true disclosure of all information sought by the landlord in connection with the grant of this tenancy; Service of notices HOW TO FIND A BETTER TENANT FASTER – page 45


Any notices or documents may be served on or sent to the landlord at the address in paragraph 1.1 above. The landlord shall be entitled to send, serve or deliver any notice or document to the tenant at the address of the accommodation. Permissions Wherever in this agreement the permission of the landlord is required, that permission will not be unreasonably withheld or delayed. Use of the accommodation Private Residence The tenant as named in this agreement must occupy the accommodation only as his/her private residence. Assignment The tenant is not entitled to assign the tenancy, sub-let any part of the accommodation, take in lodgers or other paying guests or otherwise part with possession of any part of the accommodation without the prior written permission of the landlord. The tenant must not operate any kind of business from the accommodation without the prior written permission of the landlord. Take reasonable care The tenant, and those living with or visiting the tenant, will take reasonable care not to cause or allow damage to be caused to the accommodation, decoration, fixtures, fittings, furnishings, the common parts and property of neighbours. Security The tenant and landlord will take all reasonable steps to safeguard the accommodation against burglary. The tenant will inform the landlord in advance if the accommodation is to be left unoccupied for more than 30days. No illegal or immoral use The accommodation must not be used for illegal or immoral purposes. Pets The tenant must not keep any domestic pets without the prior written consent of the landlord. Common parts tidy The tenant must keep the common parts clean and tidy to the extent that it is within his control to do so. Refuse The tenant must ensure that household refuse is placed in bin liners, sealed and placed in the wheelie bin provided, serving the property. The local council’s arrangements for refuse collection must be complied with by putting all the household rubbish in the bin store or other proper place allocated for it. If no such place exists, rubbish must not be placed anywhere in the common parts and should be put out for collection only on the day designated for collection.

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Respect for others Anti-social behaviour The tenant, those living with the tenant and visitors to the accommodation must not harass, or act in an anti-social manner to, any person in the neighbourhood on any ground, including that person’s racial or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability or other status. Anti-social behaviour Anti-social behaviour means causing, or likely to cause, alarm, distress, nuisance or annoyance to any person or causing damage to anyone’s property. Harassment of a person includes causing the person alarm or distress. Landlord interruption Provided the tenant abides by the conditions stated in this agreement, the landlord shall allow the tenant to have quiet enjoyment of the property without interruption.

REPAIRS AND MAINTENANCE Landlord’s Responsibilities and Rights Commencement of tenancy The landlord ensures that at the beginning of the tenancy, the property is fit to be lived in. Fire Safety The landlord will be responsible for ensuring that all furniture and furnishings, and all electrical, gas, fire safety, domestic heaters, and other appliances and equipment meet the current requisite safety standards/regulations. Repairs during tenancy During the course of the tenancy, the landlord will carry out repairs or other work necessary to make the accommodation fit to be lived in. The landlord or his agent will take care of the tenant’s property when carrying out such repairs. Specific repair obligations 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

The landlord will keep in repair and in proper working order: The structure and outside of the property The exterior paintwork of the property Installations for supply of the gas, water, electric, space heating and waterheating Appliances for making use of the supply of water, gas, electricity or other sources of heating Installations for sanitation (for example sinks, baths, showers, toilets) Installations for the detection of smoke, fire, carbon dioxide and intruders Door entry systems

Defective fixtures and fittings The landlord will repair or replace any of the fixtures, fittings or furnishings, supplied by the landlord in the accommodation, which become defective; and will do so within a reasonable period of time. HOW TO FIND A BETTER TENANT FASTER – page 47


The landlord’s obligations to repair maintain and decorate The landlord’s obligation must be construed subject to the following: The landlord is not under any duty to repair or maintain anything which is a tenant responsibility or to carry out any works for which the tenant is liable by virtue of this agreement or otherwise. The landlord is not under any duty to repair or maintain anything: which was not constructed or provided by the landlord, or any person from whom the landlord derived title, or any previous tenant (other than anything which was constructed or provided by the tenant and in respect of which the consent of the landlord has been given); or which the tenant is entitled to remove from the dwelling. In determining the standard of repair or maintenance necessary for compliance with the landlord’s obligations, regard is to be had to the age, character and prospective life of the dwelling at the time of the need for the relevant repair or maintenance. The landlord is not under any duty to carry out any work by virtue of its obligations to repair or maintain until a reasonable period has elapsed after the landlord has been given written and specific notice (by or on behalf of the tenant) of the need for such work. The landlord’s duties to repair, maintain and decorate are subject to the additional limitations provided for in this agreement. Right of entry The landlord has the right to enter the accommodation for inspection or to carry out repairs or maintenance to the accommodation or the utilities serving it, at reasonable times during the day on 48 hours’ prior written notice. Common parts The landlord will, in conjunction with other co-owners, take reasonable steps to keep the common parts in repair and fit for use by the tenant. Return of payable rent The landlord shall return to the tenant any rent payable in respect of any period during which the property may have been rendered uninhabitable.

