Moody & Co Residential Lettings Department was formed in February 1993, as a result of a Management buy-out of Royal Life Estates, one of the areas largest and best respected Estate Agency with a substantial Letting Department already established.
As already well established businesses in the area, we strive to increase our market share and feel that this can only be done by providing complete satisfaction to our Landlords and Tenants. We now have an extremely successful track record and are fast becoming probably the leading Property Management Agent in South Shields.
The Residential Lettings Partner of the group is Dawn Wright, who is a member of the National Association of Estate Agents, and has a wealth of Property Management experience which is passed on to our well trained, helpful and efficient staff.
Moody & Co pride themselves on the exceptionally high standard of personal service offered by all Partners and employees. Our Property Management and Letting system, which is second to none, is fully computerised using what is probably the best Property Management software available, in fact we had it specially written so as to be as flexible as possible in our ability to provide a tailored service to meet each Landlords requirements.
As members of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), we undertake to abide by all rules and regulations whilst involved in the letting of properties.
Landlords have the peace of mind knowing that as a member of the the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), we are required to maintain a separate fully audited client account, from which we cannot take interest, and hold substantial indemnity insurance cover.
It is our opinion that if you are looking for either a Management of Tenant finding service - AND TOTAL PEACE OF MIND - you need look no further than the true professionals with experience at Moody & Co.
HOW CAN WE HELP YOU
Moody & Co Residential Lettings Department offer a specialist residential property management service to property owners throughout the North East. By virtue of the close relationships we have built with local companies and employers operating in the region, we are able to readily let our clients properties at excellent rates.
We specifically cater of the following groups of property owners.
1. PRIVATE LANDLORDS
A private landlord may invest in property as a hedge against inflation and as a source of regular income, with either one or more properties let on either furnished or unfurnished tenancies, you may find that the responsibility of looking after the property and ensuring that tenancies are drawn up properly and within the law is difficult to monitor, as laws and regulations constantly change. It may however be that you choose and wish not to deal directly with your tenants as difficult confrontations on occasions cannot be avoided.
Considerable time and effort may be spent in re-letting your property. You may dread the telephone ringing in case it is a tenant with an urgent repair, and the necessity to select and organize a tradesman to carry our that repair. In these instances you may probably want someone else to shoulder the burden of managing your properties and this is where Moody & Co Residential Lettings can help you.
2. HOME OWNERS WORKING ABROAD/AWAY
If your work entails a temporary move abroad, or to another part of the country, letting your home can be quite a headache. You may have no experience of letting property and be unaware of exactly what is involved. You may be worried that the tenants could be negligent in their care of your furnishings, beyond reasonable wear and tear. A major worry can be that you will not be able of repossess your home when you return. The 1988 Housing Act as amended by the 1996 Housing Act simplified and eased the rules governing repossession.
Your home is normally your greatest single asset, therefore it is essential that it is being properly managed when you are away. Moody & Co Residential Lettings full management service described in the next section provides explanation of the service we believe you require.
We offer two principal types of services:
1. FULL MANAGEMENT
This service is suitable for most people living abroad, and UK based
landlords who wish Moody & Co to fully manage their properties.
It consists of the following elements.
a) Selection of Tenants
Moody & Co Residential Lettings will select tenants to occupy your
property. In the selection process we carefully interview prospective
tenants to match your property and requirements to the tenants needs. In seeking prospective tenants we will rely on press advertising and direct enquiries.
b) Taking Up References
In an attempt to ensure that only reliable tenants are installed in your property, we will either take up a bank and business reference prior to the signing of the tenancy agreement, or if an extremely fast turnaround is required we will use a credit reference checking agency. This means we have fully vetted tenants installed in your property in less than 24 hours from first viewing, if necessary.
c) Tenancy Agreement
It is fundamental to have a properly drawn up agreement between the landlord and the tenant so that each party is fully aware of their
responsibilities to the other. Moody & Co Residential Lettings have a number of standard agreements which cover most types of lettings. These are all approved by Moody & Co legal representatives.
d) Preparation of Inventory
A properly drawn up inventory is essential to cover any possible claims which may arise from loss, damage and dilapidation's. This will be prepared by Moody & Co Residential Lettings prior to the start of the tenancy by a Partner of Moody & Co. This will then be checked and signed by the incoming tenant at the commencement of the tenancy, who will be asked to return a copy to ourselves. At the end of the tenancy, the condition of all items will be checked against the signed inventory. A copy of the signed inventory is then attached to the tenancy agreement and becomes an integral part of this agreement. Allowance will be made for reasonable wear and tear. A recommended list of contents to be left in a furnished property is shown in Appendix 1.
