Looking to let your property in Bristol?
What to expect as a landlord with SWR…
The process of letting your property in Bristol couldn’t be easier than through SWR. Here is what to expect as a landlord…
1) The first step is to call us for a no obligation chat about your situation, your property and your goals and expectations. We can give you advice on all aspects of renting, and can book you in for a free valuation or provide you with a brochure describing our services in more detail.
2) At the valuation, we can talk in further depth about the rental value and any suggested improvements that may be required prior to rental including any work required to comply with any industry specific laws or legislation. We can talk through your individual requirements and answer any questions you may have. We recommend you talk to other agents to get a feel for the type of agency you would like to place your business with – each agent can work very differently to the next. Our landlord services in Bristol cover our family based ethos and we are not target or profit driven – customer service is at the heart of what we do – and we are passionate about doing our jobs well.
3) If you decide to proceed with our landlord services here in Bristol, we will confirm your choice of package and send you a terms of business. We will then arrange to visit again to take marketing photos if the property is ready to market. If not, we can work with you using your own or our contractors to carry out any work needed. We can take a set of keys to be logged into our secure system if we need to meet to give access for various jobs.
4) An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) will be required for marketing purposes so this will be carried out if necessary.
5) When marketing commences, an advert will be added to online portals, our own website, social media and if you consent, a flag board placed at a prominent location to catch passing trade. We will also attempt to match tenants from our existing database. The property details will also be shared with local high street estate agents as they regularly have walk-in clients in search of properties.
6) Viewings will commence, which are always attended by a member of the team. When a tenant is located, you will advised of their circumstances in the form of a completed application form (number of occupants, children, pets, employment status, length of tenancy required) for your acceptance prior to us taking a holding deposit. Please note: During the Covid-19 crisis there are changes to the way we carry out viewings.
7) After your acceptance each tenant will be separately referenced. This includes a check of their credit score, their employment details, character references and conversing with their previous landlord. Although thorough checks are made, please be mindful that references are not foolproof as personal circumstances often change – so we always recommend you have a contingency fund so you are prepared in the case of any issues.
8) As per the requirements of the Immigration Act, each tenant (or permitted occupier) must present their original identification documents in person prior to a tenancy agreement being signed. Depending on the type of document, we may carry out ongoing checks throughout the tenancy to comply with the law.
9) On the completion of referencing and after your final acceptance, a tenancy document will be provided to the tenants for signature via an electronic signature platform, alongside relevant paperwork required by law. One months’ rent in advance and five weeks rent as a security deposit (if applicable) will be collected prior to the day of check in. The deposit will be registered with a secure tenancy deposit scheme as required by law if included in your package.
10) Prior to the day of check in the required safety testing will be carried out. Testing includes fixed wire testing, gas, portable appliance, furniture, CO/Smoke alarm, smoke bomb or Legionnaires’ disease risk assessment.
11) A professional third party inventory is strongly recommended and would be carried out prior to the day of check in, similar to the safety testing. Carpet cleaning and domestic cleaning can also be arranged if necessary.
12) To check in, the tenants will be asked to meet one of our property managers at the property. They will be given all the relevant paperwork, shown how to use the heating systems and appliances and advised of any quirks in the property, prior to being provided their keys. A smoke/CO alarm check and minor Legionnaires’ disease check will be carried out in the presence of the tenant, but the ongoing responsibility for both then transfers to the tenant for the duration of the tenancy, and this is included in the tenancy agreement. We feel strongly that an “in person” check in is important to set up the tenancy and get it off to a good start.
13) There is often a small “snagging list” from the check in which can be dealt with swiftly and easily using our own contractors or your own.
13) After the tenants have moved into the property, the property is then looked after by our property management team, unless you have chosen the Bronze package: if so, at this point we hand the management of the property back to you. On all other packages, you will receive a monthly statement and associated invoices along with your payment of rental funds – this will come via method you have chosen, along with a copy sent to any other relevant party as necessary (joint landlord, accountant).
14) On an annual basis, the required safety testing, routine maintenance and boiler servicing will be carried out, and charged to your monthly statement.
15) A property inspection with full photographic report will be carried out every four months (the first is carried out after three). These are useful not only to ensure the tenant is keeping the property in a suitable fashion, but also keeps track of any maintenance issues, as well as ensuring your ongoing compliance with the Immigration Act and the HHSRS/Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act.
16) Any incoming or reactive maintenance will be dealt with in the way you have specified, including any issues out of hours though an emergency maintenance line provided to tenants.
17) Two months prior to the end of the fixed term, you will be contacted to confirm you are happy for the tenants to remain in the property. If so, the tenants will be offered their options (another fixed term, or remaining on a periodic “rolling” basis) and new contracts negotiated and administered if appropriate.
18) The rent will be reviewed on an annual basis or at your request and increased with the relevant notice if appropriate. All our tenancy agreements now transfer to a Contractual Periodic Tenancy (rather than the most common “Statutory” Periodic Tenancy) at the end of their fixed term as this reduces liability for the landlord with regards to council tax of empty properties, unless of course the tenant requests otherwise.
19) If you are not resident in the UK. we can advise you on the government non-resident landlord (NRL) scheme and administer this for you on a quarterly basis if necessary.
20) Any issues that develop with with tenants including, but not limited to, the service of eviction notices, abandonment procedures and tenancy surrenders, rental arrears, anti-social behaviour and damage to property can be dealt with on your behalf. If you decide to take your tenant to court, we will help and advise you, however court attendance is chargeable and we would recommend instead that you employ a solicitor to represent you.
21) At the end of tenancy the tenants will be checked out of the property by a property manager. This involves checking the current condition of the property against the original inventory, transferring utilities and dealing with relevant legal paperwork as well as preparing the property for a void period, if applicable.
22) Any differences of opinion relating to the return of the deposit are negotiated, and if no agreement can be reached will be referred to tenancy deposit arbitration, a free service provided by the government deposit protection schemes. Administering the dispute on your behalf is charged at an hourly rate.
23) We cannot be held accountable if the tenancy deposit scheme does not find in your favour, however we will make every effort to give you the best chance possible of a positive outcome.
24) We will manage the property for you during the tenancy. During the void periods, we offer a care-taking service to ensure the property remains safe and secure at all times.
This is an outline on what to expect and our processes included within our landlord services in Bristol. Contact us today to discuss your property.