Landlord and Tenant Information

Guide for Tenants

Elizabeth Hunt & Associates let and manage range of different properties throughout the area on behalf of private and corporate tenants from sourcing the right property for you through to tenancy completion. The following is a guide to help you through the process.

Application and References

When we have found a suitable property to rent for you, ALL persons aged eighteen or over will required to complete an Application Form and will be named in the Tenancy Agreement. References will be taken up on behalf of our client, the Landlord, including a credit reference, an employer’s / accountants reference and a previous landlord reference (if applicable). We will ask for a payment to indicate your commitment when you submit your application. This payment is non-refundable should your application be unsuccessful or withdrawn in certain circumstances. Please note that this money in advance does not constitute a tenancy or offer of a tenancy but is required as proof of your serious intention to proceed. We will require one proof of address and a photo ID; one of the following forms of identification is acceptable:

  • Proof of address
  • Utility Bill (less than three months old)
  • Bank statement (less than three months old)
  • Council Tax Bill
  • Photo ID
  • Full Driving Licence
  • Passport

Security Deposit

Before your tenancy commences, we will require a security deposit to be paid that is equivalent to one and a half month’s rent which is held by us as stakeholders. The deposit is held against any damages or expenses arising during your tenancy and will not be released until you have vacated the property, all rent has been paid up to date and we have received written confirmation of any costs for damages from both parties. No interest is payable to either party.

Tenancy Deposit Protection

With effect from 6th April 2007, it is a legal requirement that when you pay a deposit, your landlord or agent must protect it using a government-authorised tenancy deposit scheme to ensure you receive all or part of your deposit back when entitled to it, and any disputes will be easier to resolve. Within 14 days of paying your deposit, your landlord or agent, Elizabeth Hunt & Associates, are required to provide you with details of how your deposit is protected including the contact details of the tenancy deposit scheme and what to do if there is a dispute at the end of the tenancy.

Inventory and Schedule of Condition

An Inventory and Schedule of Condition of the property, its contents, furniture, fittings and effects will have been prepared which will be checked and agreed with you at the commencement of your tenancy, and a charge will be made to you. It is important that you take care in agreeing the Inventory and Schedule of Condition at this stage as it will form the basis of any claim for damages, by your landlord, at the end of the tenancy whereupon the Inventory and Schedule of Condition will be checked again. We highly recommend that you are present at the check-in and check-out of your tenancy.

Rental Payments

All rent is payable in advance by standing order/direct debit. Please note that all payments should be made 4 days prior to your rent due date to allow for clearance. Should you experience any financial problems during the course of your tenancy, it is essential that you contact us immediately.

Tenant’s Obligations

Responsibility for the property lies with the tenant during any tenancy. It is particularly important that any gas or electrical problems are reported immediately and the property is fully secured when you leave it unattended at any time. During the winter months, necessary steps must be taken to prevent the freezing of any water and heating systems. In respect of leasehold properties, constituting of mainly flats and maisonettes, the tenant will be bound by the rules and regulations affecting all residents within the block contained in the head lease.

Agent’s Obligations

The obligations of Elizabeth Hunt & Associates will vary depending on the following services we provide for the Landlord:

  • Fully Managed
  • Part Managed – we let the property and collect the rent
  • Let the property

You will be advised which of the above services applies to your property prior to your tenancy commencing but should you need further details regarding a specific property, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Other points of interest:

  • The Tenant will be responsible for insuring their possessions during the tenancy.
  • The Tenant is responsible for the payment of all utilities such as gas, electricity, water/sewage charges, Council Tax, telephone and internet services upon moving into the property and will be responsible for contacting the relevant suppliers accordingly prior to commencement of the tenancy.
  • The Landlord is responsible for any repair/maintenance problems to appliances, etc. but the Tenant is responsible for any breakages which should be reported immediately.
  • Decoration of the property must only be done with the Landlord’s permission.
  • No pets are allowed unless the Landlord has given their consent.
  • Reasonable notice should be given in the event that the Letting Agent or Landlord wishes to inspect the property outside pre-agreed times. It is usual for the Agent to inspect the property at least twice during the term of your tenancy and the Tenancy Agreement should cover this eventuality.
  • Should you wish to leave your Tenancy earlier than the agreed term, you will be liable for all rent until the end of the agreed Tenancy. However, it may be possible to negotiate a break clause with the Landlord which, for example, could entitle you to give notice after 4 months. In this case, you would only be liable for the rent for the notice period of 2 months, releasing you from the remaining 6 months of a 12 month tenancy.
  • The most common type of Tenancy Agreement is the assured short hold for 6-12 month lets and usually takes the form of a standard contract between both parties.
  • However, should any ‘extras’ be agreed, such as certain furnishings to be provided by the Landlord, ensure an extra clause is added to the agreement to this effect. It should be noted that the landlord is not obliged to carry out promises so it is important that your requests are documented.
  • The Letting Agent will handle all property viewings, references, agreements and helping you to move in. If the agent has been instructed to manage the property, you will be required to report any repairs or queries to them. If not, you will deal directly with the Landlord.
  • The Letting Agent, whilst acting for the Landlord, operates within accepted guidelines in the industry to ensure that you are able to rely on a professional letting agent taking your concerns seriously and advising the Landlord if they are being unreasonable. In this regard, you should be assured that the property conforms to all safety regulations and is fairly priced.

