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Landlords | FAQs

Below are some frequent questions asked by Landlords, plus some useful information on managing your property portfolio successfully ...click on the Question to reveal the answer...

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Q:     If I ask for a Bond (Deposit), what do I need to do with it?

A:     Whether or not you use a Letting Agent, By law if you take a deposit from your tenant on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement in England and Wales, you must protect that deposit with a government-authorised tenancy deposit protection scheme, within 30 days of receiving it. The Penalties for failing to protect a deposit can be that

  • under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 - you will be unable to obtain a Court Order to regain possession of your property unless and until the deposit is protected;
  • You will be required to either return the deposit to your tenant or to lodge the full amount with the authorised custodial tenancy deposit scheme;
  • You may be instructed by a Court Order to pay your tenant compensation that could be equal to three times the amount of the deposit

(for more information on your legal obligations with regard to protecting your tenant's deposit please see www.communities.gov.uk

Zed Lettings are a member of the Deposit Protection Service. As such, we will ensure that all your legal obligations are undertaken with regard to lodging and protecting the Tenant's Deposit with a Government approved Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme. If you have taken out a Full Property Management Service or Tenant Find and Rent Collection Service with us, then we will ensure that detailed "check in" and "check out" inventories have been completed (and agreed/signed off by Tenant, Landlord, Zed Lettings) so that any disputes that may arise at the end of the tenancy will be referred to the dispute resolution service with clear documentary evidence. However, Zed Lettings undertake to visit the Tenant's property on a regular basis throughout their tenancy (to a frequency agreed with yourselves, and any outcomes notified to yourselves) to ensure that this should not happen! Please note: the cost of lodging the Deposit will be taken out of your first month's rent and is currently £42 - this is a direct cost to ourselves and we make no profit from the lodging of this.

Q:     Can Rent Arrears be offset against the Deposit?

A:     Yes: The deposit is held by the Landlord against 'Damage and Breach of the Tenancy Agreement'. Non payment of rent constitutes a Breach of the Tenancy Agreement.

However, a Tenant can still raise a Dispute with the Deposit Protection Service if the Landlord deducts Rent Arrears and the Tenant can prove that the non-payment of the rent was due to a Breach of the Tenancy Agreement by the Landlord.

When raising a Dispute with the Deposit Protection Service it is advisable for Tenants to settle all rent arrears before raising the dispute.

In short, you can deduct Rent Arrears (and unpaid bills) but you may be still challenged.

Q:     Hesitant about expanding your property portolio?

A:     It's useful to consider the following:

  • With rents increasing and property prices so low you will get a better return in the current market than in most other investments. There are many properties to be had a bargain prices.
  • Do your research thoroughly, there are various buy to let options.
  • Consider the area you are buying in and what target market would be attracted to the area.
  • It may not be a viable option to release equity from other properties unless you have significant equity in one.
  • Either get advice from a letting specialist or research an area yourself before you commit to buying.
  • Plan for medium and long term strategies rather than short term until the market stabilizes and always have an exit strategy thought out.
Q:     There's no-one in my property at the moment - why do I need you to "manage" it?

A:     Zed Lettings offer a Property "Caretaker Service" - whereby we undertake regular checks on your property to ensure that everything is in order. Check your insurance policy criteria for vacant properties - ensure radiators are drained down, letterboxes sealed etc. Failure to comply with your insurance provider's guidelines may negate your insurance!

We offer a full empty property inspection service, that ensures you remain covered.

Q:     My tenant won't let me carry out my Landlords Gas Safety Certificate as it's "inconvenient" - what can I do? As it's my property can't I just give some keys to my Gas Engineer to let himself in to do this?

A:     Unfortunately NO - It is not a good idea to take the law into your own hands, however frustrated you may feel with your tenant's lack of co-operation. We have never had a tenant refuse access - which is why it is important to have a good relationship with your tenant. If the tenant consistently refuses access you may have to apply for a court injuction. Keep all evidence showing that you have acted in a fair and reasonable manner and that you have made regular/repeated attempts to gain access to your property for the purpose of carrying out essential repairs or to comply with mandatory legislation (gas certificates, etc).

Zed Lettings can manage all such problems as this for you with our full property management service.

Q:     I don't want my tenant any longer - they're always late in paying the rent, and now they're letting others stay there too!

A:     Letting Zed Lettings manage your property will get rid of all potential headaches that could occur being a private landlord!

We thoroughly vet all tenants to ensure only problem-free tenants for your properties, but if the worst happens and a tenant does start to cause problems then we deal with all this for you, advising on your rights as a landlord and ensuring all processes and procedures are carefully followed and documented to help resolve the situation legally.

Q:     Are tenants responsible for any damage they cause to my property?

A:     Yes they are. When instructing Zed Lettings to manage your property for you, you can request that we insist all prospective tenants take out valid insurance to cover the landlords fixtures and fittings and possessions (white goods, etc). We also carry out a fully documented inventory prior to letting out your property at the commencement of the tenancy in order to avoid any disputes (which is signed and agreed by the tenant on letting your property). In addition to this, we also carry out regular inspections on your behalf to check that the tenant is maintaining the property as agreed - this is normally within the first month and thereafter either monthly or every 3 months depending on our findings and agreement with yourselves.

