Guide for Landlords

Move Residential has established itself as the leading estate agency in the Liverpool area. Our offices are situated at strategic locations to provide us with a sound base from which to serve the community and give us fantastic coverage in your local area. As well as property sales and financial services, we specialise in lettings & full property management.

Our residential lettings department believes in offering a quality service unmatched by other agents. Our services are designed to put the landlord first and ensure the successful management of your property leading to increased satisfaction from tenants and less issues for you as the landlord.

Open till 7pm on weekdays as well as opening on weekends, we’re available when both you and your tenant need us most.

Suitable Tenants

Finding the right tenant for your property is fundamental. We start by establishing criteria for the sort of person you wish to occupy your property. We market your property as proactively as possible on all major property portals such as Rightmove, and Zoopla providing extensive web coverage on search engines like yahoo and google.

We then match this marketing activity to prospective tenants who are looking for a property like yours. All interested parties must provide us with suitable references. Only after checking these references will we then recommend a tenancy.

When renting to private tenants we take full references, usually from their employer, previous landlord, Experian credit checks and bank account validation. Payments are due every calendar month, in advance, starting from the commencement of the tenancy agreement. To make it easier we do encourage tenants to pay their rent by standing order. However, should they pay by debit card or bank transfer, you must allow time for this to clear in our bank before forwarding the payment on to you.

Rent

When we initially assess a property, we indicate what we believe to be a realistic rent, based on present market conditions. Prospective tenants will usually accept the market value, but may require special conditions as part of their offer.

Deposits

We request a deposit for all tenancies. For private tenants, the deposit is usually equal to ONE month’s rent plus one hundred pounds.

Deposits are held in a government-backed scheme through the Deposit Protection Service (DPS) to help ensure the tenant looks after the property and as a safeguard against any unpaid rent. It is refundable at the end of a tenancy, only after the tenant has vacated the property, providing the property and their rent account are in an acceptable condition.

When the tenant vacates the property, you will have an opportunity to inspect the property yourself prior to the deposit being refunded. Should you wish to so do, you must make arrangements with our team to view the property as soon as possible, once the tenant has vacated.

Commencement of Tenancy

The tenancy commences on the date shown in the tenancy agreement. Prior to the tenant moving in we will compile an inventory and schedule of condition of the property for landlords when using our fully managed service.

To ensure an objective view of each property, Move Residential use an independent inventory company to compile an accurate record. The inventory will list all furnishings and contain a description of the condition of the property. A copy of the inventory can be sent to you if you wish and is provided to the tenant when they sign the contract. This provides both parties with an opportunity to confirm the accuracy of the document and protects both the landlord and tenant.

Whilst compiling the inventory, our inventory company will also take any meter readings if access is readily available. These readings are then passed on to the appropriate utility companies for accurate billing. At the same time, we also inform the council of the change in occupier for accurate council tax purposes.

We are unable to inform the phone supplier of the change in tenancy. This must be done by the “user” of the service. Consequently, you must ensure that BT or your provider know you no longer require a service at the property. The tenants then have to contact BT or another provider should they wish to be re-connected.

Tenancies

All new tenancies commence with an initial term, and this can be a minimum six month or 12 month assured shorthold contract . Once this contract has been in force for approaching the end of the initial term, the tenancy is then reviewed and we will write to you asking if you wish the tenancy to continue. If you do not want to renew the tenancy you must inform us immediately. We will then make arrangements for the statutory notice to be served if you require possession (where this notice has not already been served).

After contacting you, we will then contact the tenants. They can opt to leave the property at the end of the lease or request permission to stay on. If the tenants wish to stay in the property you have the right to decline if you wish, in which case a notice requiring possession must be served, giving the tenants a statutory two month notice period to vacate the property.

Alternatively, you can allow the tenancy to continue, in which case you can then choose to renew for a period of six months or twelve. 

A significant number of tenants do request twelve month contracts. If you do not wish to commit yourself to a definite period, the contract can become ‘statutory periodic’ whereby the tenant is able to remain in the property, under the terms of the original contract, without signing for a new fixed period. Should they wish to leave at any stage during the periodic term, they only need to give one month’s notice. If you require possession of the property we will still need to give two months’ notice.

Please note: when a tenant is issued a notice requiring possession (a Section 21 notice), the tenant must vacate the property on the date specified. However, should the tenant fail to vacate the property, enforcement of this notice can only be arranged through the courts.

Serving a notice requiring possession does not always guarantee that the Tenant will vacate the property on the agreed date.

Once a tenancy comes to an end, we make arrangements to inspect the property again against the original detailed inventory and take meter readings and also obtain a forwarding address for the tenant.

The deposit is refunded to the tenant once we can verify the property’s condition and the tenants final rent account is in order.

Should there be any disputes regarding the property condition, the first course of action is to give the tenant a fair opportunity to rectify the problem. If the tenant does not rectify the situation, we can then make a claim against the deposit (valid estimates must be obtained indicating the exact cost of repair).

Should an agreement not be reached between the landlord and tenant, we will act as arbitrators or both parties can opt to use the DPS to act. We will always aim to resolve any disagreement as quickly and amicably as possible taking into account the facts of the case. Our decision is final and both parties must agree to abide by our judgement or agree to use the DPS arbitration process.

Property Visits

We conduct property visits of all tenanted properties where the landlord uses our fully managed service. These visits serve numerous purposes and allow us to meet the tenant to ensure they are taking care of the property. We also check for signs that something may be wrong with the property. If anything needs attention, we will then inform you as soon as possible, helping to reduce the risk of the problem escalating and the potential cost increasing. These visits also enable us get to know the tenants better, so that when the lease is due for renewal we can be confident in the advice we offer you.

