We can help you find quality tenants in the quickest possible time. You will find us straight-talking, upbeat and totally customer-focused with a single point of contact and a personal accountability for the successful let and management of your property.
We recognise that right from the start it's helpful for you to know about how we operate. For an explanation of each stage in the letting process, click on the appropriate heading below.
Establishing Your Property's Value
Whilst a general picture of your local market place can be gleaned through local newspaper advertisements and website property portals, to establish an accurate rental value for your property you will need the services of an estate agent. We will visit your property and meet with you at a time to suit you. We will discuss your specific needs relevant to your own situation, market forces and current demand, previous rental transactions in your street and activity levels with other property similar to your own. From this we will be able to advise you on the value range applicable to your property and anything we think you can do to enhance this value. We will then suggest an appropriate asking price.
Our comprehensive marketing strategy will be explained together with the service level you can expect from Ferndown. Any questions or concerns you have will also be addressed.
Selecting an Estate Agent
Having established the rental value of your property and decided to go onto the market, you will need to choose an Agent to act for you. When considering which company to use, watch out for those suggesting inflated values (which can leave you languishing on the market and lose you weeks of rental income)
Preparing Your Property
Tenants are usually prepared to pay more to get more while a property in first-class order can usually be let more easily. The following features can appeal to potential tenants:
Fresh decorations - light colours, such as white or off-white, are always acceptable.
High quality carpets of the same colour throughout. These should be light and neutral - biscuit/beige colours are popular, as are wooden floors.
Attractive, good-quality, well-lined curtains or blinds.
Well-maintained exterior and tidy, well-planted gardens.
Upgrading/Maintaining your property
Ferndown offers a comprehensive maintenance service from professionally qualified service engineers and craftsman. From a replacement washer to a full property upgrade, including decorating, replacement kitchens, windows, guttering and central heating systems, we can offer a bespoke service for any type of property and budget.
Furnished or unfurnished
There's often no difference between the rental achieved for a property whether it is furnished or unfurnished.
'Unfurnished' is normally defined as being fully carpeted (or with wooden floors in the reception areas), fully curtained and with white goods provided in the kitchen.
'Furnished' is usually defined as being a property ready for someone to move into. The furniture needs to be good quality and the property should be uncluttered. We're more than happy to advise you on what should be left and what should be removed.
Fixtures & fittings
All fixtures and appliances should be serviced before the start of the tenancy and in good working order. If you have instruction booklets, make them available or write out clear instructions for use. Your property should always offer:
A modern and well equipped kitchen. Ideally there should be a washing machine and separate dryer (or combined machine to save space), dishwasher, large fridge/freezer and microwave.
A modern bathroom with an effective power shower, modern fittings and good lighting. Tiled floors are preferable to carpets.
Good wardrobe space in the bedrooms.
An efficient central heating system and plenty of hot water.
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme
The TDS has been developed to ensure that the deposits are protected and that disputes about their return are resolved swiftly, inexpensively and impartially. Under TDS if there is no dispute the deposit will be returned at the end of the tenancy by us.
If there is a dispute, the disputed amount will be sent to the TDS. The dispute will deal with by their Independent Complaints Examiner (ICE). The ICE will not visit the property, but adjudicate on the dispute by way of a paper trail.
The housing Act does not dictate that landlords produce inventories or schedules of condition, but the suggestion is that a landlord will need to provide evidence of the condition of the property at the commencement and termination of the tenancy if he is to win his case should there be a deposit dispute.
Any amount of money taken by a landlord, or agent acting on their behalf, from a tenant which acts as a security deposit, even if it is not called a 'deposit', will be protected by this legislation. This is to counter the possibility that some unscrupulous landlords may attempt to avoid having to take a deposit, in accordance with the legislation, by calling it something else.
A landlord or a letting agent will not be able to take a deposit in respect of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy unless the deposit is safeguarded.
A landlord/agent will have to:
» Deal with a deposit in accordance with an authorised scheme,
» Comply with the initial requirements of a scheme within 14 days and
» Give the tenant the appropriate information relating to the deposit within 14 days of receiving the deposit.
