Central Estates pride themselves on offering an affordable management service that takes the burden of responsibility away from Landlords in today’s ever changing legislative environment. We also ensure maintenance issues are dealt with promptly and economically with our in-house maintenance team.
Our Letting service includes: -
We collect periodic rent under the terms of the agreement. We guide that collected rents (minus appropriate charges, if any) are usually forwarded to the client within 14 days of receipt.
We organise the deposit under the terms of the agreement. Normally this is equivalent to 6 weeks rent. Under new legislation introduced on 6th April 2007, all deposits taken from tenants against possible damage to a property or non-payment of rent must now be covered by a Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme. This applies to Assured Shorthold Tenancies only. We are members of a Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme, which means that in the event that there is an unresolved issue over the allocation of a deposit, it can be referred to the scheme for an independent third party adjudication, which will provide a resolution fair to the Landlord and Tenant. By law we are unable to release the whole or any part of the deposit in the absence of the consent of both Tenant and Landlord or their appointed Agent.
Where possible, we arrange the transfer of utilities (gas, electricity and telephone etc.) at the commencement and termination of the tenancy without liability on our part. It must be noted there are occasions when the various providers concerned will not take instructions from a Letting Agent due to data protection regulations in which case we shall notify and must rely on the Landlord to effect the required change.
We arrange for an inventory to be prepared and/or checked by an independent inventory clerk at the commencement and termination of the tenancy. The fee for the make and check-in is payable by the Landlord. At the termination of the tenancy the independent inventory clerk will prepare a schedule of condition. Where we are providing a letting service only, we will not become involved in any way in the agreement of dilapidations charges which must be negotiated directly between the Landlord and the Tenant.
Thereafter, we shall be preparing and submitting periodic income/ expenses statements to the Landlord. These will be based on the frequency of receipt of rental income from the Tenant/s.
Our Management service includes:-
We will pay, from income, all regular outgoings pertaining to the property i.e. service charge, ground rent, insurance etc., but only if the demands for such outgoings are received by us. The Landlord must ensure that these demands are sent to us. We cannot accept responsibility for the adequacy or otherwise of any insurance cover nor can we predict or specify service/maintenance charges, demands or estimates. Although we will do our best to query any obvious inaccuracies we must emphasise that we are entitled to accept and pay on your behalf demands and accounts which appear to be correct at the time of receipt and payment.
We will inspect the property regularly (usually quarterly). However these visits can only provide a superficial examination and are not intended to be a structural or other survey or inventory check. All inspections by Central Estates are carried out in good faith and without any responsibility whatsoever.
We will arrange for the day to day maintenance, repairs and servicing of appliances up to a maximum of £300.00 for any one item without further instruction by the Landlord. We will do our best to use contractors who have been specifically nominated by the Landlord but we cannot guarantee to do so. Where the repair, renewal, re-placement, necessary re-decoration etc. are liable to cost more than £300.00 we will, where possible, obtain 2 estimates, except in the case of an emergency. Upon acceptance of the estimate we would then put in hand the works, providing we are in funds, which we would supervise and inspect. Should you wish to claim on insurance we will handle the claim on your behalf at a cost to be agreed. Additionally, for works requiring supervision and costing in excess of £1000, we shall levy a charge of 10% of cost plus VAT, to cover our expenses.
At the termination of a Tenancy we would arrange for the inventory to be checked by an independent inventory company and for a schedule of dilapidations (if any) to be prepared. We will negotiate and agree dilapidations on your behalf. We will arrange for cleaning and routine repair works (subject to availability of funds) and obtain estimates for larger works if appropriate.
Arrange for the additional cleaning of the property between Tenancies if, in our opinion, this should become necessary.
It should be noted that our responsibility only commences as and when we have found a Tenant for the property that has entered into a Tenancy Agreement. Unless otherwise agreed, our appointment as managing agent is for the duration of the tenancy and any renewal or extension, subject to three months written notice by either party.
During the full term of the Tenancy we must be in sufficient funds to enable us to meet any expenditure prior to the next rent collection. Please note we are unable to arrange for works of repair unless we are holding sufficient funds from you to cover the expected cost.
FOR YOUR FURTHER INFORMATION
Instruction of Solicitors
Should any rent arrears or breach of agreement be brought to our attention we will inform you. Should any legal action be necessary the Landlord will be responsible for instructing a solicitor and for any fees charged pertaining thereto.
It is essential if you are a Tenant or Lessee that you obtain permission from your Landlord normally required under the terms of your lease, prior to us finding a Tenant. The Tenancy must expire prior to the termination of your lease. If the property is subject to a Mortgage then it is advisable for you to obtain permission prior to letting. Should the property be in joint names then written permission must be obtained from the joint owner(s) who should be named in the Tenancy Agreement.
Under the terms of a Tenancy Agreement a Landlord is responsible for insuring the building and any contents included in the inventory. The Landlord should also advise the insurance company that the property will be tenanted. We shall not knowingly carry out the letting of property that is uninsured.
The Taxation of Income from Land (Non Residents) Regulations 1995
The income from letting UK property is subject to UK Income Tax even if the Landlord is non-resident or is an overseas entity or company. New regulations that deal with the changes in the charging, collection and recovery of tax on income from land owned by non-UK residents came into force on 6 April 1996. We do now account to H.M. Revenue & Customs on a quarterly basis and are required to deduct tax at 20 per cent from the net rental income received (certain expenses paid only may be deducted) and account for this within 30 days of the quarter end to H.M. Revenue & Customs. Non-UK resident landlords can apply to H.M Revenue & Customs for payments to be made gross to them. Approval will only be given by H.M Revenue & Customs if certain stringent conditions have been met, e.g. a statement by the non-UK resident that he/she/it has complied fully with UK tax obligations prior to the application and an undertaking to continue doing so.