Repairs

Every property at some point will need some element of upkeep and maintenance and best advice is to look at preventative works where possible. For landlords using our fully managed service, if things go wrong and the tenant contacts us, we will immediately contact you at an appropriate time. In many cases problems can be resolved quickly. However, there are two important points to remember when it comes to repairs:

Firstly, if a serious fault occurs (water burst, flood, etc) and we are unable to reach you, we will authorise a repair in the best interests of you and your property. Authorisation for this is contained within our agency agreement. There is a statutory obligation* for a landlord to make emergency repairs within a specified time frame and therefore, we occasionally need to make a quick decision to avoid your property being damaged further.

Secondly, once a property is tenanted, landlords have an obligation to ensure it is well maintained. Carrying out repairs quickly is as important for you as it is for the tenant. After all, repairs caught early can save money.

Tenants have the right to contact Environmental Health within the local council if repairs are not being attended to promptly and any ensuing enforcement order could include extra repairs. Work not done can be undertaken by them and they may add an additional charge on top of the repair bill, which could be hefty.

(*The obligation of the landlord is stated in the Landlord & Tenants Act 1985, section 11).

Gas Appliances

It is a legal requirement that gas installations in residential tenanted properties are inspected on an annual basis. Inspections must be carried out by a Gas-Safe engineer and have to meet strict conditions before a safety report is issued. A copy of the report must be provided to the tenant.

In addition, we must keep a copy in our files. We normally arrange for the safety inspection to be carried out for you by our trusted gas engineer panel, unless you have a preferred company to use.

Central heating systems do occasionally break down and the cost of repairs can be substantial. For this reason we recommend a service contract issued by one of the major energy suppliers. You are able to spread the cost and pay by monthly instalments. If you decide to take out a service contract or are currently in possession of one, please let us know. The details will be kept in the files and should the tenant have any problems, we will contact your service provider on your behalf.

Selective Licensing llbanner2crop

From April 2015 all private landlords with properties to let within Liverpool City Council now require a licence for each of their tenanted properties. The Council will need to determine that the proposed licence holder is a “fit and proper” person to manage their property. The Licence is valid for up to five years and includes conditions to ensure that properties are managed effectively and also provide both good quality and safe homes for tenants.

For further information about licensing please call our management team on 0151 734 6699.

Fire Alarms

It is a legal requirement that all properties must be fitted with at least one smoke alarm per floor within the property. Failure to take adequate precautions (such as fitting smoke alarms) could lead to a landlord being prosecuted and in the event of a fire could result in casualties. Smoke alarms are inexpensive and are easily fitted, however the batteries need to be checked regularly, something we will do during our property visits on fully managed properties. If your property has gas appliances then the installation of carbon monoxide alarms is also recommended. These units cost slightly more than smoke alarms, but again help to provide reassurance and early warning of any leaks.

Burglar Alarms

Some landlords have burglar alarms fitted that have a user code as well as a master code, (something that must be kept secure). The only means of changing the alarm number is with the Master code.

Consequently, while your tenants can have the benefit of the alarm they cannot change its settings. Due to the potential environmental impact of a malfunctioning alarm, they should be serviced on a regular basis.

Furnishings

Any furniture left in a property should be safe to use and well maintained. Any soft furnishings must comply with fire regulations and the original fire regulation labels should be attached. If not, the furnishings must be removed from the property and they cannot be stored at the rented address.

Mortgages

If the property is subject to a mortgage, the mortgage lender must be informed of your intention to let. This should be done before a tenant moves into the property. Gaining permission from the lender usually depends upon the mortgage account not being in arrears. Some lenders ask to see a copy of the lease, which the tenant will be required to sign. We will provide them with this at your request. Lenders may make a charge for consent to rent for landlords.

Insurance

If you have been living at the property yourself, you will need to change your existing homeowner policy to a landlord-specific one. As a landlord you are still responsible for the building and accordingly the buildings insurance and landlords liability. Please note buildings insurance will not cover the costs of replacing or repairing carpets if they become damaged but it does however cover fixtures and fittings. If the property is furnished or part-furnished you may also wish to consider contents insurance. 

Tax

Income received from renting property is subject to taxation and therefore we strongly recommend that you take advice from an accountant. Move Residential will manage your property’s income and expenditure account and this includes settling invoices and paying rent to your nominated account. We would always recommend visiting the inland revenue website for further details on tax matters.

Overseas Landlords

Landlords who reside overseas and own rented property in the UK are able to apply to the Inland Revenue for an exemption certificate, which enables us to pay them gross rent (subject to deductions). However, if they do not apply for exemption, it is a statutory requirement that letting agents must deduct tax at source, currently rated at the lowest prevailing tax rate.

In these circumstances, we will withhold the necessary funds from your account on a monthly basis and will issue a certificate at the end of each tax year indicating how much tax we have paid to the Inland Revenue, on your behalf.

Should you reside or subsequently move overseas, you may decide to contact the Centre For Non-Residents, an Inland Revenue office for an exemption certificate. We are happy to offer more advice about this.

Empty Property

The provisions within our agency agreement do not cover management of your property when it is vacant. If you are concerned about the property and want us to manage it while it is empty, for example over the winter months – please inform us and we will make arrangements to do so at a reduced management rate. Whilst there is no tenant occupying the property.

Keys

We recommend landlords provide at least two or three sets of keys for the property as a minimum depending on the number of adult tenants. One set is handed to each tenant (where there are multiple adults living at the property) upon commencement of a tenancy and the other is retained in our office as a management set of keys for use in the event of an emergency. Please be aware that should you wish to use or collect these keys at any time, we will require proof of your identification as a security measure.