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Rental Enquiries:0800 525 184

Landlord Enquiries: 0800 634 0834

LandlordFAQsLandlord FAQs

What rent and length of tenancy should I offer?

We suggest you consider an assured tenancy in the first instance, because of its increased marketability in the retirement sector. You should also think through what you intend to do in the future. Will you want the property back at some point and sell it to release capital? Are you happy to let the property and receive the rent, whilst enjoying the capital growth? Do you perhaps want to live in it yourself at some time in the future?

If you find you do want to sell the property then it may be possible to sell with the tenant in occupation (but you may not achieve its full open market value). The new owner would then continue with the same tenancy under the same terms. Doing this would obviously limit the market potential of the property, but in today’s market there are still investment buyers looking for a good investment. Remember, if you let on an assured tenancy you must be prepared to tie up your capital in the property for an unlimited period of time as you cannot gain possession until the tenant gives notice that they are leaving.

What are the fees for landlords?

For full details of our fees and services, please request a copy of our full Terms & Conditions of Business.

Compulsory Fees:

Appraisal Fee

Girlings Appraisal Fee

£180.00 (inclusive of VAT)

Payable on signing our terms and conditions of business

Land Registry Search Fee

Land Registry Search Fee

 £12.00 (inclusive of VAT)

Payable on signing our terms and conditions of business

Tenancy Deposit Scheme Registration Fee

Scheme Registration Fee

 £12.00 (inclusive of VAT)

Deducted from first month’s rent then annually on each rent review.

(Assured Shorthold Tenancies only)

Commission Fees for Lettings & Management Services

Commission Fees

18% (inclusive of VAT) of the gross monthly rent for the first year of the tenancy and;
12% (inclusive of VAT) of the gross rent for each subsequent year of the same tenancy.

Deducted from each month’s rent on receipt.

Optional Fees:

Energy Performance Certificate Service

It is a legal requirement to obtain an EPC before marketing a property for rental. We provide an EPC service or you may use your own provider.

Girlings EPC Service

£84.00 (inclusive of VAT)

Payable on signing terms and conditions of business

Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR)

Landlords have a legal obligation to ensure their property is electrically safe. It is a requirement of our terms and conditions of business that you obtain an EICR for your property. We can obtain one for you, or you may use your own suitably qualified electrician.

Girlings EICR Service

£288.00 (inclusive of VAT)

Payable on signing terms and conditions of business

Inventory Fees

1 bed: £84.00 (inclusive of VAT), 2 bed: £96.00 (inclusive of VAT).
No commission payable to Girlings

Inventory Check-in

1 bed: £62.40 (inclusive of VAT), 2 bed: £68.40 (inclusive of VAT).
No commission payable to Girlings

Inventory Check-out

1 bed: £74.40 (inclusive of VAT), 2 bed: £85.20 (inclusive of VAT).
No commission payable to Girlings

Quarterly Submission of Tax to HMRC

Non UK resident landlords only.

Tax Submission Service

£120.00 (inclusive of VAT)

Payable annually

Alterations to Standard Tenancy Agreement

A reasonable, separately negotiated sum, subject to a minimum charge.

Agreement Alterations

£30.00 minimum (inclusive of VAT)

Payable when alterations are requested by you.

Additional Property Visits

Property visits in addition to the routine annual inspection.

Additional Visits

£102.00 (inclusive of VAT)

Payable when requested by you.

Maintenance during Vacant Periods

This may be separately negotiated and is subject to an administration fee of 10% plus VAT of the total invoice for works, subject to a minimum fee of £30.00 inclusive of VAT.

 

What does Girlings do as my Agent and what are your management charges?

