Selling

Why Use Michael Trower Property Management?
At Michael Trower Property Management our main priority is ensuring that our landlords receive the maximum return from their properties. We do this by letting properties quickly and to high quality tenants, which has led us to become the leading letting agency in our area.
Once a property is listed with us, we immediately send a text alert to our database of prospective tenants and it is not unusual for us to receive offers within a few hours. Our landlords can be kept fully up to date on viewings and feedback, to ensure that we keep you fully informed in this respect.

Advertising
We know the power of advertising, which is why we extensively market our properties locally and nationally:

Online
The internet has become the most popular method for tenants to find properties, It enables them to view internal photographs, find out about the local area and book their viewings online at any time of the day.
In addition to our own website (www.michaeltrower.co.uk), which is kept fully up to date with all of our latest listings, we also advertise on all of the leading property websites, Zoopla and propertfinder, yahoo, google, and many others which regularly advertise on national newspapers, on the radio and on television.

Newspapers
We regularly advertise in the property sections of the local newspapers, including, Latest Homes, The South Coast Leader and Argus Lite.

Other
We also use other promotional methods, such as, ‘To Let’ boards and window cards to highlight our properties.

Quick Response
Once a property is listed with us, we immediately send a text alert to our database of prospective tenants and it is not unusual for us to receive offers within a few hours. Our landlords can be kept fully up to date on viewings and feedback, to ensure that we keep you fully informed in this respect.

Competitive Fees
We ensure that we keep our fees competitive. We may not always be the cheapest, but we consistently offer a high quality service. A cheaper agent may just be dabbling in lettings while the sales market is slow, which means that your property could sit empty or you may end up with poor quality tenants. With Michael Trower Property Management you can have peace of mind that you will receive a first class service.
All of our client and tenant monies are fully bonded and insured through the industry recommended scheme run by ARLA and the NAEA, you can rest assure that your financial dealings are therefore secure with Michael Trower Property Management.

Recommendation
We never underestimate the power of personal recommendation, which is why we provide a good level of care for our tenants. We offer free complimentary drinks, the use of courtesy cars for viewings and we attend to repairs promptly.
We offer two FREE valuation services:
Visit Valuation – Our experienced letting consultants have an expert knowledge of the local market and can advise landlords with regards to the rental value of a property and current demand. They will also be able to recommend any minor alterations that are necessary in order to maximise the income from a property and ensure the property complies with current safety regulations.
Telephone Valuation – We can normally estimate the rental value of a property without seeing the property as we have a large portfolio of comparative let properties. We encourage any landlords considering purchasing a rental property to use this free service, as we can also advise if we are aware of any adverse problems in the area, such as, flooding or troublesome neighbours.

Why let your property
Many years ago, before the Buy to Let mortgage and the introduction of the Shorthold tenancy, property investment was mainly a privilege of the wealthy. Today investment property ownership is widespread and accessible to everyone.
Market research suggests that residential properties can be one of the safest and best performing investments, providing an excellent source of income and the opportunity for making significant capital gains over time.
In today’s market landlords include those who are letting their property while waiting for it to sell and those with one to five properties to supplement their pension, through to experienced investors with large portfolios of properties built up over years.
To ensure that we cater for all types of landlords we provide three service options:

Tenant Find Only
For the experienced landlord who manages their portfolio of properties on a daily basis.

Rent Collect
For landlords who like to manage the maintenance and inspections of their properties themselves, but prefer a professional agent to collect the rent and look after the legal matters.

Full Management
This is our most popular service where we look after every aspect of the let, including arranging any repairs or inspections and landlords do not need to have any direct contact with the tenants.
We also offer a bespoke service for developers and multi-property landlords at a discounted rate.

Landlords Guide to Letting
Rent
All rentals valuations are inclusive of ground rent, maintenance and buildings insurance. The tenant pays for the council tax, water rates, sewerage rates, gas, electric, television license and telephone. Landlords need to be aware that rents cannot be guaranteed unless they have purchased a Rent Protection & Legal Expenses Warranty.

Viewings
We always accompany tenants to view properties and we have a fleet of courtesy cars to collect and transport them to and from properties if needed. For their convenience we also offer evening and weekend viewings, with Saturday being our busiest day.

