An Estate Agent You Can Trust
When choosing an agent you should carefully consider all aspects of the company with whom you entrust the letting or management of your property. Is it a well-established agent with a proven track record in whom you can have confidence to protect your interests, maintain your compliance with obligations and statutory requirements? Can you expect prompt payment of rents, apply strict credit control and have confidence that your agent will handle your affairs in a professional manner? All these factors should be taken into account before making that important decision and you would be well advised to check whether the fees advertised are accurately represented and an agent does not have hidden charges contained in the small print of an agreement.
Crowstone Estates are a specialist agency whose main interest is rental property. With many years of expertise in the rental market we offer a professional and consistently reliable service to landlords. Having built a solid and dependable reputation since 1993, much of our continued growth and success has been as a direct result of recommendation.
Our aim is to manage your property efficiently with particular emphasis on statutory legal requirements, obligations and good practice. For further information and advice on your legal requirements please click here
Whether you are a landlord or considering purchasing residential property as an investment in the future, we can offer professional advice on all aspects of renting, including current rental levels, legal requirements and assistance in maximizing property potential thus appealing to a wider market and higher calibre tenants.
We screen prospective tenants thoroughly through an independent professional referencing agency checking credit status, employment and current landlord details and do not place tenants without the landlord’s final approval.
Our Letting Service includes advertising, taking of deposits, professional referencing, preparation of tenancy agreement and affiliated documentation. Crowstone Estates Ltd can protect your deposit conditional on the preparation of an ingoing inventory by us; charges are available on request. There will be no extra charge for deposit protection.
Our Management Service includes all of the above plus deposit protection, monthly rent collection with strict credit controls, prompt payments and statements to landlords, property maintenance management with comprehensive ingoing inventories and final checkouts. With our network of experienced and qualified trade professionals we can organize safety checks, servicing and installation of appliances to safeguard your compliance with legal requirements and obligations.
Fees are available on request with preferential rates for multiple landlords with three or more properties
If you would like to discuss our range of services or seek advice on your rental property, please contact us on 01702 333555 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Crowstone Estates Ltd has been established since 1993 and is a member of the United Kingdom Association of Letting Agents
It is necessary for all properties to be assessed for energy efficiency and an energy performance certificate (EPC) to be issued for every property prior to a new tenancy commencing on or after 1st October 2008. Details of this legislation, the practical application and the components of the EPC can be obtained by viewing www.energysavingtrust.org.uk. The energy assessor will also indicate how the property can be improved but, at present, the comment will be purely recommendation and not obligatory. The certification will remain valid for a period of up to 10 years and will need to be reassessed accordingly. Unless a landlord specifies that he wishes to arrange the assessment we will organize the assessment on his behalf but new tenancies cannot commence without an Energy Performance Certificate
Landlords must comply with the law and recommended practices to ensure their tenants’ safety. To clarify your responsibilities we suggest visiting www.landlordzone.co.uk/regulations.html
Electrical safety should be given serious consideration. At present, there is no legal requirement for electrical safety checks to be performed but there are recommendations of good practice. For your information, we recommend logging on to www.landlordzone.co.uk/electrical_safety.html
To comply with your obligations, we strongly recommend a full electrical safety check is carried out by a suitably qualified electrician in accordance with the regulations to protect both the landlord and the tenant. As a result, an electrical safety certificate will be produced which can be held on file as evidence of your compliance and this should be repeated every 5 years. We further advise that a visual inspection and safety check on fixed appliances (i.e. electric oven) is carried out at regular intervals during the interim period, which will also be recorded for both the landlord’s and tenant’s protection.
Please note that any check may result in recommendations or obligatory modification of electrical installation or appliances.
We would further advise that copies of operating and safety instructions for all equipment in your premises should be retained at the property. If you do not have these you can generally download copies from the manufacturers.
For all rented property to comply with statutory law a landlord must:
Organise an annual gas safety check on all installation and gas appliances including boilers and flues with a suitably qualified plumber and retain records for a minimum of 2 years
A copy of the gas safety certificate must to be given to a tenant within 28 days of the check being carried out and all new tenants must be given a copy of a valid certificate
Our management agreement gives the landlord the option of electing us to make arrangements for gas safety checks and servicing, or undertaking the organization himself.
