Landlord Information

WitLet is Witham’s most established agency Part of a family business trading in Witham since 1938, our office is based in Witham and specialises in local properties. Formed as Witham Letting Services, we have steadily grown with a high degree of customer care to both our landlords and tenants.

If you would like to instruct WitLet to work on your behalf, please click here for a copy of our authorisation form.

How Do We Find A Tenant?

Once instructed, we will focus on advertising the property to the upmost to ensure we maximise its exposure to potential tenants. To do this, we use the two BIGGEST UK Property Portals (Rightmove & Zoopla (the latter includes Prime Location)) while also advertising in our office and on our website.

WitLet uses the Rent4Sure Ltd tenant assessment service to qualify all prospective tenants offering fast and effective comprehensive referencing; click here for more details (RICHARD – hyperlinked).  Some tenants may require a Guarantor, who will also be party to the agreement to ensure your protection. Once we have obtained satisfactory references Rent4Sure Ltd will also provide Rent Protection Insurance Policies (with nil excess), Legal Expenses Insurance Policies and Buildings and Contents Policies if you so wish. Some of Lettings packages will even include 12 months free cover!

Our many years of experience have enabled us to build an excellent reputation in selecting tenants for our clients, however, we never forget that it is your property and you have the final word.

Once a suitable tenant has been chosen and approved, the necessary Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreements will be prepared and appropriate notices under the Housing Act will be prepared in house. We will have already asked your permission to enter tenancy.

Landlord Information Pack

Being a landlord brings with it serious responsibilities you should consider. Below, we have provided a list of considerations each and every landlord should make:

Furnishing & Fire Safety Regulations

We would recommend that properties are let with carpets, curtains and a cooker only.

Should you decide to let your property furnished then as a landlord you will have to meet the current Health & Safety regulations.

The Furniture & Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended 1989 & 1993) stipulate that 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 and futons, and much more. The regulations do not apply to bedcovers, curtains, carpets, or antique furniture (furniture made before 1950). Items of furniture or furnishings purchased since 01 March 1990 will automatically comply with the regulations, providing they have a suitable permanent label attached or the receipt kept. All non-compliant items must be removed before a tenancy commences.

A detailed explanation is available in ‘A guide to the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) regulations’ from the department Trade of Industry. For details visit http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http:/www.bis.gov.uk/files/file24685.pdf

Gas Appliances

Whilst it is recommended that the occupier of any property with gas appliances connected ensures that they are regularly serviced for safety reasons, as soon as you fall into the category of ‘Landlord’ you immediately have responsibilities under the law to ensure that your gas appliances are safe and certified.

Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998 stipulate that all gas appliances and flues in rented accommodation must be serviced and safety checked within 12 months of being installed, and thereafter at least every 12 months by a competent GAS SAFE REGISTERED engineer.

We can arrange for a suitably qualified engineer to inspect and issue a safety record on your behalf

You can instruct your own GAS SAFE REGISTERED engineer if you wish, however, if we do not hold a certificate at commencement of the tenancy, we will instruct our own engineer to carry out the safety inspection.

The penalties for any infringements of this regulation are extremely high. WitLet will not permit entry into a tenancy without holding this certificate in our office.

See here for more information: https://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/help-and-advice/gas-safety-certificates-records/gas-safety-record/

Oil Safety

Unlike Gas, there is no legal requirement to obtain a safety certificate however these appliances will need regular servicing by an OFTEC registered engineer. OFTEC have provided a useful guide to Oil Safety here: https://www.oftec.org/Media/Default/DocGalleries/OFTEC%20Homes%20Guides/OFTEC_HomeGuide_HeatingInRentedAccommodation_PUB98.pdf

Smoke Alarms

All properties built since June 1992 must have been fitted with smoke detection alarms. Since 2015, it is mandatory to have smoke alarms fitted at least one smoke alarm should be on every storey and a carbon monoxide alarm in every room containing a solid fuel burning appliance. They

should be fixed to the ceiling in a circulation space, i.e a hall or a landing, and carbon monoxide alarms should be positioned at head height, either on a wall or shelf, approximately 1 to 3 metres away from a potential source of carbon monoxide.