Restrictions
Depending on the type and condition of a property we can advise our landlords on what restrictions to make. These can include:·
Smoking·
Pets·
Housing benefit
As a general rule we do not normally allow pets in blocks of flats or newly decorated properties, and we do not allow tenants to smoke inside properties.

Tenant Selection
Tenants are carefully selected and evaluated with regards to their being able to pay the rent and look after the property. We do not accept tenants until the landlord has given their consent; they are welcome to meet the tenants before doing so, if preferred.
The quality and reliability of the tenant is essential and we employ a specialist referencing company to provide a vetting service. They obtain references from employers, landlords and a financial report so as to ascertain their suitability. They can also offer the landlord the option to purchase a Rent Protection & Legal Expenses Warranty which covers loss of rent if the tenants default (excluding the first months rent).

The Tenancy Agreement
The Assured Shorthold Tenancy was introduced in February 1987 and gives landlords the mandatory right to regain possession of their property without needing to give a reason. This law, combined with the Buy to Let mortgage, has led to the widespread investment in property that we have today.
The initial agreement is set for a fixed period (normally six or twelve months). After the fixed period the landlord can regain possession of the property or with the agreement of the tenant, renew for a fixed term or continue on a month to month basis, known as a periodic tenancy. Our tenancy agreement is very comprehensive and complies with all the latest housing regulations.

Repairs
Under the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985
The landlord is legally responsible for:·
Outside walls·
Inside walls and ceilings (except minor cracks that can be easily filled when decorating)·
Floors (they must be structurally sound and safe)
Electrical wiring, sockets and switches·
Baths, sinks and toilets·
Heating·
Water supply·
Roofs and gutters·
Drains (unless by fault of tenant)·
Water tanks·
Stairs, balconies and lifts
The Tenant is legally responsible for:·
Promptly reporting any necessary repairs and providing access·
Decorating the inside of the property (unless otherwise stated in the contract)
Replacing bulbs·
Sink and bath plugs·
Floor coverings i.e. linoleum, carpet·
Garden maintenance
Further information regarding repairs can be downloaded from the government
website:www.communities.gov.uk/publications/housing/repairsguide

Rent Increases
At Michael Trower Property Management, we annually review rental prices to ensure that our landlords always receive the maximum return on their investment. As a guideline we use the retail price index when calculating increases.

Deposits
For all of our properties we hold a tenancy deposit, this is normally equivalent to one months’. These are a safeguard against damage to the property which is not considered to be fair wear and tear. Deposits are registered with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) and a certificate of registration is sent to the tenant. Further information regarding the TDS is available from our office or can be downloaded from the TDS website:www.thedisputeservice.co.uk.
Tenancy deposit rules dictate that any deductions for damages at the end of a tenancy have to be agreed with the tenant. Therefore, a detailed inventory and schedule of condition, which are not compulsory, can be important for mitigation purposes should the tenant dispute a proposed deduction.

Inventories
We prepare a detailed inventory and schedule of condition of all of our properties together with meter readings. As an extra precaution we photograph and video the condition of a property.This inventory is used at the end of the tenancy to determine any deductions for damage to the property which is not normal wear and tear.

Utilities
As part of our service we inform the local council and provide meter readings to the utility companies. Landlords are not responsible for non payment of utility bills.

Tradesman
We use trusted local contractors to carry out any repairs and our handymen are often semi-retired tradesmen. We aim to keep repair costs as low as possible and have negotiated a ‘same day’ repair service for emergency plumbing at no extra charge to our landlords. We have found that tenants are more likely to stay longer in a property if repairs are dealt with quickly and efficiently.

The Garden
The tenant is responsible for the maintenance of a garden. However, if the property has a large or landscaped garden it may be advisable to employ a gardener and incorporate the cost within the rental price. Gardening equipment, such as, a lawn mower or spades should be provided for the tenants if required and it is advisable to ensure gardens are as low maintenance as possible.

