Terms & Conditions

1. Definitions of terms used in “Terms of business”

1.1 The ‘landlord’ refers to the person or persons who‚ at any relevant time‚ own or have a formal interest in the property that gives them the right to possession of the property (sometime referred to as ‘you’ in this document).

1.2 The ‘agent’ refers‚ in the context of this document‚ to The Landlords Choice Property Management.

1.3 Occasionally referred to as ‘we’ or ‘us’ in this document.

1.4 The ‘tenant’ refers to the person or persons who‚ at any relevant time‚ are entitled to occupy the property under the terms of a tenancy agreement.

1.5 References to the ‘property’ refer to the dwelling house or dwelling houses owned by the landlord and any parts‚ contents and outside space thereof.

1.6 The ‘deposit’ is the amount paid by the tenant and held throughout the term of the tenancy as security again a breach of the tenancy agreement.

1.7 The ‘stakeholder’ is the agent who holds the deposit

1.8 Any reference to one gender includes the other. Any reference in the singular included the plural‚ if appropriate.

1.9 The ‘member’‚ in the context of this document‚ refers to the agent’s membership of The Deposit Protection Service.

2. General Guidelines

Before offering your property to let it is advisable to:

2.1 Ensure that permission is sought from the mortgage lender concerned to let (if there is a non buy to let mortgage on the property). Some lenders take a month or so to send out a standard letter so the earlier this is done‚ the better.

2.2 Inform your insurers that you intend to let. (See insurance section).

2.3 It is advisable to inform the Inland Revenue that you are letting‚ and your account/financial adviser (if applicable).

2.4 It will greatly assist The Landlords Choice Property Management and ensure that the Property is managed efficiently if the following are adhered to:

  • User’s instructions are required for central heating‚ boilers‚ timers and any appliances left in the property. We also need details of any guarantees or services/maintenance agreement regarding the property or its contents.
  • Please ensure that all items are in their proper place before any inventory is done‚ as it is difficult to alter it afterwards. (Please see T&C’s). The Landlords Choice Property Management will gladly assist or advise on any matters concerning the tenancy. We are always happy to deal with any questions that you may have.

3. Property Management

3.1 Annual checks of the property – The Landlords Choice Property Management will conduct annual inspections of the property and submit a report to the landlord highlighting any potential areas for concern.

3.2 Key holding service – Two sets of keys are held to ensure that we are able to react promptly to any unforeseen need to gain access to the property.

3.3 Float – A float of £250.00 is held by The Landlords Choice Property Management in their client account to cover the cost of any minor works required in the course of managing the property to avoid troubling the landlord with minor aspects of property maintenance.

3.4 Tenancy liaison – The Landlords Choice Property Management will be the main point of contact for the tenant(s) and provide a guaranteed responsive contact between the hours of 08:00 to 20:00 Mon–Fri. Outside these hours‚ the tenant should contact the out of hours emergency repair numbers provided.

3.5 Deposit protection service The Landlords Choice Property Management will register any deposit as part of the tenancy with the DPS if required. Please note that the landlord’s address must be stated on the tenancy agreement. Tenants rarely contact their landlord directly‚ if ever‚ when the property is being fully managed but if they do‚ you should refer them back to us.

3.6 Out of hours emergency repairs – The tenant is provided with contact details of an out of hours property maintenance company who are able to react 24 hours a day to emergency repair requirements. The Landlords Choice Property Management will invoice for these at cost.

3.7 Work carried out prior to letting or between lets – We will always advise landlords of any work which needs doing before or between lettings with regard to the general cleanliness and state of the garden‚ if applicable. Safety checks will be carried out and we will organise any works that are deemed necessary‚ subject to your approval of cost.

3.8 Annual gas safety checks – The Landlords Choice Property Management will coordinate the annual gas safety check required by law in all tenanted properties.

3.9 Rent collection service The Landlords Choice Property Management will collect the rent and pass it on to the landlord deducting management fee and any maintenance costs.

3.10 Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreements – The Landlords Choice Property Management will produce an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement with a minimum fixed term of 12 months‚ with the facility to continue on a month to month basis thereafter. The landlord is required to give the tenant 2 months’ notice to vacate and the tenant must provide 1 month notice.

4. Deposits held in the ‘Tenancy Deposit Scheme’

4.1 The Landlords Choice Property Management will deal with the deposit. It remains in our clients’ deposit account and it is registered with the DPS (Deposit Protection Service) within 30 days and refunded to the tenant within 10 working days of The termination of the tenancy. If‚ at the end of the tenancy‚ any deductions are to be made‚ they have to be agreed between the landlord and tenant. If an agreement cannot be made‚ there is an arbitration process which is laid out below. We‚ as agents‚ have to pay an annual fee to the DPS which is included in the fee.

