Frost & Co Letting Agents in Bournemouth & Poole
When you decide to let your property the best thing you can do to gain peace of mind is employ a good agent to handle the letting for you.
At Frost & Co Lettings Agents in Bournemouth & Poole, we pride ourselves on our reputation, we ensure an efficient and honest approach to our landlords and tenants alike.
Preparing to Let
Before letting a property the landlord must obtain permission from:
Any bank or building society whose loan or mortgage is secured against the property. If you do not do so the tenancy may be deemed unlawful which gives the lender an automatic right to take possession of the property.
The head landlord – in respect of leasehold properties permission may be required under the terms of your lease and if so must be applied for.
The landlords insurance company must confirm that cover will be maintained if the property is let. In particular it is important that the Public Liability element covers any loss or injury occurring at the property. The landlord will need to continue both buildings and contents cover for the property and insurance companies should be notified of any void periods.
The landlord will need to inform us of the location of gas, electric and water metres and provide a key if access is restricted by cupboard or gates. We will arrange for metres to be read as part of the check in/check out process and will contact utility companies with the new tenants details and the previous tenants forwarding address. However landlords must ensure that utility companies are notified of change of occupier prior to Frost and Co’s management or tenant find service of the property. We will also advise the tenants that they will have to set up their own telephone accounts.
There should be at least three full sets of keys. We will give two sets of keys to the tenants and retain one set for our purposes. All our keys are coded for security purposes.
It is crucial that clear detailed instructions are given where burglar alarms are installed. A 24-hour service contract should be arranged and key holder and local police should be notified of arrangements.
A detailed set of instructions on how to live in the property will be very useful for both the tenant and ourselves, for example how to operate the gas fire, where the stopcock is located, how to operate the boiler. Please leave instruction manuals for the boiler and all domestic appliances and advise Frost & Co of any outstanding guarantees and or service contracts.
All mail should be redirected and arrangements should be made with the post office. Banks should be advised and direct debits altered where necessary.
Unfurnished or furnished.
Frost & Co. let properties unfurnished, part furnished or fully furnished and the landlord’s legal rights are the same whichever option is taken.
We would recommend that properties be presented for let in clean & tidy order with good fixtures & fittings and tasteful décor, preferably in neutral colours such as cream, beige or white. Plain carpets or wooden flooring are most popular with tenants who have become more & more discerning. Our experience shows that a property offered in good condition will not only achieve a better rental figure but is more likely to be well maintained by a higher calibre of tenant.
If letting unfurnished the landlord is required to supply carpets or suitable flooring, curtains including nets or blinds and light fittings. As a minimum the kitchen must have a cooker in good working order and plumbing for a washing machine.
If letting furnished it pays to spend a bit more time and effort on furnishings to get ahead of your competition. There are no firm rules on exactly what you should include, however as a general guideline each room should be adequately furnished for its purpose. As a guide we would suggest all rooms have carpets or suitable flooring, curtains including net and blinds and light fittings. Bedrooms should contain a bed and a mattress in good condition - a double bed always preferable in large or master bedroom. Wardrobes should be provided if not built in along with a dressing table or chest of drawers. The lounge should contain a 3-piece suite appropriate to the size of the room, coffee tables or side tables for comfort or dining if there is no dining room. The kitchen should be complete with all essential appliances in good and safe working order e.g. Cooker, fridge, freezer and kettle. Other appliances including a dishwasher tumble dryer and microwave will help to make your property more attractive. As a guide you should provide adequate crockery and cutlery for six people – for cooking you should supply a set of saucepans, roasting dish, frying pan, colander, mixing bowl, grater, tin and bottle openers. For general household duties you should provide an ironing board, dustpan and brush, a vacuum cleaner washing up bowl and drainer. The bathroom should be fitted and should contain a shower curtain, toilet roll holder and bathroom cabinet. If there is a garden we recommend leaving a lawnmower and some gardening tools as the tenant will be responsible for keeping the garden tidy although they should not be expected to be keen gardeners. We don’t recommend that stereos or televisions be left at the property as liability for repair falls on the landlord. It is important however that the landlord supplies a working TV aerial point.
Legislation affecting Landlords
The rent after deducting allowable expenses will be subject to UK tax whether you are resident in the UK or not. If you are resident in the UK you must declare your rental income on your self-assessment form. For non-resident UK taxpayers we are required to deduct and hold at source sufficient funds from each rental payment received in order to discharge the landlord’s responsibilities. If the landlord completes a NRL1 form the Inland Revenue may grant an exemption certificate and once we have received proper notification of this we shall cease to withhold further funds.
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988
Landlords should be aware that the furniture that they provide must comply with the above act, which was amended in 1993 and has set new levels of fire resistance for domestic upholstered furniture and furnishings. All property let for the first time since 1st march 1993 must contain furniture that complies with the new regulations and all furniture must comply from 1st January 1997. It is an offence to breach these conditions and all appropriate recognition of fire worthiness must be shown.
