We are an independent Letting agent, based in Cranfield, covering Milton Keynes, Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire specialising in Residential Lettings, Property Management & Serviced Apartments.
Our knowledge of the local property market, combined with experienced and friendly staff, enables us to offer an enviable service to all and as specialists we are fully focused on the priorities and needs of our clients.
We completely pride ourselves on offering a personal service to all, whilst at the same time maintaining a high standard of competence and professionalism. Most of our business is achieved solely by recommendations, which we think speaks for itself!
A Personal Service:
Because we are a small firm, we are able to offer a personal service, with attention to detail, whilst at the same time maintaining a high standard of competence and professionalism.
Our fees are transparent, competitive and may be open to negotiation dependent on the level of Service required. We are particularly committed to investment Landlords and savings can be made on the smallest of portfolios.
Carefully Selected Tenants:
Drawn from a continually updated register, all prospective Tenants are thoroughly referenced and credit checked. In some cases we will also require a guarantor.
Levels of Service offered for Property Rentals
Please see below our Levels of Service. However, we maintain a flexible attitude, and are generally able to adapt our Service to meet our client’s individual circumstances and needs.
Our inclusive Service provides the marketing of your property, carrying out viewings, leading to the introduction and referencing of a prospective Tenant(s). This proving satisfactory, we will then go ahead and prepare the tenancy agreement, deposit prescribed information and an inventory.
Bourdeaux’s also take all meter readings at the commencement and end of a tenancy and inform all relevant utility companies.
As part of the service, we check to ensure all Gas, Electrical and Legionella’s checks are up to date as required by law and regularly keep you updated on any changes.
During the tenancy we carry out periodic inspection visits to which you will be provided with a report. Should the Inspection bring to light any maintenance issues or concerns, we will (within the confines of our Management Agreement) advise you. Any urgent maintenance issues will be dealt with as a priority to which we will inform you.
Collecting and processing of rental payments is also part of the Service. These will be credited automatically to the Landlord’s nominated bank account.
Towards the end of the tenancy, we will liaise with the Tenant, and re-advertise the property to secure new tenants, unless you as the Landlord inform us to the contrary.
This Service is suitable for those Landlords who are not residing locally, or would rather not deal with the Tenants directly, preferring all aspects to be handled by an Agent.
Let Only Service:
Our Let Only Services includes marketing of the property, carrying out viewings, and leading to the introduction and vetting of a prospective Tenant via full referencing checks. Providing all is satisfactory, we will then go ahead and prepare the tenancy agreement, Deposit Prescribed Information and a photographic inventory.
We also ensure all utility companies are contacted; Energy Performance certificates are in place along with Gas and Electrical Certificates up to date.
Following the move in, the first month’s rent will be collected and credited to the Landlord less our agreed fee. Managing the tenancy, including the maintenance and rent collection, will then be the responsibility of the Landlord.
Our Introduction service offers, marketing, viewings, and tenant referencing. Tenancy Agreements can be provided for an additional charge.
This can be an additional service to the Let Only, whereby you may prefer to have an Agent collect the rent for you, but you as the Landlord Manage the Property.
We offer a competitive fee structure and can offer reductions on our standard charges for multiple property portfolios.
Standard Fees Detailed below:
We are registered for Client Money Protection with Client Money Protect.
General Practical and Legal Issues
Preparing the Property
We have found that a good relationship with Tenants is the key to a smooth-running tenancy. As Property Managers this relationship is our job, but it is important that the Tenants should feel comfortable in their temporary home, and that they are receiving value for their money. It follows therefore that a well presented and maintained property in a good decorative order will go towards this, whilst also achieving a higher rental figure. Tenants are also more inclined to treat such a property with greater respect.
Electrical, gas plumbing, waste, central heating and hot water systems must be safe, sound and in good working order. Repairs and maintenance are at the Landlords expense unless misuse can be established. Interior decorations should be in good condition and preferably plain, light and neutral.
Your property can be let fully furnished, part furnished or unfurnished. Which of these is appropriate will depend on the type of property and local market conditions. We will be pleased to give you advice on whether to furnish or not and to what level. As a minimum you will need to provide decent quality carpets, curtains and light fittings. Remember that there will be wear and tear on the property and any items provided.
Personal items, ornaments etc.
Personal possessions, ornaments, pictures, books etc. should be removed from the premises, especially those of real or sentimental value. Some items may be boxed, sealed and stored in the loft at the owner’s risk. All cupboards and shelf space should be left clear for the Tenant’s own use.
Gardens should be left neat, tidy and rubbish free, with any lawns cut. Tenants are required to maintain the gardens to a reasonable standard, provided they are left the necessary tools. However, few Tenants are experienced gardeners, and if you value your garden, or if it is particularly large, you may wish us to arrange visits by our regular gardener.
At the commencement of the tenancy the property must be in a thoroughly clean condition, and at the end of each tenancy it is the Tenants’ responsibility to leave the property in a similar condition. Where they fail to do so, cleaning will be arranged at their expense.
