Merrifield Estates Lettings
We will take you through the whole process, including EPC’s, safety regulations, mortgage requirements, inventories, property maintenance and management, as well as check-in and check-out processes.
We maintain a very active register of applicants who are actively looking for properties, speaking to these people almost daily in regards to their property search. We also hold a large list of company contacts regularly.
As most people are aware, the first place most people start a property search is online, therefore we ensure that we capture as much interest as possible using the online portals, Rightmove, Zoopla, Prime Location, On the Market and our own website as well.
Smoke And Carbon Monoxide (England) Regulations 2015
Every property built since June 1992 (including all Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)) must be fitted with mains operated smoke detector/alarms, with at least one detector per floor.
As from 11th March 2015, there was a new legal requirement to fit smoke and carbon monoxide alarms all residential rental properties for all tenancies from 1 October 2015. A new Regulation was then agreed by Parliament in September 2015; the ‘Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015’.
The Regulations mean it is compulsory for landlords to:
- fit a smoke alarm must be provided on each floor of the property where there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation
- fit a carbon monoxide alarm must be provided in any room of the property that is used wholly or partly as living accommodation and contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance
- check that all alarms are in proper working order at the start of each new tenancy.
The Regulations do not specify weather it must be a mains fitted alarm or battery operated, but it is expected that Landlords will follow ‘best practice’ for their property. ARC Estate Agents recommend placing tamperproof 10 year life alarm units to every floor unless main wired alarms are already installed.
The Gas Safety (installation and use) Regulations 1998
These regulations first came into effect 31st October 1994 to ensure that gas appliances are properly installed and maintained in a safe condition so as to avoid the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning. It is the responsibility of landlord’s to ensure that ALL gas appliances and gas installation pipework owned by them are checked for safety at least once a year by British Gas or a member of the GAS SAFE REGISTER. In addition, accurate records of the safety inspections and any work carried out must be kept. The current safety certificate must always be available for any tenant prior to them taking occupation of a property. Faulty equipment can lead to death and a conviction of unlawful killing on a landlord. Under the regulations any appliance that does not conform can be disconnected.
You are required to:
- Ensure gas fittings and flues are maintained in a safe condition. Gas appliances should be serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If these are not available it is recommended that they are serviced annually unless advised otherwise by a GAS SAFE registered installer;
- Ensure an annual safety check is carried out on each gas appliance/flue. Before any new lease starts, you must make sure that these checks have been carried out within one year before the start of the lease date, unless the appliances in the property have been installed for less than 12 months, in which case they should be checked within 12 months of their installation date.
- Have all installation, maintenance and safety checks carried out by a GAS SAFE registered gas installer;
- Keep a record of each safety check for at least two years;
- Issue a copy of the latest safety check record completed, or to any new tenants.
Failure to comply with these regulations can result in a substantial fine or imprisonment. Only GAS SAFE registered businesses using ACOP’s qualified engineers can carry out work on gas appliances and piping.
Fire and Furnishing Regulations
Since 1st January 1997, all furniture provided in furnished rented accommodation i.e. houses, flats and bedsits, must meet the fire resistance requirements of the furniture and furnishings, fire safety regulations 1998.
Which items do the regulations cover?
All of the following products which contain upholstery:
- Beds, mattresses, sofa beds, futons and headboards
- Cushions, pillows and seat pads
- Garden furniture intended for use in dwelling
- Loose and stretch covers for furniture
The regulations do not apply to:
- Curtains, carpets, bed clothes (including duvets, sleeping bags and mattress covers)
- Goods made before 1950 *this is because the materials which cause fire were not in use prior to 1950. This therefore exempts ‘period’ and antique furniture.
All furniture and loose/stretch covers must carry a permanent label attached showing the item complies with the regulations. We cannot let a property when containing non-compliant furniture.
The responsibility for compliance with regulation rests with the landlord; any items that do not comply should be removed.
How do I know what rent to charge?
One of our experienced valuers would be more than happy to come out to your property to do a free rental appraisal for you. We can tell you what properties in the area are letting for and provide you with an accurate rental figure per calendar month.
What am I responsible for repairing?
As a Landlord you have a legal obligation under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to maintain the structure of the building, the sanitation and the supply of services. In addition, should an item in the property require replacing or repairing through fair wear and tear then you would be expected within the terms of the Tenancy Agreement to deal with this.
What if the tenant damages the property?
Either the tenant pays to fix the damage, or the cost of fixing the damage is removed from the tenant’s security deposit at the end of the tenancy. However, fair wear and tear should be allowed for.
How is the rent paid?
Typically a standing order is set up from the tenant’s bank account and the rent will be paid in advance. Our fully computerised systems mean that, once the monies have ‘cleared’ through the banking system, the rent is then paid directly into an account of your choice.
Who looks after the garden?
The maintenance and upkeep of the garden is usually the responsibility of the Tenant. However, should you have a particularly large garden or any precious plants then it may be advisable to arrange for a gardener – the cost of which should be incorporated in the rental value. It is advisable to provide the materials for maintaining your garden even if the property is unfurnished.
What if I want to remove my tenant from the property?
You can give two months’ notice to your tenants to end the tenancy on your property. If your tenant refuses to leave the property then legal action will be necessary. If your property is fully managed by ARC Estate Agents then we will take care of this for you.