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Meeting your needs

We understand that different landlords have different needs, so we offer 2 main types of service that cater for the experienced and inexperienced landlord alike. We are also able to tailor our services to the exact needs of each client if required.

Let Only or Full Management - What option is right for me?

The key considerations we feel you should consider are experience, time, hassle and cost. In today’s private rented sector there is considerably more legislation than there was as little as 10 years ago. An experienced landlord who is up to date with the latest legislation may well be confident to manage themselves and opt for our let only service. Remember, failure to comply with some of the key lettings legislation can lead to fines or even imprisonment depending on the severity, with ignorance often not being a defence. An assessment of the time involved (some tenancy issues and repairs can become time-consuming) and hassle (do you want your tenant calling last thing on a Friday with no heating or hot water as you are leaving to go on holiday?) should be made relative to our management charge as well. Whatever option you choose we will be delighted to assist you!

Full Management Service

Fully managed: 12% of rent (Inc VAT) and Set Up Fee: 60% of rent (inc VAT) (Landlord's Share for Fully Managed Properties Only).

By far the most popular choice of our landlords, this option offers a full and comprehensive service designed to meet the requirements of the ongoing day to day management of your property including rental collection and payment, annual inspections, agreed repairs and property maintenance. If you are looking to reduce the stress and hassle involved in looking after your investment, then this is the service for you.

The service we provide includes advertising your property, obtaining satisfactory references for applicants and guarantors (if necessary), collecting the rent, checking the property's condition periodically, arranging for minor repairs to be carried out by our contractors should this be required, completing an inventory of the property (at an additional cost of £90 inc VAT for up to 3 bedrooms and £120 inc VAT for 4 bedrooms or more for each inventory) and holding a deposit equivalent to one month's rent in accordance with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme. The net rent is paid directly into your nominated bank account at the end of each month.

We offer our services on a ‘no let no fee’ basis so we only get paid for success.

Let Only Service

Let Only Fee: 90% (inc VAT) which is payable as a deduction from the first month's rent.

Our let only service is designed to meet the needs of the experienced landlord. We do not collect the rent and we do not manage the property. We ensure an effective letting of the property with marketing and advertising as well as full referencing of any potential tenants.

More specifically the service we provide includes advertising your property, obtaining satisfactory references for applicants, collecting the first month's rent and a deposit of one month's rent, and completing an inventory of the property (at an additional cost of £90 inc VAT for up to 3 bedrooms and £120 inc VAT for 4 bedrooms or more for each inventory).

Upon signing of all paperwork with the tenant we will send you a copy of the completed credit reference check and the original tenancy agreement, along with a statement of account for all monies received with a note of our fee and the net monies due to you.

Click here for a full list of our fees and charges

Important Information to take into consideration when letting your property (For both Managed and Let Only options):

Health & Safety

The letting of a property is now closely regulated with respect to consumer safety. The law makes particular demands regarding health and safety, servicing and inspection of the gas and electric appliances and installations within a property, and with respect to the type of any furniture and soft furnishings that are also provided.

The following regulations apply:

Gas:

Legislation issued by the Health & Safety Executive requires that all the gas appliances in the property are in full working order and carry a current Landlord's Gas Safety Certificate. By law this Landlord's Gas Safety Certificate has to be carried out every 12 months by a Gas Safe Register approved engineer. It is the Landlord's responsibility to instruct a reputable Gas Safe registered company to comply with these regulations and to make sure an annual inspection is carried out. For all properties Robert Aston will require a valid copy of the Landlords gas safety certificate and the tenancy cannot commence without it. Should this not be complied with Robert Aston are hereby given permission to instruct a Gas Safe registered company to carry out the inspection at the landlord's expense.

Electrical:

Landlords have a legal duty to ensure that their rental property, and any electrical equipment provided, is safe before a tenancy begins and throughout its duration.  They must ensure the electrical system is safe, e.g. sockets, switches and light fittings etc. and all appliances they supply are safe, e.g. cookers and kettles etc.  A landlord is potentially liable if a tenant or resident suffers death or injury or has personal belongings damaged as a result of a defect in the electrical system in the premises.

