Do you get many problems?
Very few major ones and we pride ourselves on this, attributing our success to careful selection of tenants and enormous attention to detail. Minor problems such as standards of housekeeping or garden maintenance which do not measure up to landlord’s expectations, can nearly always be resolved by us, provided all parties are reasonable. Issues such as late payment of rent are dealt with quickly and efficiently.
What if the tenant falls behind with the rent?
Rents are paid by standing order on the assigned date in the tenancy agreement, but problems can arise. Sometimes these are due to a change in tenant’s financial circumstances, carelessness, forgetfulness or a mistake by the bank or building society. Where we are acting on a Managed basis we monitor rental payments most carefully, informing the landlord if we feel that there is a real problem and we take every possible step to obtain the rent as soon as possible. Usually we are successful and can pay the landlord, albeit belatedly. On very rare occasions, where rent arrears are accruing we would look at this on an individual basis and work closely with the landlord and tenant to create a suitable solution. We also offer rent guarantee with our Premier Managed service, through Let Alliance.
What if the tenant does not leave at the end of the tenancy?
By careful interviewing, selection and monitoring of tenants we can keep this potential hazard to an absolute minimum. However, in the unlikely event of a problem and when Holden & Prescott has done everything possible to resolve the situation but without success, then the landlord must pursue the matter through the due process of law. This will involve instructing a solicitor who will instigate the necessary court action to obtain possession. It should be born in mind that this can take several months to finalise and although the landlord may be awarded costs and rent arrears, they will almost certainly incur some expense. Solicitor costs are covered by Let Alliance with successful references.
How do you set the rent?
We visit the property and by comparison with others in the area we can advise a realistic rent. This is a matter of experience and we must take into account the standard of presentation. Clearly a clean and attractively modern decorated property will be more in demand and therefore command a higher rent.
What type of tenant can I expect?
This depends very much on the type of property and the limitations imposed by you, the landlord. Typically, a detached four bedroom quality property would probably attract an executive with a local company with children. Smaller properties may attract single people or couples without children. In all cases, we consider that the quality and reliability of the prospective tenant is of key importance.
How long should I let the property for?
This will depend on your circumstances. However, as a guide, if you were intending to let for a period of two years, for example, we would seek to place a tenant in the property for the full period. We would however recommend that as far as the tenancy agreement is concerned, an Assured Shorthold Tenancy be created for a period of six or twelve months initially, to ensure that the selected tenant is suitable in all respects for the full period. If desirable, an appropriate renewal for either another six or twelve months or for the remainder of the period could then be arranged. This process allows maximum control to be retained and provides flexibility to review rental charges, if needed.
Should the property be furnished or unfurnished?
Generally, tenants are more likely to prefer an unfurnished property so that they can bring in their own furniture. The minimum requirement is carpets, curtains, cooker and a fridge. However, if you wish to leave a few items in the property, these can be detailed as part of the Inventory and Schedule of Condition. Appliances left, such as washing machines and dishwashers, make little difference to the rent and are indeed an extra maintenance liability for the landlord, however, it will always aid as a good selling point to any potential tenant if these items were installed. We recommend you should not leave personal items such as crockery, cookware and ornaments. All furnishings must comply with Fire Regulations.
What sort of fixtures and fittings are required?
All tenants have different requirements which are best negotiated at the time but, as a general rule of thumb, presenting a house with fitting such as mirrors over basins, toilet roll holders, towel rails and medicine cabinets will always be well received. This is particularly relevant for brand new houses where the builder is unlikely to have supplied such items. More importantly, it discourages tenants from buying and fitting their own fittings, removing them at the end of the tenancy and possibly leaving, at best, filled/ touched up holes in the plasterwork.
Can the landlord or tenant give Notice during the tenancy?
Not during the fixed term (usually six months) of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, the most widely used form of tenancy, unless by mutual consent. After the fixed term, the tenancy can roll on, on a statutory period, i.e. monthly basis and the tenant can give one month’s notice and the landlord two months.
Do you take a deposit from the tenant?
Yes, always. This is usually equivalent to one months rent and is held by us in the Deposit Protection Scheme. The maximum deposit that can legally be asked for is 5 weeks.
What happens to the deposit?
Since April 2007, all deposits for rent up to £100,000.00 per annum) taken by landlords and agents for Assured Shorthold Tenancies in England and Wales have to be protected by an authorised tenancy deposit Scheme. Holden & Prescott has joined the Deposit Protection Scheme (DPS)
What happens if the tenant has caused damage to the house or contents?
Where we are on a managed bases, at the end of the tenancy and after checking the Inventory of Fixtures , Fittings and Schedule of Condition during our final inspection, we must account to the tenant with the deposit. Negotiations for any necessary deductions can prove troublesome and we do our utmost to achieve a fair settlement for both parties. Tenants must leave the property as clean and as tidy as when they moved in and be prepared to pay for any damage or breakages
I have a sizable garden, should I employ a gardener?
Garden can cause problems as many tenants are disinterested in gardening, particularly if it is not their own. The standard agreement makes the tenant liable for keeping the garden neat and free from weeds. However, if the garden is large or at all 'complicated' or has hedges and shrubs which require careful pruning, we recommend that gardening help is provided on a regular basis. We can as managing agents, arrange to pay the gardener on your behalf and would hope the rent set would help cover this expense.