Lettings & HomeLink Services: The True One-Stop Shop
• Tenant Find
• Full Management
• Rent Guarantee
• Energy Performance Certs
• Gas Safety Certs
• Electrical Safety Checks
• Buy-To-Let Mortgages
• Landlord Insurance
FREE ADVICE & RENTAL ASSESSMENT
A member of our experienced team will visit your property to advise on rental value and discuss the type of letting recommended to suit your individual circumstances. We will give advice on whether you should let furnished or unfurnished, the type of tenancy agreement, landlords regulations and responsibilities, and the many more questions you are sure to have. We can even give guidance on how to fit-out your property cost effectively and recommend tradesmen if required. If you haven’t made your purchase yet and need some advice prior to making the commitment we will be happy to discuss your options including finding the right mortgage for you if required.
FURNISHED OR UNFURNISHED?
If you are unsure whether to let your property furnished or unfurnished we can advise on the pros and cons of each. If the property is to be let unfurnished, it is preferable to supply curtains, carpets and white goods. If being let furnished, when you are deciding what furniture and equipment to leave or supply, it is a good idea to place yourself in the shoes of the future tenant and give consideration to what you yourself would require. The furnishings and equipment form part of the letting for which the tenant is paying so everything should be serviceable and functional. It is advisable to provide instructions for such things as white goods and the heating system. The functionality of all items is the responsibility of the owner unless it is established that there has been carelessness or misuse by the tenant. It is advisable to remove delicate or irreplaceable objects before the property is let.
THE HOMELINK SERVICES
We provide two principal services, our Full Management Service, and our Tenant Find Service. If you don’t want the daily hassle of managing your investment then the Full Management Service is for you. If you want to take advantage of our marketing to quickly find a new tenant, but are quite happy to handle the daily management, then Tenant Find is the service you seek.
If you want the pure simplicity of knowing you have a guaranteed rental figure coming in every month, whether or not the property is vacant, or the tenant is in rent arrears, then we can offer a Rent Guarantee service on selective properties.
FINDING A SUITABLE TENANT
We will market your property on our own website and Rightmove.co.uk plus others, erect a ‘To Let’ board, add to our office displays, property list, and search our extensive mailing list, carry out viewings, and then take up references for your approval. Vetting of the prospective tenant is so important and where most private landlords fall foul, leading to future problems. We will conduct credit scoring, employers references, previous landlord references and use our experience to gauge the suitability of the applicant for the property.
For fully managed properties a detailed inventory and schedule of condition will be prepared, a tenancy agreement prepared (all tenants are required to sign a Short Assured Tenancy Agreement under the provisions of the Housing Act 1988 for a minimum fixed term of six months), collection of rent (payable monthly in advance), and collection of deposit (normally equivalent to one months rent). The tenant will be checked in and we will notify the appropriate authorities re transfer of utilities.
Tenants are responsible for their own supply of gas and electricity, and council tax whilst occupying the property. Phone lines should be disconnected and should the tenant wish to re-connect they are responsible for the charges involved.
Payable monthly in advance by the tenant and upon receipt we will transfer to your nominated bank account for fully managed clients. A statement of account will be forwarded to you. If you decide to allow DSS tenants rent is generally paid one month in arrears.
Periodic inspections are carried out to ensure all is being kept in order.
Landlords are responsible for the management of the property during vacant periods including any use of services and council tax. If the property is unfurnished it may be possible to gain an exemption from Council Tax for this period. During the winter months it is advisable to ensure the property is adequately heated to avoid damage such as burst pipes.
You must ensure that your property and its contents are adequately insured. Consult your existing insurer, but you may need to make changes to your policy. Your insurers must be told that you are renting the property. HomeLink can obtain quotes and arrange Landlords insurance cover on your behalf. Permission should be obtained from your mortgage lender (if applicable).
Tax liability is assessed on the net income you derive from the investment. There may also be Capital Gains Tax on the future sale. It is advisable to consult an accountant on these matters.
It is a legal requirement for all private landlords letting properties in Scotland to have applied for registration in the Register of Landlords. Registration is meant to ensure that all private landlords in Scotland are 'fit and proper' to be letting residential property. Registration is simple and should be done online at www.landlordregistrationscotland.gov.uk.
LANDLORDS LEGAL PROTECTION
We recommend that you arrange a comprehensive landlord’s legal protection policy to ensure your peace of mind. HomeLink can obtain quotes and arrange on your behalf. This can often be incorporated into you buildings and contents policy at minimal cost.
It is the Landlords responsibility to ensure that the property meets regulations and HomeLink can assist with arrangement of the required certificates.
• The Furniture & Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988
• The Furniture & Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 1993
• The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994
• The Low Voltage Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1989
• Electric Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994
• The Building Regulations 1991 – (Smoke Alarms)
• Energy Performance of Buildings (Scotland) Regulations 2008
• Part 8 of the Anti-Social Behaviour (Scotland) Act 2004 – Landlord Registration
• Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 – Repairing Standard
LANDLORDS GUIDE TO REGULATIONS
This guide explains the implications and requirements of the various legislation that is currently applied to residential let property. It is for guidance purposes only and is not an authoritative statement of the law. You are advised to contact the appropriate authorities direct should you require further clarification.
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 1993
The above regulations were amended in 1993 and have set new levels of fire resistance for domestic upholstered furniture and furnishings. It is now an offence to ‘supply’ in the course of a business any furniture that does not comply with the regulations. This includes supplying furniture as part of a residential let property. The regulations apply to sofas, beds, bed heads, children’s furniture, garden furniture suitable for use in a dwelling, scatter cushions and pillows, stretch or loose covers for furniture and other similar items. The regulations do not apply to curtains, carpets, bedclothes (including duvets) and mattress covers.
