Philip O'Shea Estate Agents provides a range of letting and management services based on the experience, skills and expertise of our lettings team. You can be assured that we have a detailed understanding of the lettings and management sector and will ensure that you are given the best possible service.
Over the last few years and, following the introduction of the 1988 Housing Act which offers greater protection and possession rights to Landlords, there has been resurgence in the lettings market.
People from all walks of life are looking to become involved in the rental market whether investors, companies, people who need to relocate with their work or homeowners who are having difficulty in selling their own properties. Increasingly, large numbers of people are entering the ‘Buy to Let’ sector as an opportunity for investment.
As a result, landlords have come to expect extensive knowledge and expertise from the agency they choose to act in their interests.
Where to Start?
1. Local lettings agent – We would suggest you find a local agent who knows the market conditions and can find the right tenant for your property
2. Having chosen your agent, you will be required to prepare your property for rental and below we list a few guidelines to assist you:
The rental market as with any other is competitive therefore, in order to obtain the best possible Tenants; you must present your property in the most effective way, here are some of the measures we suggest:
Interior walls should be neutral colours and carpets plain
Fabrics and Furnishings (if any) should be able to withstand reasonable wear and tear and be of suitable quality
Animals and their odours should be eliminated
The front door should be clean and the Entrance Hall clear of any obstructions as first impressions are important
The entire property should be clean and well-aired and the garden tidy.
If the weather is cold, heating should be turned on and, in warmer conditions, windows opened
For any other advice contact your Agent
3. Other important considerations for landlords before letting:
Written consent must be obtained from your mortgage provider/freeholder (if property is leasehold).
Your insurance company must be notified that the property is to be rented out and appropriate insurance obtained for a tenanted property. There are specialist insurance companies who can provide this and we would be happy to assist you.
The Inland Revenue must also be informed within 6 months of letting your property, flat or apartment in the UK and failure to do so will incur penalties, interest and other consequences. The Inland Revenue are apt to deal harshly with landlords who do not declare rental income and it is always best to seek advice on tax planning and capital gains tax from a fully qualified accountant.
Mail should be redirected with the Post Office.
Further copies of keys will need to be provided, at least two if you instruct us to manage the property for you.
Utilities such as gas/electricity/water/telephone & council tax will have to be transferred to the successful tenant.
An inventory and check in should be drawn up. This is an important legal document which forms an integral part of the tenancy agreement and, as such, it is a false economy to prepare your own in most cases.
The inventory is required whether the property to let is furnished or unfurnished and accurate descriptions of the overall condition of wall/floor coverings, kitchen and bathroom fittings to name but a few are essential. Amounts cannot be withheld from the tenant’s deposit unless the loss or damage is proved to have been caused by the tenant.
In the event that any dispute concerning loss or damage to your property is not amicably resolved then the matter will be referred to the Courts and arbitration but should be noted that any judgement will be on the basis of written documentation – the inventory
4. Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST)
This tenancy is attractive to landlords as it offers market rents without security of tenure beyond the contractual term and the majority of tenancies are based on this format.
If the property is let under an Assured Short Hold Tenancy, the landlord can issue a Section 21 notice to guarantee possession provided the term of the short hold is expired and not less than two months notice has been given by the landlord stating he requires possession.
If court action is needed, this can be obtained on a number of different grounds against the tenant.
However, it should be noted that is a criminal offence under the Protection from Evictions Act 1977, for a Landlord to threaten or forcibly evict a Tenant from their property.
5. Furnished or Unfurnished - Most professional tenants prefer the property to be unfurnished and it has been found that a tenant is likely to respect the property more if they have their own possessions. Moreover the difference between rent for furnished or unfurnished is negligible and the landlord remains responsible for the repair of replacement of any furnishings which become broken or worn (unless this was caused by a deliberate act of the tenant – see damage deposits).
6. Marketing/Finding a Tenant – You will need to decide whether you require your agent to simply market your property and find a Tenant or whether you would prefer to engage them as managing agents.
Whatever you decide to choose, either our 'find a tenant' or 'managed' package Philip O'Shea Estate Agents will firstly provide colour property details and a rental valuation which will be based on the popularity of the area, proximity to transport, rental price of similar properties and decorative condition to name but a few.
It is important to price your rent fairly but realistically in order to attract the most suitable tenant.
Your rental property will be displayed in our office and feature on our website and other sites such as Rightmove to ensure maximum exposure. We also contact any listed prospective tenants.
