Q & A for Toseland Properties’ landlords
How can Toseland Properties help me?
As a landlord, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to the different services we can provide. Not only do we cater for all needs, from let only to full management, we also offer a reliable maintenance service which can be accessed by anyone – whether we manage your properties or not. Our portfolio of 22 properties – eight in Chesterfield – as well as our experience working in property management, means we understand what landlords need and expect. We can take all the hard work, administration and effort off your hands and find you reliable, reference-checked tenants. Our three broad categories of management service are let only, rent management, or full management. But because every landlord is different, we tailor our management package to you and if you require a service level that falls somewhere between those three, we can do it.
We’ve included extensive details in this section about the different ways we can support landlords, whether you’ve just bought your first buy-to-let, or are a professional with a whole portfolio of properties. Please contact, or call into, our office at any time during office hours for more information or an informal chat.
What exactly do the three levels of service involve?
Let only is for you if you want the convenience of letting someone else market your property, find your tenant, arrange and carry out viewings, check references, and prepare the tenancy agreement, including the collection of the deposit and first month’s rent. Let only allows you to stay in full control of the management of your property once the tenant is in.
With rent management you benefit from all the services offered under our let only option, but we also collect the rent for you and pay it to you via an online faster payment system, and take care of the tenant’s security deposit. This option means that if your tenant does miss a payment for some reason, it’s up to us to find out why and to collect it for you.
If you opt for full management, you receive all the financial benefits of a let property, without having to do any of the work. Every aspect of letting is taken care of, from finding the perfect tenant, to carrying out maintenance work. Full management is a completely comprehensive package, right down to property inspections and utility readings. We can do all of the following:
collect rent and pay it to you via an online faster payment system
hold the tenant’s security bond
supply utility readings to the relevant providers
carry outregular inspections of your property and if any repairs are needed, we’ll use our reliable in-house maintenance service
provide you with the Schedules of Conditions and inventories you need prior to letting
let you know in good time when a tenancy is coming to an end and arrange for an inspection to make sure your property has stayed in excellent condition. If we find any wear and tear which is above acceptable levels, we sort out a deduction from the bond with the tenant
Or, if what you want doesn’t quite fit into the three main categories, you need our bespoke service. We’ll work with you to create your perfect package, with exactly the level of management you want.
What happens when you’ve found my tenant?
As soon as we’ve found your tenant, we’ll be in touch. Make sure you’re prepared to organise the following as quickly as possible:
ensure the interior and exterior of property is clean and tidy
remove any remaining personal items from the home
if needed, redirect your mail via the Post Office
let all utility companies know there will be a new occupier – it’s always worth a follow-up call to make sure everything has been processed correctly
we’ll need 3 sets of keys! Or, 2 sets if you’ve chosen the let only option.
What if I need work doing to my property?
We’re proud of the maintenance service we offer. We know it can be hard to find someone reliable and willing to carry out small jobs and repairs. That’s why we can take care of maintenance for anyone – landlords who use our services, landlords who don’t, and even homeowners who live in their own properties. Our experienced maintenance personnel are fully qualified, so you can be confident any work we do will be of a superb standard. Jobs we can do range from plastering, tiling and fitting floors or carpets, to installing bathrooms or kitchens, down to small jobs like plumbing in washing machines and dishwashers or putting up shelves. If a tenant gets hurt in your property, you could be held responsible, so we can also carry out the relevant checks and tell you what repairs (if any) will need to be done before someone can move in. It’s down to you to make sure the home you’re offering is clean and tidy in time for viewings and moving day.
I’m not totally sure what being a landlord entails, are there legal requirements?
Unfortunately, yes. There are quite a few legal requirements for anyone who’s going to let a property, whether it’s through a management service or not. The rules are there to protect both you and the tenant, so it’s vital to follow them all. We make thorough checks to ensure all the landlords we work with are legally sound.
We’ve laid out the basic information here, but please feel free to contact the office if you have any more questions. We’re happy to help you negotiate the paperwork, rules and regulations.
Firstly, if the rental property is mortgaged, you will need to check with your bank or building society that you have permission to rent – this shouldn’t pose any problems. If you own your property outright, you don’t need to ask anyone’s permission, although all landlords must notify their insurance provider.
A lot of the legal side of letting concerns the safety of the tenant – you can reduce the amount of red tape a bit by leaving as little furniture in the property as possible. Firstly, all electrical and gas appliances will need safety certificates and oil and solid fuel central heating systems, as well as any gas appliances, have to be checked and serviced every year. You’ll also need to supply clear instructions (in English) on how to work boilers, central heating systems, and any other appliances. If you’ve lost the originals (it happens to the best of us) then either you can write your own and either print them from your computer or write by hand.
Your property will also need to be kitted out with battery-operated smoke alarms and you’ll need to get all your sockets (as well as any plugs and electrical items) safety tested. This is something which needs to be done every year. If you decide to supply any furniture, it will need to be fire tested – beds, mattresses and headboards; convertible beds of any kind, including sofa beds and futons; nursery furniture; scatter cushions, seat pads and pillows; garden and loose and stretch covers for furniture. Carpets and curtains are not included.
You will also need to get an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). These provide a rating for how environmentally-friendly your property is. It assessed on issues like how much heat is lost through the roof, and your heating and lighting systems. It doesn’t cover appliances like washing machines.
Your EPC will be valid for ten years, regardless of how many times you change tenants, although everyone who moves into the property will need to be given a copy of the EPC.
All these regulations are important, particularly as some of them can result in a fine or prison sentence if breached. We know it’s a lot to take in, which is why we’ll go through everything with you thoroughly when you decide to work with us.
Find out more about the above on the Direct.gov website.
Is there anything else I need to think about?
Yes. You’ll need to check whether or not your property is classed as multiple occupancy. This applies to homes with a minimum of three storeys, and at least five tenants, living in two separate households. In this context, a household is defined as: any two people living together as a couple, whether married or in a civil partnership or not; relatives living together, including parents, grandparents, children, step-children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces or cousins.
If this applies to you, you need to get a Houses with Multiple Occupancy (HMO) license. If you’re still not sure whether you need one, contact your local authority, as failing to register is a criminal offence with a fine of up to £20,000. Find out more about HMOs here: www.propertylicense.gov.uk.