Preparing your property
To minimise the possibility of a void period and maximise the amount you receive in rent, it is essential your property is presented in a clean condition with particular attention given to the cleanliness of bathrooms, separate toilets, and kitchens, as well as cookers and fridges. Remember also to defrost the fridge, leave the door open and remove all items of food from the cupboards. There is a demand for furnished and part- furnished property and definitions of both may be described as follows:

Part-furnished: offering carpets, curtains, light shades, kitchen appliances e.g. cooker, fridge or fridge/freezer, with the option of supplying a washing machine/dryer.
Furnished: As above together with a three piece suite (or similar), dining table and chairs, coffee table and in each of the bedrooms a suitably sized bed (inc mattress protector), wardrobe and chest of drawers.

All electrical appliances should be safety checked to comply with the electrical equipment (safety) regulations 1994 (see below) and photocopies of all operating instructions should be left with tenants. Where a property is managed, details of guarantees/warranties or service contracts should be forwarded to McDonnell Haydock. It is important to note that should a fault occur, under the terms and conditions of the tenancy agreement, a tenant has the right to demand a repair or replacement of any of the electrical appliances supplied as part of the tenancy by a landlord.

Consent to let
If a property is subject to a mortgage, a landlord must seek written consent to let from their bank or building society. Should they require it, we will be pleased to supply a bank/building society with a copy of a specimen tenancy agreement. If your property is leasehold, you should check with the property’s freeholder as to whether your head lease requires you to obtain written consent prior to you letting your property.

During a tenancy a landlord is responsible for both building and personal contents insurance, it is important that you ensure you are covered against public liability and third party risks and that you have confirmation of this in writing from your insurance company. If your insurers are not able to insure rented property or if you just wish to compare overall cover and annual premiums McDonnell Haydock will be pleased to provide a quote on request.

Furniture and furnishings (fire) (safety) Regulations 1993
It is an offense to supply furniture which does not meet with the above mentioned regulations and failure to comply may jeopardise the life of your tenant and lead to prosecution with penalties of six months imprisonment or fines of up to £5000. Listed below is a summary of compliances of certain item/s of furniture. We recommend that you contact your local office of the department of trade and industry for further guidance. Items not affected by the regulations: carpets, curtains, mattress covers/bedclothes/duvets. Items affected by the regulations: sofas, beds, bedheads, mattresses, garden furniture, (suitable for use in a property e.g. a conservatory), children’s/nursery furniture, cushions, pillows, loose covers for furniture and other similar items.

Gas Safety (installation and use)
It is the responsibility of landlords that all gas appliances and gas installation pipework is safety checked at least once a year by a member of the council for registered gas installers (corgi) or a British Gas engineer, and that accurate record are kept of safety inspections and of any work carried out. These regulations ensure that gas appliance are properly installed and are maintained in a safe condition so as to avoid the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Electrical Equipment (safety) regulations 1994
It is also the responsibility of landlords to ensure that all electrical appliances provided at a rented property are safe. McDonnell Haydock recommends that all electrical appliances are regularly safety checked and serviced and that cabling, fuses and plugs are also inspected and where necessary replaced.Failure to comply with these regulations may lead to prosecution with penalties of imprisonment or a fine of up to £5000.

Insuring a tenants deposit
With respect to the law that came into effect as of the 6th April 2007.From this date, all Landlords who take deposits will have to safeguard their Tenant’s deposits in an authorised scheme known as the Tenancy Deposit Scheme. This scheme applies to all assured short hold tenancies (ASTs) in England & Wales where a monetary deposit has been taken. The scheme has two main objectives which are: to ensure good practice in deposit handling, returning deposits and to safeguard them in case of disputes. To assist in the resolution of disputes by having and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) can be cheaper and faster than taking court action. The charted institute of Arbitrators will provide the ADR service for the insurance backed scheme McDonnell Haydock has subscribed to. This scheme is offered by Tenancy Deposit Solutions Limited.

Any income derived from letting your property will be subject to UK tax. If you are a resident of the UK you may offset the usual personal allowance against all taxable income. Income tax is levied at the basic rate on profit and this profit is assessed by Inland Revenue after deducting the following from net rent received :-agent’s fees, repairs, wear and tear, insurance premiums, maintenance contract payment, water rates, etc. Those landlords who, for tax purposes, will be classified as non- residents can apply to the Inland Revenue to receive UK rental income with no tax deducted by completing a non-resident landlord scheme form NRL1. If tax is due on income arising from rents received we will be obliged under the taxation of income from land non-resident regulations 1995 to retain tax at the basic rate.

Receiving future rent payments
Following the collection of monthly rental income, net receipts shall be made available to landlords nominated UK bank/building society with seven working days (subject to normal bank clearance arrangements). McDonnel Haydock will prepare, on a monthly basis a statement of account showing rent received and any expenditure.

As we cannot ensure that your tenants will regularly forward your mail McDonnel Haydock recommend that you make any necessary forwarding arrangements with the post office prior to a tenancy commencing.

Landlords using our managed services will be requested to supply us with 3 sets of keys, whilst those using our letting only service will be requested to supply us with 1 set of keys per tenant (max 3). Please remember to include any garage, window lock or alarm keys. All keys will be logged on the inventory and returned at the end of the term of the tenancy.

Provided that adequate and appropriate tools and equipment have been left for the use of a tenant, then under the terms and conditions of the tenancy agreement, a tenant is obligated to keep the garden in a neat and tidy condition and free from weeds - as this can be difficult to enforce it is recommended that those landlords who have invested a lot of time and effort in their garden may alternatively wish to employ the services of a gardener. Please enquire to the office should you require a quotation for lawn cutting services.