Are you an investor with a portfolio or just thinking of buy to let as an investment opportunity for pension or regular investment income? Are you a homeowner that is unable to sell or leaving the area but wish to keep a foothold in the local market? Have you inherited a property? If so, do you want to have your home occupied, earning money and be professionally looked after?
There is a shortage of quality letting properties all over the United Kingdom. The recent changes in legislation and a keen demand has fuelled an expansion in the private rental sector which offers an appealing and cost effective option for both landlords and tenants.
Why use Castles?
Castles Letting & Property Management is a friendly, independent, highly focused, company. We are open 7 days a week with knowledgeable local staff who know what helps to let a property and advice about the required compliance and safety regulations.
We are proud to be accredited members of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS), The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) Propertymark and The Property Ombudsman (TPO). This means that we are accountable for our service levels and our systems are regulated giving you complete peace of mind.
Propertymark offers consistently high standards, holding their members accountable in order to protect consumers and their money. Consumers know that the Propertymark Protected logo guarantees that they and their money are safe.
Propertymark expect far higher standards than the law demands and they campaign for more laws and enforcement to regulate the sector. Estate agents, letting agents, auctioneers and valuers who display the ‘Propertymark Protected’ logo actively ensure maximum protection for their clients. By using a Propertymark Protected agent, you have the peace of mind that you and your money are safeguarded by Propertymark’s Client Money Protection (CMP) scheme*.
Using Castles lettings, you can be confident that we will guide you on your property journey, whether you are buying, selling, renting or letting, working to the highest standards and looking out for you and your money.
*The Client Money Protection (CMP) Scheme is a compensation scheme run by Propertymark. You can download our certificate here.
Presentation of the Property
The presentation of a property has a direct impact on the marketability and the maximum level of rental income that can be achieved; therefore we recommend that the property is left in the best possible condition before letting.
Our experienced team can advise you on any aspect of decoration works that may be necessary, and can recommend contractors if required.
Full Management Service
This is the most comprehensive service and Castles will deal with all the issues of property management required on a daily basis. We will collect the rent and carry out property inspections on a regular basis. Payment for any expenditure will be deducted from rents collected. We relieve you of the commitment of being a full -time Landlord.
This service includes:
Rent Collection Service:
This is designed for Landlords who are happy to take control of all maintenance issues but prefer a third party to deal with all financial matters.
This service includes:
The first stage of the process of putting a property up to let, is to arrange to meet with a member of our team at the property for a marketing appraisal. At this meeting you will be advised how to maximise the rental value and marketability of the property. We will also discuss our levels of service in greater detail in order to provide a service that will suit each individual Landlord.
When you wish to proceed with putting your property up to let; we will immediately commence marketing upon your written instructions. We will accompany all viewings of the property and provide feedback.
Once a Tenant has been found they will be referenced through an independent referencing agency to ensure their credit worthiness. When the referencing has been concluded and if you are satisfied with the Tenant a check-in date can be arranged, and a suitable Tenancy Agreement prepared.
Prior to the Tenant moving in, the property will need to be ready for occupation. The property must be completely cleaned, and all personal effects and furniture removed (unless the property is to be let fully furnished). The garden should be left neat and tidy and any outstanding repairs attended to. All appliances should be in working order and instructions provided. At this stage an independent inventory clerk will have access to the property in order to draw up a full Inventory/Schedule of Condition, and if applicable any safety checks will be carried out, and certificates issued.
On the day of the check-in, we will arrange for the Tenants to meet in our office in order to sign the Tenancy Agreement. We will collect from them the first month's rent, and the Security Deposit on your behalf, we will hold it in a nominated client account for the duration of the Tenancy and in accordance with the regulations of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, of which we are members.
We will take meter readings and inform all the utility companies and council tax that the tenants have moved in. The tenants are responsible for telephone/broadband and TV License.
If the property is mortgaged permission to rent must be obtained from your lender. Some lenders will levy a charge for property letting and may impose a surcharge on the rate of interest.
You must also obtain permission from the superior Landlord if the property is leasehold, and you will continue to pay any ground rent or service charges relating to the property. We will require a copy of the head lease if there are any covenants that are applicable to the tenancy agreement.
The property must have adequate buildings and fixture and fittings insurance and your insurers must be notified that the property is to be rented out.
Right to Rent
The Right to Rent under the Immigration Act 2016 requires landlords or agents to check ID of all prospective adult occupiers over the age of 18. Where an adult occupier has a time limited right to remain, landlords and letting agents will need to conduct follow up checks. These need to be made 12 months from the initial check or at the expiry of the individual’s right to be in the UK, whichever is the later.
