We have a database of major companies, re-location agents and military contacts. These are regularly circularised and contacted with new instructions. We operate a mailing list for any other applicants who are looking on their own behalf and individual details emailed or posted as required. We use local press and do, of course, have details of our properties available in both of our offices (in Chorleywood and Amersham) for any applicants making personal visits. Our state-of-the-art website is continuously updated on a live basis and all properties are also advertised through the Rightmove portal.
We can offer a range of services for Landlords
To market your property and find a suitable tenant. We advertise your property in our local offices, in local publications and on the internet – conduct viewings – negotiate terms – take out references – prepare the Tenancy Agreement – collect initial monies – arrange for an independent Inventory Clerk to prepare an Inventory and check the tenant in. The fee of 12% (including VAT) of the annual rent is payable in advance upon completion of the letting and an additional fee of 6% (including VAT) is payable in respect of any renewal or extension of the tenancy beyond the first year. Please note these fees may be negotiable at the point of instruction.
As “Find Tenant” but in addition continue to collect rent and account to you on a monthly basis. The fee of 15% (including VAT) is deducted from rent collected on a monthly basis. Please note this fee may be negotiable at the point of instruction.
As “Collect Rent” but also to be responsible for the property throughout the course of the instruction, including maintenance, repairs, and routine inspections. For the avoidance of doubt all management is dealt with in-house and is never outsourced. The fee of 18% (including VAT) is deducted from rent collected on a monthly basis. Please note this fee may be negotiable at the point of instruction.
Finding a Tenant
Choice of Tenant & References
We make every effort to find the most suitable tenants for your property. Once we have identified a suitable potential tenant, you may, or may not, wish to meet them before reaching a decision.
Deposits & Dilapidations
In normal circumstances we will obtain a security deposit from the tenant prior to the tenancy commencing. This now is now limited to the equivalent of five weeks rent, if the annual rent does not exceed £50,000 or six weeks for rents over £50,000. It will be held for the duration of the tenancy against any future claims for dilapidations or unpaid bills. Binks (Sales & Lettings) Ltd, as an agency, is registered with the Custodial Scheme run by the Deposit Protection Service (the DPS).
It is highly recommended, for the protection of your property, that you have a detailed Inventory of the Contents and a Schedule of Condition prepared by a suitably experienced Inventory Clerk.
It is imperative that the house is handed over to the tenant in clean and tidy order at the commencement of the tenancy. Since standards vary from one person to another, we recommend employing a professional firm of cleaners to deal with this on your behalf.
Maintenance & Repairs
Before letting your property, it is essential to ensure that it is in good repair. All machines and appliances should be in good working order. During the course of a tenancy, the Landlord is responsible for all repairs to the property and contents, except for any damage caused by the tenant’s neglect or misuse. Any necessary maintenance should therefore be carried out promptly, both to comply with contractual and statutory obligations, and to maintain the capital value of the property.
If we act as your Managing Agents, we will arrange for Contractors to carry out any necessary repairs, the cost of which is then deducted from the Landlord’s rental income.
It is a legal requirement for a landlord to provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) when renting out a self-contained residential property in the UK. This must be prepared by a qualified person and must be in place before the property is marketed. Any property with and efficiency rating below E cannot be rented out.
The law governing residential lettings in the UK has gone through (and continues to go through) very substantial change over the course of the last decade. There is now a plethora of statutes and regulations that cover this sector, and it is vital that these are fully adhered to and not just perceived as “Red Tape”. Failure to comply fully can leave a landlord at risk of being liable for very heavy fines or even being unable to regain possession of their property and the end of a tenancy.
Some of the most important regulations currently in force are set out below and any landlord should make themselves familiar with them. They should also be aware that new regulations are added to the statute book on a regular basis.
Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998
Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020:
Fire Regulations and Precautions
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 1993
The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales)
This list is by no means inclusive and we, as your managing agent, can (and will) provide further information and answer any questions that you may have.
Where a property is occupied, the tenant is liable for this tax which is based on the value of the property and assumes two adults per household. If the property is vacant, there can be a residual liability on the Property Owner.
It is essential that meter readings are taken and that all accounts for utilities including gas water and electricity and are transferred into the tenant’s name at the start of the tenancy. At the end of the tenancy meter readings should be taken and the bills should be transferred back into the Landlord’s name unless new tenants are ready to move in. A forwarding address must be obtained from the tenant and supplied with the meter readings to the services above so that final bills can be sent directly to the tenant. Provided that an independent Inventory Clerk is appointed to carry out the Check-In and Check-Out, meter readings and forwarding addresses are taken by the Clerk and noted on the relevant reports.
All other outgoings in respect of the property including service charges, road charges, etc. are the responsibility of the Landlord.
If necessary, you should seek the approval of the Freeholder before proceeding with letting any leasehold property. Some head leases will impose conditions relating to the occupancy of the property. We should be made aware of these prior to the drafting of any Tenancy Agreement as it may be necessary to incorporate these in our documentation.
If your property is mortgaged, your building society or bank may well require you to seek their approval before renting the property. In some cases, this can result in a reassessment of the repayments. Mortgagees often also require a fee and copy of the Tenancy Agreement.
The Landlord must maintain the insurance of the property and, as far as possible, of the contents belonging to him, and must inform the insurance company that he intends to let. It is recommended that all items of considerable or sentimental value should be removed
Your rental profit is liable for tax at the same rate as any other income received, whether or not you are resident in the United Kingdom.
If you are resident in the UK when declaring this income to the Inland Revenue you may make an application to have any allowances taken into account against the tax liability, e.g., agent’s fees, costs of necessary repairs etc. For this purpose, it is advisable that you retain receipts for any expenditure. We do not deal with clients’ tax affairs and should you require advice on the tax liability arising from rental income we can recommend a firm of accountants.
If you are resident abroad for more than six months in the year it will be necessary for you to apply to the Inland Revenue’s Financial Intermediaries and Claims Office (FICO) for approval to receive your rental income with no tax deducted. Provided that your tax affairs in the U.K. are up to date, such approval should normally be a formality. Once it has been obtained then the rent can be paid to you on a gross basis. You will still be obliged to make your annual returns to the Inland Revenue and, as such, we strongly recommend that you employ an Accountant or Tax Advisor to agree your assessment each year.
If such approval is not forthcoming, then it is mandatory for the Managing Agent (or whoever collects the rent in the UK) to deduct tax at the standard rate at source and to make quarterly returns to the Inland Revenue. In these circumstances we reserve the right to make additional charges to the Landlord to cover the administrative costs of making these returns. If no Managing Agent is instructed and payments are made directly to you, then the tenant will be obliged to make such deduction before the rent is forwarded.
We use a standard form of Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement that has been drafted by the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA). This has been specifically designed to comply with the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations, UTCCR, issued by the Office of Fair Trading in May 2001. It ensures that the contract is fair to both parties but also provides maximum security for the Landlord.
Tenancies are usually granted for an initial term of one year, sometimes with a break clause. Upon the expiry of the term, the tenancy will automatically become a “Statutory Periodic Tenancy” unless it is formally renewed or has been determined by service of a notice under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. Towards the end of the contractual term, we will liaise with both the Landlord and Tenant to negotiate terms for any continuation of occupation by the Tenant. Unless we are specifically instructed to do so, we do not, as a matter of course, serve a Section 21 Notice. Should the Landlord require possession of the property at the end of term certain, we must be instructed to serve notice. This notice will need to be served at least two months in advance of the expiry date.