LANDLORD INFORMATION PACK

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1 The Union of UEA Students Letting Agency LANDLORD INFORMATION PACK

2 CONTENTS Pg. 3 Pg. 4 Pg. 5 Who we are Service and cost Tenancy Agreements Guarantors Pg. 6 Pg. 7 Rents, deposits & insurance Property maintenance Garden maintenance Pg. 8 Access to property Safety regulations Pg. 10 Pg. 11 Pg. 13 End of Tenancy FAQs Contacts 2 Version

3 WHO WE ARE Home Run is the Housing Bureau run by the Union of UEA Students. It is well known for its accreditation scheme and advertisement service of student properties which has been operating successfully for over 15 years. This year we have created Home Let, the trading name for the Student Union Lettings Agency operating within Students Union Services (East Anglia) Ltd. Like other Student Unions across the country we are responding to demand from both landlords and student tenants. Landlords are looking for a professional management and tenant find service and students are very keen to rent from an on-site organisation that they trust and one that will conduct its business in a clear, transparent and efficient manner. 3

4 SERVICE AND COST We provide two services Fully Managed and Tenant Find. FULLY MANAGED For the Fully Managed service our administration fee is 150 plus VAT. In addition there is a monthly management charge of 10% (+VAT) of the collected rent. At the first let, a professional inventory will be carried out. (Additional cost applies TBC) The Fully Managed service provides: Marketing Viewings Tenant selection Tenancy agreements Inventories Utility companies notification and meter readings Collection of rent and deposit Inspections Property Maintenance Service Chasing rent arrears End of Tenancy arrangements Check out & closing inspection Return of deposit TENANT FIND The Tenant Find service is a one off set up fee of 50% of the first month s full rent. Alternatively if the tenancy agreement is signed well in advance of the start date, the landlord may be invoiced to pay us directly. Tenant Find Service provides: Marketing Viewings Tenant selection Tenancy agreements First month s rent, deposit collection and transfer Preparing initial standing order for future payments 4 Version

5 TENANCY AGREEMENTS Your property will be let on our Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement which covers most eventualities. Specific terms relevant to your property can be added via a schedule of specific clauses. Our tenancies are usually for an initial fixed term of 11 months. GUARANTORS We will request all our tenants provide details of UK guarantors prior to drawing up the tenancy agreement. Those without a UK guarantor will be asked to pay full rent in advance. 5

6 RENTS, DEPOSIT AND INSURANCE Rent Tenants will pay their rent by Standing Order into our dedicated Client Account. Landlords subscribing to our Fully Managed service will then be paid by direct transfer from our Client Account into their chosen bank or building society, usually within 10 working days of cleared funds arriving within our bank. Tenant Find landlords will receive rent direct from tenants. Utility Bills As part of our Fully Managed Service we will notify all the service suppliers (gas, water, electricity) and the Council Tax Department when a new tenant is in residence and the relevant meter readings have been taken. Tenant find landlords will have to notify the suppliers themselves. Deposits Deposits must by law be protected by a Tenancy Deposit Scheme. With our Fully Managed Service all deposits will be held with the Deposit Protection Service (DPS), in their custodial scheme. It is the only government recognised scheme without membership or joining fees. More information is available at Tenant Find landlords will need to register with one of the recognised schemes and provide evidence to us that they have registered the deposit within the required timescale of 30 days for all schemes. The current schemes available are: The Deposit Protection Scheme (DPS) Tenancy Deposit Solutions Ltd (TDSL) Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) House Insurance It is essential that you inform your insurance company that you are renting out your property and that you maintain adequate insurance cover for your buildings and contents. In the event of a claim, if the insurance company have not been notified of the tenancy they will not pay out. Tenant Insurance We will be encouraging tenants to obtain personal contents / possessions insurance and will provide them with details of a reputable broker e.g. Endsleigh Insurance. 6 Version