The landlord hereby warrants to the agent that all furniture and furnishings in the property to be let and included in the letting comply with the furniture and furnishings (fire) (safety) regulations of 1988 and all statutory amendments thereto.
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998
The above act consolidates the 1994 and 1996 regulations. These regulations compel landlords to have all gas equipment, pipe work, valves, regulators, meters and flues checked on an annual basis by a CORGI registered contractor and to keep records of these inspections. The tenant must be given a copy of this certificate prior to the tenancy commencing. It is no longer sufficient to leave a certificate at the property.
Electrical Equipment ( Safety) Regulations 1994
These regulations cover all mains voltage household electrical goods and the onus is on the landlord as the supplier that such goods are safe. Therefore the owner of the property should provide an environment, which is reasonably suitable for occupation, and on no account, should there be any loose wire protruding from walls unless made safe. Instruction booklets relating to electrical equipment should be left for the tenants use.
All properties built after 1993 are required by law to be fitted with mains operated smoke alarms to all floors. It is recommended that all landlords should supply and fit smoke alarms and provide a fire blanket in the kitchen.
Tenancy Deposit Scheme
As part of the Housing Act 2004 the Government is introducing tenancy deposit protection for all assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs) in England and Wales where a deposit is taken. The legislation aims to ensure that tenants who have paid a deposit to a landlord or letting agent and are entitled to receive all or part of it back at the end of that tenancy, actually do so. The legislation covers virtually all new AST contracts through which private landlords let property in England and Wales. Frost & Co are members of The Tenancy Deposit Scheme, which is administered by:
The Dispute Service Ltd
PO Box 1255
Phone: 0845 226 7837
Fax: 01442 253193
Managing the Property
We will carry out stringent checks on prospective tenants including their ID, credit references, income details and obtain references from their employers and or previous landlords if applicable.
Our tenancy agreements comply with the Housing Act and are written in plain English and are easy to understand. Our tenancy agreements fully protect your rights as a landlord and are subject to regular review.
Executing the tenancy agreement
It is usual for the landlords to sign their own tenancy agreement and tenants theirs however Frost & Co. reserve the right to sign tenancy agreements and other documents on behalf of a landlord should the landlord not be contactable. It is therefore important that we are given clear written instructions regarding the length of time the property will be available for letting.
Holding fees and Security deposits
A holding fee is generally taken from the tenant applying to rent the property. The purpose of this fee is to verify the tenant’s serious intent to proceed, and to protect the agent against any administrative expenses that may be incurred should the tenant decide to withdraw the application. The holding fee does not protect the landlord against loss of rent due to the applicant deciding to withdraw the application or references proving unsuitable. Upon signing the tenancy agreement the agent will take a dilapidations deposit from the tenant(s) in addition to any rents due. Unless otherwise instructed by the landlord we will collect one month’s rent plus £100 as security deposit. We are instructed by the Landlord to hold the Deposit, we shall do so under the terms of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
The Agent holds tenancy deposits as Stakeholder.
At the end of the tenancy covered by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
If there is no dispute the Agent will keep any amounts agreed as deductions where expenditure has been incurred on behalf of the Landlord, or repay the whole or the balance of the Deposit according to the conditions of the Tenancy Agreement with the Landlord and the Tenant. Payment of the Deposit will be made within 10 working days of written consent from both parties.
If, after 10 working days following notification of a dispute to the Agent/Member and reasonable attempts having 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 be submitted to the ICE for adjudication . All parties agree to co-operate with any adjudication.
The statutory rights of either you/the Landlord or the Tenant(s) to take legal action against the other party remain unaffected.
It is not compulsory for the parties to refer the dispute to the ICE for adjudication. The parties may, if either party chooses to do so, seek the decision of the Court. However, this process my take longer and may incur further costs. Because it is a condition of the Tenancy Agreement signed by both parties, judges may 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 the decision of the ICE 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 Agent must co-operate with the ICE in the adjudication of the dispute and follow any recommendations concerning the method of resolution of the dispute.
The Landlord warrants that all the information he has provided to the Agent is correct to the best of his knowledge and belief. In the event that the Landlord provides incorrect information to the Agent which causes the Agent to suffer loss or causes legal proceedings to be taken the landlord agrees to reimburse and compensate the Agent for all losses suffered.
Holding Deposit Outside TDS
If the Landlord decide(s) to hold the Deposit, we will transfer it to you within 5 days of receiving it. The Landlord must then register it with another Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme within a further 9 days if the Tenancy is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy. If the Landlord fails to do so the Tenant can take legal action against the Landlord in the County Court. The Court will make an order stating that the Landlord must pay the Deposit back to the Tenant or lodge it with the custodial scheme which is known as the Deposit Protection Service. In addition a further order with be made requiring the Landlord to pay compensation to the Tenant of the amount equal to three times the Deposit. The Landlord will be unable to serve a Section 21 Notice on the Tenant until compliance with the above condiditons and the Court will not grant the Landlord a possession order. The Agent has no liability for any loss suffered if the Landlord fails to comply.