Tenant’s Responsibilities and Rights Duty to report The tenant must report any damage to the accommodation, or the common parts, or the need for repairs or maintenance, as soon as reasonably practicable. The tenant must immediately report to the landlord any emergencies affecting the accommodation including interruption to the supply of water, gas and electricity. Reasonable care and maintenance The tenant is responsible for taking reasonable care of the accommodation. This includes carrying out minor routine maintenance, replacement of appliances and internal decoration. The tenant must keep the accommodation in a reasonable state of cleanliness and decoration. HOW TO FIND A BETTER TENANT FASTER – page 48


Repairs through tenant fault The tenant is responsible for repair (including replacement) of damage to the accommodation, or loss of any of the fixtures, fittings and items in the inventory, caused through the fault of the tenant, anyone in the tenant’s household or visitors of the tenant. For the avoidance of doubt the tenant must bear the cost of clearing blocked drains caused by dirty gully traps, or clearing waste pipes inside individual dwellings where the obstruction has been caused by misuse. Alterations The tenant is not entitled without the prior written permission of the landlord to: 1. 2. 3. 4.

alter, improve or enlarge the accommodation; add new fixtures or fittings to the accommodation; install external satellite aerials or dishes; erect any type of sign, flag or advertisement visible from outside the accommodation; 5. erect a shed, garage or other structure at the accommodation ; 6. decorate the outside of the accommodation; 7. change any of the locks in the accommodation or add new locks Ending the tenancy The tenancy may be ended in any of the following ways: When the period of the tenancy as agreed in paragraph 1.4 has expired; or After the term of the tenancy as outlined in paragraph 1.4 has expired and the tenancy has continued on a month to month basis either party must give one month’s prior written notice to terminate the tenancy; or In the case of material breach to the agreement by either party one month’s prior written notice must be given to the other party to terminate the tenancy. Signed by the Landlord / Agent

Signed by the tenant

Name (print)

Name (print)

Date

Date

Name of witness:

__________________________________________________

Signature:

_________________________________________________

Address of witness: __________________________________________________

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Inventory of Furnishings - sample This example list of standard items provided in the furnished property should be agreed. It will serve as a check list when ending the tenancy should a dispute arise. We would always recommend using a professional inventory specialist. Photographs should also be taken, printed and signed by all parties. Room Living room

Kitchen

Hallway / Stairs

Bedroom 1

Bedroom 2 (if applicable)

Bedroom 3 (if applicable)

Bedroom 4 (if applicable)

Exterior

Item Sofa Arm Chair Table Lamp Curtains Blinds Carpets Television Sink Unit Cooker Fridge Washing Machine Table and Chairs Pots and pans Cutlery Microwave Curtains Blinds Table Lamp Carpet Bed Wardrobe Carpet Curtains Blinds Lamp Bed Wardrobe Carpet Curtains Blinds Lamp Bed Wardrobe Carpet Curtains Blinds Lamp Bed Wardrobe Carpet Curtains Blinds Lamp Wheelie Bin