This service offered by Moody & Co Residential Lettings is in marked contrast to that offered by some Property Management Agencies who expect YOU to prepare your own inventory!
e) Security Deposit/Bond
A security deposit, equivalent to one months rent, will be taken from all tenants at the commencement of each tenancy, and held by Moody & Co as agent of the landlord, until the end of the tenancy. Repayment of the deposit to the tenant will be made at the end of the tenancy less deductions for any damages or breakages. It is requested that our landlords abide by our decision in the event of an assessment of a dilapidation dispute.
f) Collection of Rents
Moody & Co Residential Lettings will collect rent on behalf of the
landlord. These will then be credited to the owners as outlined under Payment to Client.
g) Periodic Inspections
To assist in ensuring that your property continues to be maintained and is being properly cared for by the tenant, Moody & Co will undertake regular inspections, which will be carried out at periodic intervals. You will then be sent a brief report on our inspection findings, which will highlight any defects which may come to light and recommend any necessary remedial action to maintain your property.
h) Payment of Bills
Payment of periodic bills, e.g. insurance, repairs, ground rents, and other charges will be undertaken where instructed on behalf of the landlord out of the rents collected.
Day to day repairs and gas safety checks will be organised by Moody & Co Residential Lettings on behalf of the landlord were necessary. In the case of any major repairs arising, the landlords permission will be sought prior to the commencement of work. Moody & Co have experienced suitably qualified tradesman to call upon to carry out repairs. However, works can only be undertaken if sufficient funds are available to meet the cost.
If an emergency should arise outside of normal office hours which require immediate attention, then we have arrangements with local tradesmen who will provide a 24 hour emergency service for urgent problems on all of our fully managed properties i.e. break-in, leaking water pipes etc.
The tenant will be instructed to channel all queries regarding your property through Moody & Co Residential Lettings, thus ensuring that you will not be bothered unnecessarily.
2. TENANT ONLY
This service may fit the needs of UK based landlords who wish to carry out some aspects of property management themselves, but wish Moody & Co Residential Lettings to initially investigate the tenancy.
Under this service we will undertake the following:
a) Finding a tenant and taking up references
b) Drawing up tenancy agreement and serving appropriate statutory notices
c) Collection of first months rent and bond. This will de detailed on a statement and forwarded to client, less our fees.
All other aspects of management e.g. preparation of inventory, on-going management and return of bond will then become the responsibility of the landlord.
While our Tenant Only service does not include taking and checking in of inventories, we can provide this extra service at an additional cost, if required.
WE WOULD ONLY RECOMMEND THIS SERVICE TO LANDLORDS WITH PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE OF LETTINGS, AND THOSE WITH ACCESS TO THE ONGOING AND CHANGING LAWS AND REGULATIONS RELATING TO RESIDENTIAL LET PROPERTY.
Our fee structure is as follows:
1. FULL MANAGEMENT
For this service, the basic fee is 15% plus V.A.T. of the gross rental income received.
In addition to this basic fee, we charge £25.00 plus V.A.T. inventory fee, and £40.00 plus V.A.T. accompanied viewing fee, if required. (This charge is fixed no matter how many viewings are necessary to secure a tenant). No charge is made to the landlord for any advertising costs incurred, or the drawing up of tenancy agreements for the tenants. Furthermore, no charge will be made
to the landlord where extensions of tenancy agreements are granted.