Should you decide to employ us as your managing agent, we will also field calls, arrange viewings, vet prospective tenants and obtain references, draw up contracts and advise you on your safety and repair obligations.
7. Full Credit Checking – Thorough referencing is carried out on all prospective tenants as we can reserve the right to decline an application where necessary in the interests of protecting the landlord’s investment.
8. References – These will be obtained through us as your Agent and include references from the tenant’s employer and previous landlord.
9. Drafting of Tenancy Agreement/Leases – The letting team at Philip O'Shea Estate Agents can prepare and supply you with all legal documentation and give practical general legal advice.
10. Damage Deposits – This is usually equivalent to one month’s rent and is taken from the Tenant to be held in the government recognise Deposit protection Scheme until the end of the Tenancy. Upon vacation of your property, there will be a re-inspection and any refunds will be made within a maximum of 28 days, provided that there are no disputes and all utility accounts have been settled.
The costs of everyday repairs and maintenance are the responsibility of the Landlord but, if we are instructed to manage your property on your behalf, we will pay the contractor out of the Tenant’s rent. We can also organise quotes for approval on any major repair as this becomes apparent.
Under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, landlords are responsible for repair of the structure and exterior of the property, together with installations for the supply of gas, electricity, water and sanitation.
If the property is not in a good state of repair at the commencement of the tenancy, the tenant has the right to insist that repairs are carried out and, in the event that the damage is serious, the Tenant will be entitled to consider the letting as terminated as the landlord will be in breach of his obligations.
11. Collection of Rent – This is usually done on a calendar monthly basis and is forwarded to the landlord via any previously approved method after any agreed deductions have been made for contractors etc.
12. Legal Duty of Care – Under common law, the landlord must ensure that properties to let are safe and failure to comply with safety legislation is considered a criminal offence resulting in legal action and prosecution.
As your agent, we can carry out safety checks upon your request, deducting the cost from your rent.
1. Gas – (The Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1994 (amended 1998) – the landlord must maintain gas installations and all gas appliances through annual inspections and safety checks carried out by a GAS SAFE registered engineer and a copy of the current inspection certificate must be left at the property.
2. Electricity - (The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 & Electricity at Works Regulations 1989- the landlord must ensure that all mains voltage household electrical appliances and equipment is tested and safe to use. Any non-repairable items must be replaced and removed.
An NICEIC or similarly qualified electrical engineer must carry out these tests on an annual basis and we would also recommend this is done upon change of tenancy.
All operating instructions must be left in the property for the tenant’s benefit.
3. Furniture and Furnishings – The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended 1989 & 1993) - Soft furnishings (such as mattresses, settees, bed bases, cushions and padded headboards) must meet fire resistance standards and bear a permanent label confirming this. If compliance cannot be proved, the item must be removed and replaced.
4. Smoke Detectors – Whilst only properties built after 1992 legally require the fitting of smoke detectors (Building Regulation 1991), we would strongly recommend that smoke detectors are fitted to each floor of the property being let.
The above is only a guide to the legal safety requirements and should you have any further enquiries, we would recommend that you contact a qualified solicitor who will be able to verify these in full.
13. Overseas Landlords – you are considered an overseas landlord if you live abroad or go to work abroad for lengthy periods of time.
It is important to firstly note that Inland Revenue regulations apply even if you are a non-UK resident. Moreover, non-resident landlords must apply to the Inland Revenue Financial Intermediaries Claims Office (FICO) for authorisation (by way of an exemption certificate) to receive payment of property rental “gross”, that is without deduction of Income Tax by the letting agent or tenant as required by law.
NB: The above is merely a guideline and for fully qualified advice, you should contact an appropriate accountant or tax expert.
Brief Guide to Services:
Advice on letting your property
Rental evaluation, provision of property details with colour photographs
Advertising of your rental property in local publications/on our website
Accompanied viewings and finding of a suitable tenant
Status enquiries/reference and credit check of prospective tenants
Obtaining security deposit/rent guarantee
Organising/preparing the inventory and check-in (managed properties only)
Preparing tenancy agreement and legal notices
Advising on compliance with safety regulations for gas/electricity supplies etc.
Collecting monthly rental payments and providing monthly accounting to landlords
Arranging annual gas safety checks (chargeable)
Periodic inspection of the property and reporting of any problems
Obtaining competitive quotations and, upon approval, arranging for necessary repairs/maintenance to be carried out
Contacting the tenant and arranging for renewals and/or check-out as necessary