With regards to carbon monoxide alarms, even though legislation states solid fuel burning appliance, the legislation does state “gas appliances can emit carbon monoxide, we would expect and encourage reputable landlords to ensure that working carbon monoxide alarms are installed in rooms with these”.

For more information please see the link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/smoke-and-carbon-monoxide-alarms-explanatory-booklet-for-landlords/the-smoke-and-carbon-monoxide-alarm-england-regulations-2015-qa-booklet-for-the-private-rented-sector-landlords-and-tenants#alarms

Electrical Installations & Equipment

Under the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, the Plugs & Sockets (Safety) Regulations 1994, electrical installations and equipment in tenanted premises must be “safe” when a tenant moves in and is maintained in a safe condition throughout its duration”

This Regulation recommends that Portable Appliances are tested annually, every appliance provide has the CE mark and Fixed Electrical wiring every five years.

Although (unlike gas) no safety certificate is legally required, it is necessary to make a visual check to ensure that all electrical items, plugs and leads appear completely safe and undamaged, and remove or replace any faulty items.

Please check the link for more information: https://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/guides-and-advice/for-landlords/

Legionella

While risk is reasonably low given the turnover of water in a domestic abode, landlords must comply with Health and Safety’s L8 Approved Code of Practice: “Since the L8 Approved Code of Practice (3rd edition) (ACOP) was published in 2001, there has been a requirement for landlords of both domestic and business premises to assess the risks from exposure to Legionella to their tenants.”

As such a landlord must conduct a simple assessment may show that there are no real risks and are being properly managed and no further action is needed.  It is important to review the assessment in case anything changes in the system. This can be done by our Inventory Clerks priori to taking up tenancy

For further advice please see the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires/legionella-landlords-responsibilities.htm

Domestic Energy Assessments / Energy Performance Certificates (EPC)

Landlords offering property to let from 01 October 2008 will be required by law to provide prospective tenants with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). By October 2008 all buildings, whenever they are built, sold or rented out (regardless of tenure type), will require one.

The EPC provides ‘A’ to ‘G’ ratings for the building, with ‘A’ being the most energy efficient and ‘G’ being the least, with the average to date being ‘D’. An accredited Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA) will produce an EPC alongside an associated report which suggests improvements to make a building more energy efficient. As of 1st April 2018, landlords can no longer rent out properties with an EPC rating F or G. for more information, click here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/669587/Domestic_Private_Rented_Landlord_Guidance_-_Updated_Version.pdf

An EPC for rented property is valid for ten years and can be renewed at any time should a landlord carry out any works to improve the energy efficiency of the property. An Energy Performance Certificate will not be required for a renewed tenancy.

Failure to provide an EPC when required by the Regulations means that a landlord may be liable to penalty.

Inventory & Schedule of Condition

Prior to occupation of a tenant we will employ VeriSmart Inventories, professional independent inventory clerks, to produce a full inventory and schedule of condition. This will detail the contents and condition of each room and any specific defects which exist at the commencement of the tenancy, including the condition of gardens (if applicable).

We consider the inventory an important document, which is duly checked and signed by the ingoing tenant as a true record of the original condition of the property. The tenant is able to make note of any points or amendments on the inventory at the time of check-in.

It is on the basis of this document that the tenant is checked out of the property at the expiration of the tenancy. Any charges levied upon the tenancy deposit for remedial works found necessary e.g. general cleaning, gardening, missing/damaged items will be subject to this report.

Landlords wishing to provide their own inventory should ensure that it is not simply a list of contents, which could be open to misinterpretation at the end of the tenancy leading to disputes and unpleasantness. Please remember, our inventory clerks can provide a simple Legionella Risk Assessment at extra charge.

Utility Accounts

When taking up tenancy it is the responsibility of the ingoing tenant to take over the utility services connected to the property, (unless specifically included in the rental).

These may include:

  1. Water
  2. Electricity
  3. Gas
  4. Oil
  5. Council Tax
  6. Telephone & Broadband

Subject to the tenant’s consent, we will forward their details to Tenant Shop who will inform the local council, water, sewerage and utility companies of their move in. This course of action will ensure that the utilities do not remain in the landlord’s name during the tenancy and ensures there is no responsibility on the landlord for services used by the tenant.

Where oil central heating exists, we recommend that either a full or empty tank of oil is provided and detailed on the inventory. Part tanks cannot be inventoried.

