Inspire Estate Agents offers a comprehensive service for whatever level of property letting or management you may require. We aim to take the worry out of the entire process, so that you can feel confident that your property is being managed professionally. We hope that the general points covered will be of some assistance to you.
We are a local, independent company specialising in Residential Letting’s and Property Management alongside our successful Estate Agency. Our local expertise means that, we have exceptional knowledge of the market in the area and can advise on the area’s most likely to yield a viable rental return on your investment. We understand that letting your property can be a worrying and complicated experience, so with this in mind our most important consideration is providing you with the best possible service and the right Tenant for your property. We never forget that the property is your most important asset and we can confidently assure you that, by instructing us to act as your Letting and Managing Agents, your asset will be in professional hands.
We advertise on the following nationwide websites:
Your property will be advertised on our own website along with weekly adverts in the local newspapers. We will take room sizes and produce full property details including Professional photographs, floor plans a video tour and a microsite to share on social media for all of our properties, ensuring we get your property in front of more tenants.
All potential Tenants are qualified at the initial point of contact. Only once we are happy that they appear to have full time employment and have given no cause for concern will we go on to register them. Once a Tenant has selected a preferred property, we will discuss this with you to ensure you are happy to proceed. A comprehensive reference will then be carried out by a Licensed Referencing Agency. This covers aspects such as credit rating and history, a reference from any previous Landlords and an employer’s reference. Where necessary we will also request a guarantor.
Prior to the Tenants taking up occupation a full inventory and schedule of condition will be carried out by a professional inventory company who are members of the Association of Professional Inventory Providers. Once the Tenants are in residence we will carry out regular inspection visits to ensure that the property is being kept to an acceptable standard. This also gives the Tenant the opportunity to advise us of any maintenance issues that may have arisen. Should any concerns be raised with regards to the manner in which the property is being occupied, we will contact you to discuss this, provide you with an inspection report and agree an appropriate course of action.
It is the Tenants responsibility to pay the rent on the rent due date. We have staff on hand purely dedicated to the management and payment of rent for Landlords. We pay our Landlords promptly via BACS and we closely monitor rent payments from Tenants to ensure the accounts are up to date. We have a robust procedure in place to chase the Tenants if the rent hasn’t come in when it should.
The following requirements are the responsibility of the owner (Landlord):
Gas - Health & Safety - Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 it is a statutory requirement that all gas appliances and flues in rented accommodation are checked for safety within 12 months of installation and thereafter every 12 months by a competent engineer (i.e. Gas Safe registered installer). There is a duty to ensure that all gas appliances, flues and associated pipe work are maintained in a safe condition at all times.
Full records must be kept for at least 7 years for any inspections of an appliance or flue and of any defects found and remedial action taken.
Copies to Tenants - A copy of the safety certificate issued by the engineer must be given to each new Tenant before their tenancy commences, or to each existing Tenant within 28 days of the check being carried out.
Carbon Monoxide Detector - Landlords must also ensure that there is a carbon monoxide alarm in any room used as living accommodation where solid fuel is used. Carbon monoxide alarms should be positioned at head height either on a wall or shelf, approximately 1-3 meters away from a potential source of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide alarms are only required in rooms containing a solid fuel burning.
Oil Fired Central Heating - Prior to the commencement of a tenancy a copy of the current service report for the oil fired central heating boiler must be provided to ourselves.
Electrical – Health & Safety - The Landlords and Tenants Act 1985 is the main legislation in England and Wales. Landlords have a legal duty to ensure that their rental property and any electrical equipment provided, are safe before a tenancy begins and throughout its duration. Key points in the act are section 8 & 11. Two other Acts – the Occupiers Liability Act 1975 and Occupiers Liability Act 1984, shows landlords can be prosecuted if anyone is injured on their premises regardless whether the visitor is trespassing In January 2005, the Building Regulations for England & Wales were amended to include Part P, which covers all electrical work carried out in the home (except for some minor work). Landlords must either notify a building control body; or have the work carried out by an electrician who is registered as an authorised Part P competent person. For more details, speak to a member of the Inspire team.
Consumer Protection – Fire - The Fire and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended 1989 & 1993) states that specified items supplied in the course of letting property must meet minimum fire resistance standards. The regulations apply to all upholstered furniture, beds, headboard and mattresses, sofa-beds, futons and other combustibles, nursery furniture, garden furniture suitable for use in a dwelling, scatter cushions, pillows and non-original covers for furniture. They do not apply to antique furniture or furniture made before 1950, bedcovers including duvets, loose covers for mattresses, pillowcases, curtains, carpets or sleeping bags. Items which comply will have a suitable permanent label attached. Non-compliant items must be removed from the property before a tenancy commences.
Smoke Alarms - From 1st October 2015 - The smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations require that landlords must have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their rental property which is used as living accommodation After that landlords must ensure that smoke alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy. All properties built since June 1992 must have been fitted with mains powered smoke detector alarms from new.
Legionnaires disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia caused by the inhalation of small droplets of contaminated water containing Legionella. The law is clear that if you are a landlord and rent out your property then you have legal responsibilities to ensure the health and safety of your tenant by keeping the property safe and free from hazards. Section 3 (2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA) makes provision for relevant health and safety legislation to apply to landlords to ensure a duty of care is shown to their tenants with regard to their health and safety. Most Landlords can assess the risk themselves and do not need to be professionally trained or accredited, but if they do not feel competent or inclined to do so, we can arrange for someone who is professionally trained to do it on their behalf.
