Why should I choose The Letting Link as my agent?

Letting is a complex field, with many areas of regulation and a need to have experience of how to control and manage many varying situations. As more controls are introduced to improve the general letting market and expectations of the levels of service rise, the need to utilise the specialist services of a Property Letting and Management Agent becomes clear. Many landlords are very specific about the standard of tenant that they will accept without considering the standard of letting agent that they will use to locate that tenant. It can be very difficult to establish when you use a letting agent for the first time, whether the firm will live up to your expectations. By the time you realise that the firm is not working for you as you would want, it is normally too late.

At present there are no legal controls as to who can operate as a letting agent, no minimum experience, training or security for any client monies held. Therefore organisations were created to check the standards of letting agencies on your behalf. By agents being members of these associations, you can be assured of the high standards offered by the agent concerned.

The Letting Link is proud to be the longest serving Clacton-on-Sea based, licensed member firm of the two largest of these organisations, Propertymark A.R.L.A. (Association of Residential Letting Agents) and Safeagent. We have been letting and managing property in the local area for over 30 years, since 1989 and our highly-motivated team are experienced and qualified, having trained and achieved the requirements set by A.R.L.A.

Our Services

We offer an extensive range of services to our clients, from providing tenancy agreements to full property management for overseas clients. We can arrange a level of service to suit you and would ask that you contact us to discuss your requirements and arrange a valuation and appraisal for your property.

We have a comprehensive guide containing details of our services and various important issues which landlords should be aware of before letting a property.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of tenancy agreement will be used.

With the many changes in the housing law since 1988, it is now generally accepted that the best way to let a residential property is using an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST). This gives the best security for the landlord, whilst retaining flexibility. Normally the tenancy is agreed for an initial period of 6 months or one year. The length of time is dependant upon your future plans and the tenancy can be extended for a further period by agreement with both parties. It is possible to allow a tenancy to continue after a fixed term, on a more flexible 'open-ended' basis called a periodic tenancy, however due to certain legal issues, we would normally advise that fixed term contracts are used for clarity. If a new fixed term agreement is not signed to replace the previous, then a periodic tenancy is created automatically. It is not possible to have a time when no legal tenancy exists and the tenancy does not simply finish when you reach the end date. If you decide not to extend the tenancy beyond the current fixed term, a notice must be issued to the tenant, at least two months prior to the end date of the tenancy and the tenancy legally finishes at the end of the term. It is worth noting that if a tenant does not leave a property after a valid notice has been given, it is necessary to obtain a court order to force the tenant to leave. It is not legally possible to take action yourself to remove a tenant from the property.

How do you find and reference a tenant?

We will advertise your property as available to rent, using the details and requirements that we discuss with you. We will show the property to interested tenants and accept applications for a tenancy at the property. This application provides us with basic details on the tenant's situation. We will discuss these with you and after giving advice, ask you to consider if a tenant's application is to be advanced. At this stage we will obtain the required references and provide those to you, having agreed a commencement date for the tenancy. At this and every stage prior to the tenant commencing a tenancy you are able to refuse a tenant's application. It is not permitted however, to refuse a tenant only because of their race, sexuality or due to a disability. Your involvement in this process is important, as every landlord has different ideas of who they would wish to have as a tenant in their property. Whilst we believe this to be the best way of letting your property, not all agents operate in this fashion and with some other agents you may only find out that your property has been let after a tenant has moved in!

Can I arrange rental Guarantee and Legal Insurance?

Every effort is made to ensure that the selection of a tenant is made based on their ability to cover the required rental and look after the property during the tenancy. However, not every situation will flow as smoothly as you would wish due to difficulties that can arise with a tenant. Whilst these situations are kept to the absolute minimum by careful vetting and referencing, we can also discuss the possibilities of seeking another person who would be willing to stand as a guarantor for the tenancy.

What will happen when the tenancy starts?

Prior to the commencement of a new tenancy, a tenant will be advised to contact all the service providers and arrange for the supply of the relevant services to be transferred into their own name. This ensures that you cannot become liable for any default on the part of the tenant. It is very important that you arrange to cancel any services that are held in your name, by the commencement date of the tenancy. The service providers usually require up to seven days notice to action your request. Also before the commencement date we will arrange to visit the property to complete a full inventory of the property contents and condition. As this is a complex process, it is very helpful if the property is left in a clean and clear condition. If the property is furnished and has a large number of small ornaments, decorative objects or book / video collections etc., it may not be possible to detail these items fully on an inventory.

On the day the tenancy starts, the tenant will visit our office and sign the tenancy agreement and inventory. They will also pay the initial rental payment due and a deposit, which is held against default. Once all these matters have been completed, the tenant will be issued with the keys to the property.

