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Practicalities: Your questions answered.

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A. Yes, providing there is no prohibition against sub-letting in your lease, If there is then you would need consent from the freeholder. Your mortgagee would also have to be informed and give consent.

A. The tenant who will be in permanent residence.

A. The tenant is responsible, unless of course there is a special mutual agreement otherwise.

A. All utilities, other than the telephone, generally remain in the landlords name, and the landlord, by agreement, levies a fixed utility charge in addition to rent. However, the tenant invariably becomes the subscriber, paying all telephony costs at the normal service provider rates.

Legalities of letting

As part of our service we apprise you of the rules and regulations which landlords MUST comply with.
Please view our advice guide

Keys

A minimum of three complete sets to be provided.

Instruction manuals

Manufacturers operating and instructions manuals should be left in a prominent position in the property.
Please view our advice guide

Post

We recommend that you arrange for the Post Office to redirect mail to your new address to avoid delays and reduce the risk of identity theft. This can be arranged on-line through the Royal Mail website http://www.royalmail.com

Insurance

Landlord:
The tenancy agreement normally makes provision for the landlord to fully insure both the property and its contents. Your insurers must be informed as there may be restrictions on letting.

Tenant:
The tenant is responsible for insuring their own possessions.

Inventories

Provision is made in t he tenancy agreement for the property and contents to be returned on termination of the tenancy in the same condition as at commencement. Fair wear and tear, that is the amount of damage or dilapidation that can be reasonably expected to occur during the term of the tenancy, has to be taken into account. This will necessitate the preparation of an inventory at the start of the tenancy, to be signed by both parties as a true record of the condition. This goes a long way to avoiding disputes.

A. The make of the inventory is paid for by the landlord. At the start of every tenancy, we recommend an independent check (called a Check-in) which is signed off by the Tenant – this is also paid for by the landlord. At the end of the tenancy, an independent check (called a Check-Out) is carried out, usually with the Tenant present – this is paid for by the Tenant.

A. We always recommend the services of an independent inventory company to ensure impartiality.

Furniture removal and storage

Be flexible.
Tenants sometimes ask for additional furniture or removal of some items, which can be stored inexpensively in a local self – storage depot. We recommend that important pieces be removed before letting. This may require specialist handling and can be expensive. Obtain a quotation beforehand so you know where you stand.

Valuations

We will provide you with a free rental valuation and advise on the likely tenant profile. Any other points may be discussed with our representative, without commitment on your part.

Pets

Our standard tenancy agreement excludes ANY pets. Generally head leases prohibit pets, as these could annoy neighbours.

A. You, as landlord, may have no jurisdiction over this as there may be a prohibition in the head lease. If this is not the case, then you have a choice. If you agree, the species should be defined in the tenancy agreement, and specific conditions relating to furnishings and professional cleaning, on termination, set out.

Smoking

A. No. You have the right to refuse, and can make non-smoking a condition of the tenancy agreement.

Burglar alarm

A. The cost of the maintenance contract is normally borne by the landlord. The tenant is responsible for monitoring charges.

Tenant's parking

Garages and parking spaces are at a premium. If this is an available facility we can advise you as to whether it is more beneficial for you to let this separately or include it in the tenancy. Most local authorities offer an alternative Residents Parking Scheme.

Deposits

This is a sum usually equivalent to six weeks rent, to offset the cost (if any) incurred in reinstating the property at the end of the tenancy as existed at commencement, less fair wear and tear. These monies are retained in accordance with the following schemes:

Custodial scheme - paid directly to the Government to be held for the duration of the tenancy. We do not recommend this scheme as we believe Landlords end up with very little input on return of the monies.

Insurance backed scheme - paid to Benham and Reeves Residential Lettings with monies held in a separate account as stakeholders on behalf of both landlord and tenant, neither of whom has access to these funds unless agreed between the parties.

