Landlord Information

Letting a property is on occasions emotional, sometimes traumatic and invariably a risky venture.

When selling the objective is without question to achieve the highest price. However, when letting, the quality of the Tenant is of paramount importance. Our aim and primary objective is to find the right Tenant.

We at Behr & Butchoff have over the years forged links with numerous multi-national companies, banks and embassies. We believe, providing your property is in good decorative condition, well furnished and equipped and located within easy reach of all amenities and public services, it should be possible to find an acceptable Tenant.

We are members of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) and as such are obliged to abide by a stringent code of conduct and are required to offer you the very best service. ARLA is an organisation which regulates companies offering a residential letting service and is recognised by government, local authorities, consumer interest groups and the media as the leading professional body in the private rental market.

As members of ARLA, your position as a potential client is fully protected, as we are obliged to hold substantial professional indemnity insurance and have client money protection bonding.

The Landlord should have all appliances, including the central heating system, checked and serviced and should take out, wherever possible maintenance contracts for the period of the tenancy. It is essential that operating manuals for all the appliances are provided for the use of the Tenant. Furthermore, details of any maintenance contracts should be provided to the Tenant (and/or ourselves if we are to manage the property) so that the appropriate manufacturers can be called out if necessary. If the appliances are under warranty then the appropriate guarantee card should be provided to the Tenant, or to ourselves if we are to manage the property.

In the event of the Landlord being unavailable to finalise the tenancy, it will be necessary to authorise someone to approve the references and if necessary to provide them with power of attorney to sign the Tenancy Agreement.

It is imperative that the party entering into the Tenancy Agreement or the person signing on behalf of the Landlord has the legal right to do so. Proof of such authority may be required by the proposed Tenants or their legal representative.

Any blinds or curtains which are operated with a cord must be secured with a safety device in order to prevent the cord becoming loose and someone strangling or injuring themselves.

If there is a burglar alarm system, then clear instructions must be given to the Tenant and/or us if we are to manage the property. It is usual for the Landlord to maintain the alarm system and therefore suitable arrangements should be made to continue with the maintenance contract throughout the term of the tenancy. If the alarm system is linked to a central monitoring system/police, then the Tenant and the Agent must be informed of the 'password'. In these circumstances, it is usual for the Tenant to pay for any call outs during the tenancy and to reactivate the alarm system.

We strongly recommend that the Landlord installs both carbon monoxide and smoke detectors in the property.

It is the Landlord's responsibility to ensure that the entire property and the windows have been cleaned prior to the commencement of the Tenancy.

It is essential that the Landlord obtains the necessary consents where applicable from the Head Lessor, Mortgagee, etc. Where possible consents should be applied for, prior to finding a Tenant to avoid any delays in granting the Tenancy Agreement. We cannot take any responsibility for any claims or action taken by a Tenant if you do not apply or obtain the necessary consents.

Under the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation & Additional Charges) Regulations 2013, the Landlord is entitled to terminate the contract with us within 14 days of the commencement of instructions to us to let the property without incurring any charges.  After that period, our standard Terms & Conditions would apply.

We will therefore not commence marketing the property until the 14 day period has expired, unless the Landlord has agreed in writing to waive their rights to terminate our contract within the 14 day period.

The Landlord should ensure that all rental payments and hire purchase instalments are paid for the period of the tenancy.

We are a member of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, which is administered by:

The Dispute Service Ltd,
PO Box 1255,
Hemel Hempstead,
Hertfordshire
HP1 9GN

Tel: 0845 226 7837
Fax: 01442 253 193
E-mail: deposits@tds.gb.com

Web: www.thedisputeservice.co.uk

We usually ask the Tenant to pay 5 weeks rent as a deposit against damages and repairs and we will hold this deposit as Stakeholder under the terms of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.

As soon as we receive a report/estimate from either the inventory firm or the Landlord and providing there are no disputes as to the dilapidations, the necessary appropriations (where applicable) will be made from the Tenants deposit and the funds will be paid to both parties (if applicable) within 10 working days.

If the damages or repairs are extensive and estimates have to be obtained or replacement items purchased, then it is the responsibility of the Landlord to arrange this work. As soon as full details of the Landlords claim have been agreed by both parties, the deposit monies will be allocated and the funds will be paid to both parties within 10 working days.