Landlord ………………………

Quantity

Description/condition

Tenant …………………… Date…………………

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Your notes

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Appendix

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Letting rooms in your home: A guide for resident landlords Tenancies which do not have a resident landlord are generally regulated or assured (including assured shorthold), depending whether they were granted before or after 15 January 1989 respectively. There are two main issues where the rights of landlord and tenant differ for resident landlord lets compared with these other types of tenancy: rent and security of tenure. Broadly, someone who lets from a resident landlord does not have a right to challenge the level of rent that he or she has agreed to pay and can be given less notice to leave if the landlord wants to end the letting, and in some situations can technically be evicted by the landlord at the end of the notice if he or she refuses to leave. Resident landlords have this greater freedom to end an arrangement because it is acknowledged that, should the relationship between the landlord and the person he or she lets to breaks down, the landlord is more vulnerable in his or her own home. For lettings started since 15 January 1989, the important point is whether you are using the property as an only or principal home, both at the start of the letting and throughout it. It is accepted that, for short periods, a landlord may not live in the property yet still be considered to be resident: so long as he or she intends to return and this is apparent, for example if he or she has left belongings. There are two main considerations: a. whether the landlord (or a member of his or her family) shares any accommodation with the person he or she is letting to b. whether the occupant has exclusive possession of at least one room a) This is important in distinguishing whether the occupant is protected by legislation in terms of notice to leave and eviction: a non-sharing arrangement will generally give the occupant greater legal protection than where accommodation is shared. (For this reason, lettings which are outside this protection are known as ‘excluded’ tenancies and ‘excluded’ licences). ‘Shared accommodation’ means any part other than stairs, halls, passageways or storage space; so that while a tenant in a selfcontained flat would not be considered to be sharing accommodation with the landlord, even someone who has most of their own facilities but shares a toilet would. However, even if the occupier only shares accommodation with a member of the landlord’s family, the arrangement will still be counted as a sharing one if the landlord himself also lives in the house. To count as an excluded tenancy or licence, the landlord does not have to live in the house continuously, although it must have been his only or main home both before and at the end of the let. b) This is about the distinction between tenancies and licences. Whereas the usual assumption for any letting arrangement is that it will be a tenancy, there may be some factors present that will make it merely a licence to occupy. The most usual one is a lack of exclusive possession; but if • the occupier does not have a right to HOW TO FIND A BETTER TENANT FASTER – page 53


occupy a particular room or rooms, and/or 7 8 • there is no rent payable for occupying the room, and/or • the occupation is not running for identifiable amounts of time, for example by the week or month then the arrangement is also likely to be a licence. Multi-room letting in the house. If each person has his or her own room (or rooms), then whether each arrangement is a tenancy or licence will depend on the factors above. If a room is let on a shared basis, where each occupier has come to the arrangement separately, or you have made it clear to the occupier that it is likely that he or she will have to share the room, the letting will probably be a licence to occupy. However, even if more than one person shares a room, the letting can still be a tenancy if the sharers entered the arrangement together (joint tenancy): for example, a couple or friends, or a family sharing a flat.

Some common questions answered I’m an owner-occupier. Do I need permission to let out part of my home. If you own the property outright, you do not need permission from anyone to let. If you have a mortgage on the property, it is in practice essential to get the mortgage lender’s agreement to let part of the property first: otherwise, you are likely to be in breach of the mortgage terms. If you are a long leaseholder, you should check the terms of the lease to ensure that you can let part of the property and, if necessary, get the freeholder’s agreement first. In either of these situations, if your rights in the property end (eg because the mortgage lender forecloses due to mortgage arrears, or the freeholder terminates the lease because of a breach by the leaseholder), so will the sub-tenant’s. I’m a tenant. Can I sublet part of the property or take in lodgers. If you are a secure council tenant, you have the right to take in a lodger, but cannot sublet without the council’s written permission (see housing booklet Your Rights as a Council Tenant). If you are the tenant of a registered social landlord (such as a housing association), you can probably let any spare accommodation, with your landlord’s consent, but should check first. If you are a private tenant, you should check the terms of your tenancy. If there has been nothing agreed to the contrary, in many cases the tenant would be free to sublet. However, in practice most private tenancies prohibit subletting: because there is something in the written tenancy agreement to this effect (either absolutely or without the owner’s permission) and/or because assured (including assured shorthold) periodic tenancies have this prohibition implied. But a tenant can of course ask his or her landlord for permission anyway. A tenant who has sublet in defiance of these prohibitions cannot use this as justification for denying his own tenant or licensee her rights, for example by evicting her illegally. Also, these restrictions only apply where the intended arrangement is for the tenant to “part with possession” of some of the property: if, for example, you were informally having a friend to stay, or taking in a lodger who you would be providing services to, you would probably not be giving exclusive use of any of the accommodation. HOW TO FIND A BETTER TENANT FASTER – page 54