Any offences under the Immigration Act 2016, relevant to the private rented sector in England, came into force on the 1st December 2016. The measures follow the introduction of civil penalties created under Immigration Act 2014 and aim to make it easier for private landlords to evict illegal migrant tenants, create new criminal offences for rogue landlords and agents who knowingly, or with reasonable cause to believe, let to illegal migrants. The offences are part of wider Government measures to tackle illegal immigration, and protect public services and access to the private rented sector for lawful residents.
The key points under Right to Rent:
Landlords could be charged with a criminal offence if they know, or have reasonable cause to believe, that they are letting to an illegal migrant.
Landlords will be able to obtain a notice from the Home Office to end tenancies for occupants with no Right to Rent.
Right to Rent Checklist:
Ensure copies of the documentation are made and record the date.
For further information please refer to the Home Office Guidelines: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/landlords-immigration-right-to-rent-checks
Landlords Tax Implications
If you are a Landlord resident in the UK, you also have a liability to pay income tax on any profit made on the Property. Some expenses are tax deductable, e.g. repairs, agency fees etc.
For further information please refer to the www.gov.uk website by clicking on this link:
Non Resident Landlord Scheme
If a Landlord is considered by the Inland Revenue to be non-resident in the UK for taxation purposes, we are legally obliged to withhold tax from the net rental income at the basic rate of income tax, and to pay this tax quarterly to the Inland Revenue, unless an exemption certificate is provided to us. A Landlord can apply to the Inland Revenue for an exemption certificate in order for us to pay the rent with no tax deducted - application forms are available online. Please note that exemption certificates are required by any named person named on the Tenancy Agreement, when living abroad. Further information can be obtained from the Inland Revenue.
For more information please refer to the www.gov.uk website by clicking on this link:
Please note that the following information is intended only as a brief guide for Landlords and does not in any way constitute a detailed interpretation of any of the complete Regulations which apply to rented properties. (Noncompliance with the Regulations can result in a custodial prison sentence and/or a substantial fine.)
Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998
A Landlord must ensure that all gas appliances and gas installations at the property remain safe at all times and are checked for safety every 12 months by a Gas Safe registered engineer and a Gas Safety Certificate issued.
The Furniture & Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1993
These Regulations apply to all upholstery and upholstered furniture supplied by a Landlord, e.g. beds, pillows, headboards, mattresses, cushions, upholstered dining room chairs etc. All items must carry the appropriate safety label. Any non-compliance furniture must be removed from the property. (Carpets, curtains, duvets are not covered by the Regulations).
Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994
These Regulations apply to all Landlords who let accommodation which contains electrical equipment, the requirement is for all electrical equipment to be safe. There is no mandatory requirement for equipment to be checked by a qualified electrician; however it is the Landlords responsibility to ensure the eletrics are safe. We recommend an Electrical Installation Condition Report is carried out by a suitably qualified professional. Where the safe use of the equipment relies upon the user being aware of any particular characteristic, suitable information or instruction booklets should be provided.
The Plugs and Sockets (Safety) Regulations 1994
These Regulations require that any plug, socket or adapter which is intended for domestic use complies with the appropriate current standard (BS1363) or approval alternatives, and that plugs are fitted with a fuse that conforms to the appropriate current standard (BS1362).
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015
It is a legal requirement for smoke detectors to be installed on each floor of the Property, which must be hardwired or in older buildings battery operated devices. It is also a legal requirement to have a carbon monoxide detector installed where there is a fuel device, such as a gas fired boiler or gas fire, or a solid fuel burner. It is the Landlords responsibility to ensure the detectors are in working order at the commencement of a Tenancy.
Legionnaires Disease - Control of Risk
Under the Approved Code of Practice by the Health & Safety Executive it is a legal requirement for all Landlords to conduct risk assessments for Legionnaire’s disease and to take any appropriate action if required. The Landlord is responsible for the control of the water systems within the premises and the main areas of risk are where bacteria can multiply and increase to dangerous levels, in hot and cold water systems and storage tanks, and can be spread via showers and taps. The Landlord must ensure that the risk from exposure to Legionella from all water systems in the property is controlled by implementing appropriate control measures. Castles can arrange for the appropriate risk assessment report to be carried out on behalf of the Landlord.
I have been massively impressed with Castles service over the past few months. They have been exactly what I wanted in an estate agency, consultative, knowledgable about the local market and wider UK housing trends, honest and hard working, I couldn't recommend then highly enough- Ricky Yates