Information for the Tenant
It is helpful if you leave information for the Tenant, e.g. on operating the central heating and hot water system, washing machine and alarm system, and the day refuse is collected etc.
You should provide one set of keys for each Tenant and also a full separate set for the Managing Agent.
If your property is mortgaged, you should obtain your mortgagee’s written consent to the letting. They may require additional clauses in the tenancy agreement of which you must inform us.
If you are a leaseholder, you should check the terms of your lease, and obtain any necessary written consent before letting.
You should ensure that you are suitably covered for letting under both your buildings and contents insurance. Failure to inform your insurers may invalidate your policies. We can provide information on Landlords Legal Protection, Rent Guarantee Cover and Landlords Contents and Buildings Insurance if required.
Bills and regular outgoings
We recommend that you arrange for regular outgoings e.g. service charges, maintenance contracts etc. to be paid by standing order or direct debit. However where we are managing the property, by prior written agreement we may make payment of certain bills on your behalf, provided such bills are received in your name at our office, and that sufficient funds are held to your credit.
Council tax and utility accounts
We will arrange for the transfer of Council Tax and utility accounts to the Tenant. Meter readings will be taken, allowing your closing gas and electricity accounts to be drawn up. All these matters we will handle for you, however British Telecom will require instructions directly from both the Landlord and the Tenant.
When resident in the UK, it is entirely the Landlords responsibility to inform the Revenue & Customs of rental income received, and to pay any tax due. Where the Landlord is resident outside the UK during a tenancy, he will require an exemption certificate from the Revenue & Customs before he can receive rental balances without deduction of tax. Where we are managing the property we will provide advice and assistance on applying for such exemption.
It is most important that an inventory of contents and schedule of condition be prepared, in order to avoid misunderstanding or dispute at the end of a tenancy. Without such safeguards, it will be impossible for the Landlord to prove any loss, damage, or significant deterioration of the property or contents. In order to provide a complete Service, we will if required arrange for a member of staff to prepare an inventory and schedule of condition, at the cost quoted in our Agency Agreement.
What is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy?
Most tenancies will automatically be Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs), provided the rent is under £100,000 a year and the property is let to private individuals. Tenancies are usually granted for an initial fixed term of either 6 to 12 months. When the fixed term has expired the landlord is able to regain possession of the property provided he gives two months written notice to the tenant. In addition, if the tenant owes at least 2 months or 8 weeks rent on the property he can apply through the court to seek a possession order.
Health and Safety and other Legal Requirements
The following requirements are the responsibility of the owner (Landlord). Where you have signed our Full Management Agency Agreement, they are also our responsibility. Therefore where we are managing we will need to ensure compliance.
Annual safety check
Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 all gas appliances and flues in rented accommodation must be checked for safety within 12 months of being installed, and thereafter at least every 12 months by a competent engineer (e.g. a GAS SAFE registered gas installer).
Maintenance: There is a duty to ensure that all gas appliances, flues and associated pipework are maintained in a safe condition at all times.
Records: Full records must be kept for at least 3 years of the inspections of each appliance and flue, of any defects found and of any remedial action taken.
Copies to tenants: A copy of the safety certificate issued by the engineer must be given to each new tenant before their tenancy commences, or to each existing tenant within 28 days of the check being carried out.
There are several regulations relating to electrical installations, equipment and appliance safety which affect landlords and their agents in that they are ‘supplying in the course of business’. They include the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, the Plugs and Sockets Regulations 1994, the 2005 Building Regulation – ‘Part P, and British Standard BS1363 relating to plugs and sockets. Although with tenanted property there is currently no legal requirement for electrical safety certificates (except in the case of all HMOs) it is now widely accepted in the letting industry that the only safe way to ensure safety, and to avoid the risk of being accused of neglecting your ‘duty of care’, or even of manslaughter is to arrange electrical inspections and the issue of safety certificates. There are 2 types of electrical inspection, one of the actual installation, and another of any portable electrical appliances (PAT test).
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended 1989 & 1993) provide that specified items supplied in the course of letting property must meet minimum fire resistance standards. The regulations apply to all upholstered furniture, beds, headboards and mattresses, sofa-beds, futons and other convertibles, nursery furniture, garden furniture suitable for use in a dwelling, scatter cushions, pillows and non-original covers for furniture. They do not apply to antique furniture or furniture made before 1950, bedcovers including duvets, loose covers for mattresses, pillowcases, curtains, carpets or sleeping bags. Items which comply will have a suitable permanent label attached. Non-compliant items must be removed before a tenancy commences.
Should there be a working chimney, it must be cleaned/swept prior to use and a receipt provided. This must be carried out regular.
Smoke Alarms & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
All properties built since June 1992 must have been fitted with mains powered smoke detector alarms from new.
