BTC Lettings & Management
There are three main services we provide to landlords:
- Let only. This service includes finding, referencing a tenant and then setting up a tenancy. With a let only service you will be managing your own property.
- Let and management. All of the above and management of the property, to include: rent collection, 3 monthly inspections, monthly statements, handle all maintenance queries (making sure we don’t spend your money without your permission). The idea is that we take over full control/management of your property and become the sole contact point between you and your tenant.
- Guaranteed rent service. To include all of the above. Plus, whether you have a tenant or not or whether your tenant pays the rent or not, your rent is guaranteed. Your contract will be with BTC and in effect we, a 30 year established, financially equipped covenant, will become your tenant!
If your thinking of letting your property BTC are here to help and guide. Naturally, success of our business has been landlords entrusting us with the letting and management of their property. However, what we take great pride and passion in is sharing our 30 years of experience and vast knowledge in the industry to help and guide landlords into making the right decisions when letting their property.
Here are some answers to questions we are often asked:
- General levels of market demand amongst tenants.
- The popularity of the area according to the normal criteria used by tenants to decide on geographical locations.
- Current rental prices being charged on similar properties in a comparable area.
- Prices recently achieved for similar properties on the books of the lettings agent.
- The general condition of the property.The quality, range and condition of the facilities that the property has.
You are quite within your rights to insist that we market your property at a price other than the one we suggest. However, we do not want unlet property sitting on our books for many months as this reflects badly on business, and therefore, will quote a realistic and achievable figure via our experienced and knowledgeable valuers.
BTC Lettings and Management recognise that more tenants that know about your property, the better chance you have of a suitable tenant making an inquiry and seeking a viewing.
There are various ways in which we will seek tenants for your property.
- Local and National Newspaper
- Online – All leading Estate Agency portals, btc website: www.btcint.com
- Direct mail &/outsourcing; i.e. door to door leaflets
- Loot and other specialist classifieds.
- Shop windows
- Public notice boards:- i.e. libraries, universities, supermarkets, hospitals etc.
- Local housing offices
- Recruitment agencies: Local and overseas, i.e. agents in Australia and New Zealand sending teachers for London schools. I.T. graduates coming from India.
How long will it take?
How long it will take to find a tenant depends entirely on the market and the emand for the type of property you are letting at the price at which you are ffering it. One to three weeks is a normal length of time. Many properties are let much quicker than this, some almost overnight, but you should neither expect this, nor depend on it financially.
Don’t forget that referencing can take up to a week, even when you’ve found a tenant that seems suitable.
Landlords are obligated to keep the structure and exterior of the property in a good state of repair. You have final responsibility for ensuring that the following areas are safe and fit for use, as well as effecting repairs when necessary to restore them to a fair condition:
- The structure and exterior of the property
- Any hot water installations, as well as the supply of water itself.
- Basins, sinks, baths and other sanitary or drainage installations.
- Ensuring an adequate provision of lighting, heating and ventilation.
- Treating of any health-threatening damp that occurs (not to be confused with condensation, a more common but less serious problem caused mostly by poor ventilation).
- In flats and maisonettes you must also repair any other areas of installations which you own or control and whose disrepair would affect the tenant.
- Anything else that you mutually agree with the tenant in the tenancy agreement.
Safety Gas & Electrical Appliances
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994 place a number of responsibilities on landlords of private residential accommodation, namely:
- Ensuring that all gas appliances are maintained in good order.
- Paying for an annual safety check to be carried out by a tradesman who is registered with CORGI (Council for Registered Gas Installers).
- You must keep a record of all the safety checks and issue a copy of the safety certificate to the tenant within 28 days of each annual check.
- You must also ensure that the electrical system and any electrical appliances that you supply such as cookers, kettles, toasters, washing machines and immersion heater are safe to use. However, you are not responsible for any appliances that the tenant is entitled to take with him or her at the end of the tenancy.
Furniture / Fire Safety
Legally, you must be able to verify that any furniture and fittings that you supply adhere to the standards set out in the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988. These regulations set levels of fire resistance for domestic upholstered furniture.
Very few tenants will rent a property without viewing it first, so you should make sure that the property is prepared and presentable. Furnishing a property does not absolutely guarantee that you will be able to charge more rent for it.