The EPC provides a rating of the energy efficiency and carbon emission of a building from A to G, similar to the labels provided with white goods such as refrigerators and washing machines. The EPC and recommendation report must be made available free of charge by the Landlord to a prospective Tenant. As from the 1st April 2018 there will be a requirement for any properties rented out in the private rented sector to have a minimum energy performance rating of E on an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) The regulations will come into force for new lets and renewals of tenancies with effect from the 1st April 2018 and for all existing tenancies on 1st April 2020. It will be unlawful to rent a property which breaches the requirement for a minimum E-rating, unless there is an applicable exemption. A civil penalty of up to £4,000 will be imposed for breaches. This is to be done within seven days of marketing. Failing to comply with this regulation could mean you are fined up to £200.00 per property.
A minimum of two sets of keys to your property are required. One set will be retained by Inspire in case of emergency. In the case of more than two Tenants, such as sharers, additional sets will be required.
Inspire provide an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement for rentals up to £100,000 per year to give you protection under the Housing Act 1988 (amended 1996) to ensure your rights to possession at the end of the tenancy are protected. This applies to properties where the Landlord is not resident. Suitable agreements are prepared for properties falling outside of the Housing Act 1988 (amended 1996). An Assured Shorthold Tenancy lasts for a determined period, for example 6 months or 12 months and is a fixed term tenancy. It can also run indefinitely from one rental period to the next which is termed as a periodic tenancy. Inspire recommends a minimum rental period of six months which can be renewed in the form of either a fixed term or a periodic tenancy or twelve months with a six-month break clause, allowing flexibility within the tenancy. In addition, we will prepare Notice Requiring Possession and Memorandum Agreement to renew the tenancy as required.
Since the 6th April 2007 all landlords who take a deposit from their tenant in England and Wales on an assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreement must comply with the tenancy deposit protection legislation by Protecting the deposit with a government authorised tenancy deposit protection scheme within 30 days of receiving it from the tenant and providing the tenant with the proof of the deposit protection (known as Prescribed Information within the same 30-day timeframe. Inspire are registered with one of the available schemes as required by the protection of deposits Housing Act 2004. Deposits are registered with My Deposits - details available from www.mydeposits.co.uk.Tenants are required to pay 6 weeks rent prior to commencement of the tenancy as a security deposit, primarily there to cover any dilapidations, subject to wear and tear If we manage the property or you opt for our rent collection service, we will register the deposit on your behalf. We will issue the tenant with a deposit protection certificate and deposit information guide, in line with the Housing Act 2004 legislation. It is vital the following process is carried out: if you do not carry out the above you could be fined between 1 & 3 times the deposit amount and be unable to serve a section 21 notice to regain possession of your property.
An inventory is a schedule of the property showing its conditions and contents prior to letting. Your inventory will include the condition of paintwork, wall coverings and floors/carpeting as well as any furniture and appliances to be left in the property during the rental period. The inventory will also include the condition of the garden if applicable. Lofts, attics, cellars and the condition of the exterior are not included as standard, but can be include at an additional cost. If we find variations on the check in these will be noted. The Tenant & Landlord will be given a copy of the Inventory and Schedule of Condition for their records.
Unknown to many it is not a legal requirement for letting agents to be present at the check in, however to ensure this is done efficiently and your property is not damaged by tenants moving in, our agents will be at the check in to meet the tenant and go through the inventory - before the tenant moves any of their possessions into the property. We will show the tenants where the stop cock is for emergencies, how to operate the heating and electrics and show the tenants the meters and take readings. Condensation is a common problem faced by many landlords. To prevent this, we issue the tenants a condensation guide and explain what measures should be taken to avoid this from happening.
Inspections to fully managed properties are carried out after the first six weeks and thereafter at three monthly intervals. The first visit will enable us to determine quickly if the upkeep of the property is being managed adequately by the Tenant. If there are initial problems, they can be rectified and in doing so will offer the Tenant and yourself peace of mind. Lofts, attics and cellars are not included in property visits. During property inspections, we will highlight any areas of potential concern to the landlord in relation to maintenance, as it is best to address any maintenance issues early to avoid potentially expensive repairs. For example, a blocked gutter if not addressed could lead to water ingress through the bricks leading to damp within a property. Maintaining your asset is our key priority.
Although not essential we encourage tenants to be present at check outs. The tenant will be checked out by an independent company – this ensures there is no bias and leads to less disputes. The check-out clerk will work from the inventory report and provide a detailed report highlighting condition of property at the end of the tenancy compared to at the start allowing for wear and tear We will then negotiate between the tenant and landlord offering advice as to what is considered an appropriate amount to deduct from a tenant’s deposit if there is any damage.
Inspire want our Landlords to know that they are dealing with a reputable company who like to do their job properly Landlords and Tenants often make decisions based on cost but it is important to ensure you ask your agent for details of the organisation they are regulated by and whether or not they are covered by a client money protection scheme. We have chosen to join the following schemes and have designated client money protection insurance to ensure you are protected.
The Property Ombudsman (TPO) is an independent body which provides independent, fair and free advice and services for handling unresolved disputes between member agents, Landlords and Tenants.
As a Landlord or Tenant, using a firm that’s licensed by the NALS scheme has a huge amount to offer. Because of the strict criteria for licensing the NALS logo provides Tenants and Landlords with great peace of mind.
SAFE agent denotes letting agents that subscribe to a Client Money Protection (CMP) scheme, which means that financial protection is offered should a letting agent fold or abscond with client funds. Many Landlords are unaware that they when they instruct a letting agent to manage their property they are all entrusting that agent to manage the Tenant deposit properly and if the letting agent misappropriates the fund the Landlord can be held liable for the deposit.
This snapshot of our rental service was based on data in January 2017.