Upon vacation, we use Tenant Shop again to inform all companies and council that the tenant has vacated and provide necessary meter readings to said companies. Responsibility will then revert back to the landlord. We may initiate a change of Energy Supplier at that Property with such Energy Supply being registered in the name of the Landlord for the period of vacancy between Tenancies. The Energy Supplier in place after the change will be provided by the Preferred Supplier as nominated by Tenant Shop Limited (the “Preferred Supplier”). This known as Sulu Energy Bridge.

The reason we do this is because during any period between Tenancies, the Landlord will bear no costs for the energy supplied by the Preferred Supplier providing that such energy consumption as does take place at the property incurs less than £15 of cost at the standard variable rate of the Preferred Supplier, subject to the standard terms and conditions of the Preferred Supplier.

You may initiate a change away from the Preferred Supplier at any time, but we would have to provide the name and contact details of yourself to Tenant Shop Limited and the Preferred Supplier explicitly for the purpose of:

  1. registering the electricity and gas meters at the property with the Preferred Supplier in the Landlord’s name;
  2. administering the account of the Landlord with the Energy Supplier;
  3. providing the energy supply to the Landlord’s property;

Neither the Preferred Supplier or Tenant Shop will use the Landlords details for any other purpose other than that set out above and will manage the Landlord’s data in accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 and fulfil the obligations of data controller and data processor, as appropriate.

Mortgage

If your property is mortgaged, you should obtain the lender’s written consent to let your property. The lender may require a draft copy of the tenancy agreement, which we will be pleased to provide, they may also require additional clauses in the agreement which we must be informed of.

Leaseholds

If you are a leaseholder, you should check the terms of your lease and obtain the necessary written consent before letting your property. WitLet will require a copy of the lease prior to entering into a tenancy; this will be passed to the tenant to ensure the lease terms are maintained.

General Condition

Electrical, gas, plumbing, waste, central heating and hot water systems must all be safe and in good working order. Repairs and maintenance are the landlord’s responsibility unless tenant misuse can be proved. Interior decoration, flooring and fixtures should be in good condition, preferably plain, light and neutral.

Insurance

While letting your property we consider it essential that your building, its interior and any contents are fully insured during the term of the tenancy. For peace of mind WitLet are able to arrange a variety of insurance policies to suit every need.

As mentioned previously, our referencing agent Rent4Sure Ltd can provide with many options with regards to insurance cover you may want to set up. It is important to note, WitLet are the insured party and thus all correspondence and claims must go through WitLet unless setup directly between Rent4Sure and yourself, which can be arranged on request.

There are many insurance policies available to landlords. We can arrange cover for

Landlords Buildings and/or Contents

Legal Expenses

Rent Guarantee

Landlords’ must provide buildings insurance.

Deposit Law

In April 2007 legalisation was imposed by the Government to protect tenancy deposits. All deposits taken (up to the level of £25,000) by landlords and letting agents for Assured Shorthold Tenancies in England and Wales, must be protected by a tenancy deposit protection scheme. There are three schemes available to both private landlords and letting agents.

WITLET are members of The Deposit Protection Service (DPS);

The DPS is the sole Custodial scheme – the running costs of this scheme are funded entirely from the interest earned on all the deposits held by the scheme. The Custodial scheme is run by Computershare who have administered similar schemes for some years in other parts of the world, particularly Australia and New Zealand. For more information visit the website www.depositprotection.com or call the DPS Helpline on 0870 7071 707.

If you are a non-managed landlord, you can register yourself with the Deposit Protection Service who will issue you with a Landlord’s ID number. Once we are provided with your Landlord’s ID number funds can be transferred from our DPS account into your DPS account. Alternatively, you may wish to be insured in order to hold deposit monies, in which case we can forward funds directly to you.

To find out more information about how this may affect you visit https://www.depositprotection.com/legislation

Income Tax

Whilst you are based in the UK you will be responsible for your own tax affairs, declaring rental income and claiming relief for your expenditure (including our letting & management fees). There are many changes being implemented between now and 2020 and it is strongly advised you seek information from either a suitably qualified accountant and/or Independent Financial Advisor. For more information click this link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/income-tax-when-you-rent-out-a-property-working-out-your-rental-income

Overseas Landlords

If you are to be a resident OUTSIDE of the UK, WitLet is liable to retain 22% of the rental income unless you receive Non-Resident Landlord Scheme notification and have an approval number from the Inland Revenue instructing us that no tax deduction is to be made.