If, after 10 working days following notification of a dispute to us and reasonable attempts have been made in that time to resolve any differences of opinion, there remains an unresolved dispute between the Landlord and the Tenant over the allocation of the deposit it will (subject to the undermentioned) be submitted to the ICE (Independent Case Examiner) for impartial, third party adjudication. All parties agree to co-operate with any adjudication.

A dispute must be submitted to the ICE for adjudication within 3 months of the Tenant vacating, otherwise it will not be accepted.

Where the amount in dispute is over £5,000, the Landlord and the Tenant agree to submit it to formal arbitration through the engagement of an arbitrator appointed by the ICE although, with the written agreement of both parties, the ICE may at his/her discretion accept the dispute for adjudication. The appointment of an arbitrator will incur an administration fee, to be fixed by the Board of The Dispute Service Ltd from time to time, shared equally between the Landlord and the Tenant; the liability for any subsequent costs will be dependent upon the award made by the arbitrator.

The statutory rights of either you or your Tenant(s) to take legal action against the other remain unaffected.

It is not compulsory for the parties to refer the dispute to the ICE for adjudication. They may, if they choose, seek the decision of the Court. However, this may take longer and may incur further costs. Judges may, because it is a condition of the Tenancy Agreement signed by both parties, refer the dispute back to the ICE for adjudication. If the parties do agree that the dispute should be resolved by the ICE, they must accept his/her decision as final and binding.

If there is a dispute we must remit to The Dispute Service Ltd the full deposit, less any amounts already agreed by the parties and paid over to them. This must be done within 10 working days of being told that a dispute has been registered whether or not you or we want to contest it. Failure to do so will not delay the adjudication but The Dispute Service Ltd will take appropriate action to recover the deposit and discipline us.

The ICE will not accept disputes submitted 6 months or more after the end of the tenancy and we will not accept any responsibility for any delays caused by either the Landlord or the Tenant in submitting a dispute for adjudication.

We must co-operate with the ICE in the adjudication of the dispute and follow any recommendations concerning the method of the resolution of the dispute.

Landlords must ensure that all electrical appliances and the electrical supply is 'safe' and will not cause danger. We therefore suggest that you arrange for your local Electricity Board or a self-certified electrician to carry out a survey of the wiring and all electrical appliances throughout your property prior to any letting.

Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) are mandatory for all new lettings. An EPC will be valid for 10 years from the date of issue and can be renewed at any time, should the Landlord carry out any work to improve the efficiency of the property. An EPC will not be required for renewal of a tenancy.

An EPC is broadly similar to the certificates found on any domestic appliances with an energy rating on a scale A - G. The EPC includes two charts; the first shows the calculated energy efficiency rating for the building, which is a relative measure of the efficiency of the building compared with a pre-defined standard. The second chart, the so-called "Environmental Impact (CO2) Rating", measures the overall energy output of the building i.e. related to its size. An EPC will also comment on any appliances to be included in the letting.

An EPC is required at the time of marketing and before the property is shown to any prospective tenants. The clause in the regulations which led some building owners to think they could put off getting an EPC until the property was let or sold has been deleted – the EPC must be obtained when the property is first being marketed.

A copy of the front of the EPC has to be attached to every copy of the property details for every property being marketed. The option to cut and paste the rating on the details has been withdrawn for both domestic and commercial properties.

The copy of the EPC must be supplied to anyone viewing the property and / or requesting details (though the address can be removed except when the sale or letting is going ahead).

The regulations give Trading Standards a duty to ensure compliance, powers to require production of EPC's and powers to levy fines for breaches of the regulations. The range of penalties is set with a minimum of £200 and at a maximum of £5,000 and we therefore suggest, that you make arrangements for this to be dealt with as soon as you make a decision to let the property.

A Landlord is not required to carry out any of the work suggested as a means of improving the property but a Landlord carrying out certain works may be able to claim a Landlord's Energy Saving Allowance by setting certain expenditure of up to £1,500 per property against their income tax.