Inventory, schedule of condition and check-in checkout service.
An inventory and schedule of condition is an essential element of the tenancy. We will prepare a detailed inventory on your behalf and organise a check in meeting with the tenant where they will sign a copy of these documents. This important information provides a comprehensive record of the condition of the property and is vital to avoid differences of opinion during or at the end of the tenancy at the end of the tenancy a checkout meeting will take place and a further report will be available to the landlord. It is standard practice for the landlord to pay for the inventory and check out service and for the tenant to pay the cost associated with the check-in service.
Costs vary according to the size of the property and our fees for this service are available on request. Frost & Co. will not accept any responsibility should landlords prefer to carry out their own inventories.
Frost & Co. can provide rent guarantee insurance through Homelet if required. This cover applies to the initial 6 months period of the tenancy. Payment of rent guarantee will only continue until the tenant referenced has vacated the property or the date cover expires whichever is the sooner.
We will investigate any faults reported at a property and instruct contractors to carry out repairs. In the case of minor repairs or emergencies (up to £200 excluding VAT per item of repair) these works will be carried out immediately without reference to you providing we are holding sufficient funds. Where major works are necessary an estimate will be obtained and sent to you for approval. Should the costs of these works exceed £200 we may charge a fee of 10% of the net invoice plus VAT.
Payment of council tax will normally be the responsibility of the tenants in the property. However landlords should be aware that where a property is empty, let as holiday accommodation or as a house in multiple occupation responsibility for the payment of the council tax rests with the owner of the property.
General requirements and formalities
The landlord confirms that he/she is the sole or joint owner of the property and that he/she has the right to let the property under the terms of the mortgage and head lease. Where necessary the landlord confirms that permission to let has been granted by the mortgagee. The landlord authorises the agent to carry out various duties of property management as agreed. The landlord also agrees that the agent may take and hold deposits on behalf of the landlord as stakeholder.
We will agree a rent to be quoted to potential tenants, guidelines for which will be given at the valuation. Unless otherwise specified this will include all payments for which the landlord is responsible. However gas, electric, telephone, water & sewerage rates and council tax become the responsibility of the tenant. Rents are normally collected each calendar month unless otherwise agreed at the outset of the tenancy. Provided we are given the landlord’s bank or building society details we will automatically transfer the net rental receipts to that account as soon as funds have cleared our account. Statement to landlords will also be sent out together with copies of all receipts.
Instruction of solicitors
Should any rent arrears or breaches of covenant be brought to our attention you will be informed. Thereafter should legal action be thought necessary the landlord will be responsible for instructing his own solicitor and for any fees or charges pertaining thereto. We cannot take legal action for the landlord as the tenancy agreement is between the landlord and the tenant not ourselves.
The landlord agrees to indemnify the agent against any costs expenses or liabilities incurred or imposed on the agent provided that they were incurred on behalf of the landlord in pursuit of the agent’s normal duties. To assist the agent in carrying out his duties effectively the landlord agrees to respond promptly to any correspondence or requests from the agent.
Change of ownership
In the event of the property being sold on with the benefit of the tenancy Frost & Co will look to the original landlord of the property for the letting commission due for the introduction of the tenant for howsoever long the tenancy lasts and any extension thereof by Frost & Co or their representatives the landlord (new or old) or any other persons or agents.
Selling to the tenant
In the event of the tenant or any associated party negotiates the purchase of the property which he/she is renting or has been renting within the last six months Frost & Co will charge a commission of 1.5% plus VAT of the agreed purchase price. The fee is payable upon completion of the sale whether or not negotiations have been carried out by Frost & Co.
Frost & Co reserve the right to vary the quoted fee rate during the course of the tenancy by giving two months written notice of their intention to do so. Should a landlord wish too change services then this will be subject to agreement of the tenant. All charges are subject to VAT at the prevailing rate.
This agreement may be terminated by either party by way of three months written notice at anytime after the first three months of the tenancy subject to a minimum period of six months. A placement fee equivalent to one months rent will be payable where the landlord intends to continue letting to tenants introduced by the agent after the termination of this agreement.
The landlord shall provide the agent with any requirements for return and repossession of the property at the earliest opportunity. Landlords should be aware that any tenancy agreement entered into on the landlord’s behalf is a binding legal document for the term agreed. Details of the tenancy agreement being entered into will be communicated to the landlord as soon as possible. Landlords should be aware that the legal minimum notice period to tenants under assured short hold tenancies is two months and this needs to be given even in the case of a fixed term tenancy which is due to expire.
To find out more or discuss our service in more detail please contact us
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