Again, if any of these types of tenancies comes to an end, so generally will the subtenancy. Will my home insurance cover be affected if I let part of my home. It is very likely that insurance premiums will be increased by allowing someone to share the home, because of factors such as accidental damage. It is extremely advisable to check for both contents cover and building cover. Do I need planning permission? You would not need planning permission simply for letting rooms, so long as the property remains primarily your home: but there could be a planning consideration if you were to use it mainly to earn money from letting accommodation. If rooms in the house are let to several people, it may be classed as a house in multiple occupation (HMO). Local councils have the power to licence certain types of HMOs in order to protect occupants from problems that can arise in shared accommodation. If there are a maximum of two other persons residing in the building, it will not be an HMO at all. If there are four or more other persons and the HMO is three storeys or more it will be subject to mandatory licensing. In any other case the HMO may be subject to licensing, but only if the council has made an additional licensing scheme. (For further information please see Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation in England, A Guide for Landlords and Managers booklet available at: www.communities.gov.uk). If my property is a HMO will I be subject to management regulations? If your property is a HMO you will be subject to management regulations. This requires all landlords or managers of HMOs, whether or not they are licensable, to ensure the good day-to-day management of HMOs and that necessary equipment is maintained in good condition. For example, you would be responsible for ensuring matters such as cleanliness of shared areas, safety of means of access, and adequate provision for disposal of rubbish. The other occupants of the house must not do anything that hinders you in these duties. The local council has powers to take action where the condition of an HMO does not comply with requirements. What steps might I take to help prevent problems in the future? It is common to ask the intending occupier for references (personal, or from his or her employer or bank) before agreeing the let. You are also entitled to take a deposit before the person you let to moves in, to act as security in case he or she leaves the property owing you money, or to pay for any damage at the end of the letting. The amount of deposit is negotiable, but a month’s rent is usual. In a written agreement, it should be stated clearly the circumstances under which part or all of the deposit may be withheld at the end of the let. It is advisable for both parties to agree a list of furniture, kitchen equipment and other items in the property at the outset of the letting and to have this rechecked when it ends in order to avoid disagreements. In any case, taking photographs of the interior of the accommodation when the let starts can also be a useful way of recording its condition, in case of any later dispute about what damage has been caused. Especially where there is no written agreement, it is a good idea generally to discuss beforehand any issues such

HOW TO FIND A BETTER TENANT FASTER – page 55


as whether guests can stay, when music can be played, to help prevent future friction or misunderstandings. If you take a deposit, it may be advisable to keep the deposit in a separate bank account so that it can be returned easily at the end of the letting unless the conditions for withholding it are met. However, where you are letting rooms in your residential home, for less than 3 years you will not need a written agreement. How often (and by how much) can I put the rent up? Again, there are no rules specifically about rent increases, but if you have agreed a rise with the occupier, you cannot put the rent up by more than this. If the arrangement is for a fixed term, it cannot go up within that time unless this has been agreed, for example in a tenancy agreement. You are free to raise the rent at the end of the fixed term, if you agree a new let with the occupier. If the let is periodic or completely open-ended, then unless the parties have made arrangements for rent review as above you can increase the rent from term to term as you wish. In either case it may be helpful to agree when and by how much the rent will go up at the outset, and have this included in an agreement. However, if a standard agreement is being used, any rent review clauses should be reasonably specific about date and amount of increase, in order to comply with the unfair contract terms legislation Must I provide a rent book? You are legally obliged to provide a rent book if the rent is payable on a weekly basis. This must by law contain certain information about overcrowding, so it may be advisable to check a standard one available from law stationers’. However, many standard rent books are for tenancies not relevant to lets by resident landlords; so if you do decide to use a standard one, you may need to adapt it so that inapplicable information is removed. Even where there is no requirement to provide a rent book, you should give a receipt if asked. You should also keep your own record of rent payments to help avoid disagreements later. Who is responsible for Council Tax? If the occupier lives in a self-contained flat (even if part of your house), it is likely that the local council will bill him or her directly for Council Tax. If he or she only rents a room or rooms at your address, you will normally be responsible for paying the Council Tax. But you can ask the occupier for a contribution or include an amount to cover the cost of Council Tax in the rent charged (see also section 6.1). However, who is responsible for paying Council Tax can also depend on the terms of the agreement entered into. What about other domestic bills? Whether the tenant or licensee is billed directly or not is a matter for agreement, although it is unusual for utility companies to send separate bills unless the property has been converted into flats.

