Laing Bennett offers a comprehensive Letting and Property Management service to take the hassle out of letting your property.
Are you looking for help with finding a suitable tenant? Perhaps you want the piece of mind and convenience of a comprehensive round-the-clock letting and property management service that takes care of everything? Whatever level of support you need, we can provide the service that is right for you.
Laing Bennett offers Landlords a choice of 4 levels of service. The options you choose will depend how hands-on you want to be, the level of risk you are prepared to accept, and the time and energy you have available to manage your property investment and tenancy.
Perfect for Landlords who have the time and experience to manage their own investment but want the reassurance and convenience of a professional marketing and tenant referencing service.
Ideal for Landlords who want to manage the tenancy themselves but want to ensure all the paperwork (Tenancy Agreement, Inventory and statement of condition) is completed professionally.
This option is for Landlords who have limited time, or are travelling/living overseas, and want to outsource the entire day-to-day management and upkeep of their property investment to a professional property management agent.
Fully Managed Plus
Perfect for Landlords who want all the benefits of our Managed Service but with the added advantage of Rent Protection Insurance.
We understand that becoming a Landlord can be a daunting experience. Please take a look through this section for a step-by-step guide to what‘s involved in letting a property.
We have included information on your legal obligations and practical matters as well as an overview of all services we offer.
So whether you are thinking of letting your property for the first time or you‘re an experienced Landlord looking for a new Letting Agent service, please get in touch to discuss your requirements.
We offer an independent assessment of your property by one of our trained and experienced members of staff. This is free of charge and with absolutely no obligation.
We will visit the property and advise you of any work required to meet regulatory requirements.
We will also offer advice on any other actions you need to take before you let the property including the necessary reports or refurbishments.
It‘s important that you set a rent that is competitive, fair and achievable. Using our extensive knowledge of the local rental market, we will assess how much your property could rent for in the current climate. Our appraisal will also take into consideration the location, size, standard and condition of the property.
During our appraisal we will be happy to discuss the lettings process with you and answer your questions. If you are a first time Landlord you will have plenty of opportunity to find out more about what is involved in letting a residential property.
Effective advertising and marketing
At Laing Bennett we use the latest technology and proven marketing techniques to advertise our rental properties.
We use these major property websites OnTheMarket.com and rightmove.co.uk
Our own website www.laingbennett.co.uk is responsive which means it automatically optimises the display to work and look good on smartphones. This gives your rental property the highest possible online exposure, whichever device your potential tenant uses.
Our online marketing strategy includes social media through our Facebook page and Twitter account and we supplement this with printed press advertising, email marketing and our distinctive To Let boards.
Once instructed, one of the first things we do is to match a property with our list of waiting Tenants and send them your property particulars by email.
Securing the most suitable Tenant
As a Landlord, you need peace of mind that the right Tenants will be living in your property. All potential Tenants on our rental database are pre-qualified by us before we carry out viewings to ensure they are suitable.
All property viewings are accompanied and conducted by a fully trained member of our team and we provide prompt and honest feedback. We will keep you up-to-date on progress and will let you know as soon as someone applies to rent your property.
We take up Tenant references and credit checks on your behalf using a specialist referencing agency. This vetting process is a critical step in securing a reliable Tenant for you.
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
All properties for rent must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) before any marketing or viewings can take place. An EPC rates energy efficiency, its environmental impact and is valid for ten years for rental properties. A copy of the EPC must be made available to the Tenant before entering into a tenancy agreement. If you do not have an EPC for your property, Laing Bennett can arrange this for you.
Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, Landlords have a legal obligation to make sure all gas pipework, appliances, fittings and flues are safe to use and maintained in a safe condition. Every gas appliance and flue must be tested for gas safety every 12 months. A Gas Safety record must be provided to existing tenants within 28 days of the annual safety check, or to new tenants before they move in, and you must keep copies yourself for two years. All installations, maintenance and safety checks must be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer. We can arrange this for you.
Furniture and Furnishings (Fire)(Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 2010
Upholstered furniture and soft furnishing supplied in a rented property must comply with current regulations. This includes, but not limited too, bed frames, mattresses, headboards, sofa beds, pillows, cushions, seat pads and any garden furniture that may be used indoors. Items which comply will have a suitable permanent label attached. All non-compliant items must be removed before a tenant moves in.
Landlords are required to ensure that the electrical installation in a rented property is safe when tenants move in and maintained in a safe condition. Although not a legal requirement, it is strongly recommended that you have the property inspected and tested by a registered electrician every 5 years and arrange Portable Appliance Testing (PAT test) once a year to ensure electrical appliances are safe and fit for purpose.
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
From October 2015 new regulations require Landlords to install smoke alarms on every floor of their rental property and test them at the start of every tenancy, and to install carbon monoxide alarms in high risk rooms such as those where a solid fuel heating system is installed.
Changes to legislation in October 2015 means that landlords are now responsible for carrying out a Legionella Risk Assessment prior to the start of all new Tenancies.
Consent to let
If your property is mortgaged, you must obtain written consent to let from your mortgage lender. If it is leasehold, your lease may require written consent from your landlord before you can sub-let.
Landlords are required by law to take out buildings insurance for rental properties. We advise our clients to also consider contents insurance and polices to cover rent guarantee and legal expenses.
Moving Your Tenant In
This is a legally binding agreement, setting out the rights and obligations of both Landlord and Tenant. Residential property is let on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) for an initial fixed term of 6 or 12 months. We will prepare all the paperwork and draw up a comprehensive legal document for signing.
