At Look Property we deal with all aspects relating to the Sale and Letting of Residential and Commercial property.
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Landlords Guide to Letting
With all services, tenants and/or guarantors will be referenced.
Referencing will either be carried out in house by our tenancy administration team or via an insurance based referencing company. Further details are available upon request.
A common misconception is that inventories are not that important or that they are not required in unfurnished property. Inventories are as important as the tenancy agreement itself. They are the document you may need to rely upon in the unlikely event a tenant causes damage to your property investment. Likewise, tenants require clarity of condition at the tenancy start also.
The fee for an inventory is divided equally between the landlord and the tenant. The tenant’s share paid in advance prior to move in and the Landlords share deducted from account.
Non Resident Landlords
If you are resident outside the United Kingdom your rent will be viewed as unearned income. This means that anyone collecting rent on your behalf be it an agent or family member is duty bound to withhold the basic rate of tax for assessment under the Taxes Management Act 1970. If this is not done the Inland Revenue can pursue the collector of the money as well as the overseas resident.
A NRL1 form can be submitted to the Inland Revenue which in most cases will enable the landlord to obtain a FICO number meaning rent can be paid gross and tax assessed at the financial year end.
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme came into force on the 6th April 2007. If a deposit is not protected the landlord or agent can be ordered to repay three times the amount to the tenant.
Why protect a deposit?
Deposits are protected to ensure:
- Tenants get all or part of their deposit back, when they are entitled to it
- Any disputes between tenants and landlords or agents will be easier to resolve
- Tenants are encouraged to look after the property they are renting
This rule applies if the tenancy is an assured shorthold tenancy.
Look Property is part of The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)
TDS is an insurance-backed deposit protection and dispute resolution scheme run by The Dispute Service that builds on a scheme established in 2003 to provide dispute resolution and complaints handling for the lettings industry. The scheme enables letting agents and landlords to hold deposits.
Gas safety Inspection (GSI)
As from October 1994 it became law for gas equipment in rented properties to be checked annually by a Corgi Registered installer and for accurate records of work carried out on all appliances to be kept.
The pass certificate must be available for the tenant before completion can take place.
If you advise us that you will be using your own contractor and supplying your own certificate but it is not available at the time of completion the tenants will not be able to move in. If we were unable to contact you to ascertain the situation with completion due within 2 working days we reserve the right to instruct one of our contractors at your expense. Look Property will not be held responsible for any costs incurred for the inspection should a valid certificate be received later than previously stated.
Generally, if we were to instruct the Gas Safety Inspection for you or on your behalf, all gas appliances would be serviced and any remedial works carried out, if possible, up to a £100 plus VAT.
Gas safety and the Law
Should an accident occur and a certificate not be produced the current maximum fine is £5,000. Should an accident occur due to remedial works not being carried out after an initial inspection the current maximum fine is £20,000 and/or imprisonment.
We advise our landlords to have an NICEIC electrical inspection carried out prior to a tenancy commencing and at advised regular intervals.
If we carry out a Gas safety for you at the same time, in most cases, Electrical Appliance Testing will be carried out for your further safety.
The Electrical Safety Regulations require that any electrical appliance supplied must be safe. Where their safe use requires, appropriate instruction booklets must also be provided.
Unlike the Gas Safety Regulations there is no statutory annual testing interval. Yet, in order to meet the requirements, it is still important that the appropriate checks and safeguards are carried out. The regulations require:
- GENERAL SAFETY. All electrical equipment supplied must be safe. This will require that a competent and suitably qualified engineer check the electrical appliances, including their leads. Unsafe items should be removed.
- LABELLING: All electrical equipment that is manufactured after the 1st January 1997 must be marked with the appropriate CE symbol.
- INSTRUCTIONS: It is recommended that the manufacturer’s instructions be provided wherever possible for each appliance that is supplied. This will help to ensure that the tenant uses the equipment safely.
Electrical safety and the Law
The current maximum penalty for non-compliance with the regulation is a fine of £5,000 and/or six month’s imprisonment.
The Furniture And Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1998 As Amended
Legislation has been introduced which makes it an offence to supply certain furniture in the course of business unless it complies with the (i) Cigarette Test (ii) Match Test (iii) Ignitability Test. The regulations apply to the letting of Residential property and can create a criminal offence committable by the Landlord or their agents. The maximum penalty is a fine of £5,000 or six months imprisonment or both.
Covered items, in general terms are all upholstery, upholstered furniture, loose fittings and permanent or loose covers.