Inspections
We conduct regular inspections of all fully managed properties. These inspections serve numerous purposes, they allow us to:
1. Visit the tenant in the property and ensure that it is being looked after
2. Visually check the structure of the property and note any repair work required
3. Build a rapport with the tenants and be confident of the advice we provide our landlords when the tenancy is due for renewal

Ending the Tenancy
At the end of the initial fixed term landlords can either:·
Regain possession·
Renew for a further fixed period·
Continue on a month to month basis

Furnished or Unfurnished
There is very little demand in our area for fully furnished properties, so unless circumstances dictate otherwise, we advise our landlords to let their properties unfurnished. Unfurnished properties should supply a cooker, other white goods, such as, fridges and washing machines can be left but the landlord is responsible for their maintenance.

Presentation
It is advisable to offer your property in optimum condition. This will help to achieve a higher rent and attract a better quality tenant who will be more likely to look after your property. Neutral decoration and carpets will make the property more appealing to a wider range of tenants. All rental properties should be cleaned before the tenants move in and tenants are responsible for ensuring the property is left in the same condition when they vacate.
We use a network of trusted local contractors who include:·
Decorators·
Cleaners·
Gardeners·
Plumbers·
Electricians·
Handymen
Preparing The Property To Let·
Remove all personal belongings and any items which are old or broken
Fix any minor problems, such as, sticking doors, loose fence panels, broken handles and cracked windowpanes·
Ensure white goods, such as, fridges and cookers, are in safe and working order·
Supply curtain rails but avoid curtains, as tenants prefer to provide their own curtains to match their furniture·
An unfurnished property should supply a cooker as a minimum. Other appliances are beneficial but not essential. Please note, it is the landlords responsibility to maintain any other electrical appliance supplied with the rental property·
Supply fitments such as towel rail, toilet roll holder and coat hooks in the bathroom·
Showers have become a modern day necessity. If your property does not have a separate shower, consider installing an over the bath shower·
Fit hardwearing wooden or vinyl floors to high traffic and wet areas such as halls, kitchens and bathrooms·
Ensure any grout used in a kitchen or bathroom is clean and replace if necessary
Gardens should be left neat, tidy and rubbish free, with any lawns cut·
Gardening tools should be left to enable tenants to maintain the gardens·
Leave the operating instruction manuals for any appliances in the property·
Encourage prospective tenants to choose your property by leaving:-
The heating on low in the winter to take away any chill-
Pretty soap in the bathroom-
A small coloured hand towel in a white bathroom-
A bottle of wine with two glasses in the kitchen

Safety Regulations
The following regulations apply to all rental properties. Our trained staff will check that your property is fully compliant with all relevant regulations and we have contractors available to carry out gas and electric safety checks.
Should you require further information please view the ‘Health and Safety in Rented Accommodation’ section on the following government website: www.direct.gov.uk/en/HomeAndCommunity/BuyingAndSellingYourHome/RentingAHome

Furnishings
If any furniture is left in a property the Landlord has a duty to ensure that it is maintained and repaired should it become faulty, provided that this is not a result of negligence or malicious damage by the tenant. The regulations apply to items, such as, beds, sofas and cushions, but not to carpets, curtains and bedclothes.
The furnishings must comply with The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 1993 and a label clearly stating so should be attached. If not, then the furnishings must be removed from the property and cannot be stored or sold to the tenants at the rented address.

Electrical safety
All electrical equipment supplied in rented accommodation must comply with ‘The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994’ and be safe and constructed with good engineering practice. All electrical appliances must be fitted with safety plugs and we recommend that they are checked by a qualified electrician every five years.

General Safety
Landlords have a common law responsibility to ensure that their property is safe and does not cause injury or damage to tenants, neighbours or the public. Landlords should check that pathways and stairs are safe before letting the property.

Gas Appliances
Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, it is a legal requirement for every gas appliance and gas central heating system to be maintained in safe working order and inspected on an annual basis by a qualified Corgi approved contractor. We can arrange for the safety inspection to be carried out for you by our local gas engineer and we will keep a record of the inspection date. A safety certificate must be issued every twelve months and it can be cost effective to have the boiler serviced at the same time.

Smoke Alarms
It is our recommendation that all properties are fitted with at least two smoke alarms. While this is not a legal requirement, failure to take adequate precautions could lead to a landlord being prosecuted and smoke alarms are inexpensive and easily fitted. Building regulations state that it is mandatory for all new buildings after June 1992 to be fitted with mains powered smoke alarms.