2. TENANT ONLY
Our fee for this service (excluding inventory works) is half the first
months rent plus V.A.T. with a minimum charge of £325.000 plus
V.A.T. If you wish Moody & Co Residential Lettings to prepare
and check the inventory, the additional cost of this extra service
would be £25.00 plus V.A.T.
PAYMENTS TO CLIENTS
We prepare a statement of rental income for our landlords on a monthly basis. Payment is also made on a monthly basis. From the gross rental income, we deduct our commission at the appropriate rate, and any charges for repairs and bills, and pay the balance to the landlord. Payments are normally credited direct to our landlord's bank account or building society, as nominated.
In the case of clients who are classed as residents abroad for tax purposes, we are responsible as agents under "The Taxation of Income from Land (Non Resident) Regulations 1995" to collect tax on rental income received and must retain funds to meet this liability. In these instances, tax will be deducted from the rental income at the current rates of taxation (at time of typing 23%), these funds are held in our client account as a reserve to cover this liability. The good news is that landlords are now able to apply to the Inland Revenue to receive rents without deduction, details will be provided by Moody & Co Residential Lettings.
It is necessary to ensure that both building and contents are insured under a policy which is appropriate to let the property. PLEASE NOTE STANDARD HOUSEHOLD, PRIVATE RESIDENTIAL INSURANCE WILL NOT PROVIDE COVER FOR PROPERTY WHICH IS LET.
Insurance cover, including payment of premium, is the landlords responsibility, therefore premiums should be discharged on the due date and Moody & Co Residential Lettings cannot be held responsible for lapsed policies.
It is advisable to confirm the re-building costs of your property to ensure the correct insurance premium, as the sale value is not always the same figure.
Incoming tenants must insure their own possessions and cannot make a claim on the landlords policy. Alternatively, the landlord cannot make a claim against the tenants policy.
Remember it is important to advise all insurance companies that the property in question is to be rented. This may result in an empty period between tenancies. Any small print instructions such as "unoccupying cover" or instructions deriving from this such as "drain-down" should be given to us in writing. Failure to do so may render your claim turned down on null and void. Without written instruction we cannot accept liability.
We require two full sets of keys, to be delivered to us prior to inception of the tenancy. One set will be released to the tenant, and the master set will be retained by ourselves. In the event of emergencies etc. access may be essential. We also consider it prudent that the owner retains a full set of keys. Should you have problems getting keys cut, we will be happy to arrange this for you.
From 1st April 1993, all NEW instructions must comply with the "Fire and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 and the (Fire) (Safety) (Amendments) Regulations 1993. The regulations basically apply to all upholstery and upholstered furnishings, loose fittings, permanent and loose covers. Existing lettings have a stay of execution until 31st December 1996 to comply.
Regulation 4 of 1988 Regulations states that the above requirements do not apply to furniture manufactured before 1st January 1950.
The penalties for non-compliance upon conviction are a fine of £5,000 or six months imprisonment or both.
YOUR OTHER QUESTIONS ANSWERED
1. WHAT TYPE OF TENANCY WILL BE USED?
The 1988 Housing Act made life a lot easier for the landlord by introducing new types of tenancy which made it simpler for landlords to let in the certainty that they can secure possession when required. This was further amended by 1996 Housing Act.
a) Assured Shorthold Tenancy
(Section 20 of the Housing Act 1988) as amended by the Housing Act
Virtually all new residential tenancies which commenced after 28th
February 1997 are automatically Assured Shorthold Tenancies unless otherwise stated. Section 20 Notices no longer have to be served on tenants, and tenancies no longer have to be for a fixed term and can now be less than six months. However, repossession can still not be obtained within the first six months of the tenancy unless there are other grounds e.g. rent arrears. Moody & Co Residential Lettings general rule is still to grant tenancies for a minimum of six month term unless there are accentuating circumstances which forces us to do otherwise. Once the initial term of the agreement has expired this can either be renewed for a
further fixed term or the tenancy can revert to a "Periodic" Assured
Shorthold Tenancy. After a fixed term agreement has expired or if the Tenancy has become a Periodic Assured Shothhold Tenancy the landlord has a statutory right to recover possession of the property by issuing a Section 21 Notice giving the tenant 2 months notice, and the tenant can terminated with one months notice.
b) Assured Tenancies
These are very rarely used as tenants have greater security under this type of tenancy, and they can be either a fixed term or periodic tenancy with no minimum time period. They can be used when a landlord is an owner occupier and a tenancy of less than six months is required with a statutory right to repossession with six months (Housing Act 1988 Schedule 2 Ground 1) or when properties normally available as holiday homes are let out of season (Housing Act 1988 Schedule 2 Ground 3).