Many landlords are happy to play an active role in the management of their property. In fact many people prefer it. But for a variety of reasons, this can sometimes be difficult, if not impossible. Managing a property can take up a lot of your time, and if you don’t think you’re up to it because of geographical location, health or work, you may be better using an agent.
The role of BTC Lettings and Management in property management will include all the activities included in the lettings and rent collection service, plus:
Inspection of Property
BTC Lettings and Management will visit the property every 12 weeks in order to check the general condition.We will send the landlord an inspection report detailing our findings.
Our property managers will act as tenants and landlords point of contact. Liaising with all parties involved with the property and mediating in disputes is often thankless but key role of our property manager.
Repair Work and Maintenance
This is probably one of our most important roles as property managers. As the property management we will respond to any disrepair reported by the tenant and with the landlords PERMISSION, arrange for any work to be carried out by independent contractors.
BTC Lettings Agents London and Management have our team of dedicated contractors working solely for BTC Lettings and Management. Furthermore, due to economies of scale and the amount of business that we can direct to particular contractors or trade business, we naturally have the power to negotiate low rates with our contractors.
Property management normally involves a greater level of ongoing administration than does a let-only service. Often we will negotiate tenancy renewals and rent increases, prepare renewal agreements, arrange check outs, allocate deposit returns and serve the appropriate notices on tenants. Also, with full property management, we will arrange the payment of all bills and other routine outgoings on behalf of the landlord incorporating this into the statement of accounts.
- Pay their rent promptly.
- Take care of the property.
- Avoid causing a nuisance to the neighbours.
- Agree not to use the property for illegal or immoral purposes.
- Obey all conditions of the tenancy agreement.
If they do not meet their obligations, they can be evicted. However, the fact remains that problem tenants have the capability to cause landlords a large amount of stress, financial cost and inconvenience.
Often it is difficult to prevent a bad tenant from being the way they are. However, we take the following steps to minimise the risks of a tenant turning into a problem:
- Choose and vet the tenants properly – naturally, any future problems arising from bad tenants, if managing, will fall on our shoulders, therefore we recognise that the first stage of choosing the right tenants is vital. Naturally – we don’t want headaches too!
- Take a deposit
- Obtain guarantors
- Include appropriate clauses in the tenancy agreement – i.e. late rent fines, grounds for possession
- Property inspections
- Continuous monitoring of your tenant’s rent payments to make sure they are always made on time
- Contact tenant via phone and writing IMMEDIATELY if there are any late payments or if it has come to our attention that they are not conforming towards any of their contractual obligations.
- Serve the necessary notices without delay – Usually Section 21 and Section 8.
- Apply to courts for legal possession. If above fails, and the tenant refuses to leave or pay rent, we will apply for a possession order from the courts on your behalf.
Points to Remember:
- You should take legal advice before constructing similar letters yourself.
- Often, non-payment of rent is due to administrative errors in the setting up of standing orders.This can take up to a week to resolve, and it is advisable to show goodwill when dealing with such instances.
- Most tenancies are operated under joint and several liabilities, meaning that even if only one tenant is defaulting, it should be treated as though all tenants are. You are legally entitled to take action against all of the other tenants to recover money from one defaulting tenant.
- On some occasions, tenants refuse to pay due to unhappiness with the condition of the property. By law, tenants may only refuse to pay the rent or reduce payments where the problem is a safety or health matter, such as those concerning: structural repairs, draining, gutters, external pipes, water, gas, electricity, sanitation, heating and hot water.
- Please note and be advised, that it is a criminal offence for a landlord to evict a tenant without a court order.
1. Accelerated Possession Procedure
This can only be used where:
- the tenancy is an assured shorthold tenancy (AST)
- there is a written form of tenancy agreement
- a valid form of section 21 notice has been served on the tenant
- the notice period (two months) in this notice has expired
We would use special accelerated possession procedure form, and make sure that copies of all relevant documents are sent to the court.
If successful, we will get:
- an order for possession
- an order that the tenant pay fixed costs.
The advantage of this type of procedure is that it is quicker, there is (normally, if all your relevant paperwork is in order) no court hearing, and if we are using solicitors, the legal costs will be less.