As your managing agent we would be responsible for declaration to the Inland Revenue unless you claim non-resident landlords’ exemption (which you will be required to arrange with the Inland Revenue). Further details concerning the Non-Resident Landlord Scheme can be found at https://www.gov.uk/topic/personal-tax/non-resident-landlord-scheme

Details of NRL approval is available in our office. Alternatively you can complete a NRL 1 form available from Inland Revenue or click https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/non-resident-landlord-application-to-have-uk-rental-income-without-deduction-of-uk-tax-individuals-nrl1

Services & Pricing

At WitLet, we have studies the industry at length and have developed a service structure that will cater to all. We have split our offerings into Traditional and Online: This will allow you as a landlord to be as hands on or hands off as you like. See below for description on what each service can offer you

Traditional Non-managed (Let Only) Service

Rental valuation – we will visit your property and assess what rental figure could be realistically achieved

Preparing property details with photographs

Advertising and marketing the property on the biggest online property portals (Rightmove and Zoopla – NOT On the Market) as well as our own website

Arranging and accompanying tenants to viewings

Negotiating terms on your behalf

Referencing potential tenants – once potential tenants have been found, we will carry out a professional comprehensive external referencing service. This enables us to offer other products to aid your tenancy

Providing up to date information on the latest health and safety (given marketing consent is granted)

Arranging Gas Safety Certificates, Energy Performance Certificates and Inventory (as required)

Drawing up tenancy agreement

Producing a photographic inventory as required (subject to additional cost)

Organising tenants’ move in day and collecting first month’s rent and deposit

Complimentary Legal Protection Insurance for first 12 months

Registration of Deposit monies as required

Notifying Council, Water, Sewerage and Utility Companies (subject to tenant permissions)

Extending tenancy agreements – and ensure a smooth transition

Traditional Full Management Service

This service includes the benefits of the Non Managed Service plus:

Collecting monthly rent and issuing statements – we provide professional accounting statements for the tax man

Complimentary Rent Protection Insurance for first 12 months

Advising landlords regarding Overseas Landlord Tax (where applicable)

Annual rent statement available on request at no extra charge

Chasing tenants for any late/non payment of rent – and dealing with other unpleasant aspects of renting

Dealing with tenants on a day to day basis – we provide an out of hours telephone service

Photographic property inspection every three months

Arranging any maintenance work required – 24 hour service available

Organising insurance – on your behalf and also the tenant (subject to permissions)

Advice on rent reviews

Issuing of any required Notices to end tenancies where applicable

Checking tenants out at the end of the tenancy

Negotiating deposit release and any necessary deductions

Represent the landlord in court (if necessary)

Online Services

Our online offering is designed for the more expert landlords who really know what they are doing. The services have been set up to be as flexible as possible, both price-wise and service-wise, allowing a landlord to pick and choose which aspects they wish to use on top of a core rent collection service. The services below represent the core rent collection service:

Advertising and marketing the property on our own website

Negotiating terms on your behalf

Referencing potential tenants – once potential tenants have been found, we will carry out a professional comprehensive external referencing service. This enables us to offer other products to aid your tenancy

Providing up to date information on the latest health and safety (given marketing consent is granted)

Drawing up tenancy agreement

Organising tenants’ move in day and collecting first month’s rent and deposit

Notifying Council, Water, Sewerage and Utility Companies (subject to tenant permissions)

Collecting monthly rent and issuing statements – we provide professional accounting statements for the tax man

Chasing tenants for any late/non payment of rent

Annual rent statement available on request at no extra charge

Checking tenants out at the end of the tenancy

Negotiating deposit release and any necessary deductions

Extending tenancy agreements – and ensure a smooth transition

Please see our menu of online service options for further information on what WitLet will provide for our online offerings at additional cost.

Price List of Services

Contact Us

10 Guithavon Street
Witham
Essex
CM8 1BN
Sales: 01376 502 450
Lettings: 01376 502 500
info@witlet.co.uk

Opening Hours

Monday - Friday (9AM - 5PM)
Saturday (9AM - 3PM)

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