Until this is done, the landlord will be unable to regain possession of the property using the usual 'notice only grounds' for possession. Under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 a landlord can obtain an order for possession of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy at any point after the first six months of the tenancy providing any fixed term has expired and they give the tenant at least two months written notice.
Preventing a landlord from being able to use this ground will provide the tenant with a much greater security of tenure and will act as an incentive for landlords to ensure deposits are safeguarded by a Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme.
The Custodial Scheme
The tenant pays the deposit to the agent or Landlord who will then pay the whole amount into the scheme. Within 14 days the landlord/agent must notify the tenant of the scheme being used. At the end of the tenancy the scheme must return the deposit to the landlord/tenant as agreed. If there is a dispute this will be referred to the Alternative Resolution Dispute Service to resolve.
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994
On 31ST October 1994 the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994 came into force. Under Regulations 35(2) it is the duty of any person (i.e. Landlord) who owns a gas appliance and pipework to ensure it is maintained in a safe condition so as to prevent risk or injury to any person.
The Regulations cover all appliances and all types of Gas i.e. mains propane or Calor gas for heating, lighting, cooking or other purposes for which gas can be used. The owner (i.e. Landlord) of any gas appliance must ensure that each appliance is checked for safety at least every 12 months by a qualified gas engineer, e.g. an employee of British Gas or a Gas Safe registered person.
A record must be kept of all safety inspections, and the results open to Tenants inspection by law. The Landlord must have a Gas Safety Inspection carried out before a Tenant(s) occupies the property and signs the tenancy agreement. A copy of the certificate must be given to the tenant before the tenancy commences. If the Landlord is unable to provide this, Ferndown will provide the certificate at the Landlord(s) expense.
Current legislation governing the collection of tax on rent income for non-resident Landlords came into effect from April 1996 under the 1995 Finance Act. The main changes affecting non-resident Landlords are as follows:
The act will not affect the Landlord's actual tax liability but it will affect the way in which monies are collected by the Inland Revenue.
A non-resident Landlord will be able to apply directly, or through his UK accountant, to the Inland Revenue for self-assessment on the tax from the rental income. If granted and confirmed by the Inland Revenue this will enable the agent to release the rent gross without making a tax retention thereby easing the Landlord's tax flow. Joint owners must each apply to the Inland Revenue.
If the Landlord is not granted self-assessment, the agent will have to pay to the Inland Revenue on a quarterly basis the appropriate income tax percentage of the net rentals. The calculation of tax paid by the agent will not include mortgage interest, depreciation or other Tax-deductible items.
Any overpayment of tax will then need to be reclaimed at the end of each year by the Landlord submitting a statement of accounts to the Inland Revenue.
When considering applications for self-assessment the Inland Revenue will look favourably on Landlords who have their own tax affairs in order to April 1995.
Once we have a prospective tenant, a holding deposit is taken in order to establish a level of commitment. We engage an independent reference agency, to take references on the prospective tenant.
These cover employment, computerised credit checks, bank reference, previous Landlord or character references, to help decide acceptability.
If you have a freehold property with no mortgage on it, there should be no barriers to letting it out to tenants.
If you have a leasehold property however, you must check your lease in connection with sub-letting and obtain the necessary consent if required. If you have a mortgage on your property, consent may also be needed from your lender.
You'll need to make sure both the property and its contents are fully insured. This is normally provided for in the Tenancy Agreement. You must inform your insurance company that the property is to be let, check that the conditions of the policy are complied with and that there are no restrictions on letting.
It is the landlord’s responsibility to prepare a thorough inventory if Ferndown are only introducing a Tenant. If the property is to be managed by Ferndown then we will prepare an inventory, if so requested by the Landlord which will require both Landlords and Tenants signatures on commencement of the Tenancy Agreement.
We offer a highly professional management service, designed to take care of any day-to-day problems. We'll help you with:
The new rules and safety regulations governing residential lettings
Arranging all types of repairs, at very short notice if necessary
Access to an extensive range of competitively priced and reliable trades people
Liaising with tenants and carrying out inspections
"I could not believe it was all complete, with a tenant in place within three weeks, with very little involvement from me. I will be recommending Ferndown Estates with the utmost of confidence. "