Services Binks offers:
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.
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 are posted and/or emailed 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 updated daily and all properties are also advertised through the Rightmove portal.
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.
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.
In normal circumstances we will obtain a security deposit (which 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) from the tenant prior to the tenancy commencing. This is 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 imperative that the house is handed over to the tenant in very 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.
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, with the exception of 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 in order to maintain the capital value of the property.
If we act as Managing Agents, we will arrange for workmen to carry out any necessary repairs, the cost of which is then deducted from the Landlord’s rental income.
It is the Landlord's responsibility to ensure that all gas appliances are checked for safety and serviced every year by a Gas Safe registered engineer. That engineer will then issue a Landlords Gas Safety Certificate which will then be valid for one year. In this connection, the Landlord is obliged to provide a copy of the certificate to the tenant prior to the commencement of the tenancy. It is illegal to allow a tenant to take occupation of a property with any gas appliances connected where there is no current Landlords Gas Safety Certificate.
Regulations came into force with effect from 1 January 2005 that relate to the repair, maintenance and renewal or extension of electrical installations within domestic properties. With the exception of very minor works within certain areas of the property, only a “competent person” will be permitted to carry out works to an electrical installation within a domestic property and these works will be known as “notifiable” works. The term “competent person” will mean a qualified electrician who will be obliged to certify, both to the owner and to the Local Authority Building Control department, that the works that he has carried out are safe and fully meet current regulations.
This certification will extend, not only to the actual works themselves, but also to the remainder of the installation within the immediate area of these works. As a consequence, for all properties coming onto the rental market for the first time, it will be necessary to have a full installation check done by a member of NICEIC unless a current certification already exists.
Under The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 1993, a Landlord who is letting a property is responsible for ensuring that the furniture in the property to which the regulations apply, namely all upholstery and upholstered furnishings (i.e. armchairs and mattresses) manufactured since 1 January 1950, comply with the regulations and carry the appropriate fire resistance labels.
In addition, it is a requirement that all new properties should be fitted with smoke detectors. We would strongly recommend that this policy is adopted in all properties that we let and that Landlords install smoke alarms and provide small kitchen fire extinguishers in their property.
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 Landlord.
It is essential that meter readings are taken and that all accounts for utilities including the telephone (if any) 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 will probably 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 before letting.
Your rental profit is liable for tax at the same rate as any other income received, whether you are resident in the United Kingdom or not.
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 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 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 generally 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 is 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 and must be in line with the rent payment date.