As specialist in Residential Letting and Property Management, we are fully focused on the priorities and needs of the Landlord and unlike estate agents; our loyalties are not divided by dealing with property sales and mortgages. We understand that letting your property, especially for the first time, can be a worrying experience and with this in mind our most important consideration is providing you, the Landlord, with the best possible service and tools to find 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 Management Agents your asset will be in professional and caring hands.
A Personal and Reliable Service
Although we are able to cover a wide area, we aim to offer you a personal and friendly service. With this in mind our ‘out of hours email support’ team will always guarantee to deal with any queries you may have within 12 hours.
As an online agency we don’t have expensive overheads such as rents, rates, heating and lighting etc, allowing us to keep our fees lower than the local competition.
Our personnel are specially trained and equipped to find the perfect Tenants for your property. Unlike other online letting agents, as well as advertising your property on all the major national portals we also maintain a database of prospective Tenants and their requirements. Once your property is listed on Droplets, our first action is to contact waiting Tenants on the database, who’s requirements match your property. Helping you to find your perfect Tenant quicker!
Property / Room Listing
Our Property & Room listing Services includes marketing of the property, leading to the introduction and referencing of the prospective Tenant. Providing this is satisfactory, we will then go ahead and prepare the tenancy agreement, place the deposit in a government approved deposit protection scheme and provide a inventory template.
Standard Tenant Find Service
Our Standard Tenant Find Service includes marketing of the property (including a ‘To Let’ Board, Professional Photography and Floor plans) leading to the introduction and referencing of the prospective Tenant. Providing this is satisfactory, we will then go ahead and prepare the tenancy agreement, place the deposit in a government approved deposit protection scheme and provide a inventory template. Following this we will collect the first months’ rent and set up a standing order mandate for future rents.
Managing the tenancy, including the maintenance and rent review, will then be the responsibility of the Landlord.
Fully Managed Letting Service
This is our inclusive Service, which provides for the marketing of the property (including a ‘To Let’ Board, Professional Photography and Floor plans), leading to the introduction and referencing of the prospective Tenant. Providing this is satisfactory, we will then go ahead and prepare the tenancy agreement, place the deposit in a government approved deposit protection scheme and produce an inventory (which the tenant will then be checked in against). Collection and processing of rental payments is also included in the fully managed service, these will be credited automatically to the Landlord’s nominated bank account.
During the tenancy we will carry out periodic inspection visits. Should these bring to light any maintenance issues, we will (within the confines of our Management Agreement) recommend, oversee and account for any necessary repairs.
Towards the end of the tenancy, we will liaise with the Tenant and arrange to check them out of the property, as well as start the deposit repayment process.
We have found that a good relationship with Tenants is the key to a smooth-running tenancy. As Property Managers this relationship is our job. It is important that the Tenants should feel comfortable in their new home, and that they are receiving value for their money. It follows therefore that a well maintained property in a good decorative order will go towards this, whilst also achieving a higher rental figure. Tenants are also more inclined to treat such a property with greater respect.
Electrical, gas plumbing, waste, central heating and hot water systems must be safe, sound and in good working order. Repairs and maintenance are at the Landlords expense unless misuse can be established. Interior decorations should be in good condition and preferably plain, light and neutral.
Your property can be let fully furnished, part furnished or unfurnished. Which of these is appropriate will depend on the type of property and local market conditions. We will be pleased to give you advise on whether to furnish or not and to what level. As a minimum you will need to provide decent quality carpets, curtains and light fittings. Remember that there will be wear and tear on the property and any items provided.
Personal possessions, ornaments, pictures, books etc. should be removed from the premises, especially those of real sentimental value. Some items may be boxed, sealed and stored in the loft at the owner’s risk. All cupboards and shelf space should be left clear for the Tenant’s own use.
Gardens should be left neat, tidy and rubbish free, with any lawns cut. Tenants’ are required to maintain the gardens to reasonable standard, provided they are left the necessary tools. However, few Tenants are experienced gardeners, and if you value your garden, or if it is particularly large, you may wish to arrange for visits by a regular gardener.
At the commencement of the tenancy the property must be in a thoroughly clean condition, and at the end of each tenancy it is the Tenants’ responsibility to leave the property in a similar condition. Where they fail to do so, cleaning will be arranged at their expense.
Information for the Tenant
It is helpful if you leave information for the Tenant, eg on operating the central heating and hot water systems, alarm system and the day refuse is collected etc.
