Hello World from QuaLETy Ltd

February 22, 2011 § 1 Comment

As a landlord myself, I decided that it would be a good idea to set up a letting agency.

Why did I want to do this?  I personally bought property as an investment, as many others have over the last few years.  That property is an investment for the future.  My philosophy is if you have well referenced tenants and provide them with a nice home, that is regularly maintained.  Then they will look after your investment.

My background as an administration manager stood me in good stead to set up procedures and processes to ensure that all our landlords and tenants are happy.  Properties are looked after by utilising good referencing procedures, choosing good tenants and carrying out regular property visits.

I intend to use this blog to highlight some of the good and not so good bits about the letting industry.

Happy reading and welcome 🙂

 

Property Tribes interview Sandra Savage-Fisher of QuaLETy at the recent Landlord Law Conference

March 19, 2013 § Leave a comment

1st Landlord Law Conference Bury St Edmunds March 2013.

Conference run by solicitors in landlord law attended by landlords and letting agents from around the country

Why we don’t turn up in suit!!

July 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

The image of an Estate or Letting Agent is usually attributed to smart suits and fast cars.  We decided not to follow the herd.

Image

When visiting properties, either to speak to a tenant or to view a house ready for marketing, quite often you’ll find anomalies.  These can generally require you to do manual work.  So best to leave the suits at home.

It’s so frustrating when I’ve had to get dressed up for an appointment and then booked to go to a property on the way back to find that I’m needed to do work and can’t.

I’ve dealt with getting water meter readings this week, which required me to be on my knees cutting round the edge of the lawn to prise the lid off man holes.  All this just to take the readings.  Another visit met with a tenant complaint that some panel pins had come out of a door, this was fixed on the spot.  As my gran always said a stitch in time saves nine.

We are a SAFEagent……why?

May 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

QuaLETy is registered with SAFEagent, licenced by NALS and a member of The Property Ombudsman.  These are all things we do to ensure that landlords understand we safeguard their money.

We have to get our bank to sign a letter each year to prove that we still have Client Money Protected accounts.  Our Accountants have to sign to say that our accounts are compliant with the requirements for NALS this also includes proving that the client money protected accounts are operated correctly.

Our tenants pay their rent into the client account.  Invoices for maintenance work completed on behalf of landlords are paid from the client account.  When the landlords invoice has been produced showing rent received less maintenance work (if required) less management charges we forward the balance of the rent to the landlord and then transfer the management charges to QuaLETy’s business account.

It’s SAFEagent Awareness week 14-20 May 2012

Property Page to view a video link

April 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

Property Page to view a video link

We are currently working on video walk through to show a property exactly as it is.

Why, I hear you ask.  We’ve spent many an hour attending viewings for them to end in ‘oh this wasn’t what I was looking for’.  So rather than all the odd angle photographs misrepresenting the property we decided let’s show exactly what is up for offer.

That way if someone books a viewing then they are actually interested in the property.

It’s a sneak preview saves both your’s and our time.

Let us know what you think

What to look for when viewing a property to rent

April 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

Is the property in an area that you like?

Does it have enough bedrooms, bathrooms, living rooms etc.,

Do you have furniture…. is it unfurnished or fully/partly furnished?

Are the white goods built into the kitchen… would you need to buy or dispose of?

Do you want a garden or just green space close by?

Do you need storage … How much storage does the property offer?

What bills would need to be paid in addition to the rent?

What Council Tax band is the property in?

Can you see the EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) for the property?

How much is the rent?

How much is the deposit?

Where will the deposit be protected (it’s a legal requirement to protect any deposit taken for an Assured Short-hold Tenancy)?

Do you have children what are the local schools like?

Do you have a pet… are pets allowed (most newly built apartments have covenants against pets)?

Will you have use of a car so need access to the motorway system or buses, trams, trains….What are the transport links?

Where is the nearest shopping area?

Does the property need any repairs/decorating… would the landlord be prepared to do these before you moved in, or allow you to do them?

Fire and Smoke Alarm disabled/disconnected

February 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’ve come across a number of examples of interference with fire and smoke alarm systems.