7 PROPERTY MAINTAINENCE As part of our Fully Managed Service we will arrange for repairs to be carried out on your property by one of our selected tradesmen.small repair costs will be taken from your maintenance account; all charges will have VAT added. Whilst our Terms of Business include a mandate to spend up to 200 on routine maintenance, we will always endeavour to contact you to discuss the situation first. Tenant Find landlords will be responsible for arranging all maintenance directly with the tenants. Tenants will also contact the landlord direct should there be any problems at the property. Cleaning We require all properties to have an initial professional clean before the tenants arrive, during the summer period (normally between 30 June and 1 August). We will organise this on behalf of landlords and deduct it from the 1st Month s rent. Thereafter it will be the tenants responsibility to clean the property to a professional standard when they leave. GARDEN MAINTAINENCE Landlords are responsible for keeping the exterior of the property in a good condition. All front gardens, paths and paved areas shall be kept in good order, and any plants or shrubs should be properly maintained and not allowed to obstruct pavements or public areas surrounding the property. As part of our Fully Managed service we can arrange for contractors to do this on your behalf. Landlords on a Tenant Find Service remain liable for this themselves. Students are expected to keep an easily maintained back garden tidy and free from rubbish subject to appropriate tools being provided. If there is a larger garden we would recommend that you use a gardener. We will assess on a case by case basis and can provide quotes on request. 7

8 ACCESS TO PROPERTY Inspections For Fully Managed landlords we will undertake routine inspections in the Autumn and Spring semesters. If the tenants are due to check out at the end of the year, we will also be visiting the property with prospective new tenants. Tenants have a right to enjoy uninterrupted occupation of the property. Agents or landlords are not entitled to gain access to the property without giving reasonable notice; a minimum of 24 hours is required, unless in an emergency. SAFETY REGULATIONS We take the safety of our tenants very seriously. All landlords who are interested in registering for Home Let Services should meet the following minimum standards prior to the property being marketed. Alternatively, if you choose the Fully Managed Service we can arrange for this work to be done on your behalf: Gas Safety All properties must comply with Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and an original, valid Gas Safe Register certificate on headed stationery must be provided annually for each property to cover all gas appliances in the property. This applies to LPG (liquid petroleum gas) and natural gas appliances. A copy of the Landlord Gas Safety Record has to be supplied to the tenant. Electrical Safety A valid, original Domestic Electrical Installation Condition Report must be provided for each property every two years for non-resident landlords, and every five years if the landlord is a resident at the property, unless the recommendation on the report is for an earlier re-test. We will only accept reports from NICEIC, NAPIT or ELECSA (ECA) contractors on headed stationery. Home Let will not accept reports that show remedial works are required (code1& 2) and require all advisory codes to be rectified before the tenants move in. Once remedied a works certificate must be provided in addition to the Installation Condition Report. Any alterations to the property or the electrical installation may also require an earlier re-test. We would expect to see a minimum of two double sockets per bedroom. All portable electrical appliances provided by the landlord should be tested annually and should carry a sticker to indicate the date of testing. Relevant documentation needs to be sent to us. Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) From 1st October 2008, an original, valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) or EPC reference number must be provided for each property that is available to let. 8 Version

9 Fire Safety A Fire Risk Assessment must be undertaken for each property. This is a requirement under the Regulatory Reform Order (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO) and failure to have a fire risk assessment is an offence enforced by the fire service. Forms can be downloaded at Mains linked Smoke and heat detectors with battery back- up must be supplied and maintained at all properties in accordance with the above guidance Fire blankets should be supplied in each kitchen alongside routinely serviced fire extinguishers All doors in shared houses should be solid, close fitting doors in good repair. In some circumstances fire doors may be required in accordance with the above guidance Properties are initially assessed by Home Let. We will need evidence of your fire risk assessment or we can organise one on your behalf if prefered (cost TBC) External Locks The main route out of the building should always have a lock which can be opened from inside without the use of a key to ensure that a person can escape in an emergency without being trapped by a locked door. This is usually the front door. In certain circumstances other doors out of the building should also open with thumb turn locks. Licenses Landlords whose property/properties are classified as Houses in Multiple Occupation which are required to be licensed must provide Home Let with the license or a copy of the license application. Additional requirements - Full Gas or Electric Central Heating must be provided - Audible carbon monoxide alarms should be installed in any room that contains a fuel burning appliance. Hard wired alarms are recommended - The internal condition of the property - paintwork, woodwork, flooring, kitchens and bathrooms must be of a good standard. Further recommendations The following are recommendations but not compulsory. Internal redecoration should be carried out every 3 years, external decoration every 5 years Adequate insulation should be installed to ensure maximum energy efficiency 9

10 END OF TENANCY Early Termination Tenants sometimes wish to terminate their tenancy early, because of a change in circumstances. Since they have signed a legally binding document we are within our rights to demand full rent for that period regardless of whether or not they wish to continue to occupy. We prefer however to recommend offering to release the current tenant as soon as a suitable replacement is found. Moving out For Fully Managed Landlords, just before the end of the tenancy we re-inspect the property to ensure that the tenants are aware of any cleaning, decorating, gardening or repairs that are required to safeguard the return of the deposit. We then check the property again once the tenant has vacated, to confirm or otherwise the return of the deposit and also to take final meter readings. Tenant Find landlords are responsible for inspections of their property. If the tenants have not been provided with an inventory it will be very difficult to retain any of the deposit against damage to fixtures and fittings. 10 Version

