Residential Lettings & Property Management

We are specialists in the Letting and Management of residential property, taking pride in our reputation for providing a professional yet personal service to landlords.

Our staff have many years experience and have been working together for many years and continually aim to reinforce their position as one of Wakefield’s leading agents in this highly specialised and increasingly complex market. Through extensive experience we have been able to clearly identify the needs of landlords and develop our services to meet their needs. By ensuring that all our staff are experienced and dedicated, we can provide you with a quality service with the peace of mind that your property is in safe hands.

We are members of (ARLA) the ASSOCIATION OF RESIDENTIAL LETTING AGENTS and therefore as a Tenant you can be assured that you are dealing with a company regulated to conduct its practices to the highest standard. This in turn means that we are accountable and your money is protected and insured.

There are many reasons why people choose to let, purchasing a residential property can be a secure investment with good returns rivalling many other kinds of investment. Moving abroad, whether it’s temporary or permanent has become increasingly popular and letting your home offers you the opportunity to maintain an income from your property with the option to return at a later date. Many homeowners who can’t sell, find that letting out their current property enables them to relocate or buy another. More lenders now offer “Let to Buy” mortgages which enable you to achieve this.

Buy to Let has become extremely popular in recent years because mortgage providers have developed a number of products to suit each individual landlords’ needs. Provided you have an  adequate deposit to put down, or alternatively enough equity in your main home, Buy to Let remains an excellent long term investment providing both income and capital growth despite occasional fluctuations in the housing market. There are also some tax advantages in buying to let: you can claim tax relief against items such as the interest on your mortgage, letting agency fees, insurance premiums and upkeep on the property.

The key to success with buy-to-let is finding the right property, if you are buying a property to let you need to choose one that will appeal to the type of people who live in that area. We can tell you about what are the best type of properties to buy, before you buy! We can tell you what to look for  to check that the house or flat you are interested in conforms to health and safety regulations. Otherwise you may find yourself needing to replace boilers, gas fires and appliances which can be costly.

 

‘Letting Your Property’

When people look at your property they will compare it to other properties that are available, so the condition and appearance will affect both the rental value and the time it will take let.  Remember, first impressions count so we would always recommend that the decorations should be light modern and neutral, carpets need to be clean and neutral colours are always best, kitchens and bathrooms should be modern and well presented and in general the property should be thoroughly clean, neat and tidy throughout. Gardens should be tidy and well maintained prior to letting, it is then the Tenants responsibility to maintain the grass and borders (any large shrubs/trees/bushes, should be maintained by the Landlords).

The right tenant is the essential ingredient for a successful letting and we at Hodsons Estate Agents have the experience to find the right tenant for you. We have a constant supply of tenants actively seeking a property and we have established contacts with major local companies and relocation agencies who have a regular requirement for good quality accommodation.

We specialise in offering a professional letting service and we attract good calibre, low risk tenants. The right tenant is the essential ingredient for successful letting.

Why not contact our office in order to arrange a free valuation. One of our experienced members of staff will meet you and advise you on the presentation of your property and carry out an initial market appraisal in order to inform you how much monthly rent could be achieved.

 

‘Our Services’

FULL MANAGEMENT SERVICE

As part of our full management service we offer the following:-

  • Full marketing and promotion of the property including brochures, internet advertising via our own impressive website and all major property portals and local newspaper advertising

  • Negotiate offers to secure the most appropriate tenancy terms

  • Carry out full credit checks & references on all prospective tenants

  • Rent Collection Service. We will collect the rent from the tenant and a monthly statement will be sent out to you on the same day that the funds are transferred. We will set out full details of all transactions undertaken in connection with your property

  • Rent Gaurantee Insurance Policy (fee applicable)

  • Arranging of the Annual Gas safety inspections and Electric checks

  • Organizing the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

  • Carry out an in house professional inventory service with colour photographs. This forms part of the tenants check-in and check-out procedure. The inventory will contain all the items in the property including furniture, carpets, curtains and decoration and the condition of the property. When the tenant/s are due to leave the property a rigorous check out procedure is followed. The full inventory and photographs are checked to assess whether the tenant/s has maintained the property in a satisfactory condition. If the property is found not up to standard then these areas will be costed and deducted from the tenant’s deposit in accordance with statutory deposit regulations.

  • Prepare a full and detailed Tenancy Agreement

  • Deal with general repairs or maintenance. We will deal with all calls from your tenant and organise any repairs as necessary, subject to your instructions.

  • Carry out regular inspections at the property and provide a report to the landlord. The inspections are carried out to ensure that the property is kept in good order and being looked after by the tenant/s. They also help us to highlight whether any maintenance work is required.