Various pieces of Legislation including The Defective Premises Act 1972, Health & Safety Act 1974, Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, Electrical Equipment (Safety Regulations) 1994 and Plugs & Sockets etc (Safety) Regulations 1994 all specify that electrical installations and appliances supplied in rented properties must be safe. 
 
The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rental Sector (England) Regulations 2020 came into force on 1st July 2020 for new tenancies. These place a legal requirement on landlords to have a 5 yearly Electrical Inspection Condition Report (EICR) carried out every 5 years. Any category 1 (Dangerous) and Category 2 (Potentially dangerous) faults must be rectified within 28 days. Written confirmation of the completion of the remedial works from the electrician to the tenant and local authority must be provided within 28 days of completing the works.  

Fire:

Under the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire)(Safety) Regulations 1988, it is an offence to let a property with furniture that is filled with foam that does not comply with the Act. All soft furnishings supplied with the property should be fire resistant, and have a sewn in label stating this fact. The landlord must comply with the above Act which is required prior to the letting of the property and is the Landlords responsibility to do so. Should the above requirements not be met by the landlord then Robert Aston and Company Limited are hereby given permission to remove and dispose of any non-compliant furniture at the landlord's expense.

Fire Regulatory Reform Act:

Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (England and Wales) a fire safety risk assessment must be carried out for common parts in order to implement and maintain a fire management plan. We are able to instruct a Health and Safety Consultancy on your behalf. They will produce a report and will advise of any remedial work required, which must be acted on to ensure compliance. Please note this only applies to landlords who own and let a whole house converted into flats or entire blocks of flats.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms:

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 require a smoke alarm is equipped on each storey of the property and a carbon monoxide alarm is equipped in any room containing a solid fuel burning combustion appliance (coal, wood, biomass etc). If the property does not already meet these requirements then these must be met before the commencement of any tenancy. The regulations also stipulate that a check is made by or on behalf of the landlord to ensure that each prescribed alarm is in proper working order on the day the tenancy begins. As part of our managed service we will carry out a test of the smoke alarms on the day of commencement of the tenancy. Our let only service does not include a test of the smoke and/or carbon monoxide alarms on the day of commencement of the tenancy. You will therefore need to arrange to have this carried out yourself.

Legionella:

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 makes provision for relevant health and safety legislation to apply to landlords to ensure a duty of care is shown to their tenants with regard to their health and safety. The Health and Safety Executive's L8 Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) places a requirement on landlords to assess the risks from exposure to Legionella to the tenants. A Legionella Risk Assessment can be carried out by the landlord if he or she feels competent or by a Legionella Risk Assessor or other competent contractor. You will be required to provide us with a copy of your Legionella Risk Assessment if you already have one. Alternatively, we can arrange for one to be carried out with our charge for instruction of a Legionella Risk Assessor being £75 plus VAT (£90 inc VAT).

The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation Act) 2018:
This amendment to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 came into force on 20th March 2019 and simply states that a let property must be fit for human habitation both at the start of and throughout the tenancy. The definition of fitness for human habitation is based on the matters set out in section 10 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 and the 29 hazards set out in the Housing Health and Safety (England) Regulations 2005, which are:

Damp and mould growth
Excess cold
Excess heat
Asbestos and man made fibres
Biocides
Carbon monoxide and fuel combustion products
Lead
Radiation
Uncombusted fuel gas
Volatile organic compounds
Crowding and space
Entry by intruders
Lighting 
Noise
Domestic hygiene, pests and refuse
Food safety 
Personal hygiene, sanitation and drainage
Water supply
Falls associated with baths etc
Falling on level surfaces etc
Falling on stairs etc
Falling between levels
Electrical hazards
Fire
Flames, hot surfaces etc
Collision and entrapment
Explosion
Position and operability of amenities etc
Structural collapse and falling elements

The act applies to all new tenancies created on or after 20th March 2019 and any fixed term tenancies that become statutory periodic after 20th March 2019. All other existing tenancies will come under the scope of the act from the 20th March 2020.

