A to Z of Lettings for Landlords

ARLA - The Association of Residential of Letting Agents

The Residential Letting Market is not regulated and agents don't have to be members of any Professional Association. However, here at Sarah Kenny we believe that, as Professional Letting Agents with a duty of care to both Landlords and Tenants, it should be. As a result of this, we are members of ARLA, which means that we must adhere to their strict rules and regulations and aim to offer reassurance to both Landlords and Tenants alike.

Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST)

This is the most common type of Tenancy Agreement and provides the tenant with certain protections under The Housing Act 1988. The tenancy is for a period of six months or more and the tenant is an individual, or group of individuals, rather than a company.

Annual Rent Review

We review all rents for Managed Properties, on an annual basis and we contact Tenants two months before the anniversary to advise them of the new rent. The rental is increased, as per the terms of our Tenancy Agreement, in line with the RPI with a minimum of 3% and a maximum of 8% per annum. We will advise you beforehand the rental level we are going to propose to the tenants.

Break clause

A break clause gives the Tenant or Landlord the right to terminate a Tenancy Agreement, in writing under specific circumstances, before the date the agreement is officially due to end. We find that that is normally requested by large corporate organisations in order to minimise their risk.

Check Out

We undertake the Check In with the Tenants at the start of the Tenancy for both Managed and Let Only Properties. However, we only undertake the Check Out for Managed Properties. We can recommend an inventory clerk to do this for a let only landlord if required. The Check Out is to ensure that the Property is left by the Tenants as it was at the start of the tenancy, fair wear and tear excepted. It forms the basis for the deposit return.

Company Tenancy

This form of Tenancy Agreement is used where a Limited Company is the Tenant. There is no additional statutory protection; both Landlord and Tenant are bound by the terms of the written agreement.

Carbon monoxide monitors

Even though the installation of these is not mandatory, we strongly recommend, in line with ARLA, that a CO monitor is installed in any room where there is an open fire or gas appliance such as boiler or hob.

Credit check - see References

The procedure by which a check is made on the credit history of an applicant, usually conducted by one of the large dedicated credit check agencies. The check will reveal history of credit card repayments, outstanding debts, arrears and County Court Judgements. We use an independent company called Keysafe Tenant Referencing, who are renowned for being very thorough.

Contractors

The majority of contractors that we use have been working with us for many years. We have built up good relationships based on their professionalism and trust. Generally, they will collect keys from our office and return them to us on the same day. We achieve extremely favourable rates, which we pass directly onto our Landlords and we do not add on a handling charge.

DocuSign

We use an electronic form of signature for Tenancy Agreements and associated paperwork. The use of this is recognised in a Court of Law. This allows greater flexibility when we arrange to meet Tenants at the property as the paperwork has been signed in advance of the check in.

Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994

Regulations that require all electrical installation and appliances within the property are maintained in good order and regularly checked for safety by an appropriate registered engineer.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

An EPC measures the energy efficiency of a property using a scale of A-G. It is a legal requirement and the landlord's responsibility to have a valid EPC for their property when it is marketed. An EPC lasts for ten years for rental Property.

Extension of tenancy - see renewals

A legal agreement that extends the term of a rental agreement.

Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 and (Amendment) 1993

Regulations that require all domestic upholstered furniture, furnishings and other products containing upholstery in a property to be certified as compliant.

Gas Safety Regulations 1998

This refers to any gas appliances in a Rented Property to be inspected by a gas engineer, who is certified by the Gas Safe Register, prior to tenants moving into a property and annually thereafter.

See Carbon monoxide monitors

Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMO)

A building of three floors or more which is to be occupied by three or more people and where these people live as more than one household and share facilities such as bathrooms, toilets or cooking facilities.

Inventory

An inventory is a list which describes the condition and contents of a property. It is produced prior to the commencement of the tenancy and referred to at the end of the tenancy and used to work out damage and dilapidations which the tenant maybe responsible for. It is for this reason that we strongly recommend that a Professional Inventory is undertaken prior to the start of the first let. This will help back up any claims against the deposit which the tenant may dispute and will be used by the TDS as evidence in any dispute.

Insurance

Contents insurance

This is a policy which covers the contents of a property, including electrical goods, carpets, furniture and curtains, as well as Indemnity Cover for Landlords. We recommend that Landlords have this in place even for unfurnished Properties. Tenants are responsible for arranging their own contents insurance.

Buildings Insurance

Landlords must also have this in place. In most cases the Management Company (if the Property is in a block of flats) has this in hand.

Joint and Several

A joint and several Tenancy means that all tenants are liable for the rent so that if one leaves or does not pay the rent, the other tenants are liable for the full amount.