2. HOW CAN I BE SURE MY MONEY IS IN SAFE HANDS?
In these days when letting agents may come and go, it is essential that you only appoint a totally reputable agent. Moody & Co Residential Lettings are a highly respected professional company. We are members of the National Association of Estate Agents and Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, and we also maintain separate fully audited clients accounts.
We are also fully covered by our own Professional Indemnity Insurance Policy, and have a client money protection scheme which is underwritten by Norwich Union.
3. WHAT MUST I DO IF MY PROPERTY IS MORTGAGED?
If your property is subject to a mortgage, it is necessary to secure the permission of your building society/bank prior to letting. If you are working outside the area, or your employment entails you to live in certain accommodation e.g. publican, or you are a member of H.M. Forces, this should be a mere formality. Your mortgagee will usually issue a list of conditions which have to be fulfilled to enable them to approve the tenancy. They will normally insist that your property is professionally managed and that your agent will supply them with copies of the tenancy agreements and appropriate statutory notices.
4. IF I CAN'T SELL, SHOULD I LET?
Many people consider that letting their property is the natural alternative to selling.
Letting your property can offer the following benefits:
a) It can generate an attractive source of rental income. You might be surprised at the level of current market rents.
b) If you have to move and can't sell, having tenants in residence is usually a much better way of safeguarding your property rather than allowing it to stand empty with all the risk this can entail.
c) If you want to move house, now is a good time to buy. Even if you don't sell your existing property, letting still gives you a chance to move without significantly increasing your outgoings as rental income for the property will normally cover your mortgage repayments. (Mortgage advise for purchase of second properties is also available through Moody & Co Estate Agencies).
d) If you let on short term tenancies you can try to sell your property again once your personal circumstances are more permanent.
Even if your ultimate aim is to sell, we would also recommend that the property is taking off the market for the duration of the tenancy, as showing prospective purchasers around properties can be a considerable source of annoyance to tenants. The minimum term for an Assured Shorthold Tenancy is 6 months and our experience shows it is much better for all concerned if the property is temporarily withdrawn from sale and placed on the market again once the tenancy has ended, assuming of course it is the landlords wish to sell.
5. WHAT AHPPENS TO MY PROPERTY WHEN IT IS UNOCCUPIED?
While Moody & Co Residential Lettings use their best endeavours to ensure that properties are continually let, inevitably from time to time, void periods will occur between tenancies, when properties are unoccupied/unlet. In this day and age void periods can be a worrying time for the landlord. For properties under our Full Management Service, we shall continue to carry out regular inspections as these fall due assuming we hold suitable keys. We can arrange for the garden to be maintained and any minor repairs carried out where instructed, and if your property should fall empty between the months of November and March, it is our recommendation that the water system is drained down to prevent any possible frost damage, we will arrange this for you following receipt of your written instruction, and also assuming we hold sufficient funds on your account.
Your property is likely to be visited from time to time by members of staff in the course of viewings to prospective tenants who on leaving will ensure that the property is properly locked up. However, it will be an express term of any agreement that we shall not be liable for any loss or damage which may occur during periods when the property is unoccupied, except where such loss or damage is attributable to a failure by ourselves to carry our any of our express obligations.
6. WHO PAYS THE COUNCIL TAX?
Providing the property is let to an adult tenant on a tenancy of 6 months or more, responsibility for paying Council Tax falls on the tenant. Your responsibility for paying the tax will usually only arise if the property is furnished, and where properties are unfurnished the first six months are totally exempt, thereafter 50% of the Council Tax is payable.
