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GUIDANCE NOTES AND DECLARATION FOR LANDLORDS FOR FULL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT

Thank you for your enquiry regarding Pikes Estate Agents Ltd Letting and Management services. The following information should help to guide you through the maze of residential letting. However should you require any further information please contact our offices.

FINDING A TENANT

Through our office we will endeavour to find the most suitable tenant(s) for your property. Searching through our active mailing list of potential tenants, advertising in the local newspaper, in our prominent office display and both the Pikes Estate Agents, On the Market & Rightmove web sites. To create additional interest we can erect a “To Let” board.

Pikes Estate Agents require a minimum property standard as required by legislation:-

MINIMUM PROPERTY REQUIREMENTS FOR NON HMO (related tenants) PROPERTY

  1. Satisfactory NICEIC/ELECSA fixed wiring and PAT (Portable Plugged Appliance Test) required on the commencement of the marketing of the property. (Visual inspection Certificate and PAT test required annually). Interlink mains wired optical smoke detectors, with battery back up, in all hallways and landings together with the relevant installation certification. Recommend that a mains wired with integral battery back- up, heat detector also fitted in the kitchen and linked into the ‘smoke detection system’.
  2. Kitchen to be fitted with a Fire blanket complying too BS 6575 (or equivalent).
  3. Kitchens and Bathrooms are required to have mechanical extraction fitted.
  4. Satisfactory ‘Gas Safe’ Landlord Gas Safety Certificate, required annually. Required on the commencement of the marketing of the property.
  5. A valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) required prior to marketing of the property.
  6. Clean floor coverings, (usually replaced every five years) and curtains.
  7. Clean tidy décor.(usually repainted every three years)
  8. Clean appliances, kitchen and bathrooms.
  9. Tidy maintained gardens. Either the Landlord or Garden contractor to carry out regular maintenance.
  10. All upholstered furniture to comply with the (Fire Safety Amendment) Regulations 1993 and display a permanent fire label.
  11. One set of front door keys for each tenant and two complete set of keys for Pikes Estate Agents, supplied to our offices in advance of tenants taking occupation and one set of keys for all other locks (please leave individual bedroom door keys in their locks) to be left in the property. We recommend that the Landlord ensures they retain a complete set of keys to their property. Front and back door locks are required to comply with BS3621-2004.
  12. Key or Card operated meters are not to be fitted to the electric and gas supplies.

‘HOUSES IN MULTIPLE OCCUPATION’ (HMO) (THREE OR MORE NON RELATED TENANTS STUDENTS OR PROFESSIONALS)

In addition to the above the following guidance notes are the minimum standard required under the Housing Act 2004, Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006.

More in depth information is available from Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council: web site www.welhat.gov.uk: follow links to ‘Guide to Fire Safety in Houses in Multiple Occupation’, ‘Amenity Standards for Licensable and Non-licensable House in Multiple Occupation’ (August 2013) and ‘Fire Risk Assessment-A Guide’ Telephone enquiries :01707 357521 (direct line)

