Good quality properties urgently wanted in all areas of Leicester
Oaktree Lettings and Management is made up of Marianne Tomblin and Louise Rogers, two property professionals with over 30 years experience in the Lettings Industry. Focussing solely on Lettings for their clients brings a dedication of service second to none. Both Marianne and Louise hold qualifications in the Lettings field, gained via the National Federation of Property Professionals (NFOPP) and are committed to continual development in this field giving landlords piece of mind that their investment is being safely looked after. With more legislation in force now than ever before it is vital you choose an agent who is continually on top of the latest changes and amendments to housing law.
We confirm we are members of UKALA, the Property Redress Scheme and we hold Client Money Protection.
This service guides a landlord through the initial stage of letting the property to the point where the keys are handed over to the tenants. From this point on, the landlord would look after or manage the property themselves. This service may be suitable for landlords with some experience of lettings and who are confident to deal with tenants on a day to day basis. The letting service includes:
- An initial assessment of the property including advice on how best to promote your property.
- Advertising via various sources including insertion on our own website and on the internet via Rightmove, Zoopla and FindaProperty.com ensuring national coverage.
- An eye catching To Let board at the property
- Interviewing prospective applicants to assess suitability before viewings take place
- Accompanied viewings of the property
- References would be taken up once an applicant has been found, these will be carried out an external referencing company but also cross referenced by ourselves to ensure continuity and correctness.
- An assured shorthold tenancy agreement would be drawn up and signed by the tenants as appropriate
- Registering and completion of paperwork in relation to the tenant’s deposit in accordance with the landlords chosen deposit scheme
- Once all paperwork is signed and keys handed over to the tenant, any remaining rent of the first month would be sent through to the landlord with the appropriate paperwork. A standing order mandate will be set up from the tenant to the landlord for future rental payments.
Full Management Service
Many landlords are not available to deal with the day to day running of their property, may not feel confident enough to do this and prefer to stay in the background or may be living abroad. In these case’s our management service is ideal. The initial letting of the property would include the services as per our Let Only service.
With the addition of :
- Rent collection on a monthly basis from the Tenant via standing order
- Payment of rent on a monthly basis to the Landlord via BACS usually within three working days of the rent being cleared into our bank account
- Monthly accounting statement sent via Email or post if email is not possible.
- Chasing rent arrears if needed as specified in the terms
- Once the property is let, regular property inspections are carried out to ensure the property is being looked after; reports are sent to tenant and landlord following each inspection.
- Our established and insurance checked contractors are available to carry out quotations and repairs when and if required, or you may choose to elect your own contractors.
- Payment of contractor’s invoices or similar bills can be made from the rental income if required
- Arranging for any required safety checks to be carried out, such as gas and electrical safety certificates and renewed on expiry.
- Preparation of an inventory of the contents and schedule of condition of the property, this will include photographic evidence when possible.
- Check in appointment with the tenant at the property at the start of the tenancy to agree on the inventory and condition.
- Check out appointment with the tenant at the property at the end of the tenancy to check the inventory and condition. Full report to landlord and tenant in relation to dilapidations if applicable.
- Dealing with the refund of the deposit via the Deposit Protection Service procedures following the check out of the property. This would include dealing with any disputes that may arise.
- The agency will correspond with utility companies and local authorities in relation to queries on any utility and council tax bills etc
- Should the rent fall into arrears, a rigid arrears policy exists which includes visits to the property where deemed necessary by the agent
- Issuing the appropriate legal notices to tenants by hand if necessary when vacant possession is required by the landlord.
- The agent will inform the landlord when a tenant gives notice, if required the agent will endeavour to find new tenants for the property.
Rent Protection and Tenant Eviction Cover
Oaktree Lettings are pleased to be able to provide Rent Protection and Tenant Eviction Cover for our managed Landlords included in our 10% + VAT management fee
This provides the following
- Cover for lost rent if the tenant defaults for up to twelve months
- Legal Expenses Cover up to £100,00 should the tenant need to be evicted
- Vacant Property Cover, up to 75% of the monthly rent paid for up to two months after eviction
- No excess
Legal & Safety Regulations
Energy Performance Certificates (EPC)
Energy Performance Certificates came into effect from 1st October 2008. It is a legal requirement that all applicants showing interest in your property must be able to view the EPC. The EPC must be ordered before marketing commences and in place within seven days of marketing. The full EPC should be made available, not just the graph. If the EPC is not in place within seven day’s the property will have to be removed from the market until the EPC has been done. If you require Oaktree Lettings & Management to carry out the EPC, payment will be required upfront.