Energy Performance Certificate Factsheet
From the 1st October 2008 all rental properties being marketed wil be required to provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) as part of the European Union directive to increase energy efficiency and reduce co2 emissions. The EPC is valid for 10 years. Properties which have previously been available for sale may already have a valid Certificate.
An EPC measures both the energy efficiency of a property and its impact on the environment. It provides a graph similar to the labels now found on domestic appliances, such as, washing machines. Your property will be rated on a scale of A–G. ‘A’ being the most efficient and ‘G’ the least. It will show the appropriate current running costs for heating, hot water and lighting, and provide recommendations for ways to improve the efficiency of your property.
Prospective tenants will be able to use this information for comparative purposes and take into consideration the cost of rent and council tax, as well as the approximate running costs of a property. If your property performs well it will become more attractive to prospective tenants.
In order not to delay viewings we have negotiated ‘same day’ surveys to be arranged at competitive rates. The survey entails an assessment of the age, construction and location of the property, as well as its heating system, light fittings, insulation, and glazing.
There are grants available to landlords and to tenants to help to make energy efficient improvements to properties. There is also a Landlords Energy Saving Tax Allowance which enables landlords to deduct certain energy efficiency costs from their tax liability.
Here are some effective steps that a landlord can take to make a property more energy efficient:·
Install cavity wall insulation·
Insulate loft to depth of 270mm·
Insulate any hot water cylinder·
Install thermostat controls·
Install central heating·
Install double glazing
More information on EPCs can be found at:
www.campaigns.direct.gov.uk/epc/

GRANTS AVAILABLE
Grants are available for landlords and tenants, for loft and cavity wall insulation. It is generally more cost effective for the tenant to apply, with the landlord’s permission, as some tenants will be entitled to a 100% grant.
For more information call The Heat Project on 0800 0934050 or visitwww.heatproject.co.uk
Further information is available from the following government website:www.campaigns.direct.gov.uk/epc/

NON RESIDENTIAL LANDLORDS
Under the Provisions of the Taxation of Income from Land (Non Residents) Regulations 1195 (Finance Act 1995), while a landlord may be considered non-resident for tax purposes, he is still liable to pay UK income tax arising from rents received in this country. Unless we hold an exemption certificate we have to deduct tax from any rents received.
Where a property is jointly owned, including married couples, both parties must apply separately for an exemption certificate. We can supply you with the application forms or you can download them from the following government ebsite: http://www.hrmc.gov.uk/nonresidents/fagnrl1_bw.shtml

Finances and Insurance

Mortgages
Unless you have a Buy to Let mortgage, you should inform your mortgage lender of your intention to let a property. It is very rare for a mortgage company to
refuse.

Leasehold Properties
If your property is a leasehold flat or maisonette, you may need to obtain consent to let your property from the freeholder or managing agent.

Insurance
As landlord you are legally responsible for insuring the building and must inform your insurance company that the property is to be let. Specialist landlord policies are available which can be more suitable for rental properties.

Rent Guarantees
Although tenants are thoroughly referenced we cannot guarantee payment of the rent, but you can purchase a Rent Protection & Legal Expenses Warranty policy. This policy will pay the rent (excluding the first month’s arrears) and obtain vacant possession of the property.

Tax
All income received from renting a property is subject to tax. Expenses incurred can be set against this liability. Landlords must declare any income received from a property on a Self-Assessment Tax Return or online at www.hmrc.gov.uk/sa/introduction.htm

Allowable Expenses
The following expenses are tax deductable from a letting income:·
Letting agent fees·
Legal fees for lets of a year or less, or for renewing a lease for less than 50
years·
Accountant fees·
Buildings and contents insurance·
Interest on property loans·
Maintenance and repairs (but not improvements)·
Utility bills (e.g. gas, water, electricity)·
Rent, ground rent and service charges·
Any services you pay for, such as, cleaning or gardening·
Other direct costs of letting the property, e.g. phone calls, stationery or
advertising
We recommend that landlords appoint an accountant to prepare a tax return and it is essential that you keep all supporting documentation for your records. For further information visit the section entitled “Tax on Rent from Residential property Lettings” on the following government website:
www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTaxAndBenefits/Taxes/TaxOnPropertyAndRentalIncome