Why having a managing agent on board to let your property could save you both time, money and hassle

managing agent

Whether you are a seasoned landlord or new to the letting business, the most important and time-consuming part of renting out your property will begin when your tenant moves in. There will be financial and legal aspects with regards to the tenancy to be managed and with any property there will be the inevitable ongoing maintenance and repair issues that must be dealt with.

As a full-service Managing Agent, the team at Paul Carr Lettings provide landlords with a full range of services to help make the process of letting out a property as hassle free and easy as possible.

We Will Deal Directly with Your Tenant to Resolve any Maintenance Issues

For the rental properties that we manage, we provide the first point of contact for tenants which means that as a landlord you won’t have to be available 24/7 to respond to any issues that your tenant may have, we’ll do it for you.

So, when the heating won’t come on, or there’s a leaking tap, tenants know to contact us directly, either through our Online 24/7 Repair Reporting facility or by calling us. In many instances we can resolve issues by providing advice and guidance, or even through directing them to look at the help videos we have covering a wide range of subjects that tenants can resolve themselves such as how to restart a boiler. This avoids incurring the potential unnecessary expense of a contractor call-out for what is really a simple matter to rectify.

When a problem can’t be so easily rectified, or it’s something that really does need sorting out quickly, we will contact one of our trusted network of tradespeople and organise for them to undertake any necessary repair work. In many cases we won’t even have to bother before we resolve an issue, where we have an agreement in place authorising us to be able to instruct work to be carried out on your behalf up to a certain value.

Handling Difficult Situations and Conversations

As a Managing Agent we will also have the difficult conversations with your tenant that you might not want to have. For example, if your tenant is having problems paying their rent or isn’t paying on time, we will speak directly with them and agree a resolution to ensure your rent is paid as quickly as possible. 

We will inspect our property regularly allowing us to discuss any concerns we have about how they are looking after your property. Landlords who self-manage often neglect inspecting their property resulting in very difficult conversations when their tenant leaves.  

Where there are joint tenants, we can deal with tenancy issues that can arise due to a change in their personal circumstances such as a relationship breakdown.  Such events need dedicated and careful handling to minimise the potential impact on you and your rental property.

Keeping on top of Legislation

Currently there are over 170 separate pieces of legislation that landlords are required by law to comply with to ensure that they are letting their property both fairly and safely. And with new legislation being implemented all the time this can be daunting for even the most experienced landlord.

The Paul Car Lettings Team have the experience and knowledge to provide you with all the guidance that you need and when legislation changes, we’ll let you know how this will affect you and what needs to be done to stay compliant and keep your property investment and your interests safe. 

Get in touch with the Paul Carr Residential Lettings Team

Paul Carr Residential Lettings experts are here to help your experience as a landlord, run as smoothly as possible – every step of the way. Our range of services includes;

  • Carrying out a market appraisal for your property, advising on any work that needs to be carried out and providing a realistic and achievable rental figure.
  • Marketing your property to potential tenants.
  • Sourcing reliable tenants for the property and undertaking reference and credit checks.
  • Carrying out accompanied viewing with potential tenants
  • Providing you with up to date information and advice on the latest health and safety regulations.
  • Preparing the tenancy agreement with detailed written & photographic inventory.
  • Managing ongoing rental payments.
  • Providing the first point of contacts for your tenants and managing and arranging any necessary repairs from our trusted network of tradespeople.
  • Undertaking periodic inspections of your rental property and feeding back any relevant information to you.
  • Re-marketing your property when tenants decide to move on.

To find out more how we can help you to let your property, find the right tenant and fulfil your management obligations as a landlord give our team a call today on 0121 726 9417.

What do you do when your tenant can’t pay their rent?

tenant can't pay

If you are currently considering the possibility of becoming a landlord for the first time, or you may already be renting out a property – one of the real issues that you may be faced with is that your tenant is unable to pay their rent. And for you, this will then mean loss of income and the possibility of legal costs.

How we can help

The Paul Carr Residential Lettings Team already let and manage over 1,000 properties in the North Birmingham area with rental charges ranging from £400 pcm to £3,000 pcm. One of the many benefits of having our Lettings Team manage your rental property on your behalf, is that we have a team of experts who can help in situations like this.

With over 30 years’ experience in the local property market, we have a dedicated team who are highly knowledgeable in all aspects of letting properties and managing tenancies and the issues which may arise – including the non-payment of rent. We have procedures in place to try and avoid such a situation happening in the first place, but if it does, we will provide the support needed to ensure a quick resolution. We also have a dedicated protection policy available to ensure you continue to receive your rent and cover for all your legal expenses.  

