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How quickly can you find a tenant?

For a property coming freshly onto the market, we would recommend a 8 week window for advertising. If the property is being re-let, we would start our marketing at the earliest opportunity. We regularly find tenants to take over the property with little or no void period. Often we can find a tenant before the property becomes available through our existing database of applicants.

How do you estimate a rental value?

By using our extensive knowledge of the area and looking at both historical data along with studying the current market and comparables in the area.

How often do you visit the tenants and the property?

Routine visits take place every 4 months, followed by a report to the landlord (managed properties only).

What happens about maintenance?

In a managed property SP&M undertakes all maintenance and pays bills up to £200. Over that amount, the work will be agreed in discussion with the landlord.

What happens if a bill is incurred which is more than the rent?

SP&M will ask the landlord to send us a cheque to cover the cost.

What happens about safety checks on the property?

SP&M ensures that the following are kept up to date:

  • Gas safety inspection. This is completed annually.
  • Electrical safety inspection. This is completed every five years.
  • Energy Performance Certificate – This is completed every 10 years.
  • Electrical Portable Appliance Test – This is completed every time a tenant changes.
  • Legionella risk assessment.
  • Checking of Fire and Carbon Monoxide alarms.

How will I receive rent?

By BACS payment within 7 days of SP&M receiving it.

Does the tenant pay a deposit?

The tenant pays a deposit of the equivalent of one and a half month's rent and it is registered with The Dispute Service. If there are pets, this may be increased to two month’s rent.

What happens if the rent is not paid?

In the event of non-payment, SP&M do everything to chase the rent, we are also able to provide a rent protection scheme through our referencing agency.

Do I have to pay tax on the rent?

Yes, rent is grossed up on to your existing income and taxed in whatever bracket it puts you into. However you are able to offset certain expenses.

How is tax assessed?

It is the landlord's responsibility to declare the income on a self-assessment tax return at the end of each financial year and pay the calculated tax by 31 January the following year.

I will be working overseas. How does that affect my position?

You will be classified as an overseas landlord and will need to complete NRL1 forms to register your status with the inland revenue in order to get authorization to receive your rent gross with no tax deducted at source.

What about my mortgage company?

You need their permission to let the house. We ask to see a copy of this letter.

What about my insurance company?

You need their authorization to let and if they do not agree, you need to find another company who will insure a rented property. SP&M can advise.

How am I covered?

SP&M staff are trained and qualified in legal aspects of letting. We will ensure that the tenancy agreement is drawn up in line with current legislation.

What is my obligation to SP&M?

We ask you to sign a management agreement with us, mutually agreeing terms and conditions. Please ask us for a copy of this.

Do tenants sign an agreement?

We draw up the appropriate agreement, usually for a minimum 6 months. For the majority of lets, this is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy. However, there are certain circumstances where a Non-Housing Act Tenancy may be required.

What happens if the tenants damage the house?

A full independent inventory is taken at the beginning of the tenancy and signed by the tenants confirming that it is correct. When they move out, the house is checked against the inventory and any damage is agreed with the tenants and charged to the deposit. The inventory and check in is paid by the Landlord and the check out is paid by the tenant.

What happens if there is an accident, fire of flood?

SP&M deals with all problems as they arise and if necessary liaises with insurance companies with the permission of the landlord.

What happens with utility bills?

SP&M reads the meters at the start and end of any tenancy, informs the relevant companies and ensures that bills are sent to the correct addresses. It is the landlord's responsibility to finalise the telephone bill.

What about the garden?

Not all tenants are good gardeners but are required to cut the grass and weed the flower beds under the terms of the tenancy agreement. If your garden is very large we recommend that you employ a gardener at least twice a year to cut hedges and prune shrubs.