A Guide To Letting
Building on our long experience of lettings and management in both the rural and commercial fields, we now offer a comprehensive service for the residential landlord. For our scale of charges for both landlords and tenants, please see bottom of this page.
We will be pleased to call to advise you on the market rent for your property. Rents are payable by the tenant monthly to our client account. You will be paid direct from this account and we will prepare, at regular intervals, an income and expenditure account which you can send to the Inland Revenue.
We collect a deposit from the tenant to safeguard against damage which will be held with the Deposit Protection Service. At the end of the tenancy we will inspect the property and the costs of any work attributed to the tenant will be deducted from the deposit.
We will find a suitable tenant for your property and take up references.
We will prepare a legal agreement under current legislation to suit your particular circumstances. In general this will be an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) for a period of not less than 6 months and then renewable either on another fixed period or on a month to month basis. This gives you the flexibility to re-occupy the house after giving the tenant two month's notice to quit. Similarly the tenant may terminate after the initial period by giving one month's notice.
Rates and Services
The payment of water rates, council tax, gas, electricity, oil and telephone bills are usually the responsibility of the tenants.
The landlord is responsible for all repairs to the property with the exception of window glass or other breakages caused by the tenants. Small repairs can be carried out by our contractors, or others nominated by you, and their charges deducted from your account. We will always ask for instructions before commencing any large scale repairs.
From the total rent received in a tax year you can normally deduct, for tax purposes, the following:
• Fair wear and tear & repair costs.
• 10% of rent for depreciation, if furnished or part furnished.
• Interest paid to the Building Society or Mortgage Company.
• Insurance premiums.
• You then pay tax on the remainder of the rent.
When the landlord is resident in the UK, it is entirely his responsibility to inform the Inland Revenue of rental income received, and to pay any tax due. However, where the landlord is resident outside the UK during a tenancy, unless an exemption certificate is held, we as landlord's agents are obliged to retain and forward to the Inland Revenue on a quarterly basis, an amount equal to the basic rate of income tax from rental received, less certain expenses. An application form for exemption from such deductions is available from this Agency, and further information may be obtained from the Inland Revenue.
You should ensure that you are suitably covered for letting under both your buildings and contents insurance. Failure to inform your insurers may invalidate your policies. We can advise on Landlord's Legal Protection, and Landlord's Contents insurance if required. Your normal insurance is unlikely to cover you against damage done by the tenants.
Our fees for managing the property are some of the most competitive to be found. For these fees we will:
• Find you a suitable tenant
• Take up references and credit check
• Draw up a tenancy agreement
• Collect the rent and account to you monthly
• Make regular inspections of the property and advise you whether all is in order
• Advise on any repairs that are necessary
• Provide information and help on insurance.
• Building Society Mortgages
If there is a mortgage secured against the property, you must obtain written consent from your lender to the letting. We can liaise with your lender on your behalf if required. Some lenders might charge higher interest rates for let properties and raise a service charge.
Landlords are required to provide an Energy Performance Certificate prior to letting it out. We can arrange this for you.
A Guide To Renting
Stanton Mortimer specialises in letting properties and prides itself on providing a personal service to both landlord and tenant.
This document is designed to outline our terms and conditions and tries to answer most of the questions that normally arise when a tenant is considering renting a property.
Should there be any further queries that you may have then we would be pleased to assist.
1. LOOKING FOR A SUITABLE PROPERTY
When you start looking for rental accommodation you should allow a minimum of two weeks to find a suitable property, however in certain instances we can organise a tenancy within a shorter timescale. Your first step is to consider your requirements and priorities. The following are examples of the variables to be considered:-
• The maximum rent you wish to pay
• How long you want to rent for
• Commuting time to your workplace
• Your need for local facilities, i.e. schools, shops, parks, restaurants
• Type of property you would like, i.e. house/flat; modern/period
• The areas you would like to live
• Whether furnished or unfurnished
• Public transport options
It is important to recognise that your absolutely ideal property, in all respects, may not exist and you may have to compromise on one or more of the above. The more flexible you are, the more likely it will be that you can be settled without any undue delay.