Landlord and Tenant Act 1987
Under section 48 of the above, written rental demands to Tenants should include an address within England and Wales at which the Tenant may serve Notices upon their Landlord. In the event that we make a written demand for rental from your tenants we will require the above information.
The Council Tax
The Landlord ordinarily is liable to pay the Council Tax charge on vacant furnished/unfurnished property and during tenancies of less than six months. For longer term tenancies the tenant is usually liable unless specifically agreed otherwise between the contracted parties (e.g. in cases where the rent payable by the Tenant is inclusive of outgoings).
Extension or Sale
Should any tenancy be renewed on either the same terms and conditions or on different terms and conditions either with the original tenant or with any associated party of the original tenant then we will be entitled to a commission fee of 10 % of the rent plus 2.5% management fee, if applicable. Should the tenant or any associated party agree to purchase the premises, we would be entitled to a commission of 2.5% of the sale price + vat. This figure will become payable on completion of the sale. In the event that you sell a property which we have let for you and the tenancy is to continue, then in your interest you must ensure that the purchaser agrees to pay the commission due to Central Estates Lettings in respect of the remainder of the tenancy and any extension, after completion of the sale. If this is not done then you will be liable for the fees even though you no longer receive the rent.
PRIOR TO LETTING
The property must be cleaned throughout and all machines and mechanical apparatus, kitchen appliances and central heating boilers etc. should be in excellent working order throughout. Gas (if any) and Electrical Certificates must be in place and from 1 October 2008 so too must an Energy Performance Certificate.
The Landlord must advise us of all relevant information concerning the property including the existence of any enforcement notice or covenant or restriction affecting the use of the property. The Landlord must also pay all service charges, ground rent, insurance premium and mortgage payments promptly.
LEGAL SAFETY REQUIREMENTS
Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994
All gas appliances (gas boilers, water heaters, gas coal and log fires, gas hobs and gas ovens) must be serviced annually by a Gas Safe Registered Engineer and all gas/log fires must have permanent ventilation. The Landlord is required to keep accurate records of work carried out on all gas appliances within the property, which record shall be made available upon request for the inspection of any tenant who may be affected by the use or operation of any appliance to which the record relates.
Where we are instructed to manage your property we will, in the case of long term landlords, check our records for proof of the last inspection of relevant gas appliances, or in the case of new landlords we will ask for proof of inspection. If no inspection has taken place within the last 12 months we will arrange for an inspection by a Gas Safe Registered Engineer as soon as administratively possible and thereafter annually. Separate records will be kept of all inspections and repairs effected for each property which will be returned to the landlord on cessation of our management service.
For those properties which we are instructed to let but not manage we do require the landlord to discharge us from any responsibility for his own liability under the Regulations. We should point out that non-compliance with these Regulations is a criminal offence which carries a penalty of six months imprisonment or a fine of up to £5,000.00.
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations - Amended 1993
The Consumer Protection Act 1987 Section 12(1) and the 1988 Regulations make it an offence to "supply" in the course of business any furniture to which the Regulations apply unless that furniture meets what is known as the "cigarette test" or "match test" and also what is known as the "ignitability test". The Regulations basically apply to all upholstery and upholstered furnishings, loose fittings and permanent or loose covers. The Offence carries a punishment of six months imprisonment, or fine (maximum of £5000.00) or both. All upholstered furniture manufactured after 1950 (including loose fittings and permanent and loose covers) must be made from fire resistant material. This legislation applies in respect of all lettings of property (unless commenced prior to 1st March 1993). All furniture in respect of all new lettings commenced after 1st March 1993 must comply with the regulations. After 1st January 1997 all furniture supplied, whether new or old, and whether or not previously included in a letting, must comply with the 1988 Regulations. If a Landlord refuses to change furniture, which we feel ought to comply, then we will not accept the instruction or proceed into letting any property that in our opinion is non-compliant with current legislation.
All NEW homes must be fitted with mains operated smoke detectors. They must be installed on every floor and must be interlinking. Although there are no regulations governing older properties we would insist that independent smoke detectors are installed and we will arrange for installation if they are not present at the time of letting. The cost of installation will be deducted from rent received.
The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 and the Low Voltage Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1989.
These Regulations apply to any electrical equipment between 50 and 1,000 volts of alternating current or 75 to 1,000 volts of direct current and require that the apparatus must be safe and tested regularly. The regulations do not stipulate how regularly testing of electrical equipment should be carried out, it will depend upon the age and extent of use of the appliance, but we would recommend that tests should be carried out at least every 2 years. These tests should be carried out by a qualified electrician using the appropriate portable appliance testing equipment.
Items covered by the Regulations include any electrical equipment from fixed appliances such as cookers and immersion heaters to television sets, kettles, electric blankets etc. Each item should be tested and carry details of the tester and all appliances should either have instructions shown on them or be supplied with an instruction book.
We recommend that you remove and replace old or suspect appliances prior to letting. Imported goods from non-EC countries should be removed if they have not been tested and approved by an UK registered electrician.
Failure to comply with any of the Regulations described above constitutes a criminal offence punishable by fine and or imprisonment.
Safety in the home is of the utmost importance, no less so when Tenants occupy your home. In signing our Terms and Conditions of Business we would point out to you that you are confirming to us that you are aware of your obligations under the Regulations outlined above and you are satisfied we have drawn your attention to them and that your premises and any relevant contents supplied by you do comply with Regulations. We will be offering the property and contents to prospective tenants in good faith on that basis. We stress that these notes are intended to appraise you of your potential liability. Whilst we have provided as much information as we consider relevant, we cannot accept any liability whatsoever in respect of your failing to comply with the Regulations.