Finding the right tenant for you

To help you find the right tenant for your property from the outset, we ensure that for every prospective tenant that we obtain up to three references – a credit reference, an employer reference and where appropriate a current landlord reference. Our reference provider will also check their database for any past failed rent payments and they will do a CIFAS check of the national fraud database.  When a tenancy agreement is arranged, we ask for the first month’s rent up front and a security deposit in excess of one month’s rent to be paid.

Tenants are also asked to set up a standing order to ensure future monthly payments are made and that rent arrives with us on the due date.

How to resolve the none payment of rent

Unfortunately, sometimes a landlord will face the situation where a tenant can’t pay the rent and therefore falls into rent arrears. This is where we can help you. As a full service, value added agency we have experts on hand who can discuss options for serving notice on your tenant in addition to the cover under our protection policy for unpaid rent and any legal costs which may arise to secure legal possession including tenant eviction.

Our Rent Recovery Plus Policy provides cover for 100% of the value of monthly rent payments for up to six months. And of up to £50,000 legal expenses are included in the policy to cover eviction costs if a tenant is in breach of their agreement. And if tenants change, the policy continues to give you peace of mind.

Get in touch with the Paul Carr Residential Lettings Team

Paul Carr Residential Lettings experts are here to help your experience as a landlord, run as smoothly as possible – every step of the way.

To find out more how we can help you to let your property, find the right tenant and fulfil your obligations as a landlord give our team a call today on 0121 726 9417.

Thinking of Becoming a Landlord? Here’s What You Need to Know

First time landlords holding keys

Thinking of becoming a landlord? 

You may be considering purchasing a property on a buy to let basis for the sole purpose of renting it out, or planning to move and don’t need to sell your current home, or you may even have inherited a property. Whatever your situation, becoming a landlord for the first time is a big decision which alongside the financial benefits, brings with it certain important obligations that you need to be aware of.

How we can help 

The Paul Carr Residential Lettings Team are here to help you on every step of your journey to becoming a landlord. Our team has a wealth of experience of the local lettings market and we already let and manage over 1,000 properties in the North Birmingham area. Our aim is to make your role as a landlord as stress and hassle free as possible and we are here to help you navigate the complexities that can be involved. 

Getting the right rental income for your property

We understand that you want to achieve the maximum amount that you can for your property while still making it an affordable price to attract a tenant. Our team have an expert knowledge of the local lettings market and we’ll carry out a full market appraisal of your property to ensure we can advise you of what is a realistic and achievable rental price for your property. If you are just at the stage of thinking about what and where to buy, we can help you with that too.  

Making sure that your property is both legal and safe to rent

There’s over a hundred rules and regulations that you will need to comply with, to ensure that your property is being rented out both legally and safely. And with legislation continually changing it is important that you know what your responsibilities are. Our team have the experience and knowledge to provide you with all of the guidance that you need and we will ensure you receive practical advice at every stage, from before your property goes on the market, right through to managing the tenancy and looking after your interests on an ongoing basis.

Legislation that you need to comply with

There are essential inspections that have to be carried out in order to let your property, including certifications for energy performance (EPC), gas and electric safety. The EPC needs to be ordered before your property can be marketed, while the Gas Safety inspection is required every 12 months and the Periodic Electrical Safety inspection every 5 years. We have dedicated and trusted contractors who are able to carry these checks out for you quickly to ensure there are no delays getting a tenant into your property. 

When renting out a property you need to have dedicated landlord’s insurance rather than just householder’s insurance in place to protect you. We have a strong relationship with HomeLet who though their insurance arm Barbon can arrange for the appropriate cover for your property, as well as protection against unpaid rent and the payment of legal expenses, if required.

Finding the right tenant for your property

One of the most important parts of being a landlord is finding the right tenant for your property. As soon as your property is ready to let, we will market it via the appropriate marketing channels including On The Market, Rightmove and the Paul Carr website, through our branch and our tenant matching system and by erecting a ‘to let’ sign. 

Our Team will then carry out accompanied viewings on your behalf with prospective tenants, who we insist can only submit an application to rent your property once they have actually seen it and we have actually met them. For every prospective tenant we will obtain up to three references – a credit reference, an employer reference and where appropriate a current landlord reference. We also ask our referencing service provider to make additional checks such as a CIFAS check of the national fraud database, and their own database which would highlight past failed rent payments.  We carry out these checks to help minimise the risk of rent arrears and other problems.

Declaring Income

It is important to be aware that any income that you receive from renting out your property must be declared and may be subject to taxation. We would recommend that you seek professional advice from a financial advisor or accountant who will guide you on the steps that you need to take based on your personal circumstances.   