Annual gas safety checks have been a statutory requirement for many years now but, after consultation and investigation, we now recommend annual servicing of gas appliances (specifically boilers) as essential maintenance to qualify as good landlord practice. Although no legislation exists at present, it is likely that, as a result of any legal recourse by a tenant against a landlord for damages due to malfunction of such an appliance, a court would request sight of the service history. If this could not be provided, it may prove to have severe consequences for that landlord. For your enlightenment, we suggest you visit www.hse.gov.uk/gas and www.gassaferegister.co.uk thus enabling you to make an informed choice as to whether you wish to arrange such servicing. We recommend adopting the practice of servicing together with the annual gas check, as this would be the most cost-effective solution.
We would like to draw your attention to the fire safety assessment guidelines. A private landlord is not legally required to provide a fire safety certificate but there is a code of good practice with which you should be acquainted.
Since June 1992 all new residential properties are required to have mains interlinking smoke alarms on each floor. At present there are no statutory regulations for properties constructed prior to this date but to comply with the code of ‘good practice’ we therefore recommend that a battery-operated smoke alarm is installed on each floor of your rental property. If you choose to follow our advice, we can arrange for this to be carried out. Our standard tenancy agreement has a clause to protect our landlords, provided the device is fitted, and a further clause to prohibit smoking in the property and communal areas inside the building.
It is also a landlord’s responsibility to check with their freeholder that adequate measures have been taken to comply with the safety guidelines in common areas and written confirmation should be supplied to your managing agent for their records. Information to support our recommendation can be located on www.assuredfiresafety.co.uk
We can organize all safety checks, servicing and installation of smoke alarms, etc. by suitably qualified personnel – prices are available on request
Whether or not we are instructed to arrange any safety checks, please note that the landlord maintains overall responsibility for all safety procedures duties
The Tenant Deposit Protection legislation was introduced on 6th April 2007 and has proved to be efficient and successful. In essence, a landlord has a statutory obligation to protect a tenant’s deposit at the start of a tenancy. On termination of that tenancy the landlord and tenant have to agree on any deduction for damages, etc. within a specified time scale; if mutual agreement cannot be reached, the appropriate body of independent arbitration needs to deal with the amount in dispute and their decision is final and must be accepted by both parties. Although this is a rare occurrence should the need to seek arbitration arise, Crowstone Estates could act for the landlord but would require a fee which is available on request. More detailed information can be obtained by viewing www.tenantdepositscheme.co.uk
Although seldom the case, should the need arise to take legal action to repossess a property, Crowstone Estates will issue the necessary papers to the tenant and lawyer but the landlord will be responsible for all resulting court costs and legal fees.
As a result of new money laundering laws introduced in October 2007, lawyers will need certain personal papers before acting on your behalf with any legal application.
Buildings insurance is the responsibility of the landlord. This should cover the property and any outbuildings. It is important your choice of cover is appropriate for rental property as standard insurance policies may be inadequate. As an Introducer for HomeLet we are able to provide information on insurance specifically designed for landlords if you require.
If a standard rather than ‘buy to let’ mortgage is held on the property, you need to contact your mortgage company and seek permission to let before taking any action to rent the property. Ignoring this advice could have serious consequences such as repossession of the property and eviction of the tenants. It is extremely unlikely that the lender will refuse such permission in most cases but it is essential that you ask for this. If you are a leaseholder you should also approach your freeholder.
If you reside in a country other than the United Kingdom you should appoint an accountant or solicitor to act on your behalf for taxation purposes. Should you not instruct such a person then Crowstone Estates, as your managing agent, are duty-bound to deduct income tax at the basic rate from the incoming rent as specified in the UK Taxes Management Act 1970. You may be entitled to reclaim part or all of such deducted tax from the Inland Revenue.
A Non Resident Landlord number can be obtained from the Inland Revenue to avoid this deduction. Agents’ fees and other management costs qualify as tax deductible from rental income.
We recommend that you seek advice from the accountant or solicitor instructed to act on your behalf or, alternatively, contact your local tax office.