We’ve complied the following notes based on the most Frequently Asked Questions from new Landlords regarding our Full Management services

How many keys do you need?

We like to supply tenants with two full sets of keys and will require one full office set. If you do not have three sets of keys we can arrange to have copies cut and the cost will be deducted from the first months’ rent.

What certificates do I need to rent out my property?

You will need to get an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), Electric Safety Certificate, and if applicable a Gas Safety Certificate.

What happens prior to move-in day?

Prior to the move in day. All tenancy agreements are signed, once this has happened then the tenants pay the initial rent and deposit. Using our referencing company we invite our tenants to set up a standing order using open banking technologies.

We undertake the inventory a couple of days before the tenant moves in.

What happens on the move-in day?

The ‘move-in’ is conducted at the property, rather than at our office. The tenant will sign for the inventory and then have 7 days to make any amends to the report once we have sent this to them.

When will I receive my rent each month?

Rent is always paid in advance, prior to the move in day we ask out tenants to set up a standing order to our client account. In most cases the rent will be paid each month on the same date the tenants move in. Although in some cases they may ask to pay on a different day which will discuss with you.

Currently we are processing rent payments everyday so you should receive your rent within 1 working day of us receiving it. Depending on transfer time between banks (we use Lloyds) it can either be instantly received into your account or can take up to 3 banking days to clear into your account.

What happens to the Deposit?

Unless you have elected to process the deposit into a Tenancy Deposit Scheme yourself, we will arrange for the deposit to be held securely through the Deposit Protection Service (DPS) for the duration of the tenancy.

How often do you visit the property?

We carry out Periodic Inspections Visits every three months, we aim to do these either virtual or in person. Depending on the tenants preferences. We can discuss if you would like further visits.

We must give tenants at least 24h written notice of a notice but in practice tend to give at least one week’s notice.

What happens following the Inspection visit?

We email a report to both the yourself the Landlord and Tenant following each visit, if necessary advising the Landlord or Tenant that certain improvements need to be made.

Should the Tenant need to make improvements we reserve the right to re-inspect the property as required to ensure that they have complied with our instructions.

Who changes over the responsibility for the Utilities and Council Tax?

We take meter readings as part of our inventory process and use an online service (an offshoot of Royal Mails ‘IAmMoving’ Service, designed for Letting Agents) to provide meter reads & tenants details and ensure the change of responsibility goes smoothly for the gas, electric, water and council tax following the move-in.

Should we also contact the various Utility companies?

As we do this as part of the Let Only & Fully Managed service we always advise both landlords and tenants never to contact the utility companies or council immediately following the start of the tenancy.

Rather than being helpful, this duplication inevitably leads to confusion as the above organisations struggle to cope, which inevitably leads to avoidable problems and further delays.

How long will it take before I receive a final bill?

It can take 4-6 weeks for the above information to filter through to all the relevant departments, for the landlord to receive their final bill and the tenants their intial account opening pack and opening bill.

Again, please do not feel tempted to contact the above organisations during this interim period as it highly likely this will take you a long time to get through and when you do finally get through the Customer Service representative may not be in receipt of the new tenants details, meter reads etc.

This can worry landlords (and makes us look inefficient!) when in fact the information will have been provided and the lack of information at their fingertips will be due to the utility company/council not sharing the information with all relevant departments quickly enough.

Do you operate a 24 hour ‘Emergency Hotline’?

No our opening hours are Monday – Friday 8am to 8pm and Saturday 10am to 2pm.

Tenants are advised to call 01634 361 245 during these hours to alert us of any maintenance problems experienced within the property as soon as the problems occurs.

We will be adding a link to our website for tenants to report maintenance issues shortly.

Should a maintenance problem occur outside office opening hours, tenants are advised to:

· Emergencies – Contact a relevant emergency service/contractor to immediately rectify problem then contact us at the earliest opportunity when the office is next open.

· Non Emergencies – Contact us at the earliest opportunity when the office is next open.

What do you consider to be an Emergency problem?

Definition of an Emergency that may require immediate attention:

· Where lives or health are at risk or there is serious risk to the property

The following problems are examples of the type of situation that would be considered s emergency requiring immediate attention:

· Total loss of electric power

· Unsafe, broken or missing electrical fitting (not simply defective) comprising a dangerous fault that is immediately life threatening

· Total loss of gas supply

· Gas leak on the property side of the meter

· Blocked, damaged or defective flue to an open fire or gas appliance

· Total loss of space heating or water heating (between 1st November and 31st March only) for those in a vulnerable group

· Blocked toilet pan if only one in house, soil stack or blocked foul drain

· Leak from a warer supply pipe, heating pipe, tank or cistern

· Boarding up a broken window or door

· Loss of heating of hot water in housing for the elderly

If tenants discover an emergency problem during our opening hours they must call 01634 361245 to alert us at the earliest opportunity .