7. WHO PAYS THE GAS, ELECTRICITY AND TELEPHONE
The tenant will be responsible for all charges relating to consumption of gas, electricity, telephone calls and rental which occur during his tenancy. Immediately prior to your vacating your property, we ask you to arrange for final meter readings to be taken. As soon as the property has been let or re-let we then arrange for the accounts to be transferred into the tenants, or subsequent tenants names.
8. WHO PAYS THE WATER CHARGES?
If the case of properties where water charges are paid as a flat rate, unless otherwise specified, these are excluded from the rent and will be payable by the tenant. Where properties have water meters, consumption of water is measurable and will also be charged to the tenant.
9. DO MY GAS APPLIANCES HAVE TO BE CHECKED FOR SAFETY?
On 31st October 1994 new regulations came into force covering the safety of gas appliances "The Gas Safety (Installations and Use) Regulations 1994". These regulations were further amended with effect from 31st October 1996. These regulations are commendable as they are designed to reduce the death toll from carbon monoxide poisoning, which hitherto has been claiming approximately 30 deaths annually.
The regulations now place the following legal requirements on
a) They are responsible for making sure that gas appliances are maintained in good order.
b) That such appliances are checked for safety at least every 12 months by an installed registered with C.O.R.G.I. (The Council for Registered Gas Installers), who "must" issue a safety check certificate to the landlord/agent. (CP12).
c) After each annual check a copy of the certificate must be given to the tenant within 28 days.
d) On any new letting after 31st October 1996 each tenant must be given a copy of the certificate before moving in.
If your property is to be managed by Moody & Co Residential Lettings, it is our responsibility as your Agents to ensure that these regulations are enforced. If we did not we would run the risk of prosecution under Section 36 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1994. Therefore unless you have an existing gas service contract covering ALL gas appliances in the property, and supply us with a valid Gas Safety Certificate we will arrange for the required safety check to be carried out by a CORGI registered firm as soon as we receive your formal instruction appointing us as your agent. The safety check records will be kept on your property file and updated on an annual basis.
If your property is to be let under our tenant only service it is YOUR responsibility to ensure the regulations are complied with. Failure to comply with these regulations risks two years imprisonment, an unlimited fine, or both. We will require a copy of a valid Gas Safety Certificate (CP12) to show prospective tenants, before we can let your property. If you do not have a Certificate and wish our CORGI registered contractor to conduct the check this can be arranged at a very competitive charge.
10. DOES THE ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT IN MY PROPERTY HAVE TO BE CHECKED FOR SAFETY?
The principle regulations governing the safety of electrical equipment are "The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 (S1 1994/3260) which came into force on January 9th 1995. They require that any electrical equipment that is supplied as part of furnished accommodation that is hired or let is both safe to use and does not cause any hazard to either person or domestic animals. The type of equipment covered includes washing machines, fridges, freezers, vacuum cleaners, kettles, ovens, televisions and hot water heaters.
Unlike the gas regulations discussed above there is no legal requirement for an electrical certificate to be obtained, only that all electrical equipment must be safe.
It is an offence to supply electrical equipment which does not comply with the regulations, which upon conviction can lead to imprisonment for up to 6 months, or a substantial fine, or both.
Therefore we strongly recommend that all electrical wiring and appliances are checked by a qualified electrician prior to the start of the first tenancy and regular checks are carried out thereafter (at least annual intervals).
ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT (SAFETY) REGULATIONS 1994
These regulations came into force on January 9th 1995 and are applicable to all electrical equipment with voltages between 50 and 1000 if alternating current between voltages of 75 and 1500 if direct current.
In order to comply a Landlord must ensure that all the electrical equipment in his property is safe. It must therefore comply with the Consumer Protection Act 1987 but must also comply with the above regulations. Therefore in order to minimise risk the Landlord must ensure the safety of all animals and the property as well as those humans who either live in the property or may enter upon the premises. Safety includes the risk of injury as well as death.
THE LANDLORD SHOULD:
1. Ensure there are written instructions for all electrical equipment in the property.
2. A safety check should be carried out by a qualified electrician (NICEIC approved), preferably annually or when the tenancy changes. We advise annually.