Elizabeth Hunt & Associates – Guide for Landlords

The following information has been put together to help you through the process of successfully renting and managing your property. Whether it is your own home, single investment property or just one of a portfolio, Elizabeth Hunt & Associates are committed to providing the best service possible for you. We provide a range of letting and management services based on the experience, skills and expertise of our lettings team. Our tailored, bespoke, personal and highly professional approach to letting your property along with our membership to accredited organisations, gives Landlords and Tenants the reassurance that we have comprehensively understand the lettings and management sector.

Valuation and Advice

The first stage of any relationship between you and Elizabeth Hunt & Associates acting as your agent is to arrange a convenient time for us to visit and value your property for the rental market. For some Landlords, this is your first dip into the rental market, or you may be a seasoned Landlord; either way, we will always provide you with expert advice that we believe will lead us to successfully market, let and manage your property. A member of our team will spend time with you discussing your requirements and your legal obligations, providing you with a true and fair assessment of your property based on our experience, knowledge and current market conditions. The accurate market valuation of your property is essential in the success of renting your property and we will always provide you with realistic expectation of what it is possible to achieve; if your property is not accurately assessed, you could experience unwanted empty periods.

Marketing and Promotion of your Property and Tenant Selection

Elizabeth Hunt & Associates will always provide you with what we believe to be the best advice and guidance on the proper presentation of your property; first impressions count. We extensively market your property through the RightMove and Zoopla property portals as well as our property website. We make full use of the local press and our excellent relationships with high street agents and relocation specialists. Our proactive approach to marketing without the need for a high street presence ensures that your property is let quickly and at the best rental level. Through the use of multiple quality images, floor plans, full descriptions and display boards outside your property (with your permission), we also work closely with local blue chip and national relocation companies to provide you with greater access to a higher quality tenant market. Once we have found a potential tenant, we follow our full referencing procedure which helps us ensure you that we have the right tenant for you and your property. Rent Guarantee schemes can also be arranged for your total peace of mind.

Regulations

Elizabeth Hunt & Associates are able to guide you through the regulations and legal requirements of being a Landlord. Our fully qualified and highly trained contractors help to ensure that your property is not only safe for tenants but also meets all legal conditions. Landlords have a duty under common law to ensure the safety of rented property and contents. Copies of the complete regulations may be obtained from HMSO Publications Centre, PO Box 271, London SW8 5DT.

Gas Safety (installations and use) Regulations 1994 (1996)

With effect from 31st October 1994, it is a legal requirement for all gas appliances, fittings, pipework and installations in rented properties to be checked annually by a gas safety registered approved contractor, and that a ‘Landlord’s Gas Safety Certificate’ has been issued. The Landlord or their agent should provide proof, on demand, to the tenant that inspections have been conducted by way of the ‘Landlords Gas Safety Certificate’. Faulty equipment can lead to death and conviction of unlawful killing on a Landlord. Under the regulations, any appliance that does not conform can be disconnected.

Fire and Furnishings (Safety) Regulations 1988 (1993)

With effect from 1st March 1993, it is an offence to supply furniture and furnishings which do not comply with regulations concerning fire resistance. All filling material used in furniture, furnishings and re-upholstered items must be fire resistant and carry the appropriate label as evidence of compliance. The regulations apply to sofas, beds, bed-heads, children’s furniture, garden furniture suitable for use in a dwelling, scatter cushions and pillows, stretch or loose covers for furniture or other similar items. The regulations do not apply to curtains, carpets, bedclothes (including duvets and mattress covers). Furniture manufactured prior to 1950 is exempt from the regulations on the basis that the combustible materials were not in use prior to that date. Non-compliance with the Furniture and Furnishing Regulations could result in a substantial fine or custodial sentence. If you are unsure of the filling of any furniture in your property, the furniture should be removed.

The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations (1994)

Landlords are legally required to ensure that all electrical devices are safe and comply with British Standards. The regulations cover all mains voltage household electrical items. Cabling, fuses and plugs should also be inspected and replaced where necessary to the correct rating for that particular appliance. The D.T.I. states: “These regulations require that all electrical equipment left at the property be safe and of no risk or injury to human or animal”. However, there is no specific requirement for testing but the Landlord must be aware of their responsibilities to supply safe products. Elizabeth Hunt & Associates recommend that all electrical equipment is checked by an N.I.C.E.I.C-registered electrician on an annual basis.

