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Information For Landlords

 

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The Residential Lettings Department at Davis Brown specialises in residential lettings throughout London. Our ARLA trained staff have extensive knowledge of the property market and we can guide you along the way to help achieve the best possible income for your property.

As members of the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) and ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents) we have to duty to comply with professional codes of conduct and will seek to provide high standards of service to both Landlords and Tenants.

This information booklet will provide a brief introduction on the services we have to offer you via our Management, Rent Collection and Letting Only Services, together with some guidance on how to let your property, important considerations and useful information and your legal requirements.

Davis Brown Lettings

The cost for the individual services are;

*&** Please see ‘Additional Services’ for information about additional charges and services

ADDITIONAL FEES & FURTHER INFORMATION ON OUR SERVICES

Marketing

At Davis Brown we have access to all the major property portals, such as Rightmove and OnTheMarket, as well as our own website www.davis-brown.co.uk. Full colour details will be drawn up and will be available from our Residential Office. We also use local newspapers and publications to maximise exposure.

Viewings

All prospective tenants will be accompanied by a member of our staff when viewing your property.

Tenant referencing, credit checks and Right to Rent

All prospective tenants will complete a tenancy reference application which is sent to our external credit reference agency company for a comprehensive review.  We will contact you again for final approval.

We will also undertake an initial Right to Rent check on all tenants under the Immigration Act 2014. 

Tenancy Agreement and Deposit Registration

A tenancy agreement will be prepared for all tenants to sign before moving into the property. In most cases an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement will be used which is under the Housing Act 1988. In some cases, i.e. company lets, the tenancy will drafted as an Assured Tenancy.  We will register landlord and tenant details and protect the security deposit with a Government authorised Scheme and provide the tenant(s) with the Deposit Certificate and Prescribed Information within 30 days of start of tenancy.  We charge an administration fee for the cost of the administration associated to the tenancy which is £180 including VAT.  For non-housing act tenancies, we recommend you speak your solicitor to confirm tenancy terms.

Inventory and Schedule of Condition

We can arrange an inventory to be carried out by an independent inventory company who will prepare a comprehensive inventory report of the property’s contents and schedule of condition prior to the tenancy commencing. Whilst an inventory is not mandatory, we highly recommend one as it is important the property is received in a good condition at the start of the tenancy to set the standard by which the tenant has to return the property at the end of the tenancy.  Estimates can be given upon request.

Rent payments

The first month’s rent is collected in advance, prior to the tenants occupation of the property. Further rental payment will then be collected in advance by standing order (where possible).  If you sign up to our ‘Fully Managed’ service, our accounts department will pay the rent into your bank account (via BACS) or forwarded onto (by cheque) normally within ten working days each time the rental is paid by the Tenant. A monthly rental statement and invoice will then be forwarded to you.

Tenancy Renewals & Rent Reviews

We will contact you two months prior to the expiry of the tenancy and take your instructions on whether you wish to renew the tenancy and consider a rent review. We will contact the tenants following your instructions and draw up the necessary documents for the renewal. If the tenants plan to vacate at the end of the tenancy, we will re-advertise the property for prospective tenants.  If the tenancy is rolling on a monthly basis, we can serve a Section 13 Notice for a rent increase. Renewals are charged at 3.6% (inc. VAT) of the rent.  

Property Visits

Property visits during the tenancy for non-managed properties are charged at £90 (inc. VAT) per visit.

For managed properties, the first property visit is free. For each additional property visit during the tenancy there will be a charge of £90 (inc. VAT) per visit.

Ending the Tenancy

Whilst we hope that both you and the tenants are happy living at the property, if needed Davis Brown can prepare notices for possession or court (not including a Section 21 notice) at the cost of £300 including VAT.  Court attendance is charged at £180 per hour including VAT.

Inventory Check-out

At the end of the tenancy we will arrange a full inventory check-out and meter readings. The tenant is responsible for the cost of the check-out and this is normally deducted from the deposit. If instructed in writing, Davis Brown can provide cleaning estimates. If the property is not managed by Davis Brown, property inspections relating to the deposit, deposit deductions and negotiations are charged at £300 including VAT.

Organising works & refurbishment works to your property

Works over £1,000 and up to the value of £5,000 will be charged at 12% including VAT of the net cost and works over £5,000 will be charged at 8.5% including VAT of the net cost.  Full project management of full refurbishment works will be charged at 8.5% including VAT of the contract price

Overseas Landlords

Costs of overseas and long distance telephone calls and faxes will be charged at the current British Telecom rates plus VAT.  If the Landlord is not a resident in the UK we will charge an administration fee of £30 including VAT each quarter for tax retention and completion of the documentation required by the Centre for Non Residents.