  • We will negotiate tenancy renewals or extensions with the tenant/s and actively market the property for re-letting once your tenant serves notice.

  • Act as managing agent including compliancy with statutory obligations.
     

LET ONLY

This is a tenant finding service only which may be suitable for the more experienced landlords who are confident in dealing with all tenancy matters including the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (as amended 1988), the Gas, Electric and Fire Regulations. Our service includes:

  • Visit the property, appraise and advise on expected rental levels

  • Market and promote the Property including brochures, internet advertising via our own impressive website and all major property portals and local newspaper advertising

  • Arrange and attend appointments with prospective tenants

  • Negotiate offers to secure the most appropriate tenancy terms

  • Deal with tenancy applications including guarantors if appropriate

  • Prepare a Tenancy Agreement for signature and collect the first months rent and bond

  • Arrange if required an Inventory and Schedule of Condition
     

‘Guide to Safery Regulations’

THE FURNITURE AND FURNISHINGS
(FIRE) (SAFETY) REGULATIONS 1988 (AS AMENDED)
All upholstered furniture made after 1950 are included within these Regulations. Furniture covered  by the Regulations include:- sofas, settees, seat pads, beds, head boards, pillows, arm chairs, scatter cushions, futons, mattresses and bean bags, carpets, bedclothes  (including duvets)  and mattress covers. (Curtains are not included in this regulation).

To comply with the Regulations furniture of this type must be fire resistant and in most cases carry a permanent label to this effect. To be ‘Fire Resistant’ most furniture and upholstery must have passed an ‘ignitability test’ specified in the Regulations. If you would like us to let or manage your property, any furniture which does not comply with these Regulations must be removed from the property before the tenancy begins. Any replacement furniture must comply with the Regulations.

There are heavy penalties imposed by these Regulations on landlords who do not comply with them. The penalties for noncompliance include a maximum of six months imprisonment and/or up to a £5000 fine. You can obtain further guidance on these regulations from your local Trading Standards office.

THE GAS SAFETY (INSTALLATION AND USE) REGULATIONS 1998
These regulations came into force on the 31st October 1994 to ensure that gas appliances are properly installed, maintained and in a safe condition so as to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

It is the responsibility as the landlord of a domestic property that ALL ‘Gas Appliances’ and Gas Installation Pipe work owned by him are checked for safety at least once a year by a member of the Gas Safe Register and that accurate records are kept of those safety inspections and any work carried out. These records must be provided to the tenant at the commencement of Tenancy.

These regulations also apply to brand new properties.

We also recommend you have ALL ‘Gas Appliances’ serviced on an annual basis, for example:-

  • Central heating system

  • Gas heaters

  • Gas fires

  • Gas cookers

‘Gas Installation Pipe work’ includes gas pipe work, valves, regulators and meters. Faulty equipment can lead to death and a conviction of unlawful killing on the landlord.

Under the Regulations any appliance that does not conform to the regulations can be disconnected.

Failure to comply with these regulations may jeopardise the life of your tenant and lead to prosecution with penalties of imprisonment or fines up to £5000.

THE ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT (SAFETY) REGULATIONS 1994
These regulations impose an obligation as a Landlord to ensure that all electrical appliances and installations that are left as part of the property are in a safe and working condition. We recommend that all electrical appliances that are included in the property are regularly checked and serviced.

Failure to comply with these regulations can jeopardise the life of your tenant and lead to prosecution which include penalties of imprisonment or fines up to £5000.

As part of our service to you we can arrange both the gas and electrical safety inspections if requested.

ENERGY PERFORMANCE CERTIFICATES (EPCS)
As from the 1st October 2008 any residential property offered for let must have an EPC in place. This is prepared by a qualified Domestic Energy Assessor who visits the property and prepares a detailed report covering such elements as glazing, insulation and heating. The property is then given a rating similar in format to those seen on refrigerators and washing machines. The certificate is designed to give prospective tenants information on the energy efficiency and carbon emissions of the building so that they may compare it to others on the market.

As part of our service to you, we can arrange the EPC on your behalf if requested.

 

‘Frequently Asked Questions’

DO I NEED AN AGENT?
There is nothing to stop a Landlord letting a property without an agent. However, there are many legal requirements that a Landlord has to adhere to and failure to comply with these may result in criminal prosecution. Our staff are trained to understand the requirements and have systems in place to ensure they are complied with. We have facilities to properly vet a potential Tenant, allowing you to make the right choices.

WHAT SORT OF AGREEMENT DO I NEED?
There are several different types of agreement that could be used depending on the circumstances of the tenants, the Landlord and indeed the property. In the majority of cases it will be what is called an Assured Shorthold Tenancy for a fixed period of at least 6 months.