An EPC is carried out by a domestic energy assessor and you can arrange this yourself but we must have a copy of the certificate before we start marketing the property or we can arrange this for you, subject to an arrangement fee and to you placing us in funds for the cost of the report.

Useful web links are:-

www.direct.gov.uk Search Energy Performance Certificates
www.warmfront.co.uk

The Consumer Protection Act 1987 Section 12(1) and the 1988 Regulations make it an offence to supply/provide any furnishings to which the Regulations apply, unless that furniture meets what is known as the 'cigarette/match test' and must meet the Fire Regulations Requirement.

The Regulations basically apply to all upholstery and upholstered furnishings, loose fittings, permanent or loose covers, manufactured after 1950. The offence carries a punishment of six months imprisonment or a fine to a maximum of £5,000 or both.

A Landlord letting their home for a 'temporary' period and not in the course of business, has a moral, (not legal), responsibility to comply. All second homes or investment properties must comply.

As many lives are lost each year from fire and smoke, we recommend the installation of smoke detectors throughout your property. It is important however that these are regularly checked, especially if they are battery operated.

All new homes built after June 1992 must be fitted with mains operated smoke detectors on every floor.

The Landlord should ensure that the property is in good decorative order and should attend to any internal or external decorations which are necessary, prior to the commencement of the tenancy. The Landlord should also ensure that the furniture is in good condition and complies with the Fire and Furniture Regulations.

The Landlord should ensure that the garden is in good condition with all the lawns cut, the flower beds tidy and the fruit trees pruned. If it is the Landlord's intention to have the garden maintained during the term of the tenancy, appropriate arrangements should be made with a suitable garden contractor. If the Tenant is to maintain the garden, adequate tools should be provided for this purpose.

Gas

If your property has a gas appliance, then it is incumbent upon you as the owner to ensure that the pipework and the installation has a 'safety check' for each and every appliance to comply with the Gas Safety Regulations which became effective in October 1994. This check must be carried out prior to any letting and thereafter at least every 12 months by an engineer approved by the HSE (whom is Gas Safe Registered). A record must be kept of all safety inspections and a copy must be provided to the Tenant at the commencement of the tenancy and each year thereafter.

Breach by the Landlord or the Managing Agent of these regulations is a criminal offence and penalties for non-compliance could possibly be a fine of up to £20,000. Liability for an incident could bring charges for manslaughter and in severe cases imprisonment.

If you have a gas central heating system, then we recommend that you implement a 3 Star Maintenance Contract with British Gas prior to the commencement of any tenancy. The contract should be maintained throughout the entire term of the tenancy.

A thorough inspection of the property is recommended to ensure that the structure, roof, plumbing, wiring etc., is in good order. Where necessary, all works of repair should be completed prior to the commencement of the tenancy. It is the Landlord's obligation to maintain the property throughout the tenancy, subject to any terms to the contrary in the Tenancy Agreement, mutually agreed by the parties.

General Information

The Landlord should make arrangements to pay the ground rent and service charges during the term of the tenancy, unless we are to manage the property. In these circumstances, the Landlord must advise the authorities concerned to forward the demands to us for payment.

 

All tenancies to individuals are automatically Assured Shorthold Tenancies (unless the rent exceeds £100,000 per annum) and therefore the Tenant cannot claim security of tenure for any reason.

Assured Shorthold Tenancies may be on a periodic basis from the outset, unless the parties agree a fixed term. The fixed term may be for less than six months if both parties agree. However, the Landlord is unable to seek possession of the property before the end of six months. Regardless of whether the tenancy is a periodic tenancy or a fixed term, the Landlord must serve a formal notice on the Tenant for possession, which must be at least two months before the end of the term.

Assured Shorthold Tenants are entitled to refer their rent to a Rent Assessment Committee for a determination of a market rent, however they must make their application during the first six months of the tenancy.

Landlords who wish to make an application to Court for possession on the grounds that the Tenant is in arrear with the rent, will only be able to do so if the Tenant is two months in arrear at the time of the Court Hearing.

Landlords who wish to create full Assured Tenancies will either have to serve a notice on the Tenant or include a statement in the tenancy agreement indicating that the tenancy is not a Shorthold Tenancy.