2. HOW MUCH CAN I AFFORD?
All tenants are subject to a referencing process which includes an affordability calculation. Your annual earnings (as an individual or as a couple) must be equal to or more than 2.5 times the annual rent.
If you fall short of these figures, it may be possible to be accepted if you can provide a guarantor. Your Stanton Mortimer representative can advise you further on this issue.
3. VIEWING PROPERTIES
When viewing, you must consider the property carefully and ensure that you check exactly what is and is not included in the furnishings and fixtures.
Any discussions or correspondence with the owner, or our staff, are expressly deemed to be subject to application, reference and contract.
4. CREDIT REFERENCES
Once you have selected a property, the prospective tenant/s is required to complete a credit reference application form and pay to Stanton Mortimer a credit reference fee for each rent paying adult. These charges are non-refundable if you, as the proposed tenant, fail the credit reference search or decide not to take occupancy of the proposed property. We use a credit search agency who will carry out a search and we advise the proposed tenant that the information supplied on the application form will be used to trace tenants who vacate the property leaving damage or rent arrears. The credit agency takes between 2 and 5 days and then provides us with information on the following: -
• Voters roll registration at current or previous addresses
• Details of any previous bankruptcy in the last 10 years
• Details of other searches and financial transactions
• Full score information on tenant (pass or fail)
• Full employers reference, commencement date and salary
• Bank account reference
• Employer company check confirming proper incorporation, date and reg. no.
• Previous/current Letting Agent or landlord report (where applicable)
• Compilations and assessment of all available information
• Recommendation on applicants; suitability for the tenancy
An administration fee is also charged to cover the costs of preparing the tenancy agreement and associated documentation. We would ask that you contact us after about 5 days to check that we have received the references and to arrange a date for you to move into the property. If the house is vacant we can normally arrange this within 10 days. We insist that the initial rent and deposit are received into our bank account at least 3 working days prior to the moving in date.
NB: We cannot under any circumstances divulge to you any information obtained from the credit reference other than to say that it was satisfactory or not satisfactory.
5. TENANCY AGREEMENT
You will be asked to sign a tenancy agreement. You should read this very carefully and keep a copy. If in doubt do not sign the agreement. There are different types of agreement such as:
Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement. An assured shorthold tenancy agreement can be for any agreed initial term but is usually for an initial term of six months. This type of tenancy protects the landlord so that he can always obtain possession once notice is served but must allow the tenant to live in the property for not less than the initial term.
The landlord giving not less than two months notice to quit on the fourth month, effective after the first six months, can terminate it. The tenant could also terminate it after the initial period giving one months notice in writing.
Stanton Mortimer reserves the right not to proceed with a proposed tenancy.
6. RENT DAY
The Standing order must be set up for four days in advance of the rent due date to ensure cleared funds are received on the rent due date.
7. NON-PAYMENT OF RENT
Should this occur then a "late rent" letter will be sent to you requesting immediate payment of the overdue rent and should this not be heeded then action will be taken to recover the amount due. If the matter has to go to court you will not only owe the rent but also our additional costs, legal expenses and court fees.
The tenant is responsible for all outgoings i.e. water, gas, electricity, community charge and contents insurance for personal items within the property should the property be unfurnished.
As occupation is taken up, the necessary authorities should be informed of the date you take up occupation, and your ongoing responsibility for their accounts.
A detailed inventory of the property will be given to the tenants. It is essential that the inventory is accurate as you will be asked to sign the inventory and return it to the local branch within 7 days of taking up occupation. It is normally accepted that corrections can be made by the tenant to the inventory, but once signed the tenant will thereafter be held liable to return the property in the same condition as detailed on the inventory.
We ask tenants that they supply one and a half month's rent to be held by us as a deposit during the tenancy. This will be refunded at the end of the tenancy once we have checked the condition of the property. Deposits will normally be returned 10 days after the property has been vacated and keys returned to the local branch and all final accounts have been paid. No interest is paid on deposits held.
11. ELECTRICITY, OIL AND GAS SUPPLIES
These are the tenant's responsibility. At the commencement of a tenancy you should contact the relevant companies notifying them of your occupation.