WHAT ABOUT A DEPOSIT?
We take from the tenants a deposit of a months rent, plus £200 (more if tenants have pets, agreed by the Landlord). It will only be returned at the end of the Tenancy when the tenant has given vacant possession of the property and the property is found to have been left in a satisfactory condition, allowing for wear and tear and complied with his or her responsibilities under the Tenancy Agreement. The Tenant’s deposits are now protected and must be registered with a government approved scheme (this is done by ourselves if we are managing the property).

HOW WILL THE RENT BE PAID?
In most cases a standing order will be set up from the tenant’s bank account and the rent will be paid in advance. Our computerised systems means that once the monies have ‘cleared’ through the banking system, we will then pay the rent by BACS directly into the account of your choice. A detailed statement of account will then be forwarded on to you as part of our service.

WHAT WILL BE MY OUTGOINGS?
These will include:

  • Mortgage

  • Insurance- Buildings & Your Own Contents (as a minimum)

  • Repairs to the property and contents unless caused by the tenants

  • If the property is leasehold- ground rent and service charges

  • Managing Agents fees

  • When the property is empty you will be responsible for all utilities and services

AM I RESPONSIBLE FOR TAX?
You will be liable to pay tax on any profit generated from letting your property, the amount of tax you pay will depend on your circumstances. If you are overseas for more than six months in any tax year, you will be regarded as a non-resident Landlord. The current legislation requires us to deduct and pay over to the Revenue tax at the basic rate unless we are in receipt of an exemption letter from the Inland Revenue. Once we are notified by the revenue that you are exempt, we will no longer need to deduct tax. Please note that where there are joint Landlords (including married couples) an exemption is required for each Landlord. We will be happy to discuss these arrangements with you.

DO I NEED TO INFORM MY INSURANCE COMPANY?
Yes - most certainly, otherwise you may find your insurance is invalid.

WHAT AM I RESPONSIBLE FOR REPAIRING?
As a Landlord you have a legal obligation under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to maintain the structure of the building, the sanitation and the supply of services. In addition, should an item in the property require replacing or repairing through fair wear and tear then you would be expected within the terms of the Tenancy Agreement to deal with this.

ARE SMOKE ALARMS REQUIRED?
We would strongly recommend that at least one alarm per floor is fitted in the property, regardless of age. Smoke alarms have to be installed in any new building or conversion.

WHAT HAPPENS IF THE TENANT DOESN’T PAY THE RENT?
As part of our service we endeavour to ensure that the rent is paid on time. Having carefully  elected the tenant in the first place, there’s unlikely to be a problem. However people’s circumstances do sometimes change during a tenancy and if the rent is not paid we’ll advise you on the appropriate course of action. We can also offer you for a small fee a rent guarantee policy to give you complete peace of mind.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE PROPERTY IS EMPTY?
You must advise your insurance company in accordance with their requirements regarding empty property. Please check your insurance policy for the relevant details.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY PROPERTY IS LEASEHOLD?
The managing agents or freeholders need to be advised as this may affect the buildings insurance. You should obtain consent prior to letting and advise us of any restrictions within the head lease which your tenant should be aware of.

WHO TAKES CARE OF THE GARDEN AREAS?
The maintenance and upkeep of the garden is usually the responsibility of the Tenant. however, should you have a particularly large garden or any precious plants then it may be advisable to arrange for a gardener- the cost of which should be incorporated in the rental value. It is advisable to provide the materials for maintaining your garden even if the property is unfurnished.

DO I NEED TO PROVIDE FURNITURE?
No, in most cases we have found that there is very little difference in rental values between furnished and unfurnished lettings. We will advise you on the most appropriate option for your property. An unfurnished property would require carpets, curtains and usually white goods (however, any white goods left do need to be maintained by yourselves). The requirements for a furnished property can vary depending upon the style and location of your property.

ARE SOME ALARMS A LEGAL REQUIREMENT?
Smoke alarms have to be installed in any new building or conversion. We would strongly recommend that you install at least one alarm per floor of your property, regardless of age.

WHAT RESPONSIBILITIES DO I HAVE REGARDS REPAIRS?
As a Landlord you have a legal obligation under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to maintain the structure of the building, the sanitation and the supply of services. In addition, should an item in the property require replacing or repairing through fair wear and tear then you would be expected within the terms of the Tenancy Agreement to deal with this.

WE HOPE THIS GUIDE HAS GIVEN YOU SOME USEFUL INFORMATION. FOR FURTHER DETAILS PLEASE CONTACT OUR OFFICE ON 01924 200544 OR EMAIL US AT enquiries@hodsonsproperty.co.uk