4.2 Arbitration:

  • If there is no dispute the agent will keep any amount agreed as deductions where expenditure has been incurred on behalf of the landlord‚ or repay the whole balance of the deposit according to the conditions of the tenancy agreement with the landlord and tenant. Payment of the deposit must be made within 10 working days of the termination of the tenancy.
  • If‚ after 10 working days following notification of a dispute to the agent and reasonable attempts have been made in that time to resolve any differences of opinion‚ there remains an unresolved dispute between the landlord and the tenant over the allocation of the deposit it will (subject to A3) below) be submitted to the Independent Case Examiner (ICE) for adjudication. All parties agree to co–operate with any adjudication.
  • When the amount in dispute is over £5000 the landlord and the tenant will agree by signing the tenancy agreement to submit the dispute to formal arbitration through the engagement of an arbitrator appointed through the ICE although‚ with the written consent of both parties‚ the ICE may at his discretion accept the dispute for adjudication. The appointment of an arbitrator will incur an administration fee‚ to be fixed by the Board of the Dispute Service Ltd from time to time‚ shared equally between the landlord and the tenant. The liability for any subsequent costs will be dependent upon the award made by the arbitrator.
  • The statutory right of the landlord and the tenant to take legal action against the other are unaffected.
  • It is not compulsory for the partied to refer the dispute to the ICE for adjudication. The parties may‚ if either party choose to do so seek the decision of the Court. However‚ this process may take longer and may incur further costs. Judges may‚ because it is a condition of the tenancy agreement signed by both parties‚ refer the dispute back to ICE for adjudication. If the parties do agree that the dispute should be resolved by the ICE‚ they must accept the decision of the ICE as final and binding.

5. Incidental Fees

5.1 Compiling an Inventory – A detailed inventory of the contents‚ fixture and fittings of the property can be carried out prior to letting. The agent supervises the tenants’ arrival and departure at the property and the inventory is checked and signed on entry and rechecked upon termination of the tenancy.

5.2 Service of Notice to Quit – If a landlord wishes to serve a notice of repossession on a tenant‚ a fee of £100 plus VAT is charged. Please note that landlords need to give at least 2 months’ notice and that is has to be at the end of the rental period. (i.e. if the tenancy started on the 5th of the month‚ notice cannot take effect until the next 4th of the month). We would need At least 4 working days’ notice prior to the date of the service of notice. Please do not rely solely on email correspondence where timing is vital – It can occasionally be unreliable.

5.3 Non – Resident Landlords – A monthly fee of £20 per person is charged for landlords abroad to cover the extra tax administration involved.

5.4 Stamp Duty – Stamp duty is now only payable on very high rents for lengthy tenancies.

5.5.Legal Proceedings – Legal proceedings are not part of the service that we provide. If a landlord wants us to organise court proceeding or appear on their behalf‚ a charge will be made. (By agreement beforehand).

5.6 Extra Visits – If we have to carry out any additional visits in addition to those set out in the terms of the relevant management package‚ these are charged at £50 plus £25 per hour.

5.7 Key Cutting – We require 2 full sets of labelled keys for each property. If these are not provided in full and we have to organise key cutting‚ there will be a £50 charge for this‚ plus the cost of the keys.

6. Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)

6.1 Any property newly let on or after October 1st 2008 must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). This provides an energy rating of the property‚ which indicated the energy efficiency of the home. The certificates have to be provided by an approved‚ qualified energy assessor and they last for 10 years. Properties let before the 1st October 2008 will not need an EPC until there is a change of tenancy and a new tenant.

The Landlords Choice Property Management use several local energy assessors and the cost to the landlord is £120.00‚ we require this amount in advance and will organise the necessary certificate. Recent legislation now requires an EPC to be available within 7 days of marketing a property.

7. Who Pays For What?

This is often an area of confusion for landlords and tenants – below is a brief summary.

7.1 Services – The tenant pays for council tax‚ water rates and all services including gas‚ electric‚ oil‚ solid fuel and the telephone line. We arrange for the services (except for the telephone)‚ to be transferred to the tenants’ name at the start of the tenancy so that if any bills are left unpaid‚ the landlord is not responsible for them. The landlord must arrange for a disconnection of the telephone line before departure – we advise tenants on how to obtain a reconnection themselves. Landlords should notify all the services of their departure and forwarding address‚ so that final bill can be forwarded but ask the relevant utilities provider not to cut off the supply. We take meter readings at the check–in. This is effectively the outgoing reading for the landlord and the start of the supply for the tenant. Any interruption in supply or charges to reconnect are thus avoided. Please note that we do not read water meters but the relevant supplier is informed of a change of occupant.

