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Buy-to-let property consultants



Tenant management:
 
 - Inventory
 - Utility, council tax & other bills
 - Tenant referencing
 - Contract signing & legal paperwork
 - Maintenance
 - Renewal management
 - Rent level management

Inventory

Incoming Inventory

The inventory of the property should be taken at the time the incoming tenants move in. It should record all utility readings. A few guiding principles that may help are:

  • The inventory should be accompanied by many digital photographs. Unlike the photographs used to market the property these photos will not be pretty. They will focus on individual items and are designed to highlight the condition and cleanliness of individual items. So, the inside of ovens, fridges and freezers should be photographed as well as all porcelain in the bathroom. In other words all areas that a likely to be damaged. In addition photos should be taken of individual pieces of furniture and beds. Remember also fixtures such as boilers.
     
  • The opening paragraph of the inventory should note that the photos discussed above have been taken and are available (in digital form) to the incoming tenant on request. The opening paragraph should highlight the general condition of the property. So, for example, if the walls are all 'off white' and were painted at the time of the inventory, say so. Note also the age of carpets and any obvious marks. The comments should be totally honest and realism on certain items adds credibility to the descriptions elsewhere in the report. So, for example, if a chair is old and has no value...say so! If there is a dispute later about a brand new sofa, it looks far more likely the inventory is 'honest'. This is important to the tenancy deposit scheme arbitrator. Remember the majority of arbitration cases are found in favour of the tenant.
     
  • Following the initial paragraph, the inventory should be listed room by room making a note as to the condition of each item.

Once completed, the inventory should be presented to the incoming tenant. An accompanying letter should highlight the opportunity for the tenant to make agreed amendments within a fixed time period (say 1 week) before signing and returning the document. The letter should also point out that unless amendments are received it is assumed the inventory is in order.

Outgoing Inventory

The outgoing inventory should also record all utility readings and photograph all the same items as the incoming inventory. Wear and tear is to be expected and its magnitude will depend on the time interval that has elapsed between the incoming and outgoing inventory. The issue of 'fair wear and tear' is an ever more important issue as such decisions can now be challenged by arbitrators via the tenancy deposit scheme (see below). Buy2LetExpert will have set out its 'fair wear and tear policy' to the tenants during the referencing period. Our policy toward 'fair wear and tear' is included in the Dedicated Care-taking services form set out below:

Dedicated Care-taking Services

Place2live Ltd provides an ongoing care-taking service to his clients well above the very basic services offered by some landlords and their agents. At the same time we respect that the property is the tenantís home for the duration of the tenancy. However, should maintenance be required it is important that repairs are carried out quickly and to a high standard. See below for details:

  • Dedicated Maintenance Department. Direct telephone and e mail access
     
  • Maintenance Service Charter

     - Non emergency problems: Mostly attended within 1 working day. Immediate referral to a specialist contractor on the very rare occasions that might be necessary.

     - Emergency problems: High priority. Visit within hours.
     
  • House Sitting services and Security. Place2live Ltd will (upon request by the tenant) 'house sit' to receive any specialist contractors (e.g. washing machine repairers, heating engineers etc). Any such outside contractors used can also be accompanied by ourselves while inside the property to increase security for the tenant should the tenant so require.
     
  • Decorations.

     - Internal: Min every *3 years
     - External: Min very *5 years

    *Tenant will be informed of previous decoration date prior to contract signing
     
  • Communal Areas** Internal and external cleaning and general upkeep.

    *Communal yard, gardens, porches, staircases etc not applicable to all properties.
     
  • References. Our service quality is best verified by contacting our existing tenants. Visit www.place2live.co.uk and choose any property. We will then be pleased to supply the full address and contact detail of a tenant at that property who will provide a reference regarding our services.

Using the above as guidance, the scale of any deductions becomes easier to calculate. An example might be to look at two scenarios for internal decorations. In our example we expect to redecorate every 3 years. The cost is estimated at £2000:

Scenario 1. A tenant has completely destroyed the internal decorations. However, he has been at the property for 3 years. So, no deductions from the deposit here required.

Scenario 2. A tenant has been at the property just 1 year and a the paint is already badly marked and there are a number of holes in the wall made by the tenant who drilled for pictures. Here, we apply a depreciation of 33% x £2000 = £667.00. We should make a deduction from the deposit equal to £2000 - £667 = £1333.00

Tenancy Deposit Scheme

The registration of the deposit with a quasi government organisation is a legal requirement and forms just one of the many other legal responsibilities of the modern landlord. Once the deposit is registered, the tenant (and landlord) can call upon the services of an independent arbitrator in the event of a dispute regarding the refund of the deposit at the end of the tenancy. More than 70% of such disputes are lost by landlords. However, many of these disputes are lost because the correct inventory procedures are not executed by landlords and their agents. Utilising the Buy2LetExpert model described above will reduce the risks of losing such arbitration cases. Furthermore, and probably more importantly, being clear and an up front regarding depreciation combined with taking thorough but honest inventories will reduce the chance of a tenant going to arbitration. In our experience, if there has ever been a dispute, simply forward the 'before and after photos' of the item in question.

 


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To contact us call: 020 7482 0300 or email