Ongoing Commitment

Being a landlord doesn’t just stop when you have a tenant in your property. There will be inevitable issues that a landlord has responsibility for sorting out, such as any repairs or dealing with broken down appliances or boilers. Our team is here to support you and your tenant through our online 24/7 repair reporting facility.   As a matter of courtesy, we will always contact you then instruct one of our trusted contractors to undertake any work that needs carrying out.

Remarketing your Property

And when your tenant decides it’s the right time for them to move on, we can deal with all of that too. We’ll reassess the market rent and guide you on any work needed to ensure your property remains attractive to the tenants allowing us to find you the best tenant for your property.  We’ll also handle everything to conclude the current tenancy making detailed checks to the property, dealing with the paperwork and contacting service providers.

Get in touch with the Paul Carr Residential Lettings Team

Paul Carr Residential Lettings experts are here to help you every step of the way in becoming a landlord.

To find out more give our team a call today on 0121 726 9417.

Are you ready for the minimum energy efficiency standards for rented properties?

The new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) are being introduced next year and if you are a buy-to-let investor, you may be required to take action.

Over the last year or so, many experts have put out tips and reminders encouraging all landlords to take measures to ensure that their properties will comply with MEES.

The changes come into force from 1st April 2018 and at that point, it will be illegal to let or lease a residential or commercial property with a poor energy rating.

Buy-to-let landlords should now be addressing these upcoming changes to ensure that, depending on the volume of potential work necessary, the deadline to meet compliance with the regulations is met.

After the April deadline, properties that do not meet the minimum standards cannot be re-let until improvements are made. If the property is re-let, potential penalty fines of £5,000 for a domestic property and £150,000 for a non-domestic property could be levied.

The MEES were introduced with the aim of improving the energy efficiency of private rented properties. All buildings, domestic and non-domestic, in England and Wales are required to achieve at least an E rating on their Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) under the MEES scheme. This needs to be in place before they can be leased or rented.

If any improvement works have already been completed but they took place after the original EPC was issued, the property may already be up to the new standard required.

The government will be publishing detailed guidelines in October to clarify the new rules and the obligations of agents, landlords and others. This is expected to include news on a possible cap on improvements – an initial figure of £5,000 has been discussed, but not yet confirmed.

The rule applies to new tenancies and renewals only, but will be extended to existing tenancies by 2020. The Residential Landlords Association says it has now confirmed that listed buildings will be exempt, on condition that landlords have done as much as they are permitted to, to make them energy efficient.

Paul Carr Residential Lettings are working closely with our current, and future, landlords and we are busy advising them, if necessary, on the steps to take to ensure that they are compliant.

If you are currently a landlord, or are looking to rent your property, contact our Lettings Hub and find out all about our with you every step of the way service.

Know your gas safety responsibilities and protect your tenants

The Gas Safe Register have produced the following guide about landlords responsibilities for the safety of their tenants.

As a landlord you should be aware that you are responsible for the safety of your tenants. Your legal duties apply to a wide range of accommodation occupied under a lease or licence, including (but not limited to):

  • Residential premises provided for rent by local authorities, housing associations, private sector landlords, co-operatives, hostels.
  • Rooms, let in bed-sit accommodation, private households, bed and breakfast accommodation and hotels.
  • Rented holiday accommodation such as chalets, cottages, flats, caravans and narrow boats on inland waterways.The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 outline the duties of landlords to ensure gas appliances, fittings and chimneys/flues provided for tenants are safe.

Your responsibilities
If you let a property equipped with gas appliances, you have three main responsibilities:

  1. Maintenance: pipework, appliances and chimney/flues need to be maintained safely. Gas appliances should be serviced in accordance with the frequency given in the manufacturer’s instructions. If these are not available, you should ask a Gas Safe registered engineer to service them annually.
  2. Gas safety checks: An annual gas safety check should be carried out on each gas appliance/flue. This will ensure gas appliances and fittings are safe to use. There is a legal requirement on you to have all gas appliances safety checked by a registered engineer annually and you also need to maintain gas pipework and flues in a safe condition. This is UK law.
  3. Record: A record of the annual gas safety check should be provided to your existing tenants within 28 days of completion, or to new tenants upon the start of their tenancy. If the rental period is less than 28 days at a time you may display a copy of the record in a prominent position within the dwelling. You’ll need to keep copies of the record for at least 2 years.