Full details of the management services that Girlings offer are set out in our Terms and Conditions of Business which will be provided on request. In summary, we will:

  • Market the property through our accommodation lists and on our website
  • Reference potential tenants
  • Produce the tenancy agreement
  • Collect the rent
  • Pay service charges and ground rents out of the rents collected if you require
  • Handle any other costs and charges applicable to the owner, including the costs of minor repairs
  • Provide a statement of account every three months and a full statement for tax purposes at the end of every tax year
  • Management of property repairs and maintenance
  • Deal with the tenancy deposit as required by statute and best practice
  • Carry out an annual rent review and renew the tenancy as appropriate
  • Monitor the tenancy and serve any notices as required
  • Deal with the tenancy end

Our management fees are 18% of the monthly rent inclusive of VAT, for the first 12 months of any tenancy, reducing to 12% inclusive of VAT, in subsequent years of the same tenancy.

Who pays the service charges and ground rent?

The Landlord as leaseholder is responsible for paying these. Girlings can settle these charges directly from rents collected if you wish.

Are there any other charges I should be aware of?

The Managing Agents may charge a fee for sub-letting, which is often based on a percentage of the open market value of the property. The lease may also require a Contingency Fee to be paid; again usually a percentage of the open market value.

If the Landlord withdraws the property from offer after a prospective tenant has been identified then a fee of £300.00 plus VAT becomes payable as a contribution towards the costs and expenses incurred. If the Landlord withdraws after the Tenancy Agreement has been drafted then the Landlord will be invoiced the full fees set out in the signed Terms and Conditions of Business

What does the tenant pay for?

Council tax, utility bills such as telephone gas/electric and contents insurance. Please be aware that the tenant can only insure their own items, they are not able to insure any of your items that remain in the property, such as the carpets etc.

Who is responsible for maintenance works in the property?

Girlings will act on all minor maintenance issues on your behalf up to an agreed amount (usually £200.00) if the maintenance issue is the Landlord's responsibility (as opposed to the tenant). For any maintenance in excess of £200 we will contact you for authorisation.

What am I responsible for repairing?

Under Section 11 of the Housing act 1988 (as amended by the Housing Act 1996)

The landlord will normally be responsible for:

  • ensuring that the property is fit for habitation at the beginning of the tenancy
  • repairing the structure and exterior of the building
  • repairing and keeping in working order the water, electricity and gas supplies (if fitted) and the sanitation (drains, basins, sinks, baths and WCs)
  • repairing and keeping in working order the room and water heating equipment Insuring their own contents

What is the tenant responsible for?

Under Section 11 of the Housing act 1988 (as amended by the Housing Act 1996)

The tenant will normally be responsible for:

  • using the premises in a tenant-like manner, doing such small jobs as unblocking drains, changing light bulbs, mending fuses, etc
  • repairing any damage which they have caused
  • keeping the premises clean

How can I prepare my property for the letting market, what needs to be included?

From the 1st October 2008 it has been the Landlord’s responsibility to ensure that an Energy Performance Certificate is available before a rental property can be marketed. You may wish to arrange this yourself; alternatively we will be happy to arrange this for you at the current market rate. You will also need to carry out Gas safety checks if applicable, electrical safety checks (PIR), provide manuals for all appliances, and arrange contents insurance for your own items. We will of course put our recommendations to you personally in our appraisal report, carried out when we receive your instructions. You will also need to ensure that the property is unfurnished and all items such as beds, mattresses, sofas, tables and chairs are removed prior to our initial visit and before any viewings take place. If you have any questions, then please do give us a call on 0800 634 0834

How will my property be advertised?

The Internet continues to be one of our most important marketing tools and, as such, we feature our available properties on a variety of property portals, such as www.rightmove.co.uk; www.thinkproperty.com; www.maturetimes.co.uk; www.propertyfinder.com; and www.Fifty5plus.co.uk

We advertise in good quality publications specifically aimed at retired people, such as Yours magazine; Mature Times; The Lady; Women’s Weekly and Readers Digest. In addition, through our relationship with the Elderly Accommodation Counsel and the Royal British Legion we promote your properties at national and local level.

How long will it take to let my property?