Inventory/Schedule of Condition
All inventories produced for Laing Bennett clients are undertaken by an independent professional company and contain a full written description of the property, its contents and schedule of condition inside and out including the wall, flooring and all fixtures and furnishings accompanied with photographic evidence. This provides a crucial legal reference should any discrepancy or claim arise against a tenant‘s deposit at the end of the tenancy.
Utilities & Council Tax
Usually, it is the tenant‘s responsibility to pay utility bills and council tax. We organise meter readings and notify the suppliers of water rates, gas, electricity and council tax, of the meter readings and change of address.
A deposit is paid by the tenant at the start of a tenancy to safeguard against damage. Since April 2007, all new Assured Shorthold Tenancies must be registered with a government-backed tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme within 30 days of receipt of the deposit. If you are using our Tenant Find Service you need to make sure that you register with one of the three schemes available.
Landlords should be aware that there are significant penalties for failing to comply with deposit protection requirements and must ensure that a Prescribed Information Sheet is issued when registering a deposit.
As part of our Let Only and Fully Managed services we collect a deposit from the tenant which is equal to six weeks rent. Laing Bennett is registered with the Deposit Protection Service (DPS) which means your tenant‘s deposit will be held by them for the duration of the tenancy. We will register the deposit on your behalf and liaise with their dispute service should the need arise at the end of a tenancy. We will also provide your tenant with the name and contact details of the TDP scheme and its dispute resolution service, which is a legal requirement.
You should provide at least one set of keys for each tenant. If you are using our Fully Managed services, we will also require a full set which will be kept at our office for emergency situations and will be coded for security purposes.
Laing Bennett offers a rent collection service as part of our Fully Managed Services. We collect rent monthly unless the Tenancy Agreement specifies otherwise. Occasionally, Tenants may experience financial difficulties and we will chase any late payments.We will notify you at the earliest opportunity of any rent arrears. You can protect against loss of rental income with an insurance policy; which is part our our Fully Managed Plus service.
We process our rental accounts using a system called PayProp. This is a bank-integrated platform that allows us to speed up payments to our Landlords. Providing your Tenant has paid, you will be paid via bank transfer (net our fees and any disbursements, bills and income tax if appropriate) the next morning as we receive the rent together with an income and expenditure statement.
As a Landlord, you are responsible for assessing your own tax for rent received. Below is some basic guidance on taxation matters relevant to Landlords; however, we would always recommend you seek independent financial advice from an accountant on tax matters.
Rental income is liable to tax, although a number of expenditure items can be offset against rental profit. You would also need to pay Class 2 National Insurance if the work you do counts as running a property business.
Under the Non-resident Landlord (NRL) Schemes, your lettings agent will need to deduct tax from rental income and pay the tax directly to HM Revenue & Customs. If you choose not to use a lettings agent to collect rent, then your tenant will be legally responsible for collecting and paying the tax to HMRC. Alternatively, Landlords living overseas can apply for approval to receive rental income with no tax deducted. Full details of the NRL Scheme are available from HMRC.
Visits, maintenance and repairs
The practicalities of being a Landlord can be very time-consuming. With our Management Service we take care of all the day-to-day management and upkeep of your rental property so you don‘t need to worry about it.
We will carry out regular routine property visits – at a mutually convenient time agreed with the tenant. This will involve visual inspections, assessing any wear and tear and organising maintenance and compliance checks. If we identify any problems we will advise you and if required can arrange for repairs and any work to be carried out on the property and settle the costs from the rent received. We have a network of approved contractors we can call on to deal with routine repairs or emergencies at competitive rates.
Tenancy renewal, reviews and notices
We will handle all tenancy renewals, including rent reviews for you. If you decide to increase the rent we will issue the relevant notice informing your tenant. If you wish to end a tenancy, we will serve notice to your tenant in line with legal processes and timing requirements and manage all the end of tenancy administration.
End of tenancy check and deposit returns
At the end of the tenancy the Landlord should ensure the property is in a good, clean condition before the tenant checks out, take back the keys and formally take possession of the property.
Assuming there are no issues, all paperwork is completed, utility companies notified and you have a forwarding address for the tenant, the Landlord should return the tenant‘s deposit. This is all included as part of our Let Only and Fully Managed services.
Propertymark launched in February 2017 combining five different associations into a single brand.
The five associations (ARLA, NAEA, NAVA, ICBA and APIP) were dedicated to promoting the highest industry standards for over 50 years.
The Property Industry is not Regulated
We voluntarily became a Propertymark Protected agent to demonstrate transparency and ensure that we are at the forefront of developments in the industry. Estate agents, letting agents as well as auctioneers who display the ‘Propertymark Protected’ logo are actively ensuring maximum protection for their clients.
What Makes Propertymark Agents Different?
- Backed by a Client Money Protection (CMP) scheme
- Experienced and trained professionals who are required to undertake regular training
- They are members of a Government approved independent redress scheme *
- Kept up to date with complex legislative changes and best practice
- Submit independently audited financial accounts to Propertymark
- Adhere to a nationally recognised Code of Practice
- Hold professional indemnity insurance
The Property Ombudsman
All Letting agents are required to register with an Estate Agent Redress Scheme which investigates complaints.
The Property Ombudsman (TPO) is the scheme that Laing Bennett is registered with.
In addition to this registration we have also agreed to follow their Code of Practice and are required to provide additional consumer protection that goes beyond that required by the law