For your information, normal wear and tear is also covered by the Inland Revenue's 10% depreciation allowance

Q:     How much will I get for my house if I rent it out?

A:     Zed Lettings can advise you on the potential rental income you can expect to receive for your property, and this will be assessed based on the location/type and quality of the property for rent. We will also take into account the current market conditions and type of tenant you can expect to rent to.

Q:     Should I let my property furnished or unfurnished?

A:     This is entirely your choice.

For the most part we advise landlords to rent unfurnished. If you leave a fridge in the property for example then you are responsible for maintaining it and replacing it if it breaks down completely.

We recommend that the property be nicely decorated in neutral colours, carpeted and supplied with light fittings. We also recommend curtains or blinds in neutral colours as the tenants are not always good at DIY and could damage the décor trying to put up curtain rails.

Also take into account your target market and the type of property it is. It is usually expected that apartments have a fitted kitchen complete with white goods whilst terraced, semi-detached and detached should be unfurnished (unless your target market is Company lets) but nicely maintained.

An "unfurnished" uproperty usually has carpets, light fittings, curtains or blinds, shower rail, shower curtain (if applicable) and an oven and hob or cooker. NOT WASHING MACHINE, FRIDGE, MICROWAVE etc.

"Furnished" usually includes all as unfurnished (detailed above) plus settees, bed, wardrobe, chest of drawers, table and chairs. Oven and hob or cooker, but not washing machine, microwave, etc. Again, if these are in the property when let then it is up to you as the landlord to replace them if they break down.

Q:     Can I stipulate "No Pets"?

A:     Yes you can! Although you should be aware that imposing this and potentially other limitations on the type of tenant you will accept may mean it will take longer to rent out your property as we seek to find your ideal tenant for you.

It is Zed Lettings policy to take an additional £150 deposit to cover possible damage from pets and to pay for carpets cleaning at the end of the tenancy (if required). This is in addition to the normal deposit of the equivalent of one month’s rent.

Q:     I've decided to rent my house out, not sell it - who needs to know?

A:     If you have an outstanding mortgage then your mortgage lender should be informed, and likewise if your house is leasehold then you must also inform the leaseholder. Call into Zed Lettings for an informal chat and we can advise on your obligations on deciding to rent out your property.

Q:     You hear about squatters' rights and things - how do I know I'll get my house back if I decide not to rent it out anymore?

A:     The 1988 Housing Act and the and the 1987 Landlord and Tenant Act covers rights for both tenants and landlords and specifies appropriate notice periods - if you have any worries about renting then why not let Zed Lettings manage your property for you, and we will ease any worries you may have about this and other issues. Contact us now for an informal chat.

Q:     What do I have to do about EPC Certificates?

A:     The Government has recently changed the EPC Legislation and the onus to organise an EPC certificate report has now been extended to the renting of residential and non-residential buildings.

From April 2012, the 28 day period for securing an EPC has been reduced to seven days. If, after seven days the EPC has not been secured, the relevant person will have a further 21 days in which to secure it, and after this a penalty charge may be imposed.

Contact us now for an informal chat and to ensure that you comply with ALL current property legislation.

Please note, Zed Lettings require your property to have a current EPC Certificate within 7 days of starting to market your property as this must be displayed on all marketing media. We can arrange for an EPC Certificate for you - please ask us to organise an EPC when instructing Zed Lettings with your property.

Q:     I've had my fingers burnt before, what makes Zed Lettings any better than other Letting Agents?

A:     We don't claim to be perfect, but what we WILL aim to do for you is our very best at all times! All our fees and processes are totally transparent so you won't get any hidden surprises or hidden charges from us! We thoroughly and personally check all prospective tenants and frequently go "above and beyond" for our landlords - just read our Landlords Testimonials to see what others have to say about us, and ask around! We're happy for you to come and have a no-obligation chat, so call in and see us!

Q:     Do I have to pay the Council Tax for my property?

A:     If the property is vacant, then yes you will be liable for the Council Tax. Once the property is tenanted, then the tenant is then liable for the Council Tax from the day they move in to the day they move out. Zed Lettings inform the Council on your behalf and provide all tenancy dates and tenant information to them as part of our check-in process.

Q:     How do I complain about Zed Lettings?

A:     Zed Lettings are members of Ombudsman Services, and as such we have a documented complaints procedure in place. You should initially put your concerns in writing (if you feel that you cannot talk to us confidentially) and direct it to our office address. Your complaint will be acknowledge within 3 working days and investigated as per our complaints procedure - a copy of which will be sent to you alongside your complaint acknowledgement.

Should you remain unsatisfied after our internal complaints procedure has been completed, then you may refer your complaint in writing to Ombudsman Services. Please note that Ombudsman Services will not consider any complaints until you have been through our internal complaints process.

 

If you still have some questions or would like us to manage your properties, please

Landlords: Contact us