Chesterton Humberts understands that for many landlords, full property management is a necessity, not a luxury. That's why our property managers offer a comprehensive, first-class service including:
- Rent collection and chasing any arrears. We will advise you if at any stage we feel that the tenants are not going to pay and you need to take legal action. We will liaise with your solicitors throughout the process.
- Monitoring of problems and repairs.
- Handling of inventories and dilapidations at the start and end of the tenancy.
- Access to a portfolio of approved contractors with competitive contractor pricing from our economies of scale.
- Advice on relevant legislation and action taken on landlord's behalf when necessary.
- Recommendation on marketing of the property including refurbishment service and advice.
- Two property visits per annum.
- Notifying utility companies of change over, with the exception of BT and satellite companies.
- Organising a professional clean.
- Point of contact for the tenant.
Chesterton Humberts property management costs 6% plus VAT. For example, a property let at £26,000 per annum costs £1,560 per annum to manage, payable in line with when the rent is received. These fees are tax deductible, so the real cost to a higher-rate taxpayer is £935 per annum.
General Information for Landlords and Tenants
Why should a landlord or tenant seek out an ARLA member?
Probity and Protection - ARLA leads the industry in setting and regulating the highest standards in the industry and demands certain levels of professionalism and commitment to customer service from its membership. ARLA members are required to work within a robust Code of Practice, which covers the key stages in letting and managing a property. There are comprehensive membership byelaws which include compliance with issues such as handling and accounting for clients’ money; the mandatory ARLA Client Money Protection Bonding Scheme; professional indemnity insurance; dealing with complaints and disciplinary procedures. ARLA members are required to employ a minimum of at least one member of staff, in any office, who holds a suitable industry qualification recognised by the Association. ARLA keeps its members up to date with changes in legislation and provides wide-ranging training and guidance to help members understand and interpret all aspects of letting and managing a property.
What about Insurance?
Landlords and tenants should take care to review any existing policies when renting or letting a property for the first time. Some standard insurance products will either not provide cover or might place restrictions on cover for rented property and/or its contents. A failure to inform your insurer that you are renting/letting a property could invalidate any subsequent claim. It is for a landlord to insure the building and his/her contents, fixtures and fittings. The tenants are responsible for insuring any of their own possessions. There are various specialist insurance products designed for landlords and tenants and rented property: Buildings, Contents, Legal Expenses, Emergency Repair cover, Rental Guarantee cover etc. It is illegal for a letting agent (or anyone else) to advise on or sell such general insurance products unless they are authorised by the Financial Services Authority (FSA), or, directly regulated by a broker registered with the FSA.
What about an inventory/schedule of condition?
This is an essential document that provides a written benchmark which should be amended, updated and recreated before the beginning of each new tenancy. A properly constructed Inventory/Schedule of Condition details the fixtures and fittings and describes their condition and that of the property generally. Landlord and tenant often share the costs involved in preparing and checking the inventory; such costs should be seen as a necessary investment that helps protect the interests of both landlord and tenant.
What about the tenancy deposit?
It is quite common for a deposit of an amount equivalent to between four to six weeks rent to be required to be held during the tenancy against the satisfactory performance by the tenant of all the various obligations under the tenancy agreement - but mainly, those relating to the cleanliness and condition of the property. The relevant clauses in the tenancy agreement should set out who is to hold the deposit (e.g. agent or landlord), whether interest is to be paid or not, what the deposit can be allocated for and the end of tenancy procedures and timescales for its refund. The best way for a tenancy deposit (bond) to be held during the tenancy is by the ARLA member agent as “stakeholder” between the parties (landlord and tenant). This means that at the end of the tenancy the agent should get the agreement of both sides before making any deductions for damage, cleaning etc. Ideally, the ARLA agent will be signed up to the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) which means that in the event of an unresolved dispute or stalemate over the allocation of the deposit, it can be referred to the scheme for a prompt, independent, third party adjudication - so providing a resolution which is fair to both landlord and tenant
Repairs and maintenance Issues
A landlord, in very general terms, has a legal responsibility to repair the structure and exterior of the property, including drains, gutters and external pipes; to keep in working order the installations for the supply of gas, electricity and water; and is responsible for the installations that provide space and water heating. The landlord also has other legal responsibilities relating to the safety of such items as gas, electricity and furnishings as well as the general standard or fitness of the property for habitation. A tenant has an implied covenant to act in a “tenant-like manner”. Broadly, this means to report disrepair promptly; to take reasonable steps to ensure that neither the tenant nor guests damage the property, its fixtures and fittings; to do the minor day to day things any home-occupier would normally do e.g. replace light bulbs, fit a new battery in a smoke or CO2 detector, tighten an odd screw which has come loose on a door handle etc.; to keep the property reasonably warm and aired to help prevent condensation or freezing of pipes; to leave the property secure when absent from it; to keep the garden and other areas reasonably tidy and free from rubbish.