11 FAQS Q. Isn t there a conflict of interest between the Union supporting students and running a Lettings Agency? A. We see the link that we already have with the student community as a positive for landlords. Students are very keen to have the comfort of renting through an agency that will provide them with a good standard of accommodation which is well managed. We will ensure that there are clear complaints procedures in place which will clearly define roles and expectations to all parties. Whilst the Union is a membership organisation we recognise that it is vital to ensure that all parties have access to advice and support. We will ensure that issues and concerns are dealt with promptly the ultimate success of Home Let relies on landlords having confidence in our product and our management expertise and students receiving a service that is second to none. Q. What will you do if a tenant stops paying rent? A We will contact the tenant to find out the reason for the missed payment. If a tenant is experiencing financial difficulties we can direct them to Union Advice team to help them. We will of course contact guarantors to pay any shortfall in rent if the student is unable to pay. Q. Your maintenance costs seem expensive; can I use my own contractor? A. If we are fully managing your property we need to use the contractors whom we have selected as they have agreed to work within our designated timescales and costs. We appreciate however that many of you are long standing landlords who know excellent contractors. If they would be interested in becoming one of our suppliers, please forward their details to Q. Your fees are no less than a local agency in town, why should we use you? A. We are not trying to be the cheapest agency. Instead we are aiming to offer a premium service to both landlords and students at competitive rates. Unlike other agencies we are a service recommended by UEA and we can offer you direct access to the 15,000 registered UEA students and hundreds of prospective students. Having successfully operated our existing accreditation scheme for over 15 years we feel that Home Let can help raise the standards of student letting agents in Norwich and be a positive influence on the market in lettings and property management, just as Home Run has influenced the market in relation to the quality of student accommodation. Q. I have been registered with Home Run for several years but the guidelines on safety seem more stringent for Home Let, why is this? A. We take safety and compliance extremely seriously at Home Let. The rules and regulations regarding renting out property are complex and guidelines are frequently changing. As a Home Run landlord you comply with agreed minimum standards and in addition you have been advised of the Norwich City Council guidance. If you are registering with Home Let, we are managing the property on your behalf or finding you tenants and in order to protect you as a landlord we need to ensure that all legal requirements and the Norwich City Council best practice guidance is adhered to. As a landlord it makes good business sense to ensure that you regularly update your property in accordance with the guidance as such properties are keenly sought after by tenants. 11

12 Q. I am happy using the AST that a local solicitor has drafted for me, can I still do that? A. No. We need all students to be on the same tenancy agreement so that it is kept up to date, legal and suitable for our purposes. Q. I have some properties that I rent by the room; can Home Let manage or find tenants for these? A. Unfortunately not. We require all Home Let properties to be let on one single Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement. We are happy for you to register part of your property portfolio with us if this is more appropriate. Q. What will happen if students make complaints about me or my property? A. Home Let staff will personally investigate any complaints that a student makes in accordance with our complaints procedure. Most of the complaints we have about accommodation concern delays dealing with relatively small issues, repairs and particularly maintenance, not being dealt with in a timely manner. This will not be a problem with Fully Managed properties as we will be managing all maintenance issues and interactions with tenants, on your behalf. Q. How will you investigate any complaints about Home Let? A. We take any complaints very seriously and these will be investigated through our complaints procedure. Our procedure will give all parties the opportunity to respond and we will always endeavor to deal with issues in a timely manner. We are members of the Property Ombudsman via whom you can seek independent redress if the issue remains unresolved by our complaints procedure. Thank you for showing an interest in registering with Home Let. The release of our Housing List happens in January every year. In 2014 it will be released on January 17th. Regardless of the time of year we will market your properties to prospective tenants; our evidence going back several years indicates that students are still looking for accommodation up to the start of the academic year, September 22nd There are also students who start courses in January and February. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT... If you would like more information: If you are ready to sign up to one of our services: call with details of your property and we will be in touch to arrange a home visit. Version

13 CONTACTS Home Let Union House UEA Norwich Norfolk NR4 7TJ

14 Union of University of East Anglia Students Union (UUEAS) is a registered charity in England and Wales. No Version

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