Proof of property ownership will need to be sighted by us in order to avoid any misunderstandings or potential identity theft. This proof can be either your mortgage documents, property deeds or a letter from your solicitor confirming this.
The market for good quality rented property is high and over the past few years there has been a definite increase in demand. We offer a free valuation service, without obligation, and offer specific advice regarding the letting of your property. In general, the better the condition of the property the easier it will be to let, and the higher the likelihood of the property being well looked after. Upon receiving instruction from you, we will market your property on the internet, through our own website and well known property portals ie. Zoopla.co.uk & Primelocation.com. Also advertising in the local press, Facebook, Twitter, our window and circulating details of our property list to our register of applicants. We operate within a 15 mile radius of Cullompton.
Since October 2008, all buildings, whether residential, commercial or industrial are required to have an Energy Performance Certificate [EPC]. These are valid for 10 years and a property cannot be marketed without one. We can arrange to have this carried out for £55. An example is shown on the right.
An accredited Energy Assessor visits the property to collect only the data required for assessing energy features, and generates an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) using government-approved software. The assessment is based on the construction and type of dwelling and relevant fittings (heating systems, insulation or double glazing, for example).
It is not a structural or building survey, condition report or property valuation. An EPC should not be read as a comment on the overall condition of the property nor will it comment on the presence or otherwise of asbestos, high alumina cement concrete, additives including calcium chloride, or any building defects or hazardous materials.
A mortgage is likely to be the biggest financial commitment you ever make. Selecting and arranging a mortgage, especially on a Buy to Let basis, in a tax efficient way can be a minefield and potentially very daunting. It is key to receive full independent advice to ensure that your mortgage fits your goals, objectives and your budget. We are associated with a firm of Independent Financial Advisers, Forward Financial Planning, who can research the whole market place to find the most suitable mortgage to meet your needs. They are also happy to offer advice on other financial matters, such as making your savings investments and pensions work harder.
If your property has a mortgage, consent must be gained from your Mortgage Company, Building Society or Bank. They will then provide you with written permission and may also impose some conditions.
You must inform your household insurance company and discuss the necessary insurances required.
There is an insurance policy available to cover loss of rent and legal expenses incurred when evicting tenants who do not pay their rent. With our thorough referencing procedure this situation arises very rarely. We can give you more details upon request.
You should contact your Tax Office to ascertain any tax liabilities. If you are travelling abroad you may be able to apply for exemption. Where the landlord resides abroad, the Commissioners for the Inland Revenue will hold us, as your Agents, responsible for the payment of any tax which arises on rents collected by us on your behalf, unless we have clearance by the authorities to pay gross (ie. without tax deduction). The net rental (rents less allowable expenses) is subject to tax under British law.
Aspen Properties are registered with the Inland Revenue and are obliged to account quarterly and annually to the Inland Revenue, NRL [Non-Resident Landlords] Section showing all receipts and payments for our overseas clients. http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/international/nr-landlords.htm#2
In accordance with the Housing Act 2004, all landlords and agents are required to join a statutory deposit scheme if they take deposits from tenants when letting their property. This became law on 6th April 2007 and affects all Assured Shorthold Tenancies commencing from then.
Tenants’ deposits will be safeguarded and they will get all or part of their deposit back if they have kept the property in good condition and are entitled to it. The scheme offers alternative ways of resolving disputes which aims to be faster and cheaper than the current Court based system.
Aspen has chosen to adopt the “Custodial Scheme” which is run by Computershare Investors Services plc, and called The Deposit Protection Service [DPS]. This is a free service and available to all landlords and agents.
After the Fixed Term of the Tenancy Agreement, the tenancy automatically becomes a Periodic Tenancy. This is now deemed to be a new tenancy and further Prescribed Information must be given to the tenants. The Deposit Protection Service has a template for this which can be downloaded from their website www.depositprotection.com
As a result of this new legal requirement we feel that a detailed Inventory and Schedule of Condition taken at the start of the tenancy is vital, to provide a benchmark by which we can measure any unfair wear and tear on the property. Without adequate proof you may not be able to claim any of the tenant’s deposit against damages caused during the tenancy. The cost of this inventory is tax deductible.
Both tenant and landlord have to agree within ten days of the end of the tenancy, for any deductions to be taken from the deposit, before the DPS returns the deposit to the tenant. If this cannot be agreed by both parties there is a free arbitration service that will automatically be implemented. This decision will be made within ten days and is binding.
There is no difference to the amount of rent achieved if the property is furnished, part-furnished or unfurnished. However, there are Fire and Furnishing, Gas and Electrical Equipment Regulations which must be carefully followed. The Landlord is held responsible for any item left in the property to be safe and in good working order.
If the property is to be left Unfurnished we would advise that a cooker, carpets, curtains and light fittings are provided. Items such as a fridge and a washing machine may be left as long as they are in good and safe working order and comply with the necessary regulations. Many tenants have their own and therefore may not require them. Any electrical appliances left included in the tenancy, must have instruction booklets. They also require annual PAT safety checks.
If the property is to be left Part-furnished we would advise that carpets, curtains and light fittings are provided. Items of furniture may be left, but these items must comply with the regulations.
If the property is to be Furnished then we would advise a basic amount of furniture is left including enough beds for the amount of tenants entering the property. Basic equipment left in the kitchen including a cooker, fridge, and washing machine and sufficient china, glass and cutlery for the amount of occupants. Linen and bedding is not required, indeed many tenants prefer their own. Please note that all the furniture and fittings must comply with the regulations.
Where the property has gas appliances an inspection and Certificate of Safety must be provided at the commencement of the tenancy, unless the property is brand new and has not been occupied. It is also recommended that appropriate checks are carried out between tenancies.
A thorough inspection of the property is recommended to ensure that the structure, roof, plumbing and wiring etc. is in good order. The property has to be safe for the tenant’s occupation and if the landlord is aware of any aspects that might be hazardous e.g. pond in the garden, these need to be notified to us and the tenants. Due to the potential hazards of some equipment e.g. garden strimmer we would recommend that these are not left in the property. If any appliances are left at the property, it is essential to leave the instruction leaflets. The landlord should attend to any internal or external decorations and ensure that the property is clean throughout, including windows both inside and outside. Carpets, curtains, blankets, duvets, pillows, bed covers and loose covers should be professionally cleaned. 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 aforementioned throughout the term of the Tenancy subject to any term on the contrary in the Tenancy Agreement mutually agreed by the parties.
Some landlords have the property professionally cleaned at the start of the tenancy, and then agree with the tenants to have the same company clean the property on vacating.
Aspen Properties do not inspect attics or cellars.
Landlords should inform Aspen of any preferred contractors for maintenance, making sure the names, addresses and telephone numbers are supplied.
Should the need arise, we are associated with a Debt Recovery company.
The Landlord is responsible for the property whilst there is no tenant. Sometimes your insurance company requires your property to be visited on a regular basis whilst empty, if you are unable and would like Aspen to do this a charge will be made.
For those landlords with internet connection facilities, it would be helpful to give Aspen your e-mail address, so that we can efficiently keep you informed about your rental portfolio and any updates or changes in the industry.