On termination of the tenancy the sum is released, less any mutually agreed deductions, as determined by the tenancy agreement. If the deductions are in dispute the matter is referred, together with the deposit, to the government scheme administrator, whose decision is final and binding on both parties.

We enter all our tenancies into the TDS scheme to ensure deposits are dealt with in the most efficient and fair way to all parties.

For full details visit TDS Scheme information.

Classification of tenancies

Assured shorthold tenancy (AST)
Applicable to individuals, i.e not companies, where rent is less than £25,000 p.a., normally for a term of 6 months, or for a shorter term by mutual agreement. This will require the Landlord to give the Tenant a minimum of 2 months written notice in advance of the required date of repossession. In practice most tenancies are for a term of one year. There can be a release clause to terminate the tenancy earlier under certain specified conditions. At the end of the tenancy the landlord has a legal right to repossess. If, at any time, the tenant is in substantial breach of the terms of the tenancy agreement, the landlord can make immediate application to the court for a possession order. We always recommend that you seek independent legal advice beforehand.

Company lettings
Where a company (usually the occupier's employer) takes a tenancy, the occupier becomes the licensee of the company, not the landlord. This is common practise in London where the rent forms part of an employment relocation package. A corporate tenant does not enjoy the legal protection of an individual, as in the case of AST's.

Common law tenancies
In the case of rentals of more than £25,000 p.a., or where the tenant is a company, the general law of contract applies, which is less restrictive upon the landlord, and limits tenant protection.

Professional sharers and HMO considerations
It is quite common for several people to join forces to rent a property. They then become jointly and severally liable under the terms of the tenancy agreement and are collectively termed 'The Tenant'.

Please view our advice guide

Private outside space - garden, terrace or balcony

Where a garden forms part of the tenancy, the tenant is normally responsible for its maintenance. This includes lawn and plants and any pot plants and hanging baskets. In the case of a high-maintenance garden, specific instructions should be given to the tenant.

The tenancy agreement should make specific reference to any professional maintenance that may be required. Generally landlords employ a gardener whose services should be retained. Responsibility for costs must be agreed between the parties. We must be apprised of any special arrangements you require before the property is placed on the market, so we can advise prospective tenants beforehand. The tenancy document will reflect the terms mutually agreed.

This can be a contentious issue and should be dealt with meticulously so that each party is in no doubt as to their obligations.

Communal gardens

Communal gardens are a part of London's rich heritage, often taking the form of a garden square, sometimes assuming the scale of a park. Local residents generally form a 'garden committee' which supervises the maintenance of the grounds on their behalf and for their passive enjoyment, the cost of which is included in the building service charge, paid by the landlord. In some cases the local authority assume responsibility, in which case this forms part of the Council Tax, payable by the tenant.

Visitors and guests

All parties named in the tenancy agreement have the right to 'peaceful enjoyment' of the property. Sometimes house guests may stay over; nevertheless only parties to the agreement have the right to reside on the premises. In the event of guests staying more than occasionally, the landlord could have grounds for claiming an excess beyond normal 'fair wear and tear'. Paid guests and lodgers are specifically excluded.

References

On an individual
It is advisable for us to try to establish whether a prospective tenant is who he says he is. We either do a credit check through a recognised agency or we obtain references as follows:

  • Employer to confirm length of contract and salary.
  • Existing / former landlord.
  • Character reference.
  • Bank reference / status enquiry (some banks may charge for this service).

On company lettings
For public and limited companies:

  • Audited reports / accounts.
  • A bank status enquiry.
  • Trade references.

We will require confirmation that the occupier is a bona fide employee of the tenant company. In case of doubt we recommend a credit check through a recognised agency.

Guarantor

In the rare event of a prospective tenant being unable to provide references, e.g. in the case of a post-graduate starting a first appointment, a third party can undertake to indemnify the landlord against any default by the tenant of the terms set out in the agreement. This is covered by a guarantor agreement and of course the status of the guarantor has to be established. This guarantor is NOT a substitute for the usual deposit.

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