Frequently Asked Questions - Lettings
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How much will it cost me to let my property?
The costs involved in letting your property are as follows:
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
It is a legal requirement to have commissioned an EPC before marketing can start. Sandra Davidson Estate Agents can help organise this legally required document on your behalf.
Inventory and check-in report
An inventory and check-in report, which should be organised before a tenant moves in. Sandra Davidson Estate Agents will organise this on your behalf within all of the letting services we provide.
Sandra Davidson Estate Agents Fee
Letting Agency fees become payable once a tenant introduced by Sandra Davidson Estate Agents has moved into the property. This is charged as an agreed percentage of the rent collected + VAT.
2. Are there any additional marketing costs?
Sandra Davidson Estate Agents include all marketing expenses within our commission fee.
3. How much will it cost to have my property managed?
Sandra Davidson Estate Agents Property Management fee will be charged as a percentage of the rental price + VAT and is collected on a monthly basis from the tenants rent paid.
4. Who will conduct viewings on my property and when will they occur?
Sandra Davidson Estate Agents will accompany all viewings.
5. Do I need to be present for viewings?
Sandra Davidson Estate Agents will be present for all viewings, leaving it your choice entirely.
6. Will I receive feedback following viewings?
Absolutely, frequent communication is essential, we will regularly contact you to provide the latest feedback from viewings and discuss offers.
7. Can you find me a tenant quickly?
We will always endeavour to introduce a tenant as soon as possible, but it is important that we help maximise the value of offers received.
8. Should I take my property off the market once I have accepted an offer?
Generally we recommend that once an offer is accepted and a holding deposit paid by a prospective tenant, the property is taken off the market to allow the tenant the opportunity to proceed with passing references. Sandra Davidson Estate Agents will proactively monitor progress and advise if the property needs to be remarketed.
9. How does the Tenancy Agreement work?
An Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST) is usually drawn up for an initial six or twelve month period. If the fixed term is not renewed the terms of the tenancy will continue on a periodic basis which allows both parties a flexible end date. Unless otherwise agreed, the landlord can give two months notice and the tenant one month. We ask you to read the contract carefully and are happy to answer any questions you may have.
At Sandra Davidson Estate Agents we will prepare and ask both landlord and tenant to sign the contract with our electronic Echosign account or a hardcopy and these will be exchanged with both parties.
10. Why is it beneficial for Landlords and Tenants to use an ARLA Licensed Agent like Sandra Davidson Estate Agents?
The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) is committed to providing the highest standards for the letting and management industry. Member agents must demonstrate they have the skill, care and competence within the industry and are qualified in Landlord and Tenant Law.
Furthermore ARLA members have to adhere to the Client Money Protection Scheme and Professional Indemnity Insurance, therefore clients money will always be protected.
11. How much is the deposit?
The amount of deposit required is normally a minimum of one month’s rent, or an amount mutually agreed between landlord and tenant and must be paid in cleared funds prior to the day of move in. The deposit amount will be stated within the AST.
12. Who holds the deposit?
Sandra Davidson Estate Agents registers all deposits with The Deposit Protection Service (DPS). At the end of the tenancy any dilapidations are agreed between the tenant and Sandra Davidson Estate Agents and funds released to the tenant or landlord in accordance with the terms and conditions of the DPS.
13. Is a record of the condition and contents taken?
Yes, Sandra Davidson Estate Agents will carry out a full inventory report, which will itemise the condition of the property including the furniture, fixtures and fittings which remain at the property. We provide a formal report with photo’s and detailed descriptions, which is sent to the landlord and tenant.
The inventory is re-checked at the end of your tenancy and can determine the balance of the deposit being returned to the landlord and tenant.
14. Who pays the gas, electric, water and council tax bills?
The tenant is responsible to pay all bills such as gas, electric, water and council tax. Following a tenant moving into a property, Sandra Davidson Estate Agents will carry out the account changeovers and provide meter readings
15. Do I need insurance?
It is the responsibility of the landlord to provide buildings insurance, even if the property is unfurnished, which includes accidental damage. It is also advisable that the landlord includes insurance for carpets and curtains. The tenant would be responsible for insuring their contents.
16. How does the EPC rating affect the property being rented?
A good energy rating is becoming more important for Buy to Let investors and tenants when choosing a property. An EPC is required by law and will include a recommendation report which will list improvements to increase the rating. Legislative changes due from 2018, will restrict properties being rented which have a rating of E or below.
17. What is the difference between damp and condensation?
Most damp problems we come across are caused by condensation, although some is caused by leaking pipes, water ingress or rising damp. Condensation occurs mainly during cold weather where a property is not ventilated or heated sufficiently. The mould grows on walls and furniture and does not leave a tidemark and can be removed with a fungicidal wash. It can be easily managed by ensuring the tenants are providing sufficient ventilation to the property.
18. What is classed as an emergency repair?
A burst pipe, serious electrical fault, gas leak or no form of heating in. Sandra Davidson Estate Agents have a dedicated out of hours emergency team, which help manage any emergency repairs which may arise, providing 24 hour response.
19. How long does it take to receive my rent once paid by the tenant?
Provided all paperwork has been signed, you will receive your rent within 1 working day each month.
20. What does referencing involve?
Tenants applying to rent a property through Sandra Davidson Estate Agents need to pass strict checks and provide details of their employer and income, their previous address, bank account details and right to rent checks. These will be carried out by Sandra Davidson Estate Agents to ensure the tenants able to commit to monthly rental payments agreed.
21. What if there are problems with my tenant’s reference?
Whilst Sandra Davidson Estate Agents vets all tenants prior to arranging viewings, in some circumstances, a tenant may not be approved immediately via referencing. Obvious examples are students without a regular income, or someone leaving their family home for the first time with no renting history. There are still options for tenants in this position, they could pay the rent for the full term up front, or seek out a guarantor, with the landlords consent.
22. What is a guarantor?
If a tenant is not fully approved by the referencing process, they can ask a guarantor to support them. A guarantor must pass strict reference checks and will agree to take joint responsibility for the rent for the property if the tenant fails to pay.
23. What is a periodic inspection?
If you instruct Sandra Davidson Estate Agents to manage your property and tenants, regular scheduled visits will take place at the property, and condition reports emailed to the landlord. This ensures that the property is being looked after and maintained in a good condition, and highlights any maintenance issues.
24. Who is responsible for repairs?
The tenant is responsible for looking after the property to ensure it is in a good state of repair, which will be checked during periodic inspections. However, from time to time certain issues may arise which require the landlords attention.
At Sandra Davidson Estate Agents, every maintenance issue is reported to the landlord, quotes provided for repairs and upon receiving landlords instructions to proceed a contractor is instructed, keeping landlords in control of their property.
25. Can Tenants decorate or make changes to the property?
In most cases, a tenant can only decorate or make changes to the property with the express permission of the landlord. At Sandra Davidson Estate Agents the request and permission would be issued in writing.