With Gas appliance and boilers, it is advisable to fit a carbon monoxide detector in every room with a gas appliance – when installing and siting the alarm make sure you refer to the manufacturer’s instructions. Typically, audible CO alarms have a battery life of up to 5 years.
We therefore strongly recommend that the Landlord fit at least one alarm on each floor (in the hall and landing areas).
Legionella Risk Assessment
Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia caused by the inhalation of small droplets of contaminated water containing Legionella. All man-made hot and cold water systems are likely to provide an environment where Legionella can grow
Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA) 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 general duties require under section 3(2) that “It shall be the duty of every self-employed person to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that he and other persons (not being his employees) who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.”. Landlords, under Section 53 of HSWA are regarded as being self-employed and tenants fall into the class of “other persons (not being his employees)”. If you rent out a property, you have legal responsibilities to ensure you conduct your undertaking in such a way that your tenant(s) are not exposed to health and safety risks.
Additional actions for landlords for properties left vacant
It is important that water is not allowed to stagnate within the water system and so there should be careful management of properties left vacant for extended periods (e.g. student accommodation left empty over the summer vacation). As a general principle, outlets on hot and cold water systems should be used at least once a week to maintain a degree of water flow and minimise the chances of stagnation. To manage the risks during non-occupancy, consideration should be given to implementing a suitable flushing regime or other measures such as draining the system if it is to remain vacant for long periods.
Is your property a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)?
If your property is on 3 or more levels and let to 5 or more tenants comprising 2 or more households (i.e. not all of the same family) it will be subject to mandatory licensing by your local authority. Whether mandatory licensing as above applies or not, if there are 3 or more tenants not all related in any property, it is still likely to be an HMO, and special Management rules apply. Ask your Letting Agent or local authority for details.
Learn more here: http://www.propertylicence.gov.uk
The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)
The HHSRS provides an analysis of how hazardous a property is through assessment of 29 potential hazards found in housing. Landlords have to maintain their properties to provide a safe and healthy environment. The HHSRS is enforced by local authorities.
For further information visit http://www.communities.gov.uk/hhsrs
Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP)
Since 6 April 2007, all deposits taken by landlords and letting agents under Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) in England and Wales must be protected by a tenancy deposit protection scheme. Landlords and letting agents must not take a deposit unless it is dealt with under a tenancy deposit scheme. To avoid any disputes going to court, each scheme is supported by an alternative dispute resolution service (ADR). Landlords and letting agents can choose between two types of scheme; a single custodial scheme and two insurance-based schemes.
Learn more here: https://www.gov.uk/tenancy-deposit-protection/overview
If we are not providing our Full Management Service. Bourdeaux’s will register the deposit in the custodial scheme which is known as the Deposit Protection Scheme (DPS). In addition a further order will be made requiring you pay compensation to the tenant of an amount equal to three times the deposit should the deposit not be registered. You will be unable to serve a Section 21 Notice on your tenant until compliance with the above conditions, and the court will not grant you a possession order. We have no liability for any loss suffered if you fail to comply.
Tenancy deposit protection – prescribed information
Legislation requires that certain information must be given to the tenant within 30 days of a deposit being taken. Whether you use the DPS, or the TDSL scheme, only some of the information is provided to the tenants by the scheme administration. The remainder must be provided by the landlord.
A special ‘Tenancy Deposit – Prescribed Information’ form has been designed for this purpose and a copy is available from this agency.
It is very important that the form is completed fully and accurately, and that you attach to it a printed version of the relevant scheme’s Terms and Conditions. These can be downloaded from their respective websites on the following links, depending on which scheme you use:
Be sure to comply with the above requirements fully and accurately, because penalties to the landlord for non-compliance are heavy.
Where we are providing our Full Letting & Management Service we will handle all of this for you as part of our service.
The Disability Discrimination Act 2005
The DDA 2005 addresses the limitations of current legislation by extending disabled people’s rights in respect of premises that are let or to be let, and common hold premises. Landlords and managers of let premises and premises that are to let will be required to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people. Under the new duties, provided certain conditions are met (for example, that a request has been made), landlords and managers of premises which are to let, or of premises which have already been let, must make reasonable adjustments, and a failure to do so will be unlawful unless it can be justified under the Act. Landlords will only have to make reasonable adjustments. And they will not have to remove or alter physical features of the premises.
The Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007
From 1st October 2008 landlords offering property to let will be required by law to provide prospective tenants with an Energy Performance Certificate for their property.
A new certificate will not be required on each let since, in the case of rental property, EPCs will be valid for 10 years.
The certificates (EPCs) will have to be provided free either when (or before) any written information about the property is provided to prospective tenants or a viewing is conducted.
We have a database of registered energy assessors, and we will be pleased to arrange an EPC inspection and assessment on your property upon request.
Please note that we cannot market your property to let until we have in our possession a valid EPC for the property.
We hope that the information covered in this guide will be of assistance to you. If there are any aspects of which you are unsure, please ask us. We look forward to being of assistance to you in the Letting, or the Letting and Management of your property.