News & views from Urban Sales and Lettings

Maintenance Inspections

Category: Blog
Posted by: Administrator on 20 February 2013
Comments: 0

For the majority of landlords their properties are their most valuable investments, as such most landlords want to keep an eye on how their tenants are treating the property through regular scheduled maintenance inspections. These inspections allow landlords to see the condition of the property and to catch minor repair issues before they turn into major ones!

Some tenants dislike maintenance inspections but they must allow them to take place as long as the landlord or managing agent will be conducting the visit and they have been given written notice in good time, twenty four hours at the very least. Landlords can help relations by arranging maintenance inspections at sensible periods, monthly may be considered excessive whereas bi-annually may not be often enough! The majority of landlords conduct inspections every three months  which is deemed reasonable by most tenants. If ongoing repair work is being carried out these visits may increase but must always be agreed to by the tenant.

If at all possible it is best to have both the tenant and landlord present at the inspection which may mean rescheduling to a convienient time for both. This way the tenant can point out any maintenance issues they are experiencing which landlords may miss.

Refusal to allow a maintenance inspection will put the tenant in breach of contract and may be grounds for the landlord to serve a section twenty one notice. However, in this situation the landlord is not able to enter the property without the permission of the tenant, doing so will be considered trespassing and possibly harassment.

When conducting a maintenance inspection keep the following in mind:

  • Are the terms of the contract being met with regards to pets, smoking etc?
  • Look out for interior issues such as damp, mould, and leaks
  • Asses exterior issues paying attention to guttering, roof tiles and drains
  • Is the garden slowly turning into a jungle? General maintenance should be of a reasonable level so check that the property is being generally well kept.

It is advisable to write to the tenants after the visit to outline any works that need to be carried out and to schedule the next visit.

 

Marketing Images

Category: Blog
Posted by: Administrator on 19 February 2013
Comments: 0

With the rise in property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla for many buyers viewing the marketing online is their first impression, this means your images are more important than ever in getting potential buyers round your property.

If you instruct an online estate agent you can normally choose to provide your own photographs or pay an additional fee for a professional to do the job. Many vendors see this as an area to save but it is often a false economy. If your budget can accommodate professional photography services it really does make a difference; if not do your best to make your own images as attractive as possible. The camera you use is key so don’t be tempted to take your images via your mobile phone! Use a good quality camera and consider angles and lighting, it’s worth taking various shots of each room so that you can go through an editing process at the end to choose the images that show your property off to it’s best advantage.

Whether you opt for a DIY approach or not ensure you have a good selection of images to work with; a mixture of exterior and interior shots not forgetting any outside space the property may have are the essential but close ups of features like period fireplaces are becoming increasingly popular. Before you start considering some more arty shots be sure your property is looking its best before any images are actually taken. Deal with all those little DIY jobs you have been meaning to do, cut the grass and hide the ugly wheelie bin from view. Keep in mind that lots of clutter sends out a warning to would be buyers that the storage space in the property may not be adequate so clear the decks for the photographs even if it means your cupboards are full to bursting!

Be critical of your images, if you saw them online would they entice you to view? Little things can make a big difference; an image of a nice bathroom may not appear so appealing when the bath edge is covered with potions and lotions and the cleaning supplies are on view next to the toilet. Once you have been over your images with your most critical eye get the camera out again if needed to make sure when your marketing first appears online your images draw potential buyers in to view.

Written by Sarah Male, Urban Sales and Lettings

 

Landlords and TV licences

Category: Blog
Posted by: Administrator on 8 February 2013
Comments: 0

Landlords are often not sure what their responsibilities are when it comes to TV licences for their rental properties. Does the landlord pay? Or is it all down to the tenant?  In a nut shell if as the landlord you provide the TV at the rented property you are responsible for ensuring the TV has a licence. If the tenant has their own TV they must deal with the TV licence personally.

 

However, as is usually the case there are exceptions to every rule! Take a good look at your tenancy agreement;  it may state that although the landlord has provided the TV the tenant is in fact responsible for obtaining the licence. The majority of tenancy agreements will not go into such detail, there may be a clause regarding utilities in general but if as a landlord you want your tenants to deal with the TV licence for a TV you have provided you need to ensure this is very clearly stated.