    Additional info:
    If a tenant has their own gas appliance that you have not provided, you are responsible only for the maintenance of the gas pipework – not the appliance itself. It’s also a good idea to ensure that your tenants know where/how to turn the gas off and what to do in the event of a gas emergency. Last, but certainly not least, make sure anyone carrying out gas work on your property is Gas Safe registered – this is not only the law, but the most important step to ensuring the safety of your tenants.
    Any issues?
    Some landlord/tenant relationships can become problematic, and tenants may refuse to give you access to the property. If this is the case, you should have a previously drawn up agreement with the tenant allowing you access to the property to ensure any maintenance or safety work is carried out. You’ll have to take (and demonstrate that you have taken) all reasonable steps to ensure the work is carried out – this can involve giving a tenant notice. If a tenant does refuse access, be sure to keep a record of any action taken as you may need this at a later date. The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations do not give powers to force disconnection of the gas supply in these circumstances and you may need to seek legal advice.

Are you on Instagram? Check this out.

If you love property as much as we love property, you are going to want to check this out.

Our Exclusive & Rural Homes team have their own Instagram feed.

They are sharing beautiful, inspirational images of interiors, exteriors and much, much more.

Instagram is the home of visual storytelling so what better way for our Exclusive & Rural team to show off some of their favourite images, their personal design inspirations and more.

Exclusive & Rural Homes is a premier branded service tailor made for homes valued in the region of £600,000 or more and those properties set in village and rural locations in all price ranges such as cottages, converted barns, equestrian properties, halls, farms, etc.

Exclusive & Rural Homes is headed by Director Mark Bentley FNAEA who has over 40 years’ experience in the property market. He is President Elect of the NAEA and will take over the Presidency in 2018.

The Exclusive & Rural Homes approach means going above and beyond, in both service and marketing, giving you the best opportunity to sell your home for its maximum value.

You can contact the ERH team on 0121 308 5511.

And, if you are not on Instagram, we suggest you join right now!

Pop over and give them some double-taps. We can’t be held responsible for the amount of time you may then lose looking and interacting with our feed!

Government spells out fire responsibilities of private rental sector

A minister at the Department of Communities and Local Government has set out the government’s position in terms of the fire-related responsibilities within the private rental sector.

Junior minister Marcus Jones, answering written questions this week, said:

All homes should be of a reasonable standard and all tenants should have a safe place to live.

“Under the Landlord and Tennant Act 1985, landlords have a general obligation to ensure that they keep in repair the structure and exterior of any property they rent out.

Local authorities have strong and effective powers to deal with poor quality unsafe accommodation and we expect them to use those powers.

“Under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System, local authorities can issue an Improvement Notice or a Hazard Awareness Notice if they find a defect in the property.

In extreme circumstances, the local authority may decide to make repairs themselves, or to prohibit that property from being rented out.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 places a duty on housing providers to undertake a fire risk assessment of the common parts of their properties and to put in place and maintain adequate fire precautions to manage the risk that lives could be lost in a fire. The Order is enforced by fire and rescue authorities.

Other questions and answers relating to fire safety and Grenfell Tower can be found here.

If you have any queries relating to rental properties and the law, please contact our Lettings Hub.

Rise in number of retirees in rented accommodation

According to new research, there has been a large increase in the number of retirees renting homes over the past decade.

The study, conducted by letting agency Countrywide, showed that retirees have paid a total of £3.7bn in rent over the past 12 months, which equates to an increase of 200% when compared to the £1.2bn paid in 2007.

Retired people now account for 8% of all private tenants, which is up from 5.2% ten years ago. This could be attributed in part to changing perceptions and attitudes regarding renting in the older generation.

Further research by Strutt & Parker and Octopus Healthcare showed that one in five baby boomers would consider living in a professionally managed rental property.

Their survey highlighted that there are several reasons as to why the over 65’s want to downsize in their retirement. The top three reasons were requiring more support (34%), lower property maintenance  (33%) and more accessible home with fewer stairs (26%). Other reasons were wanting to live in a smaller property, reducing their outgoings and having a smaller garden.

Problems may arise though as 42% believe there is a lack of suitable properties in the UK to downsize into. Strutt & Parker state that there is clearly a need for a new breed of retirement communities in the UK.

Renting/letting jargon – A-Z

The property world is full of words and expressions that may be unfamiliar to anyone who is not regularly letting or renting a home.

This guide will help to shed light on what they all mean.

Absent Landlord
A landlord described as absent is one who cannot be contacted. If the lessees wish to create a Right To Manage Company but are unable to contact the landlord, they are free to make a legal application to acquire the right to manage.

Administration Fee
A payment which is charged to cover the costs of processing a property rental application. This is paid by the tenant and will be taken from the initial monies once the tenancy starts.

Agreement Fee
A payment which is charged to cover the costs of drawing up a tenancy agreement. This is usually shared between the landlord and tenant.