The Building Regulations 1991 – Smoke Alarms

The 1991 Building Regulations require that all properties built since June 1992 must be fitted with mains operated interlinked smoke detectors/alarms on each floor. Currently, regulations regarding older properties do not exist however we strongly advise that smoke alarms are fitted in all rental properties and are regularly checked to ensure they are in full working order.

Legal Requirements and Tenancy Agreements

The Tenant Deposit Scheme

Elizabeth Hunt & Associates require the tenant to pay one month’s rent in advance and to pay a holding deposit equivalent to one and a half months which is held by Elizabeth Hunt & Associates as stakeholders under the Tenant Deposit Scheme in a specific Client Deposit account. With effect from the 6th April 2007, it is a legal requirement that any assured shorthold tenancy agreement that was entered into the deposit would be held under the terms of The Tenant Deposit Scheme. It was introduced to ensure good practice in the handling and safeguarding of deposits. Please ask us for full details of the scheme.

Energy Performance Certificate

With effect from 1st October 2008, private Landlords are required to show prospective tenants an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) detailing its energy efficiency rating. The EPC must be given when any written information about the property is provided or when a viewing is conducted. In addition, it must always be handed to the actual tenant at the commencement of the Tenancy.

Tenancy Agreement

For individual tenants where the rent is under £100,000 per annum, an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement will be used under the terms of the housing Act 1988 (amended 1996). This type of agreement is also referred to as an ‘AST’ or ‘Shorthold Tenancy’. Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreements are normally arranged for a 6 or 12 month period and allows the tenant to remain in the property for an agreed fixed term. The main requirement with this type of agreement is that the Landlord and Tenant agree on the minimum term and level of rent. An Assured Shorthold Tenancy ensures that the Tenant is protected in terms of the sum of rent and that the Tenant has the right to challenge excessively high rent or changes in the agreed rent. At the end of the agreed term, the AST can be renewed or if both parties choose, it can be changed into what is known as a Statutory Periodic Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement. The terms of the original Tenancy Agreement still apply, but the tenancy continues on an agreed period by period basis. There’s also what is known as a Contractual Periodic Tenancy in which no term for the end of the tenancy is set and the tenancy agreement simply continues until either party decide to bring it to an end by serving the correct notice. For properties where the Tenant is with a company, the contract would be different to the standard AST and would be a Company Letting Agreement between you the Landlord and the Company in question. For properties where the annual rental income exceeds £100,000 per annum a Non-Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement is agreed and is referred to as a Contractual Tenancy Agreement or Common Law Tenancy Agreement.

Mortgages and Insurance

Mortgage

Consent to Let – if you have a mortgage on the property you are renting it is important that you obtain consent from your mortgage lender to let the property. If your interest in the property is leasehold, your lease may require you to obtain consent from your Landlord prior to sub-letting.

Buildings and Contents Insurance

The majority of insurers will not cover your rental property under the terms and conditions of a standard household Buildings and Contents insurance policy. It is therefore imperative that Landlords contact their insurers to ensure that they are informed of any change in circumstances and the property and your investment continues to be protected.

What Insurance Do I Need During The Letting?

You are responsible for insuring everything that is yours. Buildings insurance must be maintained. You should insure whatever you leave in the way of contents (this should include carpets, curtains, cooker etc.) and we recommend that Accidental Damage cover is included.

Tax – UK-Based and Overseas Landlords

UK-Based Landlords

UK residents are liable for tax at the standard rate under the Taxes Management Act 1970 Section 79, but there are a number of allowances including:

  • Elizabeth Hunt & Associates fees and charges.
  • Ground rent and management costs for Leasehold properties.
  • General repairs to the property.
  • Wear and tear allowance for furnished properties.
  • Accounting fees and legal expenses.
  • Building and contents insurance.
  • Interest on loans for the purchase and improvement of an investment property.

All the above may/may not apply. Seek professional guidance from a qualified accountant.

Overseas Landlords

If you are based overseas, the Inland Revenue hold Elizabeth Hunt & Associates as the agent liable for the deduction of the tax for the rental payment. If the exemption certificate from the Inland Revenue is not completed and returned to HM Customs and Revenue, we will hold 20% of all rents received. Tax is paid quarterly to the Inland Revenue until such time that the forms are accepted and acknowledged by the Inland Revenue, and an exemption number is given. The Landlord is entitled to apply to the Inland Revenue for reimbursement of any tax owed. The Certificate is issued in relation to the agent and is not transferable. We can assist in the correct forms and agent reference to be used in order to limit or stop the need to hold any of the rent for the Inland Revenue.