 

On the issue of who is responsible for the TV licence in a rental property TV Licencing state:

 

“You need to make sure that the property is covered by a valid TV Licence if you have provided a means for your tenants to watch or record television programmes as they're being shown on TV. This includes the use of devices such as a TV, computer, mobile phone, games console, digital box or DVD/VHS recorder. The TV Licence is your responsibility if you installed the TV, unless the tenancy agreement specifies that it’s the tenants’ responsibility. It costs £145.50 for colour and £49.00 for a black and white TV Licence.”

 

Things become a little more complicated with HMO property and lodgers depending on tenancy agreements and communal area access. In order to avoid costly fines if you are in any doubt as to who is responsible for the purchase of the licence or how many TV licences are required for all tenants to be covered contact TV Licencing.

 

Written by Sarah Male, Urban Sales and Lettings

Previous Tenants Post

Category: Blog
Posted by: Administrator on 31 January 2013
Comments: 0

It is not uncommon for landlords to get post addressed to past tenants, it can be time consuming and costly to send on the mail if you have been provided with a forwarding address, if no address has been given what should the landlord or next tenant do with the post?

Royal Mail operates a postal redirection service for a small fee, tenants should be encouraged to arrange this service before they vacate as the best method of ensuring they receive post at their new property without any delays.

Although the landlord or the next tenant may forward on post when a forwarding address is left it is unreasonable for tenants to expect this to be done over a prolonged period of time. With this in mind make it clear to your tenants the time frame you will be happy to deal with their post for, whilst they update their address details.

Landlords or new tenants should never open or destroy post not addressed to them, instead write “return to sender” or “not known at this address” on the envelope and re-post allowing Royal Mail to deal with the situation.

 Written by Sarah Male, Urban Sales and Lettings

Conducting your own viewings

Category: Blog
Posted by: Administrator on 24 January 2013
Comments: 0

We sell and let property online using all the major portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla for as little as £59.95+VAT with 0%  commission. Every single customer benefits from our industry qualified staff on hand 7 days a week for advice and help. The only difference with our estate agency service is you need to conduct your own viewings. So here's our tips to help you out! If you would rather talk to us though please call for free on 0800 68 999 55 or email info@urbansalesandlettings.co.uk for a bit of no obligation free advice from the experts!

Whether your property is on the market for sale or to let you know it best and are therefore well placed to show it to potential buyers or tenants. Follow our tips below to make the most of conducting your own viewings.

Prior to your viewing ensure the property is looking its best. A clean, well aired, presentable property will always make a good impression and we all know that first impressions count!

When your viewers arrive at the property give them a friendly and professional welcome. Be sure you have planned the route of your tour beforehand and know the major points you wish to get across. Practice really does make perfect so try out the tour before you actually conduct a viewing, this will help you appear professional when you host your first viewing. Beginning the tour downstairs with the most attractive room is often a good starting point, leave internal doors open if possible to create a feeling of space and to allow the tour to flow smoothly. No matter which room you are showing allow your viewers to enter first, this will help with the perception of size. Encourage your buyer to ask questions and be sure to point out positive features as you show the property. It can be tempting to talk the whole way through the viewing but try to keep to the point and allow your viewer space to ask their own questions.

Whenever possible conduct your viewings in daylight hours, this is a sensible safety precaution and will also show the property off to its best advantage. Talking of safety, it is always recommended that you have someone else in the property with you whilst the viewing is taking place.

Viewings are normally far shorter than you might expect, ten minutes is about average. It is normally a positive sign if your viewing takes longer and lots of questions are being asked. If you feel the viewing is going well don’t be afraid of asking a few questions yourself! You may want to know more about your viewer’s position for example and it’s perfectly acceptable for you to enquire.

Before the viewing ends ensure the viewer is aware what their next step should be if they wish to re-visit or make an offer. Do they contact you directly, or call your agent? Make it clear to avoid any possible confusion. 48 hours after your viewing has taken place call the viewer to see if they have any feedback for you. This may seem unnecessary but feedback is always helpful even if it’s negative! Should you feel uncomfortable making follow up calls contact your agent who will be happy to make them for you.

Written by Sarah Male, Urban Sales and Lettings