New regulations come into force from April 2018 to prohibit landlords letting a property to a new tenant that falls into the F or G band, it is therefore a good idea to have an EPC carried out before thinking of letting a property for the first time.
Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)
As of April 2018 new tenancies cannot be granted on properties with an Energy rating of F & G and a tenancy cannot continue beyond April 2020.
Improvements should be made to improve the ratings of these properties. For further information on this please go to:
Gas Safety (Installation & Use) regulations 1998
Since 1st November 1994 all let properties must have a current gas safety certificate. This must be issued by a GAS SAFE registered plumber or a British Gas engineer. The regulations state that all installations, and maintenance of gas fittings, appliances, meters, pipe work and ventilation flues are checked for their safe use. The certificate must be renewed annually and a copy supplied to both letting agent and tenant. It is illegal for a plumber who is not on the GAS SAFE register to install gas appliances or carry out a gas safety certificate.
It is strongly recommended that open fires/log burners etc have the chimneys swept as a minimum once annually and at least before every letting. Appliances such as wood/coal burning stoves should be serviced at least once a year.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
We strongly recommend that a Co detector is correctly installed in all properties where gas connected. This is a legal requirement where solid fuel can be used i.e. coal, wood
Electrical equipment (safety) regulations 1994
The electrical equipment supplied to a let property must be safe, if in any doubt it should be checked by qualified registered electrical engineer. There are no mandatory checks specified (unless the property is a House in Multiple Occupancy) but the Landlord has a duty of care to the tenant. Ideally the fixed wiring in a property should be checked every change of occupancy. It is expected that the law will change on this at some point in 2019 to state that every property should have a valid EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) in place.
New regulations came in to force on 1st December 2016 stating that landlords must supply full instructions with any brand new electrical appliance. Landlords are recommended to provide these to us so that we can record and pass onto the tenants.
THE FURNITURE AND FURNISHINGS (FIRE) SAFETY REGULATIONS 1988 (AMENDED) 1993 & 1996
The regulations state that all soft furnishings provided within a let property must be fire resistant and have a permanently attached label stating that the item has passed the necessary ‘match’ and ‘cigarette’ tests. All furniture purchased after 1st March 1990 should automatically comply. Anyone found breaching these regulations faces heavy fines and/or imprisonment. Furnishings affected include any item with foam or soft filling interiors, such as some bed bases, mattresses, sofas, chairs, cushions, headboards, futons and garden furniture, etc. They should have tags in place stating their compliance or proof of date of purchase should be provided. If this is not possible the furniture cannot stay in the property.
FIRE SAFETY REGULATIONS
As of 1st October 2015, there will be new regulations in place to require all landlords to install smoke detectors to each floor of a property. Landlords also need to fit a carbon monoxide alarm in any room which has a solid fuel appliance. We also recommend fire extinguishers and fire blankets are provided for the safety of the tenants. For full clarification of the latest recommendations for your particular property we would recommend speaking to the local council as this can vary dependant on size, amount of floors and room layout etc as the regulations vary according to property type and whether the property is a HMO.
Legionella & Residential Property
Legionnaire’s Disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia which can affect anybody, but principally affects those who are susceptible because of age, illness, immune system problems. There are 300 to 550 reported cases of Legionnaire’s Disease in the UK each year, however it is thought that the total number of cases is underestimated, as infections which originate in the UK are often sporadic and for which no source of infection is traced.
Cases often occur in clusters and such outbreaks are usually associated with cooling tower systems and hot and cold water systems in factories, hotels, hospitals and other establishments. In private rented properties whirlpool and spa baths, hot tubs and Jacuzzi’s, shower heads and indoor fountains can pose particular hazards.
Legionnaire’s disease can be caught when infected water, in the form of an invisible aerosol is created and inhaled by a susceptible individual. This aerosol is fine water droplets and cannot be seen. There have been no specific studies, but it is estimated that 5% of domestic properties have Legionella present in their systems.