If your property is in a 'conversion' where the building is over 3 floors or more, your property may need to be licensed under the HMO Licensing Regime and it is essential that you check whether your property falls within the mandatory licensing category. In this regard, please refer to the following websites:-

www.propertylicence.gov.uk

www.camden.gov.uk or telephone 020 7278 4444

www.westminster.gov.uk or telephone 020 7641 1260

The offences and penalties are set out in sections: 72, 73, 74 and 75 of the Housing Act 2004 and vary between £5,000 - £20,000. In addition, you may be issued with a Rent Repayment Order in respect of any rent received during the period in which the offence has been committed. It is your responsibility to inform us if your property is licensed or needs to be licensed under the Act, as we need to know whom is the licence holder/manager.

It is the Landlord's responsibility to insure the property and contents (including public liability) for the full period of the tenancy and for any period during which the property may be vacant. The Landlord should also notify their insurers that the property is to be let. As we are not registered by the Financial Services Authority as a regulated insurance provider, we are not able to arrange insurance for our clients.

It is customary practice for the Inventory and Schedule and Condition to be prepared by an independent inventory firm and we will arrange for this unless specifically instructed to the contrary. We will not however accept any responsibility or liability in respect of this service.

It is essential that the Landlord provides sufficient sets of keys for the use of the Tenant and if we are to manage the property, then an additional set should be provided for our use. Keys for internal doors, patio doors, window locks and cupboard doors should be clearly marked and left in the property. Keys to electricity, gas and water meters/mains should also be clearly marked and left in the property for the use of the Tenant.

Legal Requirements

For all tenancies starting on and after the 1st February 2016, all occupiers have to undergo a Right to Rent Check.

STAGE 1

Establish who is living in the property.

* OBTAIN Original versions of one or more acceptable documents.
* CHECK The documents validity in the presence of the holder.
* COPY Make and retain a clear copy and record the date the checks were carried out.

You will need one or more original documents that demonstrate the Right To Rent in the UK for all occupiers aged 18 or over, in the presence of the holder.

Acceptable documents include a UK passport and a permanent residence card or travel document showing indefinite leave to remain or a valid visa. The full list of documents can be found on the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rules-and-acceptable-documents-right-to-rent-checks

If the prospective tenant does not have any restrictions on their right to stay in the UK, no further checks are necessary.

STAGE 2

Where the initial check shows that the prospective tenant has the right to be in the UK for a limited time, you can rent your property to that person but you must also make the adequate follow up checks.

Follow up checks must be carried out prior to the expiry date of the tenants’ rights to be in the UK or 12 months after the original checks.

STAGE 3

If the follow up check shows that the person no longer has the right to be in the UK, you must make a report to the Home Office. This report can be found on the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/report-immigration-crime

You can be fined up to £3,000 per tenant, if you rent your property to someone who is not allowed to stay in the UK and cannot prove that you checked their Right to Rent.

If you make a follow up check and do not make a report to the Home Office stating that a tenant’s visa has expired, you will incur a fine.

https://www.gov.uk/penalties-illegal-renting

We will be carrying out Right to Rent checks as part of our referencing process.

The checks need to be carried out within the 28 day period leading up to the start of the new tenancy.

Due to changes in legislation in 2012, you are obliged to undertake a legionnaires’ risk assessment of the property for the control of legionella bacteria in water systems and implement any control and preventative measures necessary.; The Assessment must be undertaken by a ‘competent person’ with specialist knowledge and the findings of the Assessment recorded retained for a period of at least 5 years and reviewed regularly. Please visit the HSE website www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires. Failure to comply with the law could result in criminal prosecution, a fine of up to £20,000 and up to 2 years imprisonment.

Under the above act we are obliged to obtain evidence of the identity of every new Landlord and Tenant by asking for a copy of their passport. If the Landlord or the Tenant is a company, we have to check the identity of at least two directors, unless it is a publicly quoted company. If it is an offshore company or trust we will need evidence of beneficial ownership.

The consequences of not following these procedures, leaves us as Agents open to prosecution and if we are suspicious about any transaction, we will comply with our legal duty to report it to the NCIS.

We are registered with the OFT for Anti-Money Laundering and our number is AML 1039.

A Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarm will need to be fitted in every room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (i.e. open fire, log burning stove). Although, at this stage it does not apply to gas appliances, we advise Landlords that a Carbon Monoxide Alarm should be installed in all rooms containing gas appliances. A smoke detector must be installed on each floor of the property and all detectors must be checked at the start date of each new tenancy.

For further info, please click here

Preparing your property for letting

Arrangements should be made through your local Post Office to re-direct your mail, as we are unable to provide a forwarding service.

We remit the rent by bank transfer directly into a bank or building society account nominated by the Landlord and we will therefore require the name, address, sort code and account number. If the funds are to be remitted outside the United Kingdom, we will provide this service but the Landlord shall be liable for all bank charges. It must be stressed that this service is only available whilst there are no exchange control restrictions.

If we are to manage your property then we will deal with all the day to day repairs which may arise during the tenancy. In this regard, we will instruct contractors whom we normally deal with (who are all comprehensively insured), unless you specifically instruct us to deal with your own contractors. If this is the case, then it will be necessary for you to provide us with the name, address, telephone number and email of the plumber, electrician, general handyman etc, who normally attend to the property.

If repairs are likely to exceed £1,000 then we will obtain estimate/s for your approval in the first instance, unless there is an emergency. Instructions will only be given to contractors if we are in funds. We usually hold a reserve fund from the rent but in the event that this reserve fund is insufficient to cover the work, then we will ask you to place us in funds before any work is carried out. As we are not Chartered Surveyors, any major work or structural problems would have to be referred to our consultant Chartered Surveyor to prepare a report on your behalf. He will however make a separate charge for his services.

If we are not instructed to manage your property, then it is essential that you provide us with the name, address, telephone and fax number of the person whom will look after the property on your behalf, so that this information can be conveyed to the Tenant.

Legal Requirements

Under the Stamp Duty (Land Tax) (SDLT) tenancies on residential properties of up to 7 years are not liable for stamp duty. However there is a computation referred to as the "Net Present Value" which states that if the gross rent after applying the "Temporal Discount Rate" works out to be a figure in excess of £125,000 then in such circumstances, the SDLT becomes payable by the Tenant. Landlords do not have a liability for stamp duty.

Premium leases will attract SDLT if the relevant consideration exceeds £125,000 but once again, this is payable by the Lessee and not the Lessor.

Self-Assessment Rules are applicable to all taxpayers. Under Self-Assessment, overseas Landlords are allowed to submit their own Tax Returns of UK rental income and can apply for Revenue permission to have their rental income paid gross, that is without deduction of tax. The Landlord must apply to the The Centre for Non-Residents office of the Inland Revenue for the relevant form and must return the completed form to that office. The Landlord must complete this form as neither the Agent nor their Accountant/Tax Consultant can fill out the form on their behalf. Providing the overseas Landlord has a good tax history and their affairs are up to date, they will be issued with an exemption certificate. A copy of the certificate will be sent to us by the Inland Revenue thereby enabling us not to deduct tax at source. If the Landlord changes Agents, they must notify The Centre for Non-Residents office of the Inland Revenue, who will issue a new exemption certificate to the second Agent.

If we are not in possession of a tax exemption certificate from an overseas Landlord, then we will be obliged to deduct the basic rate of tax from all rent received less any allowable expenses paid on behalf of the Landlord. All tax deducted will be paid to the Revenue on the stipulated quarter days. In addition, we will be obliged to submit an Annual Return by the 5th July each year. This Return will include the name and address of the overseas Landlord and the total rent received for the tax year.

Where a Landlord instructs a Tenant to pay the rent directly to him, then we will be obliged to notify the Tenant that they will be liable to deduct tax in accordance with the above regulations and we will also be obliged to notify the Inland Revenue of the arrangement.

Application by a non-resident individual or company or trustees to receive UK rental income gross. Please refer to www.hmrc.gov.uk/non-residentlandlordscheme

Where possible telephone, gas, electricity and water accounts should be paid, up to the date that the property is vacated by the Landlord.

View What is the Tenancy Deposit Scheme?

Miscellaneous Acts

Behr and Butchoff have a non-discrimination policy and will therefore not discriminate against any person by virtue of their colour, creed, religion or gender.

