At Kingswood Lettings and Property Management we offer a wide range of letting and management services to the private home owner, investment landlord and corporate property company – Whatever your reasons and circumstances, we can help.
There are many aspects to letting a property and we hope within this information we are able to give you the guidance that will present you with the belief that Kingswood are the agent that you can trust and rely on.
Founded in 1999, Kingswood Lettings and Property Management has developed on its reputation with hard working, passionate, dedicated staff and positive references from past and present clients. Our knowledge of local property is unrivalled and we believe our personal approach is the cornerstone of our quality service. Our qualified staff will aim to make the process of letting your property easy and worry free as possible.
As agents we are particularly conscious of the importance of your property. We understand that every Landlords requirements are specific and not always the same and all of our letting services are designed to meet the individual needs of our Landlords.
As a Landlord it is important that you have peace of mind in the knowledge that your property is being cared for and managed by a team of experienced and dedicated people, capable of providing you with a quality service.
Our specialist lettings and property management team has over 65 years of collective local experience and can provide you with advice and guidance through all stages of the letting process, including legal and financial matters. Our service does not end when we close the doors at the end of the working day, as we are the only agent locally to have a specific out of hour’s emergency number for our tenants. We have the out of hour’s number so that should there be a problem with the property, the tenant can contact us immediately and therefore limit any potential damage.
We are fully aware that many estate agents are now attempting to offer lettings as a service due to a slump in the sales housing market. As a company we are not naïve in knowing as a Landlord you have a choice of who to instruct to deal with your property. To our advantage it has been proven time and time again that it is experience that is the significant factor to successful letting and management of properties and not ‘cost cutting low fees’. We offer three levels of service to landlords with the most popular being our Full Management Service. Most of our clients choose the Full Management Service as it includes a rent guarantee and legal expenses insurance* which gives you as landlord total financial security and peace of mind when letting your property with the product covering you as Landlord for tenants not paying rent, refusing to leave the property and other disputes that may occur. Full details of all our services can be obtained from our office. We also offer a Part Management Service that is favoured by landlords that have the time and like to be ‘ hands on ‘ and also the Find Tenant Service.
We heard been advised by landlords that now use our services that the ‘cut-price’ agents have ended up costing them as Landlords more in time and inevitably money due to lack of experience than what they saved on fees.
* As with all insurance products terms and conditions apply.
Rent payments are due every calendar month. All rents are due in advance starting from the commencement of the tenancy. We encourage tenants to pay their rent by standing order, however, if a tenant pays by cheque we must allow time for this to clear in our bank before forwarding payment on to yourself. Rental payments are usually forwarded to the Landlord within 10 working days of collection. Once we have the cleared monies a statement will be sent to you and the money paid directly into your bank account via a direct internet bank transfer.
A deposit is required on all tenancies. The deposit is equal to one month’s rent, unless otherwise agreed. We will also request an additional £200.00 should the tenants have a pet. The purpose of the dilapidations deposit is to protect the Landlord against damage to the property during the tenancy. The deposit will be forwarded to The Deposit Protection Scheme (D.P.S.), which is a Government regulated custodial deposit scheme.
As your agent we deal with this deposit under the requirements of the D.P.S. until the end of the tenancy when the property and contents have been checked for unfair wear and tear and handling any termination issues with the tenant and the D.P.S.
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use Regulations 1998):
On 31st October 1994 the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994 came into force. Under regulations 35(2) it is the duty of any person (i.e. the Landlord) who owns a gas appliance and pipe work installed in the premises to ensure that such appliance and pipe work is maintained in a safe condition so as to prevent risk or injury to any person. The regulations cover all appliances and all types of gas, i.e. mains, propane or Calor gas heating, lighting, cooking or other purposes for which gas can be used.
The owner (i.e. the Landlord) of any gas appliance must ensure that each appliance is checked for safety at least every twelve months by a qualified ‘Gas Safe’ registered person. You can ask British Gas (who charge per item inspected) or a private gas engineer (some of whom have a flat rate, regardless of the number of appliances) to carry out these checks. A record (certificate) must be kept of all safety inspections and the results open to the tenant’s inspection by law. A copy must be kept with our files at all times. The Landlord must have a Gas Safety Inspection carried out before a tenant occupies the property and a copy must be held on the file. Kingswood cannot be held responsible for the upkeep and safety of your gas supply or appliances.
We can arrange for the safety inspection to be carried out for you by our gas engineer. Once the inspection has been completed we will keep a record of the date.
Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994:
Under the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 all electrical wiring at the property relating to both fixed electrical equipment and that which is incorporated into the building itself; It must meet all fire safety regulations. A qualified contractor must check the wiring on a regular basis and like the gas inspection, this certificate copy must be held on our files. Electrical appliances at the property must also be checked on a regular basis and reports of these inspection also held on file.
Kingswood cannot be held responsible for the upkeep and safety of your electrical supply or appliances.
Under building regulations introduced in January 2005, householders who are planning to carry out electrical work in high risk areas such as kitchens, bathrooms or outdoors, or who intend to add new circuits anywhere in the house, now have to notify the local authority building control departments or employ an electrical engineer with a Part P Self Certification Scheme. Only small jobs such as replacing a socket or a light switch do not need to be notified.