  1. All Bedrooms are required to have an opening window to provide ventilation and a means of an escape in the event of an emergency. Each Bedroom door to be a self-closing, half hour fire door with intumescent fire strips and flexible edge cold smoke seals along both vertical and top edges of the door or door frame. Bedroom door locks (minimum BS3621-2004) to be NON key operated ‘thumb-turn’ from the inside-‘euro cylinder’. (DO NOT FIT YALE LOCKS AS THEY MAY LOCK THE TENANTS OUT OF THEIR ROOMS, RECOMMEND THUMB AND KEY STYLE DEADLOCK –EURO CYLINDER').
  2. Fire Alarm System to comply with the current British Standard 5839 part 6: Grade D, LD2 (or equivalent). All rooms (except bathrooms and toilets), hallways and landings (the escape route) to have mains wired interlinked optical smoke detectors with integral battery back-up. Kitchen to have an interlinked heat detector with integral battery back-up. All three story properties are required to be fitted with a Grade A system. There are more requirements to a Grade A system to include a ‘Control Panel’ and emergency ‘Call Points, log book & operating instructions ideally fixed to the wall by the ‘Control Panel. Certification required from the installer that the system, Grade A or D, has been designed and installed in accordance with the relevant British Standard. Both systems are required to be tested annually and the appropriate certificate issued and supplied to Pikes Estate Agents.
  3. Installation of suitable and sufficient emergency lighting to provide adequate coverage to the protected escape route. Certification to confirm that this complies too BS 5266. Escape route to be half hour fire protected.
  4. Kitchen and Communal Rooms required to be protected by fire doors being self-closing, half hour fire doors with intumescent fire strips and flexible edge cold smoke seals along both vertical and top edges of the door or door frame.
  5. Kitchens are required to have a fixed fire blanket to BS 6575 (or equivalent) and mechanical extract ventilation. Large enough fridge & freezer for the number of tenants (suggest minimum one shelf of each per tenant) and sufficient cooking, storage and washing facilities for the number of tenants (Six or more tenants require additional cooking, storage, sink and kitchen space).
  6. Communal Rooms are required to have natural light and ventilation.
  7. Required number of Bathrooms/WC’s as follows, 1-4 Tenants One Bathroom and WC, 5 Tenants One Bathroom with separate WC with wash hand basin, 6-8 Tenants Two Bathroom/Shower Rooms with Two WC’s with wash hand basins. Bathrooms are required to have mechanical extract ventilation.
  8. All exterior doors to be secured with locks to the minimum BS8621-2004. These doors are to be keyless exits, being thumb-turn locks on the inside.
  9. Key or Card operated meters are not to be fitted to the electric or gas supplies
  10. To let a property as an HMO the property is required to have ‘Class C4 Houses in Multiple Occupation’ usage prior to letting. Please see note below from Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council website.
    Hatfield Article 4 Direction
    Changes to planning rules, requiring planning permission for all new Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO) in Hatfield from 12 January 2012. Further information available on the Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council website: www.welhat.
    gov.uk
  11. Fire Risk Assessment and yearly review.
  12. Monthly property inspections of the fire precautions (please enquire at office for further details & charges)

LICENCED HMO

In addition to the above all three story properties with FIVE OR MORE Tenants are required to be Licenced by Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council. For further information and an application form you may contact them on 01707-357521 or down load the guidance notes and application form from their web site: www.welhat.gov.uk

Pikes Estate Agents are unable to manage a property without the required licence.

Any landlord thinking of letting to students will need to provide the following items in the property:-

  • Single bed with a clean mattress
  • Desk of sufficient size
  • Desk Chair
  • Wardrobe with handing rail and built-in drawers, or a separate chest of drawers
  • Curtains or blinds, window nets on ground floor bedrooms
  • Kitchen Appliances to include:- cooker, large enough fridge and freezer, microwave, vacuum cleaner (bag less recommended) and washing machine
  • Tumble dryer recommended
  • We advise that the following items are not supplied: Cutlery, crockery, pots & pans, small electrical items to include kettle, toaster, sandwich maker, deep fat fryer, iron, desk lamps & similar products. Please enquire at our office if you are uncertain.

REFERENCES/GUARANTORS

We instruct a referencing company who carries out the referencing of all the prospective employed tenants to include a credit check. These references can include employers, previous landlord and accountant (if self-employed), which you may check prior to the tenancy commencement.

If the prospective tenant is a student we will take a written ‘Form of Guarantee’ who will be responsible to pay the rent if the tenant defaults. In the event the tenant does not have a guarantor they will be asked to pay the full rent for the period of the contract in advance of moving in.

TENANCY AGREEMENTS

An “Assured Shorthold Tenancy” is drawn up for the assured period usually for six or twelve months. This can be drawn up for another specified period not exceeding three years. The Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement is available for your inspection on request.

DEPOSIT

We collect a minimum of one month’s rent as a deposit in cleared funds prior to the tenancy commencement which we hold as stakeholders, against damage, breakage’s and non-payment of rent. During the tenancy the deposit is ‘Ring Fenced’ under the ‘Tenancy Deposit Scheme’ therefore being unable to be drawn against. The full terms are as follows:-

Definition of ‘ICE’ is ‘Independent Case Examiner of The Dispute Service Ltd’.

B 1. The tenancy deposit. The Agent is a member of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, which is administered by:

The Dispute Service Ltd
PO Box 1255
Hemel Hempstead
Hertfordshire
HP1 9GN

Telephone: 0845 226 7837 Fax: 01442 253193 Website: www.thedisputeservice.co.uk

B 2. If we the Agent are instructed by the Landlord to hold the Deposit, the Agent shall do so under the terms of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.

B 3. The Agent holds tenancy deposits as Stakeholder (if not already specified within the Tenancy Agreement).

B 4. At the end of the tenancy covered by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.

B4.1 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.