What if the tenants discover an Emergency problem outside of office hours?

If the tenants discover an emergency problem outside of office hours they must attempt to deal with the problem themselves, then advise us at the earliest opportunity when the office is next open.

Tenants are advised that permanent repairs should be carried out at a later date by us – the priority of any emergency callout organized by a tenant is only to ensure safety.

What if the tenants incur costs in resolving Emergency problems out of hours?

Should tenants incur costs in undertaking out of hours emergency repairs these costs may be reclaimed from the landlord at a later date on presentation of a contractors invoice, assuming it is agreed that:

· The responsibility for the problem falls under the landlords repairing obligations

· The problem was an emergency requiring immediate attention

· The problem was not caused by neglect or misuse by the tenant or their guests

Tenants costs incurred in calling out an emergency contractor to deal with a non-emergency problem will not be reimbursed.

What are the Landlord and Tenant legal obligations?

Landlords and tenants obligations are clearly listed in the tenancy agreement, however a summary of key obligations are listed below (list below is not exhaustive, please refer to tenancy agreement)

Tenants Obligations

· Pay the rent in full and on time

· Pay for all utility charges and council tax

· Pay TV license (unless TV is supplied by landlord AND Landlord agrees to pay license)

· Pay for reconnection should any utilities be disconnected due to non-payment by tenants

· Pay for locks to be replaced if keys are lost

· Pay for locks to be replaced/keys cut if keys are not returned at the end of the tenancy

· Pay for pest or vermin removal should infestation begin during tenancy

· Pay landlords court costs should court action be required for possession of the property or breach of tenancy

· Pay for repairs where the problem has been caused by tenants actions or negligence

· Keep the property clean and tidy and in good decorative order

· Notify the landlord/agent of any damp, wet rot, dry rot or infestation

· Clean the windows regularly and at the end of the tenancy

· Ensure drains, gutters & channels are not blocked

· Permit landlord/agent to access the property having received 24 hours notice

· Ensure property is secure at all times

· Ensure property is well aired and warmed to avoid condensation or mildew growth

· Keep garden and grounds tidy (including lawn mowed and edged, trees and shrubs pruned)

· Maintain and check the burglar alarm and smoke alarms

· Advise landlord/agent if the property is to be unoccupied for 28 days or more

· Be responsible for insuring their own possessions

· Return the property in the same condition it was at the start of the tenancy or agree to pay for cleaning to be carried out as required (including carpet cleaning)

· Return all fixtures & fittings to the same rooms & places they were at the start of the tenancy

Landlords Obligations

· Allow the tenant quiet enjoyment of the property

· Maintain comprehensive insurance for the property and the landlords possessions, fixtures & fittings

· Ensure the structure & exterior of the property are maintained

· Ensure the installations for the supply of water, electricity, gas and sanitation are maintained and in working order

· Ensure the installations for heating and hot water are maintained and in working order

What does the phrase ‘Tenant-like-Manner’ mean?

In addition to the list of responsibilities listed above and detailed in the tenancy agreement, tenants are expected to use the property in a ‘tenant-like-manner’ this follows a landmark legal case in 1954 when this phrase was first used and explained:

‘What does “to use the premises in a tenant-like-manner” mean?... The tenant must take proper care of the place. They must, if they are going away for the winter, turn off the water and empty the boiler. They must clean the chimneys, when necessary and also the windows. They must mend the electric light when is fuses. They must unstop the sink when it is blocked by their waste. In short, they must do those little jobs about the place which a reasonable tenant would do. In addition, he must, of course, not damage the house wilfully or negligently; and he must see that their family and guests do not damage it; and if they do, they must repair it. But apart from such things, if the house falls out of repair owing to fair wear and tear, lapse of time or for any reason not caused by them, then they will not be liable to repair it.’

Am I responsible for replacement/repair of appliances supplied at the property?

Yes landlords are responsible for appliances that are supplied at the property unless they have gifted them to the tenant and this is noted in the tenancy agreemen

That said, whilst a landlord is legally entitled to refuse to replace or repair a faulty appliance we strongly advise that this may save money in the short term but it is likely to be more costly in the long run should it lead to tenants becoming disenchanted and leaving a tenancy earlier that they ordinarily would have done.

Can you arrange for a faulty appliance to be inspected and repaired or replaced?

We use a trusted local Domestic Appliance Engineer to investigate problems and conduct repairs working on a no call out fee basis. Should a machine be beyond repair he can supply and fit good quality replacement appliances.

Do I need to supply smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors?

Yes the law does now require you to supply both smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

Who is responsible for ensuring the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working?