This really depends on the right person looking at the right time. We have a database full of prospective tenants searching for properties throughout the UK who would be notified of your property should it be in their preferred area. If a suitable tenant is not found in a reasonable amount of time we will contact you to discuss further marketing options.

Will tenants want to bring their pets?

Some tenants will have pets and will wish to bring them into their new home. It is your decision whether you wish to accept them. Permission is needed from the Managing Agent for which a fee is payable and the tenant will need to sign a Pet Agreement, of which one of the terms is to not exercise pets on the grounds of the development. In our experience the more flexible you are to these requests the more chance of attracting a tenant.

What about smokers?

It is your decision whether you wish to accept smokers. There is a clause in the tenancy agreement allowing the landlord to withhold the full deposit to deal with any damage caused by cigarette smoking. In our experience the more flexible you are to these requests the more chance of attracting a tenant.

Will I be required to upgrade the apartment?

We will assess your property and advise you if we think certain works are required. The improvements we suggest will be reflected in the rent we think you could achieve.

How will viewings be conducted?

Our Lettings Centre will arrange the appointments in conjunction with the House Manager who will conduct the viewing.

How will I know if there has been any interest?

Our Lettings Centre will try and contact you to inform you of any viewings and pass on any feedback about which we think you should be aware. If you have a valid email address then you will receive an email from us, on the first day of each month, detailing recent activity on your property(s) i.e. the number of clients who have been sent details of your property(s), the number of viewings undertaken and the number of reservations confirmed.

How is the tenant's deposit held?

For an Assured Shorthold tenancy the deposit will be registered with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS). For an Assured tenancy Girlings hold the deposit as stakeholder

What happens if the tenant stops paying rent?

This is not usually a common problem with Girlings tenants. We have a very low rate of rent arrears. Often tenants’ rents are subsidised by Local Housing Allowance, so it gives Landlords reassurance that the rent will be paid. However should the tenant cease paying rent, you will need to obtain a Court Order for Possession or if the tenancy is an AST you can wait for the fixed term to expire and regain possession rather than go through the courts, which will have cost implications. You may be able to recover the arrears, but if the tenant has no money it is unlikely the amount will be recovered even with the courts help. It is possible to retain the deposit to cover rent arrears.

What happens if the tenant does not leave?

If the tenancy is an Assured Tenancy, it is unlikely you will be able to regain possession, unless the tenant is in breach of one of the Grounds listed in Part II, Schedule 2 of the Housing act 1988 (as amended by the Housing Act 1996). If the tenancy is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy and the correct Notice has been served and expired, and the tenant remains in residence you are able to apply to the court for an Order of Possession. Although this may take a while, it is possible to use the Accelerated Possession Procedure, whereby if the tenant does not make a representation to the court within 14 days of receiving notification, the court will grant a Possession Order. If the tenant still does not leave then the court bailiff will be instructed to remove the tenant.

Will I get the deposit if the tenant leaves the property in a bad state?

The retired generally make very good tenants and, although there are exceptions, the majority of tenants leave the property in good order. We rarely have to make deductions from deposits to cover damages or cleaning costs. In 2007 we returned over 90% of deposits in full.

Whether a deposit is retained or returned depends on the condition the property is left in and the condition it was in at the start of the tenancy. We always advise Landlords to let their property in a very good condition and state of repair at the commencement of the tenancy and this will increase the necessity to retain the deposit for any repairs.

The amount of deposit retained will depend on the length of time the tenancy was running and the quality of the carpet, also the condition and age of the carpet when the tenant moved in. You will not be able to retain an amount from the deposit to cover damage caused by fair wear and tear, for example you can expect to have some marks on the carpet at the end of a tenancy.

If there is damage to the property and you wish to withhold an amount, then Girlings will require an agreement between the Landlord and Tenant before the money is released. If no agreement can be reached then the amount in dispute will be paid to the Tenancy Deposit Scheme where a third party will make a decision on what is to be retained. Any amount that is not in dispute must be returned to the tenant.