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The more usual arrangement is for the landlord to include an amount in the rent to cover the cost of water, gas and electricity that the occupier uses. Can the person I let to get help with the rent? If the occupier is on a low wage or claiming other benefits, he or she may be able to get housing benefit from the local authority to cover part or all of the rent. The rules on housing benefit are complicated. The local authority’s Housing Benefit Department will be able to provide leaflets and advice about how housing benefit payments are calculated and paid. Who is responsible for repairs and maintenance? Responsibility for major repairs generally rests with the landlord. It is especially important to agree responsibility for other repairs where you and the occupier live in very separate parts of the house, for example if it is converted into flats. Unless there is express agreement to the contrary, you will retain responsibility for common parts, such as staircases. A tenant is under a duty to use the property in a proper, “tenant-like manner”, and you would not be responsible for repairing damage caused by his or her failure to do so. You may particularly wish to ensure when taking a deposit or drawing up an agreement, that it is clear that the occupier will be held financially responsible for damage due to his or her acts or omissions. Are there any rules about gas and electrical safety? You must ensure that all gas appliances and installations you supply are maintained in good order and that an annual safety check is carried out by someone who is registered with CORGI (Council for Registered Gas Installers). You must keep a record of the safety checks, and must usually issue it to the occupier within 28 days of each annual check. The occupier is responsible for maintaining gas appliances which she owns or is entitled to take with her at the end of the letting. By law, you must ensure that the electrical system and any electrical appliances supplied with the let such as cookers, kettles, toasters, washing machines and immersion heaters are safe to use. If you are supplying new appliances, you should also provide any accompanying instruction booklets. What are the rules on fire safety of furniture? If you supply furniture or furnishings with the let, you should ensure that they meet the fire resistance requirements – sometimes known as the ‘match test’ – in the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988. Smoke alarms are strongly advised: ideally one should be fitted on each floor of the property. It is also highly recommendable to keep at least a fire blanket in the kitchen; and depending whether, for example, several people are likely to be cooking and/or smoking, having a fire extinguisher could be a sensible precaution. For more information, Communities and Local Government publishes the leaflets, Fire safety in the home, Fire safety for people in shared or rented accommodation and Fire equipment for the home. What access rights do I have? You, or your agent, have the legal right to enter the occupier’s accommodation at reasonable times of day to carry out the repairs for which you are responsible and to HOW TO FIND A BETTER TENANT FASTER – page 57


inspect the condition and state of repair of the property. For tenancies, the landlord must give 24 hours’ notice in writing of an inspection. For licences where unrestricted access is agreed, or required for the landlord to carry out his or her responsibilities, it is not necessary to give notice. It may be helpful to include the arrangements for access and procedures for getting repairs done in a written agreement. In an emergency, you can enter without giving notice. A tenant has the right to ‘quiet enjoyment’. This means that he or she has the right to use the property he or she is renting without unnecessary or unreasonable interference. What if I can’t gain access? You should seek legal advice if the occupier will not allow access for an inspection or to carry out repairs. You can take whatever steps are reasonably necessary to protect your own and others’ property, particularly in an emergency. You might even be under a duty to take prompt action where a problem could affect other people. How can a let be ended? This depends very much on whether it is for a fixed term, or a periodic or openended arrangement and also on the nature of the let. If the arrangement is an openended or periodic one, either you or the occupier is free to bring it to an end at any time, but must notify the other party that the letting will be ended. This is known as giving notice to quit. If it is for a fixed term, it will simply expire on the agreed date without either party having to give notice. However, it may be advisable to remind the occupier before the end of the fixed term that you want her to leave. The arrangement cannot normally be ended before the end of the fixed term unless both parties agree. Whatever kind of arrangement, an offence will be committed if you evict the occupier before his or her tenancy or licence has been properly brought to an end (or expired, if a fixed term). Can I end a fixed-term arrangement early? Yes, if there is something in the agreement allowing you to terminate the arrangement if the occupier breaks it. Can the occupier leave during a fixed-term let? If the occupier has a fixed term arrangement but wants to move out before the end of the term, he or she can only end it if you say so, or if this is allowed for by a ‘break clause’ in the agreement. If neither the terms of the let nor you allow the occupier to end the arrangement early, he or she will be contractually responsible for ensuring rent is paid for the entire length of the fixed term.

HOW TO FIND A BETTER TENANT FASTER – page 58


Useful documents Online links Copies of the many forms and the AST letting agreement contained in this guie are available to download from www.grphelpsonline.com under the Articles section ‘Letting newsletter’. Please register to get your free links to dozens of documents, articles and useful links. If you have any questions: info@grpheps.co.uk 0871 288 3834

HOW TO FIND A BETTER TENANT FASTER – page 59


TENANT ENQUIRY FORM REQUIREMENTS: No of bedrooms: …………………. Furn / Part / Unfurn: ………………………………… Area/s: ………………………………………………………………………………………… Other requirements: …………………………………………………………………………. Max rent: ………………………….. Move reqd by: ……………………………………….. APPLICANT DETAILS: Name: ……………………………... Occupation: ………………………………………….. Address: ………………………………………………………………………………………. Telephone: Work: ……..………… Home: ………..………… Other: …………………… Smokers: ………………………….. Children (ages): ………. Pets: …………………….. Total no of persons: ……………... Sexes and occupations of each: …..……………………………………………………….. NOTES Date of enquiry: ………………….. Origin (where heard of us): ………………………… Remarks: ……………………………………………………………………………………… Record of viewings: Date and time

Property

Result / Remarks

Continue overleaf if necessary

HOW TO FIND A BETTER TENANT FASTER – page 60


TENANT APPLICATION FORM Please note: A copy of this form must be completed by each intended occupier over 18 years of age, and by any guarantor. Surname (Mr/Mrs/Ms):