B4.2 If, after 20 working days following notification of a dispute to the Agent and reasonable attempts have 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 (subject to B 4.3 below) be submitted to the ICE for adjudication. All parties agree to co-operate with any adjudication.

B4.3 When the amount in dispute is over £5,000 the Landlord and the Tenant will agree by signing the Tenancy Agreement to submit the dispute to formal arbitration through the engagement of an arbitrator appointed by the ICE although, with the written consent of both parties, the ICE may at his discretion accept the dispute for adjudication. The appointment of an arbitrator will incur an administration fee, to be fixed by the Board of The Dispute Service Ltd from time to time, shared equally between the Landlord and the Tenant. The liability for any subsequent costs will be dependent upon the award made by the arbitrator.

B4.4 The statutory rights of either the Landlord or the Tenant(s) to take legal action against the other party remain unaffected.

B4.5 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 may take longer and may incur further costs. Judges may, because it is a condition of the Tenancy Agreement signed by both parties, 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.

B4.6 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.

B4.7 The Agent must co-operate with the ICE in the adjudication of the dispute and follow any recommendations concerning the resolution of the dispute.

B5 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.

WHO MUST I INFORM

You have a legal obligation to inform your mortgagee, the Inland Revenue (overseas landlords see below) Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council for licensed properties, Freeholder (if leasehold property) and Insurance Companies (building and contents insurance policies may become invalid/void if not informed). Pikes Estate Agents are required to complete an annual return to Inland Revenue, on request, of all rent received on rented property.

OVERSEAS LANDLORDS NON RESIDENT LANDLORDS SCHEME

Overseas Landlords must also register with ‘The Non-Resident Landlord (NRL) Scheme’. You can find full information from HM Revenue & Customs website and down load an application form:- www.hmrc.gov.uk (If you search Non Resident Landlord Scheme and complete form NRL1, Pikes Estate Agents Registration number: 922/NA 022743). Once your application has been accepted H M Revenue & Customs will write to us with your registration number giving us authority to pay your rent to you without deducting tax at source. Without this authority we are obliged to retain income tax at 20% and forward it to H M Revenue & Customs.

PRE INSPECTION AND INVENTORY

If possible make preparation for your property to be ready 14-21 days before the commencement of the tenancy in order to allow us sufficient time to prepare an in depth inventory of your property contents and the condition (excluding loft space and plants etc).

Whilst you are checking your property please ensure that you check that all appliances, sanitary-ware, windows (window lock keys in place), doors and light bulbs are operating correctly in order for a smooth commencement of the tenancy.

SERVICES

Due to Pikes Estate Agents being a ‘third party’ and the large number of companies now being ‘suppliers’ we are unable to liaise with the gas and electric companies. We shall write to the council tax department and the water company supplying them with the Tenancy and Tenant details and your forwarding address for any outstanding liability. The landlord should contact all your utility companies at the commencement and at the end of the tenancy in order to avoid any confusion regarding utility bills liability and risk of a County Court Judgment being put against you. Please arrange payment of any outstanding amounts due to yourself at each change of tenancy.

POST RE-DIRECTION

We would strongly recommend that you request the Post Office to re-direct any of your mail on to your forwarding address approximately two weeks in advance of tenants taking occupation.

INSTRUCTION MANUALS

Landlords are recommended to supply photocopies or clear written details to the operation of all appliances, gas central heating, electrical heating and fire detection systems. Please leave these in the property for your tenants use. This will help to avoid unnecessary call out charges.

RENT COLLECTION

We endeavor to collect the monthly rent and make payment to the Landlord after deductions of our fees and any maintenance costs usually within seven working days after the rent’s due date.

PROPERTY INSPECTION

Non HMO properties: We carry out regular inspections every three to four months and report back any irregularities to the Landlord.

HMO properties: Monthly inspection are required by the Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council. These are charged for please enquire at our office for up to costings.

At the end of the tenancy we carry out our final inspection and liaise with the Landlord and Tenant as regards any potential deductions under the guidelines of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.

GENERAL

The following is a basic guide to the maintenance and decoration you should expect to carry out as a Landlord to look after your investment and keep your property in a suitable condition for letting:

  • Décor: Silk emulsion walls and ceilings and gloss woodwork every three years
  • Carpets and Floor Coverings: Replace every five years
  • Soft Furnishings: Replace every three to five years

Please contact our office if you have any queries or would like us to carry out a free market appraisal of your property.