If the damage is excessive and the cost of remedial work is likely to exceed the deposit held, you can only recover the amount held as a deposit, for example if the deposit held is £500 and the cost of repair is £700, you will only be able to recover £500. The landlord will bear the cost of any remaining balance. You may be able to recover further amounts through the civil courts, but we would suggest seeking legal advice, because again although the court may instruct the tenant to pay the money, they do not guarantee that you will get the money, even with the use of bailiffs etc.

What insurance do I need?

We strongly advise speaking to an insurance expert to make sure you have the right cover. The buildings insurance is often included in the service charge, but if not, it is your responsibility to provide adequate cover. The tenant is responsible for insuring their own contents, but cannot insure your contents such as fixtures and fittings, so you may wish to cover this yourself. Finally, you should check that your buildings or contents insurance policy includes suitable public liability cover in case anyone has an accident in your property for which you might be liable.

Do you offer a Rent Protection Scheme?

No. It is possible to get insurance to cover rent payments, so that if the tenant stops paying the rent, then the insurance company will pay the rent until either the tenant pays or you regain possession. At this time Girlings are not able to offer this service, but we are able to provide you with details of companies who can provide you with this cover.

What references will you get on my behalf from the Tenant?

We will obtain up to four references before recommending a tenant to you. We obtain a personal/character reference, a medical reference from their GP confirming the tenant's date of birth and current health, (this medical reference is also often a requirement of the Management Company) a status report from the tenant’s bank and a credit check via a recognised credit reference agency, currently Equifax. We may also ask for a landlord reference from the tenant's current or previous landlord (if applicable).

Occasionally we may need to obtain this information from different sources, for example the tenant does not have a doctor or bank account, but we will always advise you of this beforehand.

The tenant also has to meet the House Manager at the development.

Are Girlings responsible for the Property when it is vacant and waiting to be let?

No. We will carry out an initial appraisal of the property and we will contact you regarding all maintenance issues and inform you of any works that need to be carried out. It is then your responsibility to arrange this work and ensure it is completed to a satisfactory standard. We will report any feedback to you following viewings but we are not responsible for the day to day maintenance of the property while it is vacant.

What tenancies can I offer?

There are two types of tenancy recognised under the Housing Act.

Assured Shorthold Tenancy – This type of tenancy is the more usual tenancy offered in the open market. An AST runs for an agreed fixed term; we would suggest a minimum period of 2 to 5 years. At the end of the fixed term you have the option to renew the tenancy for a further term, if mutually agreed, or you can serve notice to gain possession.

Assured Tenancy – which gives security for the tenant for as long as they wish. The benefit to letting on an assured tenancy is that you can usually demand a higher rent, as the tenant will pay more for this security. Assured tenancies are rarely offered in the Private Rented Sector but they are particularly suitable for the retired. Our experience shows it is easier to let properties on secure tenancies; tenants tend to stay longer because they do not have the constant worry that they may have to move again at the end of the tenancy. The tenant is only committed to the first 12 months of the tenancy and can give one months notice at any time after this term. The Landlord can only serve a Notice asking the tenant to leave if they have not paid their rent and/or are in breach of other terms of the tenancy agreement. The Landlord will still need a court order to gain possession.

What if I live outside the UK?

There are special tax rules for landlords who live abroad. You may receive your rental income without tax deducted but first you must obtain approval from HMRC and complete the appropriate NRL1 form. Girlings can help you to go about this and we also suggest you contact your tax office.

Do I have to pay tax on my rental income?

The answer is almost certainly yes, and you should inform HM Revenue and Customs that you are letting the flat. A number of costs such as repairs to the property and letting fees can be offset for tax purposes. As there are various costs and allowances to take into account when calculating your net liability you should always seek advice from your accountant or tax advisor.

Girlings Retirement Rentals Limited

Glanville House, Frobisher Way, Taunton, Somerset TA2 6BB

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