Inventories and Schedule of Condition

The Inventory detailing the contents and condition of your property is an important part of the Letting process. Whether the property is furnished, part-furnished or unfurnished, the Inventory is a vital document that determines the difference in condition of the property from the commencement of the tenancy to the departure and check out. Professionally and independently produced, the Inventory ensures that there are no misunderstandings and confusion when it is time for the tenancy to come to an end. Elizabeth Hunt & Associates will, on your request, arrange for the independent company to produce the Inventory on your behalf. The independent inventory company are also responsible for the check in and check out when the Inventory will carefully be gone through item by item including full meter readings and the recording and acceptance of keys will also be part of this service.

Check in and Check out using Landlord’s Inventory

Elizabeth Hunt & Associates use the Landlords prepared Inventory for the check in and check out of the tenant but cannot accept responsibility for items not included on Inventory.

Recommendations

We recommend that properties to rent are professionally cleaned including carpets and curtains, avoiding any confusion when the tenant leaves as to the standard required. We are able to arrange for this to be done upon request. With a furnished property, unless otherwise requested, personal effects such as ornaments, pictures, small kitchen equipment and bed linen should be removed. Beds should be clean and mattresses preferably covered with a fitted mattress protector. Furnished properties should include all the basic essentials for living such as vacuum cleaners, washing machines, beds, bed linen, towels, etc. Dishwashers and microwaves are optional items although with increasing competition for quality tenants we would recommend these white goods are included. However, any repair or replacement is the responsibility and obligation of the Landlord during the tenancy. Telephone points with broadband connection are most helpful. Unfurnished properties will usually require carpets, curtains and white goods.

Is It Better To Let Furnished, Part Furnished Or Unfurnished?

There is no legal advantage in letting the property as furnished. An unfurnished property can be just as easy to let however we would advise Landlords to be flexible. If you have somewhere to take your furniture, it makes sense to save on wear and tear. We can only market your property as furnished, part furnished or unfurnished and as soon as we have an interested applicant we can help in the negotiation of the level of furnishings required.

Elizabeth Hunt & Associates – Services

We offer three levels of service to meet your individual needs whether you are a private Landlord, an investment Landlord or a corporate property company.

Premium Managed – Letting and Full Management

  • Letting and Full Management.
  • Rental valuation and appraisal of your property.
  • Marketing, advertising and conducting all viewings.
  • Tenant selection, introduction and full referencing.
  • Preparation of the tenancy agreement.
  • Collection of rent and deposit.
  • Arrangement for the preparation of Inventory and Schedule of Condition.
  • Ensuring that all legal requirements are met.
  • Check in of new tenants and utility transfers with meter readings.
  • Transfer of initial rental income and all ongoing rentals received.
  • Dispatching monthly statement of accounts.
  • Regular property visits and reports.
  • Arrangement of routine repairs and supervision of day to day maintenance.
  • Payment of property related outgoings (excluding mortgage payments).
  • Holding and registering of tenancy deposits (held in client account).
  • Correspondence with tenants regarding any late rental payments.
  • The negotiation of tenancy extensions.
  • Checking out tenants at the conclusion of tenancy.
  • Liaising with Landlords regarding any dilapidation issues.

Rent Managed – Letting and Part Management

  • Letting and Part Management.
  • Rental valuation and appraisal of your property.
  • Marketing, advertising and conducting of all viewings.
  • Tenant selection, introduction and full referencing.
  • Preparation of tenancy agreements.
  • Collection of rent and deposit.
  • Preparation of Inventory and Schedule of Condition (if required).
  • Ensuring legal requirements are met.
  • Check in of new tenants and utility transfers with meter readings (if required).
  • Transfer of initial rental income and all ongoing rentals received.
  • Sending out monthly statement of accounts.
  • Holding and registering tenant deposits (held in client account) (if required).
  • Correspondence with tenants regarding any late rental payments.
  • The negotiation of tenancy extensions.
  • Checking out tenants at the conclusion of tenancy (if required).
  • Liaising with Landlords regarding any dilapidation issues.
  • Inventory preparation, check ins, check outs can be arranged (if required).

Let Only – Tenant Find and Introduction

  • Tenant Find and Introduction.
  • Rental valuation and appraisal of your property.
  • Marketing, advertising and conducting of all viewings.
  • Tenant selection, introduction and full referencing.
  • Preparation of the tenancy agreement.
  • Collection of first month’s rent and deposit and transfer of balance of rent.
  • Ensuring all legal requirements are met.
  • Transfer of initial rental income and all ongoing rentals received.
  • Sending out monthly statement of accounts.
  • Holding and registering of tenant’s deposit (held in client account) (if required).
  • Inventory preparation, check ins, check outs can be arranged (if required).