What about rental collection and payment?

When we are operating a management service on your behalf, we will arrange to collect the monthly rental due from the tenant and forward this to yourself, with payment being made directly into your bank account. We will send you a statement of account at the beginning of the month detailing all transactions during the previous month. This will show the monies that have been received from the tenant, any expenses incurred (with your prior knowledge) and the balance that has been paid into your account.

Will the property be visited?

As a part of the management service, we arrange to make regular visits to the property. These are to ensure that the tenant is complying with the terms of the tenancy agreement. As you can imagine, we are unable to complete a full inspection of the property as we are not qualified surveyors and it would not be reasonable to request this level of intrusion from a tenant on a regular basis. This visit should be viewed as a 'walk through' of the property and a chance to discuss with the tenant any issues that may have become apparent to them.

Who will organise property repairs and maintenance?

Also with the management service, we will report to you all issues identified to us by the tenant or seen by ourselves on a visit, with regards to property repairs. After discussion, we will arrange for a tradesman to visit the property either to provide a quotation or carry out the required repair work. Should you regularly use the services of a particular tradesman we can contact them on your behalf. This part of our management service is limited to covering repairs that occur during the tenancy and you should continue to plan to undertake the general maintenance and improvement of the property, such as external redecoration and upkeep as normally required with all properties.

What happens at the end of the tenancy?

If you are reoccupying the property, you should arrange approximately seven days before, to have the services returned into your name, to ensure a continuing supply. At the end of the tenancy, under our management service, we will arrange to receive the keys from the tenant on the final day. We will then visit the property to carry out a final check of the property against the inventory created at the start of the tenancy. We will then report to you and discuss our findings. Should you wish, you can also visit the property at this time. If you are happy that the tenant has left the property in a good condition and all monies have been paid that are due, we will arrange to return to the tenant the deposit paid at the start of the tenancy. If there are any issues at this time, initially the deposit money is used to rectify the problem, once agreement has been reached with the tenant. If there is insufficient money held in the deposit, the tenant would be advised of the excess that is required and payment would be requested. If payment were not made, it would be necessary to take court action.

Will I have to pay tax on the rent?

As with all types of income, rental income is taxable. However, it is the profit that you make and not the total rent received that is taxable. This means that in general terms you would calculate the total rent received in a tax year and deduct any expenses that you have paid relating to the letting. These will include insurances, property repairs, letting and management fees and interest paid on any mortgage or loan held against the property. The figure that you have left would be the profit on which you would pay tax in accordance with your normal tax return to HM Revenue & Customs. Taxation can be a complex issue and we would advise that you discuss this in greater depth if required with HM Revenue & Customs or an accountant.

What happens if I live outside The United Kingdom?

Under the Taxes Management Act 1995, it is a requirement that tax is taken by a managing agent on all rental for landlords who are not considered to be resident in the United Kingdom. This money is passed to HM Revenue & Customs, who will return any excess once you have submitted your accounts and they have agreed the figures. You are able to apply to HM Revenue & Customs for exemption from having this money deducted. This can be organised by completing a short form before or during the letting however monies must be deducted and forwarded to HM Revenue & Customs until they issue permission for the exemption. If you feel that this may apply to you, please discuss this further with us.

What happens with my post?

If the property that you are considering letting has been your main home, it is recommended that you have your mail redirected by the post office. It can sometimes be difficult to ensure that all your mail is forwarded to you by other methods.

Do I have to install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors?

There is a legal requirement to have smoke detectors installed and operational at the property and carbon monoxide detectors fitted into your property where you have a solid or liquid heat source ie wood, coal, oil or gas. We will discuss these requirements with you before a tenancy commences.

How should I leave the property?

Whilst the general condition of property can vary greatly, it is always advisable to ensure that the property is of a clean and tidy standard. It is your decision as to whether you leave the property furnished or unfurnished, however, generally properties that are let with just carpets and curtains will be more popular.

How many keys should I provide?

At least one full set of keys should be provided to the tenant and a further set held by ourselves, if we are managing the property. It is also advisable to hold a full set yourself.

Do I need permission to let my property?

If you have a mortgage secured against the property or if it is a leasehold property, you are normally required to obtain permission to let the property from the mortgage company and the freeholder.

What about Insurance?

You are required to keep the building insured whilst you are letting the property. This is not a tenant's responsibility. We would also recommend that you keep any contents that you leave in the property insured. We can provide further information and quotations if required.

Should I leave manuals for equipment & heating systems?

Moving into a new property can be a stressful time and any instruction manuals or useful guidance that you can leave, such as the location of meters and stopcocks will be very helpful.