 

GUIDANCE NOTES & LEGAL REQUIREMENTS

Property Presentation

The better the property is presented, the quicker the property will let. We have set out below some useful tips and recommendations:

  • De-clutter - remove personal items to create a sense of space
  • Re-decorate if possible – applicants prefer neutral finishes
  • Professionally clean carpets or replace with wooden floors (easy to maintain for both you and the tenant
  • Ensure appliances are in good working order, including boilers and white goods.  Install modern laundry facilities and kitchen appliances if necessary
  • Provide good lighting and soft furnishings. Use bold colours for cushions, rugs, lamps etc.
  • Create as much storage space as possible
  • Take care of any external maintenance including gardens/guttering

We can advise on all the necessary steps prior to letting your property, including furnishing/redecorating/refurbishing. We also have an in-house team who can advise on refurbishment projects who will work towards your budget and tailor the project to suit your individual needs.

Instruction manuals

Ensure all appliances in the property have been safety checked and leave all instruction manuals in the property.

Utilities

You will be asked to provide the details of the utility accounts (see Landlord Property Information). Please ensure that whilst we are marketing the property all utilities are up and running to assist viewings.

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)

All lettings require an EPC. An EPC must be available to prospective tenants and the graph of the EPC must be attached with our marketing particulars. 

N.B. From April 2018, the proposed legislative changes would make it unlawful to let residential or commercial properties with an EPC Rating of F or G (i.e. the lowest 2 grades of energy efficiency).  Please contact us for more information.

Gas Safety (Installations & Use) Regulations 1998

The 1998 regulations place a legal duty on Landlords and agents dealing with rented properties. The regulations require all gas appliances, pipework and flues from the appliances to be checked annually by a qualified Gas Safety Registered engineer. A valid Gas Safety Certificate must be issued each time and updated every 12 months and a tenancy cannot commence without the appropriate certificate. Failure to comply is a criminal offence for both the Landlord and the Landlord’s agents.

The Electricity Equipment (Safety) Regulation 1994

These regulations require all electrical equipment left at the property be ‘safe and of no risk’ or cause ‘injury to human or animal’. They should be checked so that flexes, fuses and electrical output are safe and correct. Portable electrical items such as electric cookers, refrigerators, washing machines, kettles, toasters, etc., must comply. They are strict penalties for non-compliance with these regulations.  Davis Brown recommends all electrical items to have a PAT (Portable Appliance Test) prior to the start of the tenant. Any unsafe items must be removed.

The Furniture & Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 1988

Most upholstered furniture bought after 1988 should have the required permanent label confirming the furniture/furnishing complies with the regulations. Non-compliance is a criminal offence and if it is not possible to establish where the furniture came from or its compliance, it must be removed.

Smoke Alarms & Carbon Monoxide

All properties built since 1992 must be fitted with a mains operation smoke detector on each floor. If the build was built prior to this date then we strongly recommend that smoke detectors are installed on each floor of the property.

Carbon Monoxide is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas produced by the incomplete burning of carbon-based fuels (coal, gas, wood, oil). Steps can be taken to reduce the risk of Carbon Monoxide, such as regular serving appliances but also by installing a Carbon Monoxide detector.

From the 1 October 2015 landlords will have to ensure that a smoke alarm is fitted on every floor of their property where there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation. They will also have to put a carbon monoxide alarm in any room where a solid fuel is burnt, such as wood, coal or biomass and includes open fires. It does not include gas,

oil or LPG. Landlords or agents will then have to ensure that the alarms work at the start of each new tenancy. For example by pressing the test button until the alarm sounds.

Gas Safety (Installations & Use) Regulations 1998

The 1998 regulations place a legal duty on Landlords and agents dealing with rented properties. The regulations require all gas appliances, pipework and flues from the appliances to be checked annually by a qualified Gas Safety Registered engineer. A valid Gas Safety Certificate must be issued each time and updated every 12 months and a tenancy cannot commence without the appropriate certificate. Failure to comply is a criminal offence for both the Landlord and the Landlord’s agents.

Non UK Resident/Overseas Landlords

All income received from letting your property in the UK is subject to UK income tax, even if you live abroad. As an agent, we have to retain a portion of rent from each rental period in line with the tax due and report back to HMRC on a quarterly basis. Unless we have specific approval from the Inland Revenue we cannot hand over the rental income gross of UK income tax.  We can provide you with an Overseas Landlord form for you to complete to organise your confirmation from he Tax Office. For further information, please contact your accountant or visit or visit the HMRC website at www.hmrc.gov.uk/cnr.

Insurance

Your insurance provider (building and contents) needs to be informed as they too may need to make alterations in order to cover a third party residing at the property. It is essential that you maintain full cover during the period that you are letting out the property.

Leasehold or Share of Freehold Properties

If you own the property on a “leasehold” basis or “share of freehold” basis you will need to obtain the consent of the management company and the superior landlord to let your property out, unless stipulated otherwise in your lease. Please therefore check the terms of your head lease prior to considering letting your property

Mortgaged Properties

You must tell your Building Society of Bank (if the property is mortgaged) that you are thinking of letting your property. It is usually one of the conditions of your mortgage that you apply for permission to sub-let the property.

 

Davis Brown Estate Agents, Fitzrovia would be delighted to help you achieve the best possible rental income for your property, and can support you every step of the way.  Contact us to speak to a member of our Residential Team on 0207637 1066.

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