12. GAS SAFETY REGULATIONS 1994 - ANNUAL GAS SAFETY INSPECTIONS
Gas heating systems should be checked regularly. By law a Gas Safe Engineer must inspect each property every 12 months; the cost of the inspection is the responsibility of the landlord. Stanton Mortimer Property Consultants will hold the certificate of Gas Safety.
13. WATER RATES
Our standard lease provides that the tenant is responsible for the payment of water rates. Some properties are on a water meter. You will need to contact the relevant authority to arrange for connection.
Tenants are responsible for any connection or re-connection charge and should contact the relevant company to have the telephone changed to their name.
15. HOUSE AND CONTENTS INSURANCE
The landlord will insure the property and landlords contents. Tenant's contents are not covered by his insurance and the tenant should arrange their own.
16. COUNCIL TAX
This is the responsibility of the tenant. You need to tell the Council Tax Office of the date that you move in. Our experience shows that they are now very efficient and will track tenants from property to property for recovery of tax. As Letting Agents, Stanton Mortimer are obliged by law to tell the council of your occupation, previous address and your forwarding address.
17. MAINTENANCE AND GROUND RENT (LEASEHOLD PROPERTIES ONLY)
The landlord is normally responsible for both the maintenance and ground rent charges.
18. CLEANING / GARDENING
The tenant should leave the house in a tidy condition. Should the property not be left in a clean and tidy condition so that it may be immediately re-let, Stanton Mortimer will employ a professional cleaner and the cost will be charged to the tenant. The garden should also be left in good condition according to the season of the year. If the garden is not being maintained during the term of the tenancy and is not left in a satisfactory condition contract gardeners will be employed and the tenant charged.
Our standard lease precludes pets of any kind except upon written consent. It must be pointed out that although visible damage caused by animals can normally be noticed, there have been problems with flea infestation and smell after 2-3 weeks of the property being vacated. An additional deposit is therefore needed and the carpets will need to be cleaned and fumigated under the terms of the tenancy agreement.
The lease allows Stanton Mortimer to carry out inspections of the property to ensure that it is being kept in the manner laid down in the tenancy agreement. Our experience shows that some properties need to be inspected more frequently than others. Our management visits will include investigation of defects, which come to our notice or are clearly and adequately brought to our attention by the tenant. We write informing you when these inspections are to take place.
21. FAIR WEAR AND TEAR
The tenancy agreement allows for the tenant to have free and unabated use of the property. The landlord accepts that there will be normal wear and tear to the property, fixtures and fittings. If something has been maliciously damaged the tenant will be held responsible.
If any item needs repairing please contact the office, on 01609 773004 immediately. We use a number of local tradesmen who will respond quickly and attend to any minor repairs of emergency. If the cost is likely to exceed £250 we are normally required to obtain 2 quotations and the landlord's approval before the work can be undertaken.
23. NOTICE TO QUIT
The lease will bind the tenant for an initial minimum period, either 6 months or a year. You cannot terminate the tenancy during the initial period and will be held responsible for all rent due. If, at the end of your initial period, you wish to end the tenancy, you must provide Stanton Mortimer with a minimum one month's notice in writing to 80/81 High Street, Northallerton, DL7 8EG on or before your rent due date letting us know when you wish to vacate the property.
If the landlord should require you to vacate the property at any time after the initial period then the landlord must give you 2 month's notice to quit the property.
LETTINGS FEES & DISBURSEMENTS
1.) A fee of £30 (including VAT) per rent paying adult will be charged when an application for references is made. This is non- refundable should the application not proceed for any reason.
2.) An administration fee of £180 including VAT will be charged on signing the tenancy agreement.
1.) Find a Tenant only fee - £420 including VAT
2.) Full Management - a find a tenant fee of £420 including VAT will be charged, in addition to a management fee of 12.5% inclusive of VAT of the monthly rent received for managing the property per month.
3.) An additional charge will be made for inventories which will depend on the size of the property and start at £90 including VAT.
Tenancy Deposits are held with the Deposit Protection Service in accordance with their terms and conditions.
Stanton Mortimer Ltd is a member of the Property Ombudsman scheme.