First names:

Home Tel:

Work Tel:

Date of birth:

Present Address: Postcode: Owner/tenant/other (specify):

How long there:

Landlord/Agent:

Name:

Reason to leave:

Address: Postcode:

Tel:

Fax:

If less than 3 years at the above address: Previous Address: Postcode: Owner/tenant/other (specify):

How long there:

Landlord/Agent:

Name:

Reason to leave:

Address: Postcode:

Tel:

Current Employer:

Name:

Fax:

Address: Postcode:

Tel:

Position held: Date commenced:

Fax: Annual Salary:

Contact: Name:

Position:

HOW TO FIND A BETTER TENANT FASTER – page 61


If less than 2 years with current employer please give previous employer's details overleaf.

Page 1 of 2 Accountant if self-employed:

Name:

Address: Postcode:

Tel:

Your Bank:

Name:

Fax:

Branch Address: Sort Code: - -

A/c name:

Personal Referee:

Name:

A/c no:

Address: Postcode:

Tel:

Fax:

Occupation:

Relationship:

Time known:

General: Do you smoke?

Yes / No

Do you intend to keep any pets? If so please give details:

Yes / No

Will any children be living with you? If so please give ages:

Yes / No

Do you have a criminal record?

Yes / No

Have you ever had any County Court Judgements against yourself?

Yes / No

Have you ever been evicted from or asked to leave a property you were renting for any reason?

Yes / No

Declaration:

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I declare that the information I have provided on this form is true and correct, and hereby authorise you to verify the details given and to seek references as required. I understand that this does not represent any offer or contract of any nature. I further understand that if you decline to offer me a tenancy no explanation will be given. Signed by Applicant:

Date:

Additional information may be included here:

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Employee reference for letting purposes An Employer Address x x x Attn: The Personnel Officer Date PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL Dear Re: (Name of applicant) The above-named, who we understand is employed by your Company, has applied to us for the tenancy of a property for which we are the Letting and Managing Agents. We would be grateful therefore, if you would provide us, in the strictest confidence, with a letter to include the following information 1. how long s/he has been employed by your company and in what capacity 2. his/her current salary 3. whether you can recommend him/her for our purposes. Thank you for your assistance in this matter. Yours sincerely,

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Landlord reference

Prior Landlord Address x x x Date PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL Dear Re: (Name of applicant) The above named, who we understand is currently renting / has recently rented accommodation from you, has applied to us for the tenancy of a property for which we are the Letting and Managing Agents. I should be grateful therefore, if you would be kind enough to complete the questionnaire below, tear off, and return it to us in the enclosed SAE. Your reply will of course be treated in the strictest confidence. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter. Yours sincerely,

CONFIDENTIAL QUESTIONNAIRE How much was / is the rent ?

£ ………

Have rental payments been regular and on time ?

Yes / No

Have the property and contents been treated with respect ?

Yes / No

Can you recommend the above-named as a tenant ?

Yes / No

Any other comments: Signed: ……………………………….. Print name: ……………………………… Date: …………………..

HOW TO FIND A BETTER TENANT FASTER – page 65


Bank reference Applicant’s Bank plc Address x x x Date PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL Dear Sir / Madam, Re: Applicant’s name and Account number The above-named has applied to us for the tenancy of a property for which we are the Letting and Managing Agents. The rental / her proportion of the rental will be £xxx per calendar month. I would be grateful therefore, if you will provide a reference to include your opinion of the applicant’s ability to meet this financial commitment, and reply to our bankers as below. The applicant’s signed authority is enclosed. Our Bankers and A/c details: Bank name: Branch address: Sort code: A/c name: A/c number: Thank you for your assistance in this matter. Yours faithfully,

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Guarantor letter Note: This is a legal document. Sign it only if you wish to be bound by its contents. If you are in any doubt you should first show it to a solicitor. To:

GUARANTEE (Please use capitals throughout) TENANT APPLICANT Full name: _________________________________________________________________ Address of property to be let:

GUARANTOR Full name: _________________________________________________________________ Home address:

Occupation: ________________________________________________________ Relationship to the above named applicant: _______________________________ DECLARATION BY GUARANTOR In consideration of a tenancy of the above property to be let being granted to the above named tenant applicant, I hereby agree to accept full liability for, and to discharge to you without undue delay all rental and any other lawful debt or liability which may be due or overdue for payment by the above-named applicant in respect of that applicant’s proposed tenancy of the said property. This is a continuing guarantee and security and my liability under it shall not be affected by your giving time or any other indulgence to the applicant. Signature of Guarantor: _________________________ Date: ________________ Notes: (Delete before printing) 1) The Guarantor should be fully referenced as though s/he were a tenant. 2) This document should be completed and signed in the presence of the landlord or landlord's agent. HOW TO FIND A BETTER TENANT FASTER – page 67