7.2 Repairs – The landlord is responsible for the maintenance of the property and its contents‚ including internal and external decoration‚ throughout the tenancy. Unless the tenant has damaged or misused any item‚ the landlord is responsible for the cost of repair or replacement. The tenants have to report any faults/defects to us‚ except in the case of emergency‚ such as a gas leak‚ where they are instructed to obtain a call–out immediately. The landlord can leave us a list of recommended repairers if desired‚ or we will arrange for a local tradesman to deal with the problem. Obviously‚ in the case if major repairs or replacements‚ the landlord will be consulted.

8. Safety Regulations

8.1 Gas – The Gas Safety (Installations and Use) Regulations 1994 require landlords to maintain all gas appliances in a safe condition and in particular to have them tested for safety at least once per year‚ giving the tenant a copy of the safety certificate. Safety checks must be done by a British Gas or ‘Gas Safe’ registered installer. This should always be done prior to letting and we will then arrange for annual checks to be carried out‚ unless you have specifically informed us that these have been organised already. The checks cover every gas installation connected to a gas pipe‚ (including the cooker). The above will not be covered by a gas service agreement with British Gas – a safety check and certificate must be specifically requested.

8.2 Fire Precautions – We recommend that a fire blanket is provided in the kitchen of a rented property and a smoke detector on each level of the property‚ usually placed on the ceiling. We have been informed that future legislation will require at least one smoke detector to be wired to the mains electric. In a ’house of multiple occupation’‚ e.g. flat with a common entrance‚ further fire protection will be required. It is also strongly recommended that a carbon monoxide detector is placed in the same room or area as the central heating boiler.

8.3 Upholstered Furniture – All upholstered furniture which is in accommodation made available for letting must meet the Fire Furnishings (fire safety) Regulations 1988 (as amended). Furniture affected includes suites‚ mattresses‚ loose cushions and pillows. Any furniture which is pre 1950 is exempt; anything manufactured after 1988 onwards is covered and should have labels on it. Anything manufactured between these periods will not be covered and cannot be left in a rented property.

8.4 Electrics – There is various legislation covered by health and safety and consumer law – basically landlords must ensure that anything they supply is safe. To cover this‚ the electric wiring must be checked prior to letting and thereafter every 5 years to ensure that it meets the latest standards. Appliances should also be checked before letting – landlords should not leave any second hand appliances which they have not used themselves before and nothing should be left which is obviously unsafe e.g. with frayed flex or with old type wiring. We can organise PAT for £10 + VAT per appliance.

The Landlords Choice Property Management can instruct qualified tradesman to carry out gas & electrical safety tests at a competitive price. The Landlords Choice Property Management reserve the right to have any safety checks carried out if a landlord has not produced a valid certificate prior to letting or if none has been produced

9. Minimum Contents for Fully Furnished Properties

9.1 If a property is to be classed as fully furnished‚ it should contain the following items:

  • Carpets‚ curtains‚ light fittings and shades
  • Cooker‚ washing machine‚ fridge
  • Easy chairs or suite
  • Table/surface to eat at‚ plus chairs
  • Beds and bedroom furniture (mattress covers should be provided).
  • A basic set of crockery‚ cutlery‚ pots pans and utensils *.
  • Waste bins‚ ironing board‚ cleaning equipment‚ e.g. sweeping brush‚ mop and bucket.
  • Basic electrical – vacuum cleaner‚ kettle
  • Lawn mower and gardening equipment where applicable.
*The amount of crockery etc. provided varies with the size of the property and is not always necessary in small properties – please check beforehand.

9.2 We recommend that the following are not left in a property:

  • TV‚ DVD players‚ hi–fi‚ cd players/sound equipment etc.
  • Personal possessions e.g. clothes‚ books‚ photographs
  • Ornaments
  • Anything of sentimental value or that cannot be replaced
  • Bed linen‚ pillows and duvets are not necessary – most tenants provide and use their own.
  • Towels – this are considered a personal item
  • All food must be removed from the cupboards
  • House plants should ideally be removed

9.3 Properties which are not classed as fully furnished must have a minimum of carpets/floor coverings‚ light fitting and preferably curtains. All equipment and appliances must be in good working order.

10. TERMS AND CONDITIONS

10.1 The property and contents must be left by the landlord in a sufficiently clean and tidy condition for the tenant to move into. The Landlords Choice Property Management reserves the right to have the property and contents cleaned and/or the garden tidied at the landlords’ expense before the tenants move in if deemed necessary.

10.2 The tenant should not sign the tenancy agreement until the day of the check–in‚ supervised by a member of The Landlords Choice property Management. In most cases the first months’ rent is paid at this point. It is therefore essential that‚ if landlords have had contact with the tenant before this‚ they do not issue any keys to the tenant or allow access to the property before the check–in. The Landlords Choice property Management will not take any responsibility whatsoever for any situation arising from the above.