You should provide one set of keys for each Tenant. Where we will be managing we will arrange to have duplicates cut as required.
If your property is mortgaged, you should obtain your mortgagee’s written consent to the letting. They may require additional clauses in the tenancy agreement of which you must inform us.
If you are a leaseholder, you should check the terms of your lease, and obtain any necessary written consent before letting.
You should ensure that you are suitably covered for letting under both your buildings and contents insurance. Failure to inform your insurers may invalidate your policies. We can advise on Landlord Legal Protection, Rent Guarantee Cover and Landlords Contents and Building Insurance if required.
Bills and Regular Outgoings
We recommend that you arrange for regular outgoings, eg service charges, maintenance contracts etc. to be paid by standing order or direct debt. However where we are managing the property, by prior written agreement we may make payment of certain bills on your behalf, provided such bills are received in your name at our office, and that sufficient funds are held to your credit.
Council Tax and Utility Accounts
We will arrange for the transfer of Council Tax and utility accounts to the Tenant. Meter readings will be taken, allowing your closing gas and electricity accounts to be drawn up. All these matters we will handle for you, however telephone companies such as British Telecom will require instructions directly from both the Landlord and the Tenant.
When resident in the UK, it is entirely the Landlords responsibility to inform the Inland Revenue of rental income received, and pay any tax due. Where the Landlord is resident outside the UK during a tenancy, under rules effective from 6 April 1996, unless an exemption certificate is held, we as Landlord’s Agent are obliged to retain and forward to the Inland Revenue on a quarterly basis, an amount equal to the basic rate of income tax from rental received, less certain expenses. An application form for exemption from such deductions is available from Droplets, and further information may be obtained from the Inland Revenue.
It is most important that an inventory of contents and schedule of condition be prepared, in order to avoid misunderstanding or dispute at the end of the tenancy. Without such safeguards, it will be impossible for the Landlord to prove any loss, damage, or significant deterioration of the property or contents. In order to provide a complete Service, we will if required arrange for a member of staff to prepare an inventory and schedule of condition.
The following requirements are the responsibility of the owner (Landlord). Where we are acting as managing agents, they will be our responsibility.
Health and Safety – Gas Safety Certificate
If you have any working gas appliances in the property, it is a legal requirement for you to provide your tenants with a Gas Safety Certificate. These certificates need to be renewed each year with an annual inspection.
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 2 years of the inspections of each appliance and flue, of any defects found and of any remedial action taken.
Copies to tenants:
A copy of the safety certificates 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.
Health and Safety – Electrical
There are several regulations relating to electrical installations, equipment and appliance safety, and these affect Landlords and their agents in that they are ‘supplying in the course of business’. They includes the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, the Plugs and Sockets Regulations 1994, the 2005 Building Regulation – Part P, and British Standard BS1363 relating to plugs and sockets. Although with tenanted property there is currently no specific legal requirement for a qualified electrician to carry out an inspection and issue a safety certificate (as exists in the case of gas appliances), it is now widely accepted in the letting industry that the only safe way to ensure safety, and to avoid the risk of being accused of neglecting your ‘duty of care’, or even manslaughter is to arrange such as inspection and certificate.
Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are now a legal requirement for any rental property. Covering all areas of energy usage, as well as carbon dioxide emissions, the certificate is basically a report to tell prospective tenants how energy efficient your property is. Energy Performance Certificates are valid for ten years, unless significant works are done to the property.
Consumer Protection – Fire
The Furniture and Furnishing (Fire)(Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended 1989 & 1993) provide that specified items supplied in the course of letting property must meet minimum fire resistance standards. The regulations apply to all upholstered furniture, beds, headboards and mattresses, sofa-beds, futons and other convertibles, 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 before a tenancy commences.
All properties built since June 1992 must have been fitted with mains powered smoke detector alarms from new. Although there is no legislation requiring smoke alarms to be fitted in other ordinary tenanted properties, it is generally considered that the common law ‘duty of care’ means that Landlords and their agents could be liable should a fire cause injury or damage in a tenanted property where smoke alarms are not fitted. We therefore strongly recommend that the Landlord fit at least one alarm on each floor (in the hall and landing areas).
We hope that the general points covered in this guide will be of assistance to you. If there are any aspects of which you are unsure, please telephone our office or email the Droplets team.