Tenant confirmation A Tenant Address x x x Date Dear Re: Your proposed tenancy of (Address of property) Following satisfactory replies to our reference enquiries, we are pleased to confirm our offer of a tenancy on the above property, subject only to contract. We would request therefore, that you telephone our offices to arrange a mutually convenient appointment with our consultant, to sign the tenancy agreement, and to pay over the necessary deposit and advance rental, at your earliest convenience. Please note that if you wish the tenancy to commence within 14 days, the abovementioned balance will need to be made in the form of cleared funds (i.e. no current account cheques). Yours sincerely,

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Tenant decline letter A Tenant Address x x x Date

Dear Re: (Address of property) Following your recent application for a tenancy, we are now in receipt of replies to our reference enquiries. Unfortunately, after careful consideration, the information obtained leads our client to consider your application as unacceptable. We regret therefore that we are unable to proceed further with your application to rent the above property. Yours sincerely,

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HOLDING DEPOSIT RECEIPT To:……………………………………………………… Date: ………………………….. Re proposed tenancy of:

Planned commencement date: ………………………………………………………….

First advance rental

£

Security deposit ** Admin fees @ £ p/p Total due Less Holding Deposit paid * Balance due

£

* The above balance must be paid in full before your tenancy starts in cleared funds, i.e. by bankers draft, building society savings account cheque, or cash. Current account bank cheques will not be accepted within 14 days of the tenancy start date. ** The Agency Admin fee is payable per person and covers the costs of referencing, credit checking, agreement preparation and ancillary costs. Conditions: 1. Payment of the Holding Deposit ensures that the above accommodation will not be offered to any other applicant by this company until after the aboveentered planned commencement date. This is a NON-REFUNDABLE DEPOSIT and will be forfeit as liquidated damages in the event that you withdraw or otherwise fail to take up the tenancy by or on the above date. If, however, this Agency or the Landlord decline to grant the tenancy it will be refunded, less the Agency Admin fee/s. 2. The proposed tenancy is offered 'subject to contract' and is conditional upon: 1. The receipt of satisfactory references and/or guarantees 2. The receipt of cleared funds as above 3. The signing by all parties of the tenancy agreement.

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4. Particulars of the above accommodation and proposed tenancy have been described to you in good faith from information received, and no responsibility will be accepted for errors, omissions or mis-statements. To be completed by applicant/s: I understand and agree with the above terms and conditions and to pay the Agency Fee/s as shown. Signed: …………….…….. Name: ……………………. Date: …………………..

Signed: …………….…….. Print Name: ……………………. Date: ………………….. (All proposed tenant applicants to sign. Continue overleaf if necessary). IMPORTANT: Once your tenancy start date is confirmed, you should contact the gas, electricity and telephone companies to arrange transfer of accounts to your name/s. Please bear in mind that at least three working days notice is required if the service is currently disconnected. Telephone numbers: Gas: ………………… Electricity: …..…………….

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PROPERTY SUMMARY Address:

HEATING Type (gas, economy 7 etc) Make of boiler

Timer position

Themostat position

Timer position

Set-up instructions

WATER/PLUMBING Main stopcock position

Other stopcocks

Notes

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ELECTRICITY Meter position

Fusebox position

Notes

GAS Meter position

Notes

OTHER SERVICES

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Inventory form INVENTORY OF CONTENTS (and Schedule of Condition)

of:

Item

Page

Condition

Existing damage

of

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Last page of Inventory of Contents (and Schedule of Condition)

of:

Notes:

Schedule of condition:

Ingoing check:

Outgoing check:

General remarks:

General remarks:

Gas meter reading:

Gas meter reading:

Electricity meter reading:

Electricity meter reading:

This Inventory & Schedule of Condition checked and agreed at: on

This Inventory & Schedule of Condition checked and agreed at: on

Signed by the tenant/s:

Signed by the tenant/s:

Signed by the landlord’s agent:

Signed by the landlord’s agent:

Page

of

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Welcome letter A Tenant Property address x x x

Date

Dear Re: Your tenancy at the above address I enclose your copies of documents relating to your tenancy, including the agreement, the inventory, your financial statement, and a standing order form for rental payments. Please complete the standing order form, and pass it to your bank without delay. As you know, we are the managing agents for the property, and if you should have any queries about your tenancy, or if any maintenance or repair problems arise, please call us during office hours and we will do our best to help. Finally, I will take this opportunity to wish you a pleasant stay in your new home. Yours sincerely,