For further information, please visit www.opsi.gov.uk/Acts/acts2005

Information supplied by you will be held on our computer records in accordance with the Company’s notification under the Data Protection Act 1988. We may use this information, or share it with other members of ARLA, for account administration (including debt tracing and collection), credit, insurance, property and rental decisions; We may record sensitive personal data as defined in the 1998 Data Protection Act You are entitled to ask for a copy of the information held about you subject to the payment of an administration fee that will be notified to you upon application and will not exceed the value set by statue. You have the right to request that it be amended if it is found to be incorrect.

Fees and Costs

We will organise all the above at a charge of £250 +VAT, this covers preperation and implementation of the tenancy agreement, setting up the deposit to be held within the Tenancy Deposit Scheme with associated certification and required Credit Check.
Thereafter a charge of £20 + VAT will be charged for every year of a tenancy where the funds are held by us in the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
Where we are requested to submit a claim to the TDS for adjudication we will charge £250 + VAT.
Where a tenant (usually a corporate) insists upon using their own agreement and the landlord accepts this arrangement and, in turn, we are asked to negotaite any amendments, additions or delations to the clauses then we will charge £300 + VAT to allow for the additional work involved.
Please also note that in the event we are requested to submit a claim against aTenant where we are only employed for our Letting Service and not our Management Service we will make a minimum charge of £300 + VAT

The fee for introducing a Tenant or Lessee is 10% of the total gross rental or consideration reserved under the terms of the Tenancy Agreement or Lease, ignoring any options for either party to terminate, with a minimum charge of £1,000. If the tenancy or lease is renewed or extended we will be entitled to a further fee. In the event of a third party (being a person or body corporate) associated with the Tenant or occupant entering into a subsequent Tenancy Agreement or Lease without there being existing any intervening tenancy or lease, then the original agreed fee shall be payable The aforementioned fees are subject to VAT at the prevailing rate at the time.
 

The fee for introducing a Tenant for this service is 15% of the total gross rental reserved under the Tenancy Agreement, with a minimum charge of £1,000. The fee is payable regardless of whether the tenancy was negotiated or arranged by us. This service relates to tenancies not exceeding 25 weeks The aforementioned fees are subject to VAT at the prevailing rate at the time.

The fee is 5% of the total gross rental reserved under the Tenancy Agreement/Lease or any extension thereof, with a minimum charge of £50 per week. Full Management is only available for those tenancies which exceed 26 weeks providing we are collecting the rental. All the aforementioned fees are subject to VAT at the prevailing rate at the time. The aforementioned fees are subject to VAT at the prevailing rate at the time.

In the event that a Tenant or occupant or any associated party introduced to you by us purchases the property which they are renting or had been renting within the previous 6 months and where we have been involved in negotiations in the sale of the property, we will charge a commission of 1.5% of the negotiated purchase price including any amount apportioned for furniture, fixtures and fittings. If the Property is sold with vacant possession to a third party introduced by us, then we shall be entitled to a commission calculated at a rate of 2.5% of the sale price including any amount apportioned for furniture, fixtures and fittings. The aforementioned commission represent our Sole Agency rate as set out in our Sales Schedule of Commission and Terms of Business. This is in compliance with ‘Section 18 of the Estate Agents Act 1979 and the Estate Agents (Provisions of Information) Regulations 1991’ A copy of this Schedule is available on request and will be provided in the event of us entering into any negotiations. If the Property is sold to a third party with the benefit of a Tenant introduced by us, then the Vendor/Landlord is liable to pay us fees on any extension or renewal originally agreed if the tenancy continues, unless the purchaser enters into an agreement with us on the same terms and we agree to enter into such agreement which we reserve the right to refuse. The aforementioned fees are subject to VAT at the prevailing rate at the time
aforementioned fees are subject to VAT at the prevailing rate at the time.

  Non- payment of fees and/or commission

Any commission/fees and VAT not received by us within the prescribed period of time will be liable to interest calculated at 3% above Barclays Bank base rate.
In the event we are obliged to instruct solicitors for the recovery of outstanding sums, we shall be entitled to recover from you the solicitor's costs and disbursements on an indemnity basis whether or not proceedings have been issued.

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