There are currently three ways of working with Leaders to let your home. These include Tenant Find, Rent Collection and Fully Managed. In addition, we offer a Premier Service which has enhanced legal protection services for you and your property.
With this service, we market the property, carry out viewings and reference the tenant for you. In addition, we prepare the tenancy agreement and collect the deposit and first month’s rent. After this, it’s down to you to liaise with the tenant and manage the property through to the next tenancy.
With the Rent Collection service, this includes the Tenant Find as above, but we continue to collect rent each month and transfer it into your account. The service also includes an inventory, dealing with any disputes at the end of a tenancy or helping to re-let the property.
We are often asked ‘what do you actually do’ when we manage a property and it’s a fair question as much of the work we carry out, landlords and indeed tenants rarely ‘see’.
This is because one of the main parts of our task is to keep your property and you, up to date with latest legals and safety rules. We do also deal with the day to day management such as maintenance queries or a problem the tenant might have, but we don’t give you a daily, weekly or monthly list of the jobs we’ve undertaken on your behalf, so we thought it would be helpful to explain in detail all the tasks we carry out so you can rest assured it’s a wise investment.
Our most hidden role – and our toughest - as your property manager is ensuring you and your property meet health and safety regulations so you are letting legally.
Today there are over 400 rules and regulations which have to be abided by to let a property. These are national and local laws and today’s landlord either has to keep up with them themselves, or engage a company like Leaders to do so on your behalf.
At Leaders we have always been members of ARLA Propertymark, even though it’s not a legal requirement. The reason we invest so much in this membership is because it is the main professional and self-regulating body for letting agents, who currently don’t actually have to have any qualifications. In contrast, we invest a lot of time and money in lettings compliance and making sure our agents are well trained to properly manage your property. This is done by adhering to a strict Code of Practice and taking out insurance to cover you such as Client Money Protection and Professional Indemnity Insurance, should we make a rare error.
We invest heavily in staff training and our in-house Lgeal & Compliance team and the cost of this forms part of the management fee you pay. In return, you and your property can rest assured you are being cared for by experts at Leaders who understand the latest laws and they are backed up by a company which adheres to the highest legal lettings service.
Referencing a tenant
We have seen reports recently that suggest you can reference a tenant ‘for a few pounds’. Although basic referencing can be secured at this price, we would not rely on this type of referencing alone when it comes to recommending a tenant to you.
We carry out extensive referencing and credit checks, so the chance of a tenant defaulting is less than 1 per cent. Our specialist referencing service informs us of the tenant’s personal and financial circumstances, but in addition our lettings experts in the offices meet and talk to tenants over the phone and only put a tenant forward if they are confident they are the right person for you and your property.
A comprehensive service like this can’t be bought for a few pounds and we know that our extensive checks are one of the main reasons we rarely see tenants default on their rent to you, saving a fortune in legal costs, insurance claims and indeed the stress of having to evict a tenant that can’t afford pay you anymore.
Checking a tenant in and out of the property
It can take a lot of time and several visits to a property to ensure the tenant is settled in properly and moves out with few issues. In addition, it is now a legal requirement to test smoke alarms prior to a tenant moving into a property. Helping tenants understand how to use appliances and security systems means they can enjoy living in the property from day one, knowing if they have a problem, we are on hand to help. The time we spend with tenants also allows us to go through and secure signatures for documents such as the tenancy agreement and inventory report.
Whether a tenant is arriving or leaving, the requirement for protecting a tenant’s deposit in schemes such as Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme is essential as are tasks such as transferring utilities and council tax bills from new to old tenants. All of this takes a lot of administration time, which is easier to do if a daily task, but not so easy if you do once in a while.
The care and attention we take when checking a tenant in or out means we dramatically reduce the chance of time consuming and stressful disputes at the end of the tenancy, often agreeing to any reductions at check-out, so deposits can be returned quickly and a new tenant moved in.
Ensuring a comprehensive inventory is carried out
It may seem a simple job to take an inventory of a property, but in reality it is a painstaking task which, in our view, is best left to experts. For example, a good report runs into dozens of pages.
We train local experts to carry out an inventory to ensure the condition of the property is correctly recorded, focusing especially on the issues we know can lead to disputes. The key to a good inventory is training, coupled with technology which ensures detailed records and photographs of everything required are taken. This might be spotting a specific stain on a carpet through to taking meter readings.
A good inventory report means the chances of a dispute escalating at the end of the tenancy just isn’t something that happens very often for Leaders landlords.
Because our staff are trained in local and national lettings laws and are local to your property, it means they are perfectly placed to check your property is being looked after by the tenant, but also spot any maintenance work the tenant hasn’t reported.
Because we are careful to put a tenant into your home who can afford the rent and we believe will look after it for you, it’s rare we have a problem, but it is possible for tenants to deliberately or accidentally illegally sublet to friends and/or relatives. Regular checks on your property allow for any issues to be uncovered quickly and ensure the tenant is advised on their responsibilities as well as advise you on any upgrades required for the property to remain legally let.
Local Authorities can now fine landlords up to £30,000 fines for individual mistakes, so carrying out these kinds of checks with full knowledge of lettings legals is an essential part of our management service.
Maintaining a let property can be a time consuming task. Securing quotes, vetting trades people, meeting them at the property, being sure they have carried out the work to the correct legal standard requires a lot of phone calls, property visits and time.
That’s why our management service will do this for you. We have specially chosen contractors who have been thoroughly vetted by ourselves to ensure they are reliable, competitive and carry out work to a consistently high standard.
Being there for you and your tenants
Many tenants and landlords are happy to work with our branch staff via email and phone, however, we find in property, that although many other life tasks are moving ‘online’ there is still no substitute to being able to pop into an office and get to the know the person that will help to put a roof over a tenant’s head, or work with a landlord to protect their property, which is often their biggest investment.
That’s why our staff and local branches are readily available for you and your tenants to report problems directly to them or spend time discussing moving into a property or moving out.
This is especially helpful when it comes to work being carried out on a property during the management process. All our trusted tradespeople need to do is pop into the local office to pick up the keys and return them when they are finished. No need for the tenant or yourselves to be at the property, unless the tenant has requested they be present.
Full management is tax deductible!
We hope this helps to explain the hard work we do to manage your property and ensure you are letting legally. Some people do comment that they think full management is an ‘expensive’ option versus other services, or indeed managing a property yourself. However, our management costs are all tax deductible, so calculating the difference between our Let Only service (paid in one lump sum) and our Fully Managed service, over the time of a tenancy, it may only cost you a little over £40 a month, which considering it can dramatically reduce the chances of rent arrears and any problems, is a small price to pay for peace of mind.
With summer holidays in mind, or if you don’t have the resources or time to keep up with lettings legals, feel free to email, call or pop into one of our local branches to see if our full management service might help you to have a hassle-free landlord life.