Keys

We will require one set of keys in order to start marketing your property, however, for properties that we manage we will require a minimum of two further sets prior to the Tenants moving in. For let only properties we will issue two sets of keys to the Tenants. For properties that we do not manage, we do not hold keys in the office.

Lights

We would kindly ask that all bulbs are working at the start of the tenancy. If they are not and we have to instruct an electrician, it can be a costly additional charge.

Maintenance charge/Management charge - see service charge also

The cost of repairing and maintaining external or internal communal parts of a building charged to the Landlord. Also known as service charge.

Our Maintenance Department

For Landlords for whom we manage their properties, you will have a dedicated Property Manager to deal with your property. However, anyone will be happy to help in their absence.

Our maintenance department are available to deal with any issues that you may need to raise. It is our aim to deal with or resolve these issues as quickly and with as little inconvenience to Tenants and Landlords.

Our offices are open from 9am - 5.30pm Monday to Friday and between 10am - 4pm on Saturday and Sundays Noon - 4.00pm. You can also email maintenance@sarahkenny.co.uk

Non-resident Landlord Scheme. See Overseas Landlord

If you live abroad for 6 months or more per year, you're classed as a 'non-resident landlord' by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) - even if you're a UK resident for tax purposes.

You can get your rent either in full and pay tax through Self Assessment or with tax (20%) already deducted by your letting agent or tenant. If you want to pay tax on your rental income through Self Assessment, fill in form NRL1i and send it back to HMRC.If your application is approved, HMRC will tell us not to deduct tax from your rent and you will need to declare your income in your Self Assessment tax return. HMRC will not approve your application if your taxes aren't up to date, e.g. you're late with your tax returns or payments.

If we deduct basic rate tax from your rent (after allowing for any expenses we've paid) we will give you a certificate at the end of the tax year saying how much tax we've deducted.

Offer

A sum of money that the tenant offers to pay to rent a property.

On the Market

We advertise all of our Properties on this website.

Portable Appliance Test (PAT)

A test carried out by a registered engineer to ensure that all electrical installations and appliances within a property are safe in conjunction with the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994.

Post

Please ensure that if you have lived in the property that you set up a redirection as subsequent Tenants cannot be requested to forward post on and therefore probably will not!

Quarterly routine visits

If we manage a property, we will be carrying out regular visits of the property. The first visit will take place within a few weeks of Tenants moving in. Subsequent visits will be carried out quarterly.

Renewals of tenancy

We will contact Tenants two and a half month prior to the end of the Fixed Term Agreement to see if they wish to stay in the property or leave.

Right to Rent Act

From 1 February 2016 all Landlords of private rental accommodation in England must carry out Right to Rent checks for new tenancy agreements to determine whether occupiers aged 18 and over have the right to live in the UK legally.

Rightmove

We advertise all of our Properties on this website.

References

We use an independent company call Keysafe Tenant Vetting to verify tenant's references. This includes previous Landlord reference (where applicable), Right to Rent, Employer reference and Credit Check.

Service charge

See maintenance charge

Statutory periodic tenancy

When the fixed term of an Assured or Assured Shorthold Tenancy comes to an end but the Tenant stays, a periodic tenancy automatically follows if no additional contracts are signed. The tenancy will be on the same basis as the original agreement.

The Property Ombudsman (TPO)

TPO is a government approved scheme to provide independent redress in relation to disputes between consumers and property agents. We are members of this scheme.

The TDS

Sarah Kenny registers all deposits with this scheme. We take a six week deposit which is calculated by taking the monthly rental x 12 / 52 x 6.

Utilities and transfer

We will advise the following utilities on the dates of tenancy start dates and details:

  • Gas (if applicable)
  • Electricity
  • Bristol Water
  • Council Tax

Void period-please note that you will still be liable for any standing charges while the property is vacant.

Void Period

Period of time when a property is empty/unoccupied by a tenant. We would recommend that you allow for a period of two and a half weeks per annum.

Welcome packs

We provide Tenants with a move in pack upon Check In. The more information which you can give us about the Property, the more that we can pass onto them.

Extra clauses

On the front page of the Tenancy Agreement, we will add any additional clauses such as parking or any additional items that are included with the rental or gardens, which relate to the property. You must advise us of these so that we can include them.

Yearning

You may find that your rental property is ticking along quite nicely and wish to expand your portfolio or perhaps you wish to dip your toes in the water for the first time. We are always on hand to offer you advice and to help you receive the best return on your investment. Please just contact Laura, Peter or Rebecca.

Zzzzz

Now you can look forward to a good night's sleep safe in the knowledge that we are looking after your property!