3. Provide the agent and tenant with written proof of the safety check prior to the tenancy commencing.
4. Provide the agent and tenant with a written Portable Appliance Test Certificate.
5. (P.A.T.) prior to the tenancy commencing.
Should the electrical equipment not comply with the Regulations and an incident occurs the penalties are:
3 months and/or £5000 fine if there is a risk of fire and/or an animal in injured 6 months and/or £5000 fine if a human in injured or killed
remember that you could also be convicted of manslaughter and there are far greater penalties for that!
ENFORCEMENT OF SAFETY LEGISLATION:
Trading Standards officers are responsible for the day to day enforcement of consumer safety legislation. They have the power to remove unsafe product from the market and to bring prosecutions. Supplying an unsafe product can result in a fine of up to £5000 and/or a term of imprisonment of up to six months.
Landlords have a legal obligation to ensure that electrical installations are safe, and are maintained in a safe condition, for the duration of the tenancy.
The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 (see above) apply to electrical equipment only, not the property.
However, a local authority maintain supplies of gas, electricity and water to the tenants in a property.
They do not maintain supplies of gas, electricity and water to the tenants in a property.
A property is not fit for human habitation it must be ‘free from serious disrepair' and have ‘adequate provision for lighting, heating and ventilation'. They must also have ‘satisfactory facilities in the dwelling house for the preparation and cooking of food'. (i.e. if an electric cooker is provided it must be in good working order). This is under the Housing Fitness Standards, Local Government And Housing Act (1989 paragraph 83 of schedule 9).
A property is ‘Prejudicial to health' i.e. live wiring etc Under the Environmental Protection Act (1990) (section 80).
At present it is not a legal requirement to obtain an Electrical Safety Certificate however, a landlord would find it easier to prove he is not negligent if they provide a current safety certificate.
Should you require advice as to how to obtain the services of a NICEIC registered electrical contractor we would be pleased to help. Please contact our rental department.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
If you like what you have read and the highly professional service offered by Moody & Co Residential Lettings fulfils your needs, we will be only to happy to arrange a Free rental valuation of your property without obligation. This will be carried out by our Valuing Partner, who will then be pleased to answer any further questions you may have.
The valuation will be confirmed in writing. If you then wish to appoint Moody & Co as your Managing Agent, simply complete and return the Property Management Agreement letter, which will be forwarded to you at your request.
As soon as we have been appointed as your agent, details of your property will be placed on our property list which is updated weekly. Your property will then be actively marketed through our regular property bulletin which is sent to major companies in the region, and via constant enquiries from the general public.
SELLING YOUR PROPERTY TO A TENANT
In the event of the property being sold to a tenant introduced by Moody & Co. either during a tenancy or following the departure of the tenant, a selling fee of 1% plus V.A.T. of the selling price will be charged by Moody & Co, and shall become due within 14 days of legal completion. This fee is subject to a minimum of £850.00 including V.A.T. Moody & Co. shall of course remain available for advice and negotiating services would be fully available. By signing our lettings Terms of Appointment the above sales terms are also accepted.
SUGGESTED LIST OF CONTENTS TO BE LEFT IN PROPERTY
All carpets/floor coverings, light fittings inc. shades, curtains, some pictures.
Three piece suite
Dining room table and chairs
Water paper bin
Dressing table/chest of drawers
(We advise that bedding and towels should not be left)
Table and chair (where student let is possible)
Fridge or fridge/freezer
Washing up bowl
Selection of baking tins/tray
Dinner/tea service (suggest popular design for easy replacement)
Selection of kitchen utensils
Lawn mower and garden equipment (where there is a garden attached to the property).
If a property is to be let unfurnished it must be left with carpets, curtains and fitted kitchen units, cooker and fridge.
N.B. All items of upholstered furniture must comply with "The Fire Furnishings (Fire & Safety) Regulations 1988", which include ‘the cigarette test', ‘the match test' and ‘the ignitability test'. Antique furniture and furniture manufactured prior to 1950 is excluded.