10.3 The Landlords Choice Property Management reserves the right to pay any contractors for repairs carried out to the landlord’s property from the rent collected. The landlord’s permission is sought before work commences on any major repairs or replacements‚ but in the case of an emergency‚ or where a repair is required for safety or security reasons‚ The Landlords Choice Property Management reserves the right to arrange for the necessary work to be carried out without first consulting the landlord‚ if direct contact cannot be made. Tenants are entitled to expect basic amenities such as decent sanitation‚ clean water supply‚ lighting‚ heating‚ hot water and adequate ventilation and any breakdown involving these would be classed as an emergency.

10.4 The compilation of the inventory of the contents of the property is carried out prior to the letting. Once it has all been done it cannot be altered easily‚ so please ensure that all items are in their final place before this. We will not take any responsibility for articles added afterwards or moved from their original place.

10.5 The inventory is checked on the tenant’s arrival and departure in as much detail as possible. However‚ these checks do not include the moving of heavy furniture such as beds‚ suites‚ wardrobes‚ etc.‚ or the turning over of mattresses‚ the moving of kitchen appliances and do not include the checking of attics or roof space‚ unless these form part of the living accommodation. These checks are visual only and do not include testing appliances etc. on entry or exit. Landlords do have to allow for normal ‘wear and tear’ when their property is let. The main areas affected are generally wear to such areas as carpets and upholstery and landlords must expect deterioration to the internal decor as a matter of course. Although tenants are usually responsible for the maintenance of the garden they will not necessarily keep it to the same standard‚ and this has to be accepted to a certain extent.

10.6 The Landlords Choice Property Management is not liable for any costs or inconvenience incurred in the reconnection of services on the landlords return to the property. We do make every effort to ensure that there is a smooth transfer of services but errors can occur due to circumstances beyond our control.

10.7 The Landlords Choice Property Management is not liable for any bank or similar charges incurred if rent is late or not received at all or rent does not arrive on time due to circumstances beyond our control (including the breakdown of computer equipment/bank line services). Rent is remitted to the landlord as quickly as possible‚ but landlords should ensure that late payment or non–payment of rent does not result in an overdraft which may incur interest‚ the non–payment of mortgage‚ etc.

10.8 If the tenant falls into arrears and/or a repossession order is required (the latter is usually required only in exceptional circumstances)‚ a standard procedure is adhered to by The Landlords Choice Property Management & will make every effort to recover the arrears‚ if this is unsuccessful‚ we will write to the tenant threatening legal action for the recovery of the arrears. Any legal action required beyond this point (e.g. taking the tenant to court for the arrears‚ employing a tracing service if the tenant has disappeared‚ eviction of the tenant) must be paid for by the landlord. We strongly advise that landlords take out rental guarantee insurance to cover these eventualities‚ which rarely happen.

10.9 The Landlords Choice Property Management is not liable for any loss/damage/breakage or claims whatsoever (including consequential damage) arising out of or in connection with any act or omission of any tenant introduced or referred to by ourselves.

10.10 If a landlord decides to release a tenant early from a tenancy by mutual agreement with the tenant and the property is not to be re–let‚ (e.g. where the landlord has found a buyer and the tenant agrees to vacate within the initial fixed term)‚ the agent is entitled to the full amount of fees due from the landlord for the fixed term originally.

10.11 If a landlord wishes to serve the tenant notice to quit‚ we will employ an external agent to deliver it the notice. There is thus a charge for this service.

10.12 The “repair float” taken from the rent at the start of the tenancy is currently £250.00.

10.13 If rent is paid in a “lump sum” by the tenant‚ e.g. 6 months in advance‚ the rent will still be remitted by The Landlords Choice Property Management to the landlord on a monthly basis.

10.14 Data Protection: We are entitled to share information between ourselves‚ the landlord and tenant‚ in particular‚ present and future known addresses of the parties with each other‚ credit reference provided‚ utility and water companies‚ local authority council tax‚ housing benefit departments‚ housing/environment departments‚ and mortgage lenders.

10.15 Incorrect Information: The landlord warrants that all the information provided to The Landlords Choice Property Management is correct to the best of his knowledge and belief. In the event that the landlord provides incorrect information to The Landlords Choice Property Management which causes The Landlords Choice Property Management to suffer loss or causes legal proceedings to be taken the landlord agrees to reimburse The Landlords Choice Property Management for all losses suffered.

10.16 Nothing in these terms of business shall create or be deemed to create a partnership or the relationship of employer and employee between the landlord and the agent.

10.17 Property Management Termination – The Landlords Choice Property Management service may be terminated by either party by serving 30 days written notice‚ except in cases of gross misconduct whereby this termination will be effective immediately. The letting fee/commission shall however remain payable not with standing such termination of the property management service.