It is the Landlords responsibility to ensure that, if smoke alarms or carbon monoxide detectors are supplied, they are working at the start of the tenancy. Once the tenants have moved in it is their responsibility to regularly test smoke alarms during the tenancy and (except when the property is equipped with mains powered smoke alarms) replace the batteries as required.

Do I need to have Buildings & Contents Insurance?

All landlords are legally obliged to hold Building Insurance prior to letting a property and many also have Contents Insurance for their items left at the property (fixtures & fittings and any furniture if the property is offered furnished).

We strongly advise all tenants to take out comprehensive Contents Insurance to cover their possessions and any damage to the landlords contents during the tenancy however they are not legally obliged to do so and therefore we always advise landlords it is in their interest to ensure they are adequately covered?

Will my standard Buildings & Contents policy suffice?

From a legal point of view a standard household policy will suffice however it is unlikely to provide as comprehensive cover as a policy specifically designed with the needs of Landlords in mind.

Keeran within the team is a qualified mortgage and protection advisor, he can discuss the insurances available.

Should I take out rent guarantee insurance?

Rent guarantee insurance is recommended for anybody who could financially suffer should the property they are renting no longer be receiving a rental income. Even the best tenants may find themselves in a difficult situation and unable to pay the rent you rely on, so rent guarantee insurance is a valuable safety net should you no longer receive payments as expected.

What happens if the tenants are late with their rent?

Our property management software will advise us when the rent should be expected and if having checked our Client Account it has not been received 1 day after the rent due date we will contact the tenants (initially by phone and email) to find out why this is.

In most cases we find late rent is due to a one-off cashflow problem as a result of an unexpected expense or a delay in receiving payment, in which case a tenant will be able to pay the arrears by an immediate cash or card payment and the standing order payment will resume from the following month.

We will keep landlords informed of the situation to allow you to budget accordingly.

What happens if they fall more significantly behind with their rent?

If the problems is more significant than described above and it is not just a temporary cashflow problem it may be necessary to consider legal action to recover the rent and/or end the tenancy due to breach of tenancy.

We will keep chasing the tenant and as long as there is open communications we can agree a payment plan which is agreeable to all parties.

How long must I wait to start court proceedings to recover lost rent?

You are able to start legal proceedings once the tenants owe two months rent.

Can Medway Premier Lettings deal with the court proceedings to recover lost rent and end the tenancy?

Yes Medway Premier Lettings can deal with courts providing we have written request from the landlord.

Alternatively those landlords with our exclusive legal protection and rental guarantee (‘Rent and Legal’) Insurance do not have to appoint a solicitor as the insurers lawyer would progress the claim and take all necessary legal action on their behalf, in addition to paying up to 12-15 months’ rent (until vacant possession was obtained).

How much notice must I give to end the tenancy?

Landlords must give two months’ notice in writing if they wish to end the tenancy at the end of the Fixed Term or during a rolling ‘Periodic Tenancy’.

How much notice must the tenant give to end the tenancy?

Tenants must give one months’ notice in writing if they wish to end the tenancy at the end of the Fixed Term or during a rolling “Periodic Tenancy’.

Our circumstances have changed and we now need to sell the property but there is a tenant currently in place with a Fixed Term tenancy – can we end the tenancy early?

You may advertise to sell the property and even conduct viewings; however prospective purchasers will be required to honour the tenancy to the end of the Fixed Term. The only way to end the tenancy early would be if the tenant would agree to surrender the tenancy, however this would be entirely at their discretion and you would be required to respect their decision if they chose to stay on until the end of the tenancy.

What happens at the end of a tenancy?

If both you and the tenants are happy and the tenant wants to remain in the property, once the Fixed Term comes to an end we will agree with you and the tenants on the following options, renew the tenancy for either 6 or 12 months or that the tenancy ‘rolls on’ to what is known as a Periodic Tenancy.

A Periodic Tenancy is an indefinite extension of the Fixed Term tenancy (so your rights as Landlord and the Tenants’ rights are exactly the same) which remains in place until one party decides to give notice to end the tenancy.

What happens on the last day of the tenancy?

In the weeks leading up to the tenancy end date we will have been communicating regularly with the tenants via email and in writing to clearly outline our expectations as to the condition of the property on the last day when we carry out the move out inspection.

The move out inspection will usually take place after the last day of the tenancy, we will assess the condition of the property against the original inventory.

We will record the property as left and our findings will be recorded in a report to be emailed to the landlord and tenants to assist with the deposit repayment process.

Please note that we will not clean, tidy, remove food items, etc during the move out inspection and will simply record the condition of the property and anything within it – should any of the above be required the landlord can do so themselves once possession is regained or we can arrange for the work to be carried out by an appropriate contractor.