ARLA Propertymark
The Association of Residential Letting Agents, the UK’s foremost professional body for letting agents.

Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST)
A widely used rental agreement where the tenant is an individual and net rent does not exceed £25,000 a year. It covers a fixed period, so both parties know the date the property will be vacated.

Break Clause
A clause sometimes agreed between the landlord and tenant to be inserted in a fixed term agreement, typically if the initial fixed term is for a year or more. A break clause will usually allow either landlord or tenant to give written notice after a particular date or period of the tenancy in order to end the tenancy earlier than the original fixed term.

Credit Search References
References requested for a tenant applying to take up rented accommodation. Many agents and individual landlords use external companies who will contact the applicant’s employer, landlord and check the tenant’s credit history, providing a report on their financial suitability to rent.

A monetary sum held by the landlord or agent for security against damage to a property or a breach of the tenancy terms. This is usually the equivalent to six weeks’ rent but may vary. If the deposit is for an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST), then it must be protected by one of the approved tenancy deposit protection schemes.

Items that have been damaged during a tenancy. The tenant is usually responsible for the cost of repair or replacement.

The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) shows the energy efficiency and carbon emissions of a property and gives an indication of the fuel bills. It is displayed as two graphs, the energy efficiency and environmental impact of the property. Each is graded from A (the best) to G (the worst).

sale is binding and no terms may be altered.

Fixtures and Fittings
Items usually provided in a letting that may include curtains, carpets, blinds, light fittings, kitchen units and appliances. In some cases it may also include furniture. It is advisable to check what is provided and not to assume that items will be provided.

Gas Safety Record
A certificate that states all gas appliances, pipework and flues are safe. It is a legal requirement for all landlords and must be provided every year by a Gas Safe registered engineer after a safety check.

A list of the contents of a rental property. The inventory will note the condition of items and will form the basis of a dilapidation report at the end of the tenancy. It often includes photographs of specific items and existing damage/defects.

The legal document governing the occupation by the tenant of a premises for a specific length of time. At the end of the period the property reverts to the owner.

Listed Building
Buildings of special architectural or historic interest. A listed building may carry certain obligations and restrictions governing its use, repair, and maintenance.

Maintenance Charge or Service Charge
Many leasehold properties (especially flats) are subject to such a charge which pays for items such as the insurance and maintenance of the building.

A flat with its own private entrance.

Multiple Agent Instructions
Where more than one letting agency firm is instructed by a landlord to offer a property to rent.

The Property Ombudsman
The Property Ombudsman offers a free and independent service for resolving disputes between sales and letting agents, which are members of The Property Ombudsman, and buyers/sellers of residential property in the UK.

Sole Agent
Where only one letting agency firm is instructed by a landlord to offer a property to rent.

Possession of a property by a tenant under the terms of a lease.

Tenancy Agreement
The legal agreement governing the occupation of a property by a tenant.

Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)
An insurance-based scheme run by The Dispute Service Ltd. for the protection of tenancy deposits and the resolution of disputes between landlords, agents and tenants concerning the return of deposits at the end of a tenancy. It is one of three schemes approved for tenancy deposit protection.

The person who has temporary possession of a property under a lease or tenancy agreement.

Tenants not taking out contents insurance?

Shocking figures are released in a recent survey about tenants and their lack of contents insurance.

Recent research has shown that 61% of tenants currently have no contents insurance, with 48% admitting that they have never taken out contents insurance at a property they have lived in during their lives.

The survey further revealed that 19% of tenants questioned said they had no idea what contents insurance was, whilst amongst those who actually did have  a policy, 42% of them did not know what it actually covered or what to do in the event of needing to make a claim.

The figures from the Upad research also showed that 78% of tenants have personal belongings that value more than £1,000, with 22% having belongings  with an aggregate value of over £5,000.

Upad founder James Davis stated:

It is madness that tenants are exposing themselves like this, regardless of whether they are trying to save money or, for some reason, think their landlord’s own insurance will keep them covered in the event of loss or damage to their property.

Tenants are far better served having contents insurance that they don’t need rather than finding out they badly need it at precisely the time when something goes horribly wrong. Remember that, even in a fully furnished property, tenants will still have plenty of their own belongings. If tenants are unsure about their level of cover they should check their insurance policy or with their letting agent or landlord.

During the tenancy application process, Paul Carr Residential Lettings recommend that our prospective tenants take out both contents cover for their personal possessions and also cover for accidental damage to the landlord’s contents (such as carpets).

We can assist our tenants in getting the appropriate cover and will provide a free no-obligation quote.

Further details can be found in our Tenants Guide available on our website.