Essentially there are no new obligations for landlords under this act due to existing legislation that has been in place since the 1985 Landlord and Tenant Act. However, a key change in the Homes Act is that tenants can now go straight to court if their homes are not fit for human habitation to obtain a compulsory improvement to the condition of the property and/or they can also seek compensation. Prior to the new act, tenants would have had to report any habitation issues to the local authority first (ie. without the need to go to court or seeking compensation).  The changes, therefore, present additional risks to landlords when letting their properties. In determining whether a property is unfit for human habitation a judge would need to conclude that a property is 'so far defective' that it is not fit for human habitation.

Energy Efficiency
Energy Performance Certificate:

Any rental property let after 1st October 2008 requires an Energy Performance Certificate which must be no more than 10 years old. Please provide a copy of your EPC if you already have one. Alternatively, we can arrange for one to be carried out by our in-house assessor for £75 plus VAT (£90 inc VAT).

Energy Efficiency Minimum Requirements:
From 1st April 2018 it is a requirement for any properties rented out (new lets or renewals) in the private sector to have a minimum energy performance rating of E. The regulations will also apply to any ongoing lets prior to 1st April 2018 from 1st April 2020. If your property currently has an energy rating of F or G you will need to consider making energy efficiency improvements in time for the proposed new regulations.

Deposit Protection

Registering your deposit:

From 6 April 2007, all deposits taken by landlords under Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) in England and Wales must be protected by a tenancy deposit protection scheme. Landlords must not take a deposit unless it is dealt with under a tenancy deposit scheme. This is applicable for all new or renewed Assured Shorthold Tenancies from the 6 April 2007. It is a legal requirement for all Tenant deposits to be held within a Government recognised Scheme for new or extended Tenancy Agreements. There are penalties against Landlords who do not comply with the legislation. Where a Landlord has not placed the deposit into an approved scheme, the Tenant can apply for a court order requiring the deposit to be safe guarded. If the court is satisfied that the Landlord has failed to comply with the legislation, the court will order that the Landlord must pay the deposit into a scheme. The court may also order that the Landlord pay the Tenant an amount equivalent to three times the deposit amount within 14 days of the order being made. Also, the Landlord will not be able to recover the property using a standard Section 21 Notice for possession. 

Our chosen deposit scheme:

Robert Aston & Company Limited are subscribed to The Dispute Service Ltd, PO Box 541, Amersham, Bucks, HP6 6ZR. Phone 0845 226 7837. Email deposits@tds.gb.com. Fax: 01494 431123 and any properties managed by ourselves will be automatically included within this scheme. For let only properties it will be the responsibility of the landlord to register the deposit. Please make sure you inform us which tenancy deposit scheme you will be using so that the appropriate prescribed information can be issued to the tenant(s).

Tax for overseas landlords

It is a requirement by Inland Revenue that any landlord living abroad whilst their property in the UK is rented out becomes liable for tax at source to be paid each quarter via the letting agent. If you are going overseas you are required to notify the Inland Revenue, who will issue us with an exemption certificate allowing us to pay your rent to you gross.

Our charge for looking after your tax affairs, if you are moving abroad and do not instruct Inland Revenue that you are a Non-Resident Landlord is £600.00 inc VAT.

Right To Rent Checks

The Immigration Act 2014 requires landlords and agents to conduct necessary document checks to establish whether a person has a right to rent in the UK. If you choose our full management option this will be included as part of our overall referencing procedure and we will carry out the neccessary checks.  If you choose our let only option and wish to manage the property yourself please note we will not be responsible to carry out any follow up checks in the case of tenants with a time limited right to rent. In the event that your tenant(s) falls into this catagory we will advise you of this fact and indicate the required follow up check date and offer further advice if required. 

Inventory

We are required to point out the necessity and benefits of a properly prepared and full inventory and schedule of condition. In the event of a dispute over the deposit at the end of tenancy the lack of an inventory will give a landlord no defence to support any deductions made, which could result in the case examiner ordering the full deposit being returned to the tenant. It is not possible to put small items, like ornaments on an inventory and I would therefore request that only the furniture to be put on the inventory be left in the property. Robert Aston and Company Limited cannot therefore be held liable for any items left off the inventory. This is at an additional cost of £90 inc VAT for up to 3 bedrooms and £120 inc VAT for 4 bedrooms or more.

"Liam and Matthew - Thank you both for all the help in selling my property and all the good tenants you have supplied over the many years"
Mrs S