HOW TO FIND A BETTER TENANT FASTER – page 76


Overdue rent A Tenant Address x x x

Date

Dear IMPORTANT – OVERDUE RENT Further to our telephone call of xxxxx it appears that your rent on the above property which was due on xxxxx, remains unpaid. This is perhaps an oversight on your part, but if further delays occur, it can become a very serious matter. Please therefore forward payment immediately to rectify the situation. If you have any problems in making payment as above, please telephone us to discuss the matter right away. Yours sincerely,

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Overdue rent A Tenant x x x

Date Dear IMPORTANT – OVERDUE RENT Having received no reply to our letter date xxx regarding your overdue rent, we write to advise you that if the arrears are not rectified immediately, our next course of action must be to issue a Notice under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 (as amended), REQUIRING REPOSSESSION OF THE PROPERTY. Please note that it is also our policy to take enforcement action to recover any arrears through the Courts. This will involve you in additional costs, and is likely to affect your ability to obtain credit, and to secure future rented accommodation. To avoid further action as above, you must contact us immediately to arrange payment of your arrears. Yours sincerely,

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Checkout NOTES FOR TENANTS Your End of Tenancy Checkout - Handing back the Property In accordance with the terms of your tenancy agreement, you have two main obligations to consider when ending your tenancy: The property and contents should be handed back in the same condition as they were at the beginning of the tenancy, but allowing for normal wear and tear. The rent must be up to date, and all bills settled. The Checkout We will contact you in due course to make an appointment time for your checkout. This will need to be fixed for a time when you are literally ready to close the door and hand back the keys. During the checkout we will check the condition of the entire property and contents against the inventory, and record gas and electricity meter readings if relevant. The following notes are intended to help you prepare for the checkout, so that the event runs smoothly, and to minimise the risk of misunderstandings, deductions from your deposit, last minute problems or surprises: The Inventory It is a good idea to start your preparations now by running through your copy of the inventory to remind yourself about the contents and condition at the start of the tenancy, and to check for damaged or missing items. Normal Wear and Tear Please note that normal wear and tear does not include damage, nor excessive wear and tear. Preparing the Property and Contents All soft furnishings especially carpets, curtains and mattresses should be left clean, paying special attention to any heavy stains and marks if applicable. This may mean having carpets professionally cleaned, and curtains dry cleaned and pressed. All kitchen utensils, equipment and appliances should be cleaned, the fridge and freezer defrosted, food should be removed from all the cupboards and all hard surfaces should be washed down and cleaned, including the kitchen floor, which must not be 'sticky'. All bathroom/WC furniture and fittings should be thoroughly cleaned with a proprietory bathroom cleaner/disinfectant paying particular attention to any stains or marks. All the woodwork, skirting boards etc. should be washed down. Any linen, towels etc. should be laundered and pressed and left in the appropriate places. All items of furniture should be dusted, cleaned and left in the appropriate rooms. Page 1 of 2

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All electrical goods and appliances, including light bulbs and any garden equipment should be in good working order. Gardens and patio should be free from weeds and lawns cut. No rubbish should be left on the premises, except in the wheeliebin. All sets of keys must be handed over. Internal keys for cupboards, windows etc. should be left in their locks. Final Bills You should contact the appropriate offices for telephone, water rates, and council tax and arrange for final bills. For gas and electricity it is generally easier to inform them of the final meter reading after the checkout. We will record these reading during the checkout. Mail Forwarding You should make arrangements with the Royal Mail. Viewings It is possible that we may contact you to arrange to show the property to prospective tenants. It is a condition of your tenancy agreement that you allow us to do so. However we will give reasonable notice, and endeavour to do so at your convenience. Return of Deposit Please note that your deposit will not be returned at the checkout. It will be refunded by company cheque sent by 1st class mail to your forwarding address normally within 24 hours. Where it is necessary for us to obtain estimates for replacements or remedial works, there may be a further delay, but we will endeavour to keep this to a minimum. Pre Checkout Visit It is our normal practice to carry out a pre-checkout visit to the property, about 2 weeks before you are due to leave. The purpose of this visit is to point out to you any particular areas which require your attention. Once the final checkout has taken place, you will not have access to the property, and therefore any remedial work will have to be carried out by contractors at your expense. This preliminary visit usually takes only a few minutes, and we will contact you shortly to make an appointment. We look forward to speaking to you shortly. In the meantime if you have any queries please do not hesitate to call during office hours.

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How to find a better tenant faster