2. Under the Rent Arrears Ground
This should be used where there are rent arrears of a total value of more than two months worth (i.e. for a rent of £300 per month the arrears are £600 or more).
We would have initially served a ‘section 8’ notice in the prescribed form before issuing proceedings and the notice period of two weeks must have expired.
We would then use the ‘normal’ possession proceedings (known as a ‘fixed date’ action) and the court will set the case down for a hearing, which you will have to attend.We will give evidence to the court of the rent arrears due at the date of the hearing.
With this procedure you would get:
- an order for possession
- a money judgment for the rent arrears due at the date of the court hearing
- an order that the tenant pay you an ‘occupation rent’ (also know as ‘mesne profits’)
- an order that your tenant pay your legal costs, which will be assessed by the Judge at the hearing.
Breakdown of Service
Let Only Service in providing the Letting Service BTC Lettings and Management will:
a) Agree with you in advance a rent to be quoted for your property and market your property as appropriate at the agreed rental.
b) Introduce a prospective Tenant for the property.
c) Apply for appropriate references, either directly or through the use of an approved Credit Referencing Company and apply where
appropriate for a rent guarantee insurance policy under the terms and conditions of the insurers, subject to approval by their underwriters,
unless otherwise agreed between BTC Lettings and Management and you.
d) Negotiate the Terms of the Tenancy between yourself and the Tenant and ensure that an appropriate Tenancy Agreement and Notices are prepared and signed by or on behalf of the landlord and the Tenant
e) Collect and forward on to you any deposit (as stakeholder) paid by the Tenant against rent arrears or dilapidations.
f) In the event that you agree to a change of Tenant during an existing tenancy, we reserve the right to make an additional charge to cover
the cost of taking references, arranging for any new tenant(s) to enter into the Tenancy Agreement and the service of appropriate Notices.
Letting and Rent Collection Service in providing the Letting and Rent Collection Service, in addition to the services outlined in the paragraphs a) to f) above, BTC Lettings and Management will:
g) Collect the money or quarterly instalments of rent on your behalf and forward net rents to your bank accounts or other nominated beneficiary.
h) Prepare and submit monthly or quarterly statements to yourself and/or your accountant.
i) Assist you to any claim to the Rent Guarantee Insurers where necessary including the provision of a facsimile facility for the sending
of associated documents and claim forms. Letting and Management Service in providing the Letting and Management Service, in addition to the service outlined in paragraphs a) to i) above
BTC Lettings and Management will:
j) Make all reasonable endeavours to notify the local authority and service companies (telephone, gas, electricity, water) of a change of
occupant or user at the termination of the tenancy on the basis of f) above.
k) Arrange for the preparation of a basic inventory prior to the commencement of the tenancy, if required, and for the inventory to be
checked at the commencement of the tenancy (see paragraph 4.6 for costs).
l) Arrange for the inventory to be checked at the termination of the tenancy and a checkout report to be supplied. Any damage or
dilapidations that may have occurred during the tenancy are recorded on this report. A copy of this is sent to the Landlord and Tenant
who must mutually agree what amount (if any) is to be deducted from the dilapidations deposit.
m) Carry out a routine inspection of the property 6 times a year and report any issues/problems to Landlord.
n) Deal with day-to-day management matters including minor works, cleaning, repairs and obtain estimates for major works
if appropriate, (allworks to be only carried out on the landlords permission), payments to be taken out from rent.
o) When managing a property let by another party, BTC Lettings and Management will require copies of the tenancy agreement, inventory, appliance guarantees or warranties, tenant references and any other relevant notices or documents relating to the property.We will also require a set of keys for the property for emergency purposes. Unless otherwise agreed in writing in advance, our appointment as Managing Agents is for the duration of the tenancy. In the event of the management agreement being terminated BTC Lettings and Management remain entitled to commission for introducing the tenant(s) and future renewals.
We are also happy to provide testimonials or for you to speak to any of our landlords whose properties we manage. Our landlords range from individuals to property companies who own one property to multiple properties throughout London and the home counties.
If you have any further questions about the letting industry or tips and advice on letting your property please do not hesitate to contact us for an informal and confidential discussion on 020 8889 7474.
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