FURNITURE AND FURNISHINGS
In 1988 the Government introduced regulations on the use of any filling material or re-upholstery whether foam or non-foam and the requirements of furniture to meet the ‘cigarette test’ and carrying the appropriate label.
Under the Fire and Furnishings (Safety) (Amended) Regulations 1993, the Landlord has the obligation to ensure that all furniture in property being rented, or any new furniture being put in a property already rented, must comply with the fire regulations; the Landlord must either replace or remove non-compliant items before the tenancy commences. Instructions to let a property available for rental will assume that all furniture complies with the regulations. Failure to comply can result in prosecution.
From March 1993 all newly rented furnished properties should only be furnished with contents that meet the ‘cigarette test’ and carrying the appropriate label. Furniture manufactured to 1950 is exempt from these regulations as the Department of Trade and Industry has pointed out that most of the defective materials which cause fire were not in use prior to 1950.
All furniture manufactured after 1983 should already comply with the regulations but there is particular concern for foam filled furniture manufactured between 1950 and 1983. The Landlord must ensure that furniture complies with the above legislation before tenant(s) occupy the property.
If any furniture is left in a property, then you as a Landlord have a duty to ensure it is maintained and repaired should it become faulty. This is only if it is not as a result of negligence or malicious tenant. Any soft furnishings such as chairs and beds that are left in the property must comply with fire regulations. A label clearly stating that the item complies with the fire regulations must be attached. If an item does not have a label attached then the furnishings must be removed from the property.
All properties must be fitted with at least two lithium battery smoke alarms. ( one on each storey )
CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS
All properties must be fitted with lithium battery carbon monoxide alarms wherever there is a gas appliance.
Every property at some point may need some repair work. If there are any problems with the property the tenant will contact us and inform us of the problem. In the majority of cases all issues can be resolved quickly. However, there are two important points to remember when it comes to repairs.
Firstly, if a serious fault does occur (water burst/flood) and we cannot contact you, we can authorise a repair.
Secondly, once a property is tenanted you do have an obligation to ensure it is well maintained. Carrying out repairs quickly is often as important for you as it is the tenant – After all, repairs caught early enough can save you a lot of money. Tenants do have rights, tenants can contact the Environmental Health because repairs are not being attended to quickly, and the ensuing enforcement order could include extra repairs and a significantly higher final bill. Work not done will be carried out by them and they may add a hefty additional charge on top of the repair bill.
COMMENCEMENT OF THE TENANCY
The tenancy commences on the date shown on the Tenancy Agreement. Prior to the tenant moving in we will carry out an inventory of the property, with a description of its condition. The deposit protection schemes established under the terms of the Housing Act 2004 require that all Landlords need to be protected by a full inventory and condition reports from the outset. A standard inventory will include all removable items in the property, plus carpets/flooring, paint work, wall coverings, curtains, mirrors, sanitary ware and other articles that, in our opinion as the agent, need regular checking. The inventory will include a full schedule of condition, including colour, decoration and condition of the walls, ceilings, doors, etc. A copy of the inventory will be forwarded to your after the tenant has signed it to ensure agreement.
Whilst compiling the inventory we also take the meter readings and these are then passed on to the appropriate utility companies. At the same time we also inform the local council of the change in tenancy. We cannot inform British Telecom of the change in tenancy. The user of the service must do this; consequently you must ensure that BT know you no longer require a service at the property. The tenants then have to contact BT should the wish to be reconnected.
All new tenancies commence with a maximum of six months or twelve month Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement.
If the tenants wish to stay in the property at the end of the their original agreement ( or break clause if applicable ) as landlord you can decline, in which case the notice to quit must be served, this then gives the tenants two months to vacate the property. Alternatively, you can allow the tenancy to continue, renewing the tenancy for a further six or twelve month period.
END OF THE TENANCY
Once a tenancy comes to an end, we make arrangements to meet the tenant at the property. We inspect the property using the inventory and take meter readings as well as obtaining details as to where the tenant will be moving to. The deposit is refundable to the tenant once we are convinced that everything is in order. If you wish you could inspect the property before the deposit is refunded – This must be done within a few days of the tenants moving out to comply with the DPS regulations.
If for any reason there are disputes with how the property has been left, the first course of action is to give the tenant an opportunity to rectify the problem. If the tenant does not rectify the problem we can then prepare a schedule of costs relating to any damage or unfair wear and tear prior to releasing the deposit. As the agent we will attempt, by negotiation, to resolve any deposit disputes between the Landlord and the tenant. Where the deposit is subject to statutory tenancy deposit protection, and a dispute cannot be resolved between the parties, then it will be necessary to submit a claim to the DPS administrators for adjudication under the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process. An estimate of the likely costs of preparing and submitting a claim to adjudication will be submitted to the Landlord before any case is started.
We conduct regular inspections of all fully managed properties. These inspections serve numerous purposes; they allow us to visit the tenant in the property and ensure they are looking after it. We also check for signs that something may be wrong with the property, if something needs attention we can then inform you. The visits also help us get to know the tenants better, so that when the lease is due for renewal we can be confident in the advice we give to you.
RE-LETTING OF THE PROPERTY
Whilst the property is under the management of Kingswood, should the tenants hand in their notice to end the tenancy, Kingswood shall immediately re-market the property for re-let. If the rental market has increased, we shall advise you of this and will re-market the property at the recommended increased rental amount.