Whilst central heating systems pose very little threat, hot and cold water tanks, shower heads do pose a threat and should be regularly checked and inspected for integrity.
The control of Legionella bacteria in water systems takes various forms under law, including specific statutes and the Approved Code of Practice and guidance, referred to as ACOP L8 describes the legal duties relating to Legionella and provides practical guidance on how to comply and who is the Duty Holder and Responsible Person.
Whilst Oaktree Lettings & Management will not carry out any Risk Assessments on your rental property, we can recommend a company to do so, being O2 Water Solutions. Their website is www.o2watersolutions.co.uk. Full information of their services can be found on the site along with further information on the matter and the laws and responsibilities involved.
We strongly advise landlords to ensure their property is secure to a standard requested by most insurance companies. A night latch (Yale lock) and mortise deadlock should be fitted to entrance doors and window locks should be fitted to all opening ground floor windows. This is the general standard required for a tenant to obtain contents insurance
Deposits and Dispute Resolution
As from 1st June 2019, there will be a cap on the amount of deposit taken of equivalent of five weeks rent. This is regardless of the terms being accepted, ie. Pets, sharers etc
Along with the Housing Act 2004, in April 2007 the new regulations affecting how a Tenants deposit is held came into force. Anyone, be that an Agent or Landlord who accept money as a deposit under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy must protect the money under an approved government scheme within 30 days of the tenancy commencing. Oaktree Lettings use the Deposit Protection Service (DPS) which is a free custodial scheme, where the money is sent to the DPS to be held for the duration of the Tenancy. For more information on the DPS and their terms visit www.depositprotection.com
Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation
It is the Landlords responsibility to apply and pay the cost of obtaining a licence for a HMO. A property is considered a HMO when five or more people. However, self contained flats, converted buildings and converted blocks of flats may also meet the required terms for a licence. We recommend to check with the Local Authority as to their specifications for a HMO, costs and minimum standards the property must meet to obtain the licence. The landlord is liable for the occupiers' Council Tax and therefore an amount to cover this should be included in the rental, this is applicable even if it is not a licensable HMO.
Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICR)
Since the Housing Act 2004 came into effect it is now mandatory that all Houses in Multiple Occupation have a fixed wiring check regardless of whether it is licensable or not. This should be kept up to date and renewed when the current one expires.
We recommend that all rental properties have an EICR carried out before a tenant moves in to ensure the property is being handed over in a safe condition.
We anticipate that by the end of 2019 an EICR will be a legal requirement.
Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation ) Act 2018 ( March 2019)
An additional requirement to PROVIDE and KEEP properties in a standard fit for human habitation. Based on Housing Health & Safety Rating System(HHSRS) will give tenants more powers in enforcing such standards via the courts. The legislation will apply to new tenancies from the 20th March 2019 and all tenancies in existence from the 20th March 2020.
The HHRSS is a risk assessment inspection carried out by the local council to look at the potential hazards of the property.
There are 29 hazards falling into four categories:
- Physiological – damp and mould growth, excess cold & heat, pollutants
- Psychological – space/crowding. Lighting, noise, security
- Protection against infection – hygiene, food safety, pests/refuse, personal hygiene, water supply, sanitation/drainage
- Protection against accidents – falls, electrical hazards, fire, structural collapse, entrapment
The assessment will consider the severity of each hazard by looking at the tenants and possibly their visitors and taking into account their age and vulnerability even though they may not be in occupancy. As only the council can carry out an assessment, we would always recommend you speak to the council for clarification of any potential hazards within your property.
How to get your Investment let quickly and maximise rent
Oaktree Lettings and Management would advise the Landlord Client to ensure their Investment is well maintained. With the belief that a Tenant’s standards should not differ from the landlord’s, a neutrally decorated home with clean functional facilities should be the basis of all potential lets.
It is recommended that Landlords pay particular attention to the following:
- All rooms neutrally decorated
- Carpets and floor covering clean and free from damage
- Kitchens and all appliances clean, in full working order with instruction manuals available
- Bathrooms with clean grouting and sealant
- Tidy Gardens with basic tools provided
- Windows clean and the exterior free from refuse