The first stage towards letting your property is to meet with us for a “Lettings appraisal”. We provide this service free and without obligation.
Every property is different so in assessing rental value, we take account of accommodation, condition, location and current demand. Most importantly, we have the knowledge of other properties currently being offered for rent and historic information on rents achieved.
During the valuation appointment we will advise you about any action you can take to maximise the rental income and its desirability to potential tenants.
Furnished or Unfurnished?
One of the first decisions to be made is to whether to let your property furnished or unfurnished. The advantages of letting unfurnished are:
• Usually there is greater demand
• Lower turnover of tenants
• Generally more mature tenants
• Less wear and tear on your furnishings
• Lower maintenance or repair costs
Unfurnished lettings generally include the following:
• Carpets or laminate flooring
• Curtains and or blinds
• Light fittings
• Kitchen appliances (known as white goods) should be in good working order with instructions and preferably insured for breakdown
• Smaller wall mounted items such as mirrors and usual bathroom fittings
You may choose to let your property furnished. If so, you need to be aware of the following:
• All furnishings i.e. beds, upholstered chairs and sofas must comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (fire) (safety) Regulations Act 1988. any furniture manufactured before 1988 will generally not comply.
• All bed linen, towels and ornaments should ideally be removed.
• If an electrical appliance such as a television, toaster, or washing machine breaks down, it is the Landlord’s responsibility to repair or replace it.
First impressions count! If your property is presented well, it will not only achieve a higher rent but also attract a better tenant. It is important to ensure that the property is clean, that redecoration is carried out, carpets professionally cleaned, windows cleaned inside and out and the garden well tended. Burn & Warne can advise you on the level and type of furnishings, fittings, and appliances required ad where redecoration or other improvements are required.
When decoration, choose neutral colours. Emulsion paint the walls rather than wallpaper as it is a lot cheaper, quicker and easier to redecorate when necessary. Carpets and curtains should ideally be neutral or muted colours and be able to withstand wear and tear.
Garden maintenance is normally made the tenants’ responsibility and most tenants are happy to maintain a small or medium sized garden. However, if your property has a large garden, we recommend that you employ a gardener to look after it during the tenancy with the cost of this reflected in the rent.
In common with most letting agents we do not accept responsibility for redirecting mail and we strongly advise you arrange a Post Office re-direction service.
Your solicitor will usually do a local search, environmental search and chartered repair search.
Selling your Property
Our sales department will be happy at any time during the tenancy if you would like a no obligation market appraisal of your property. Should you agree to sell the property to a tenant(s) introduced by ourselves then a commission of 1.75% + v.a.t. of the sale price would become payable upon exchange of contracts.
Our Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreements are for one year less one day. If a break clause is agreed and implement we will diarise this and contact all parties to determine whether this will be activated.
Two months before the agreement ends, we will again contact all parties to establish if the contract is to be renewed or terminated. If this is to be extended, an agreed renewal fee will be charged. If the Tenancy is to be terminated a new tenant can be sourced and our standard fees will apply.
As soon as Burn & Warne Lettings & Management receive your instructions to proceed, our team will commence the process of finding a suitable tenant. Prospective tenants that are registered on our database will be contacted by phone, e-mail and SMS text alerts.
Lettings brochures with description, photographs and accommodation layout will be added to our property list. It will also be added to our window displays at our busy Grove Road office. Burn & Warne Lettings invest heavily promoting property in both the local media and internet advertising in order to generate constant enquiries from potential tenants.
Our high profile, strong brand and reputation and innovative marketing means we are hard for tenants to ignore! All this works towards getting your property let, professionally and as quickly as possible.
The internet has become an essential tool in the marketing of rental properties. Over 70% of people moving home use the internet to search for a property. Available 24 hours a day, prospective tenants can view homes that are currently available from wherever they are in the world. Our property details are up-dated daily and our internet advertising generates numerous enquiries daily fro individuals and companies. burnandwarne.co.uk will showcase your property and also feature on rightmove.co.uk and findaproperty.com to name a few
Another aspect of the Burn & Warne distinctive service is our continued investment in state-of-the-art computer systems and software. We are continually connected to our supporting networks such as burnandwarne.co.uk findaproperty.com and rightmove.co.uk. This helps ensure that your property is presented with the utmost efficiency.
We are able to create same day digital brochures and can match your property to suitable tenants from all over the country. At the push of a button your property details can be emailed and SMS text alerts sent to prospective tenants with moments of your instructions.
Selecting The Right Tenant
There is always an element of risk with letting, but an experienced agent will know when to refuse an applicant.
The most appropriate of tenant will also depend on the type of property and your own specific circumstances. Burn & Warne Lettings will discuss your particular requirements in detail and will find the most suitable tenant for you.
Different landlords make different stipulations regarding what they will and will not accept. Typical exclusions include pets and smokers and DSS tenants, but remember the stricter you are, the more difficult it becomes to find a tenant.
Reference and Financial Checks
When a tenant has been found we carry out strict referencing procedures using a specialist independent referencing company who demand the highest standards in the industry. This essential and detailed process gives us an understanding of their personal and financial circumstances. We also undertake employers/bank/landlord references of our own and only when are those references completed and the results satisfactory, do we set up the tenancy agreement.
The following information is intended only as a guide for landlords and should in no way constitute a detailed interpretation of the complete Regulations. Whilst the Regulations might appear onerous, they are designed to ensure the safety of the property and the tenants. Landlords should note that the maximum penalty for non-compliance with these Regulations is a fine of £5000 or 6 months imprisonment.
Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998
These cover all gas appliances, flues, meters and associated pipe work and require landlords to arrange an inspection carried out by a “Corgi” registered plumber to check all gas installations. Once the plumber is satisfied that the installations fulfil all requirements, a Gas Safety Certificate will be issued, a copy of which must be held by the agent and given to the tenant before they move in. This certificate must be renewed once a year.
Landlords normally arrange the first inspection and Burn & Warne Lettings can arrange for subsequent inspections. It is worth arranging the inspection before a tenant is found, to avoid delaying the start of the tenancy. Tenants are not allowed to occupy a property without a certificate.
Landlords are also responsible for ensuring that either the operating instructions are shown on the appliance or that an instruction booklet is supplied.
Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (Amended 1989 and 1993)
This act covers all upholstery and upholstered furniture supplied by a landlord in a rented property, including beds, footstools, pillows, headboards, mattresses, cushions, sofa beds, futons etc. New compliant furniture will always carry the correct label indicating that it is legal.
The Electrical Equipment (Safety Regulations) 1994
These regulations apply to all persons who let accommodation containing electrical equipment. The electrical installation at a property and any electrical appliance should be safe, regularly checked, and work carried out by a (NICEIC qualified) electrical engineer.
The landlord is responsible for ensuring that either the operating instructions are shown on the appliance or that the instruction booklet is supplied.
All new homes (built after June 1992) must be fitted with mains operated smoke detectors. There are no specific regulations governing older buildings.
Energy Performance Certificates
Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) have been introduced to help improve the energy efficiency of buildings. The EPC is required by law when a building is constructed, sold or put up for rent and gives home owners, tenants and buyers information on the energy efficiency of their property.
Part of the EPC is a recommendation report which will list the potential rating that your home could achieve, if you made changes. The report lists improvements that you could carry out and how this would change the energy and carbon emission rating of the property.
Landlords will need to provide an EPC which will be valid for ten years, to prospective tenants, the first time you let or re-let your property. Burn & Warne Lettings are able to organise the EPC on your behalf.
UK Resident Landlords
If you are a landlord resident in the UK, your net income from your investment property is subject to income tax. The level of tax depends on your other income. If you are already a higher rate taxpayer, tax will be payable at the higher rate. The normal method of reporting your taxable assets to the Inland Revenue is a Self-Assessment Tax return form. We strongly advise that you take independent advice from a tax specialist.
The following deductions can be made from your rental income to arrive at the net income, which is subject to tax:
• Interest on mortgage
• Property repairs
• Letting and management charges
• Buildings Insurance
• Ground Rent
• Service Charges
Non-UK Resident Landlords
The Non-Resident Landlord (NRL) scheme is for taxing the UK rental income of persons whose “usual place of abode” is outside the UK. If you are treated as a NRL you still have to pay UK income tax on rental income from your UK property.
Unless the landlord can provide Burn & Warne Lettings with a current Inland Revenue exemption certificate, the law obliges us to deduct basic rate tax from rents received and for us to account to Inland Revenue on a quarterly basis. Any Landlord named on the tenancy agreement, when living overseas, requires a separate exemption certificate.
Landlords are responsible for obtaining their own exemption certificate and the appropriate forms should be submitted as early as possible as they take several weeks to process.
Details on taxation are correct at the time of printing. Further information for non-resident landlords and exemption application forms are available from The Inland Revenue Centre for non-Residents, NRLS Processing, Fitz Roy House, PO Box 46, Nottingham, NG12 1BD. www.hnrc.gov.uk/cnr Tel: 0151 472 6208
Service Level Options
Burn & Warne Lettings offer different levels of service to accommodate the differing needs of clients.
Letting Only Service
Designed to find the ideal tenant and suitable for experienced or non-portfolio landlords who wish to remain involved in legal details and the day-to-day activities, such as rent collection, arrears and general maintenance.
The Letting Only Service includes:
• Advertising and promoting the property until a suitable tenant is secured.
• Arranging and accompanying viewings.
• Taking up references and carrying out credit checks on prospective tenants.
• Preparing the tenancy agreement.
• Signing up the tenant and taking the first month’s rent and security deposit (the deposit must be held within an approved scheme).
• Passing over legal documents and monies to the Landlord once the tenant is signed up and forwarding the standing order in favour of the landlord to the relevant bank.
• Displaying a Burn & Warne “To Let” board.
• Rent guarantee (subject to referencing and terms and conditions).
Rent Collection Service
This service is ideal for those landlords who have the experience and time to be involved with their tenants. Burn & Warne Lettings will deal with all elements of marketing, professional referencing, all legal documentation, deposit handling and all ongoing rent collection as Letting Only Service and adds the following:
• Collection and handling of deposit funds under TDSRA rules.
• Notifying Local Authority of council tax responsibility.
• Notifying utility companies of tenancy agreement.
• On-going collection of rent.
• Chasing late or non-payment of rent.
• Providing a monthly statement of account.
• Rent guarantee (subject to referencing and terms and conditions.)
Full Management Service
The Full Management Service ensures that every aspect of the lettings process is dealt with on your behalf and you avoid having to deal with any of the time consuming and demanding issues that can arise during the tenancy. This service is ideal for overseas/distant Landlords.
The Full Management Service adds the following to the Letting Only and Rent Collection Service:
• Arranging an inventory
• Setting up tenant accounts with the appropriate utility companies
• Carrying out interim visits to check on the condition of the property
• Arranging maintenance and repairs as necessary
• Paying any bills on the property (maintenance contracts etc)
• Designated property manager
• Renewing gas safety certificates
• Dealing with any claim from the deposit against the tenant for damage, if necessary