Tenant sticky taping the smoke detector just so they can smoke in their room.  How would that person feel if a fire broke out in their room and it caused the death or injury of a fellow tenant.

Disconnection of smoke alarm so they can smoke in their room. Fortunately this flags up on a working system.

Viewing two apartments in the same block to find that all the alarms and sounders were disconnected. This means that the whole building is not protected.  Landlords are taking a great risk as are the management companies of apartment blocks if the fire alarm system isn’t tested regularly.

Morally though who in their right mind disables a smoke alarm without considering the implications on the lives of others.

 

Questions to ask before hiring a letting agent.

August 31, 2011 § 1 Comment

  1. Are you qualified, please give details?
  2. Do you belong to any official trade bodies, please give details?
  3. Do you carry out referencing in-house or use an outside agency?
  4. What information do you collect for referencing?
  5. As a Landlord can I see the results of the reference checks?
  6. Do you provide a copy of the rental agreement to the landlord?
  7. How much do you charge and what does this cover?
  8. Do you add an additional charge to remedial work invoices?
  9. Who do you lodge deposits with?
  10. Who do you bank with and do you have a client account?
  11. How much unpaid rent has been incurred by the agency in the last five years?
  12. How soon after receiving rent do you pay the landlord?
  13. What is your process for rent chasing?
  14. Do you provide inventories, if so what type?
  15. Where do you advertise available property?
  16. Are viewings always accompanied?
  17. How often do you carry out property checks.
  18. What information do you provide to tenants when they rent a property?

Referencing is it important?

May 3, 2011 § 1 Comment

As a property owner I understand how important it is to make sure that the people you rent your house to will care for it as their home.

Why reference?

You meet prospective tenants and they have a look around the property and then decide they want to move in.  You’ve only met them for a few minutes.  It isn’t easy to decide on face value whether someone is a good tenant.

What to check?

Request full names with documentary evidence of an original passport, driving license or other photographic ID that they might have.  Get them to list all addresses in the last five years with landlord/letting agent details for a reference.  This is for all occupants over the age of 18 years.

Confirm who they work for.  Get the full company name and address, National Insurance number, salary level and a contact name for the company including their current job description.  Get them to provide a telephone number and e-mail address.

Take bank reference details and also details of any credit cards, loans etc that the tenant may have.  Ask if they have a debt management agreement in place.  Some people get into difficulties and ask for help in sorting it out.  As long as they can provide a guarantor it may not deter them from taking on a property.

Ask for a guarantor for all housing benefit tenants, students and anyone that doesn’t have a full five years residential history.

Should you check or get a referencing company to do it for you?

Doing reference checking yourself is quite time-consuming and not always as fruitful as a referencing company can be.  I would always go with a referencing company.  This makes any guidance unbiased.  If in any doubt a reference company will ask you to get a guarantor.

Also with a full reference check you can obtain insurance on the tenancy.

Different Cultures

April 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

I’ve been amazed how much I don’t know about other cultures.

As a landlord and letting agent I have met with many people of different cultures.  Spending time talking to landlords and tenants alike, I learn a little more each time.

Eclipse’s are very important to the Hindu people and there are many more in a year than I was originally aware of.

The western world operates on a twelve month calendar but many countries do not.

I have much to learn so that I don’t offend my muslim tenants.  I’m always offered drinks and sweets and invited in.  Without wishing to offend how long is reasonable before taking my leave?

I would welcome feed back to allow me to treat all landlords and tenants with respect.

Mail redirection

March 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

When letting a property in Greater Manchester, we always remove mail addressed to previous tenants.  We let them know that there is mail to be collected at our office, if we still have current contact details.  Or we can forward it if we have an address.  Uncollected mail is always returned to sender.

New tenants are asked when they move in to mark any mail that is not theirs ‘not known at this address’ and return it to sender.    I’m sure most people are honourable.  However, we are all well aware, there are a few that are happy to steal identities.

What can be done to prevent this.

Notify all banks, building societies, utility suppliers, magazine subscriptions etc., that you have moved.  Alternatively pay for your mail to be redirected by the post office for a few months to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.