The regulations apply to:
- Any property, which is let for the first time from the 1st March 1993
- Any new furniture, which is introduced into a property since 1st March 1993
- Any property, which is currently let with existing furniture from 1st January 1997
The regulations do not apply to:
- Furniture manufactured before 1950
The best way to check whether furniture complies is to check for labels attached to the furniture. Examples of the relevant labels can be obtained from our offices.
If the furniture no longer has safety labels you must establish when and where you bought the furniture and contact the shop or manufacturer to check whether the furniture complies. If you are unable to establish where the furniture came from you should replace the items in question.
Should you fail to comply we will be unable to help you let your property.
If the property to be let is subject to a mortgage you should obtain consent from your Mortgage Company.
Landlords are advised to notify their current insurers of the letting or contact Look Property Services for details of specialist policies.
Upon any vacant period it is essential that the Landlord notify his/her insurers as failure to do so may invalidate the policy.
The above information is produced with a view to keeping Landlords aware of their legal obligations and of Look Property's fee structure. By proceeding to use Look Property Services it will be perceived that our terms and conditions herein have been read, understood and accepted by you.
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Our Services (Sales)
Selling Guide & Tips
Marketing your property at the correct price is key to starting the selling process off on the right foot. Local papers and websites will show you what asking price properties are being advertised at, but the really important figure is what they sell for. Depending on market conditions and supply and demand the sale figure can be slightly above or below the initial marketing price.
When you request our valuation services we will visit you at home at a convenient time and will need to view the property thoroughly.
Usually this will take under an hour.
At this juncture it can be a good time to speak with our independent financial advisor who will be able to give you a no obligation idea of the financial opportunity you have for your onward purchase if you are making one.
Prior to the internet, searching for property usually entailed driving around an area over the weekend and looking at the limited pictures in estate agents windows. Needless to say that has now changed and the importance of creating the right first impression is invaluable.
The vast majority of property is now initially viewed over the internet so good quality photography is paramount. Therefore, we would always advise using a professional photographer which we can arrange for you and at the same appointment they will usually prepare a digital floorplan and EPC if it is required.
Prices for a professional photographer are not extortionate by any means but a well laid out, properly lit series of images can mean the difference between captivating a potential buyers attention and booking a viewing or not. The fees are usually paid upfront and deducted from our commission once the sale has completed.
On the day the photography and floorplans are created all rooms need to be clean and tidy with furniture laid out to create the best impression. This can mean moving furniture into different positions to create a more marketable look. Either us at Look, the photographer or home stager, if you use one, can advise on this. As many personal items as possible need to be removed.
The garden if you have one should be tidy and if laid to grass freshly mowed if the season allows. De-cluttering both inside and out is very important. Less is almost always more.
The questions have been asked, the answers given, photographs and floorplans prepared, details produced and uploaded to the websites and the calls and emails are forthcoming.
Now we face the most important aspect of selling your house. ‘The viewing’
For some unknown reason some agents see accompanied viewings as a chore when in reality the booking of the appointment is actually the culmination and result of all the previous hard work and endeavour. Therefore, it needs to be carried out professionally.
In most cases we will accompany prospective purchasers either with you in attendance or with keys should you prefer.
We will always try to keep these appointments to your preferred times, should you have specified any, and with as much notice given as possible in order that the property can be viewed in its best light.
We would consider the best way to approach the property either by driving or walking and once inside will show the prospective buyer around via the best route that leaves the best until last to create a lasting impression.
Whether we are accompanying the applicant to the viewing or if the appointment has been made by us for you to meet with them direct, some may want to look around at their leisure once the guided tour has been given. Whilst this can be an indicator of their interest we would always ask that you are mindful of your security at all times.
Try not to linger continually, instead try to give them space but remaining in earshot wherever possible.
Once they have finished ask just once if they have any questions and try to answer them as truthfully as possible. Finally, try not to oversell the property as it should have spoken for itself.
Some potential buyers may want to make an offer whilst at the property however we would strongly recommend that this is dealt with off site via ourselves once we have an indication of their true position. A full asking price offer from someone in a long possibly unstable chain is not as attractive as an offer from someone who has cash or who has sold to a first time buyer even if it is for slightly less.
If we receive an offer from the applicant we will, if possible, put this to you verbally at the earliest opportunity and then in writing (and/or email) within 24 hours. If you reject the offer and the applicant subsequently increases their offer the process is repeated.
At this stage we will hopefully have details of the buying and selling chain if there is one and the potential timescale that is possible for everyone. However, until an exchange of contracts happens things cannot be guaranteed and can change at any time.
Once an offer has been made that you are happy to accept, Look Property will check the purchasers' status and if everything is agreeable the conveyancing (Buying and selling) process can begin.