Noted below is a summary of the implications of the above regulations and should be read in conjunction with the official guide from the DTI.
• All property let for the first time since 1 March 1993 must contain furniture that complies with the new regulations.
• Property let prior to 1 March 1993 may continue to be let with the same non-complying furniture until 31 December 1996 – whether or not the same tenant is in occupation.
• Any additional or replacement furniture supplied since 1 March 1993 must comply with the regulations.
• All furniture manufactured before 1 January 1950 is not covered by the regulations, as defective inflammable materials were not used prior to that date.
Any furniture manufactured after March 1990 is likely to comply but if the appropriate labels are not on the furniture, compliance is in doubt and checks should be made with the manufacturer.
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994
These regulations came into effect on 31 October 1994 to ensure that all gas appliances are properly installed and maintained in a safe condition so as to avoid the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning. As from 31 October 1994 it became law for all ‘Gas Appliances’ and ‘Gas Installation Pipework’ in rented property to be checked and serviced annually by British Gas or a member of the Council for Registered Gas Installers (C.O.R.G.I.) and that accurate records are kept of these safety inspections and any work carried out. These records must be made available on request for inspection by any tenant. Copies of all records must be submitted to HomeLink as your agent.
‘Gas Appliances’ includes any fitted gas appliance, for example
• Central heating systems
• Gas heaters
• Gas fires
• Gas water heaters
• Gas cookers
‘Gas Installation Pipework’ includes gas pipework valves, regulators and meters.
The Low Voltage Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1989
Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994
These regulations impose an obligation on the Landlord to ensure that all electrical appliances left as part of a let property are tested for earthing, insulation and leakages. Cabling, fuses and plugs should also be inspected and replaced where necessary to the correct rating for that particular appliance. Other legislation covering electrical installations is currently in force and in order to avoid prosecution we recommend that all electrical appliances in let property are regularly checked and serviced. Landlords must consider the following action prior to letting:
• Check all electrical appliances for defects (eg. frayed wiring, badly fitted plugs, etc.)
• Remove unsafe electric items
• Have appliances checked by a qualified electrical engineer.
• Ensure that instruction booklets are available at the property for all appliances and that any necessary safety warnings are given to tenants.
The Building Regulations 1991 – Smoke Alarms
The 1991 Building Regulations require that all properties built since 1992 must be fitted with mains operated interlinked smoke detectors/alarms on each floor. Such regulations regarding older properties do not exist but we strongly recommend that smoke alarms are fitted in all let properties and are regularly checked to ensure that they are in full working order. The alarms should be strategically placed in the property with a minimum of one on each floor.
Energy Performance of Buildings (Scotland) Regulations 2008
Under the regulations, a prospective tenant is entitled to be supplied with an EPC as soon as they request information about a property. The new regulations designate every local authority as an enforcement authority. The EPC, unlike a Gas Safety Certificate which is an annual check, will have a shelf life of 10 years.
Part 8 of the Anti-Social Behaviour (Scotland) Act 2004 – Landlord Registration
From 30th April 2006, it is a legal requirement for all private landlords letting properties in Scotland to have applied for registration in the Register of Landlords. Registration is meant to ensure that all private landlords in Scotland are 'fit and proper' to be letting residential property. You must register with each local authority area in which you let property.
Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 – Repairing Standard
The Repairing Standard places more strict regulation on landlords to ensure that the property is in reasonable repair and proper working order. The Private Rented Housing Panel has been established where aggrieved tenants can take complaints and they can force Landlords to make any repairs required.
Failure to comply with regulations may jeopardise the life of a Tenant and lead to prosecution with penalties of up to six months imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £5000. Faulty equipment can lead to death and a conviction of unlawful killing for a landlord.
The following checklist will assist you when preparing your property for let. It is a basic guide only, but it is advisable not to over-furnish.
Carpets/floor coverings, curtains/blinds, white goods
All Rooms: carpets/floor coverings, curtains/blinds
Lounge: three piece suite or equivalent, coffee table
Kitchen: White goods, dinner set, glasses, cutlery, cooking utensils, pots, frying pan, kettle, teapot, chopping board
Bedroom: Bed with bedding, wardrobe, chest of drawers/bedside table
Other: Vacuum cleaner, iron and ironing board, dining furniture (if applicable), gardening tools (if applicable).
All gas appliances must be serviced annually and certified safe by a CORGI Registered tradesman. All soft furnishings must conform to the Furniture Furnishing (Fire & Safety) Regulations Act 1988. The Landlord has a duty of care to ensure that all electrical items are safe.
Make sure your insurance is specific to Landlords and Lettings.
Legal Protection insurance can generally be included and is well worth the small additional expense.
An Energy Performance Certificate is required prior to marketing the property.
If you would like to discuss any of our services please call us on 01698 264422 or email email@example.com
HomeLink offices are located at 100 Merry Street, Motherwell, and 22 Main Street, Coatbridge.
HomeLink are Estate Agents, Letting Agents and Mortgage Advisors.
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"Every month HomeLink are on time with statements and payment, sorting out work is easy and painless. Given a comparison between yourselves and the other agents I have used you are head and shoulders above the rest.”
"Since contracting the services of HomeLink I have had had a very positive experience. I find the staff very responsive, helpful and feel we are a team. I can have confidence that my property is being properly managed and my return on investment maximised"
"We have no hesitation in recommending HomeLink as a letting agent. Our experiences with HomeLink have been consistently positive, with staff being friendly, helpful and professional. We have been reassured by the experience and knowledge of HomeLink in the letting market, an important factor in managing your investment".