By choosing Cooke & Co to let out your property you can be reassure that you have chosen an agent who are reputable, accountable and honest. We are proud members of the National Association of Estate Agents, The National Approved Letting Scheme, The Southern Private Landlords Association as well as the Government Ombudsman Scheme. We also are Platinum Homelet Referencing Agents. We have full indemnity insurance and have a bonded clients account which is fully audited.
The letting Process (Landlords)
Assessment of the property
At Cooke & Co we know from experience that presentation is very important. It is vital that your property attracts the right kind of attention, and therefore to offer a well presented home is the right start.
The following tips have been prepared as a guide.
Neutral decor works best
Remove all clutter
Painted surfaces are easier to maintain than wallpaper
Professional cleaning through out the property
Gardens should be neat and tidy
Refridgerators and freezers should be turned off and doors left open
If the property is to be left unoccupied, depending on the time of year, place the heating on a low setting (10-12 deg C) and place static air fresheners around the property. This will provide a welcoming atmosphere for the prospective tenants, and could make all the difference as to whether they rent your property.
Various factors need to be taken into account when advising a landlord on how they should best proceed with their letting.
A property assessment will be carried out by an experienced Cooke & Co representative when visiting the property to carry out an initial inspection, following which all relevant details will be discussed in greater detail with you. This enables you to ask any questions that you may have and discuss any particular concerns. This service is provided free and without any obligation.
There is demand for both furnished and unfurnished properties; furnished properties tend to appeal to companies, professionals and students. Unfurnished properties hold greater appeal to families who over the years have accumulated their own possessions. If a property is to be let furnished then of course the better the standard and presentation of the furnishings the greater the opportunity for maximising the rent achievable.
All properties should have curtains and floor coverings (carpets, lino or laminated floor). Where the property is to be let furnished, you must provide everything needed to live there, excluding personal items such as bedding, cutlery, crockery, television and stereo equipment. If the property has a garden, you must also supply suitable equipment for maintaining the garden.
For furnished properties there are additional regulations which must be adhered to, these regulations relate to furniture and fittings.
As a part of our comprehensive service to landlords, we prepare an inventory which includes a schedule of the condition even if the property is unfurnished. Carpets and curtains can be expensive to replace unless the the condition of the soft furnishings and decor is properly documented. Without the inventory you may be unable to claim for compensation for any damaged caused at the end of the tenancy.
If you do not have a 'buy to let' mortage on your property, we recommend that you seek your lender's permission to rent out the property. They will send you an "application to let" form which should be filled in and returned.
Most lenders understand the need for their customers to let their property and are quite forthcoming in giving permission as long as the correct notices within the 1988 Housing Act are being served in the correct way and a professional company is employed to manage the property.
We always accompany prospective tenants who come to view your property.This is to ensure that we provide full details and answer any queries that the prospective tenant may raise. Security is of the utmost importance, therefore we hold concise information on all of our existing and prospective tenants. We would require one set of keys which will allow us to immediately react to any enquiry and in doing so to secure tenants for your property.
Once a tenant has decided they would like to take your property, we will negotiate on your behalf a suitable let. You make the final decision in who rents your property and you base this decision on our professional recommendations bearing in mind your own specific requirements.
These are just some of the questions that are asked when we select a tenant, therefore allowing you to make the final decision.
We will prepare the tenancy agreement for you. We will create an Assured Shorthold Tenancy which is the industry 'norm' and entitles the Landlord to possession of the property at the end of the fixed term. The tenancy agreement sets out in detail the areas of responsibility of the tenant and the landlord. It also clarifies what can and cannot be done to the property, who is liable for repairs and damages, maintenance and utility type charges.
The signing of a tenancy agreement is not sufficient in itself to regain possession of your property, we will prepare various Housing Act notices which also be served n conjunction with the tenancy agreement. Execution of all documents, both initially and on any renewals is all part of the service we provide. The tenancy agreement would need to be signed by the landlord, therefore an appointment would be made to be mutually convenient. With all tenancies, the minimum initial period is normally a six month let, the maximum we would advise at any one time is twelve months. Renewals can be for any length of time, for control purposes we would only advise a twelve month maximum.
Finding a suitable tenant
As the managing agent we act on behalf of the Landlord, one of the principal functions is to select the tenant that meets the landlords requirements. We will extensively market your property using a wide range of media, our aim is to secure the right tenant at the right rent in the shortest possible time. On your behalf we will take references using Homelet Referencing on every individual tenant who is to be named in the tenancy agreement. This will normally mean everyone over 18 years of age intending to reside in the property.
To ensure that this vital process is carried out objectively and thoroughly as possible we use Homelet, an independent credit referencing company, the tenant would be responsible for paying the fees for this service. The report sent to us by the credit referencing company will be actioned on the basis of its findings. The applicant may be a suitable tenant and acceptable to underwriters for legal and rent guarantee insurance policies. To further strengthen your position we may also take a Guarantor to back up the tenants ability to meet their financial commitments tp you.
Will the tenant look after my property ?
As part of our property management service, we regularly inspect the property during the tenancy and provide a written report to you. These inspections are usually carried out quarterly. From our extensive experience we know that if the tenant understands that the property and their occupancy of it is being closely monitored, they are more likely to maintain a higher standard of care in that property.
The tenancy agreement makes reference to the fact that we have the right to visit the property at times acceptable to the tenant provided reasonable notice has been given. If you wish to visit the property yourself during the tenancy, we will arrange this for you. it would be advisable though to be accompanied by a representative from Cooke and Co. If the property is not being maintained to an acceptable standard then we would discuss with you what action can be taken to bring back the property to an acceptable standard.
Should the tenant damage my property
Before the tenant moves into the property, a dilapidations deposit is paid, which is equivalent to one months rent. The dilapidations deposit is held in a secure clients account throughout the tenancy by Cooke & Co. When tenants are checked out of property, a final inspection is carried out. A comparison is made against the original inventory, taking into account the length of the tenancy an allowance will be made for fair wear and tear. A list will be compiled of any redecoration, cleaning, repairs and any replacement that maybe required.
We will discuss with the tenant, the extent of the work to be carried out and instruct contractors to provide estimates before commencing work. Once invoices have been recieved, only then will the net deposit be returned to the tenant.
The Gas Safety Regulations (Installation and Use) 1994
There has been an increasing number of fatalities with tenants over recent years due to faulty gas appliances. To counter this increase the Government has introduced safety laws regarding gas applianceshwich Cooke & Co will happily advise you about.
Maintenance and Repairs
Repairs are of course necessary to a property throughout the length of the tenancy, and you must be prepared for this eventuality. The repairs that arise may be of a minor nature, however, they may be of significant items such as cookers, fridges/freezers, boilers and washing machines as they age and may even require replacement.
It is our policy to inform the landlord of any items of maintenance or repairs as reported by the tenant. We will visit the property and confirm the report before contacting the landlord. We will then take your instructions, we can make arrangements on your behalf to obtain estimates from our local contractors of your choice. We will agree in advance the level of responsibility you wish us to have in arranging repairs and replacements.
There are different legal obligations on all parties and we may need to instruct on the work immediately to prevent further damage to the property or health and safety risk to the tenants. In such circumstances we will report to you, but immediate action will be required and this will be discussed with you. It is also made clear to tenants that should they instruct a contractor without our approval then they may be liable for the full cost. Major repairs will of course be discussed with you first and if necessary we will obtain estimates for your approval.