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Lettings Management

Welcome to City Homes Estate Agent! An established company with a professional reputation for service, efficiency and attention to detail. City Homes are one of the largest letting agents in Peterborough. City Homes is owned and operated by highly trained professionals who have the dedication, motivation and business credentials to understand how quality customer service businesses need to be run to enable them to thrive and be profitable. We have successfully rented hundreds of properties, our constantly growing client base of landlords, that have mostly been recommended is a testimony itself. One thing we would say is that we value our customers as much as our business!

General Information

Initial Monthlies
The initial monies are required in cleared funds prior to the commencement of the tenancy
and can be broken down as follows:
Initial Rent (First Months Rent)
Deposit (Four-Six Weeks Rent)
Tenancy Agreement
Inventory Check
Referencing

Deposit
Prior to commencement of your tenancy we will require dilapidations deposit equivalent to six weeks rent which is normally held by Deposit Protection Service as a stakeholder. The deposit is reimbursed at the end of the tenancy and at no time can these monies be used in
payment for rent.

Rent
The rent is exclusive of telephone, water, gas, electricity and council tax unless otherwise stated. The normal method of payment is per calendar month by direct debit. The first payment is due on or before the commencement date of the tenancy in the form of cleared funds, i.e. bankers draft, transfer or cash. The landlord/agent will not be sending you rent demands and the landlord has the right to charge to you any costs he may incur due to rental payments falling into arrears. Please note for any payment that is returned unpaid by your bank there will be an administration charge of £25 plus VAT on each occasion it is returned.

Administration Costs
Admin costs will be £250 plus VAT and £50 for each additional person if occupants exceed more than four, this fee includes credit referencing. We use a credit reference agency to apply for references on our behalf.

Tenancy Agreement
Subject to satisfactory references and the landlords agreement we will draft a tenancy agreement between both parties. All occupants of the property are required to sign the original tenancy agreement prior to commencement of the tenancy. If the tenancy is renewed an administration fee of £200.00 plus VAT is payable by you for the renewal documentation the first time, £150 plus VAT the second, £100 plus VAT and free then on. Different fees apply for individual room Lets. Please keep this in a safe place. Further copies will be charged at £25 including VAT per copy.


Lease
The minimum term is six months but generally properties are rented on an annual basis. If required, a release clause or option to renew clause can be inserted into the contract. This is subject to negotiation.

Inventory Procedures
You will be required to pay for the check out prior to the commencement of the tenancy, the cost of which depends on the property size. The ‘check-in’ is usually carried out on the day the tenancy commences regardless of whether occupation takes place at the same time. Once the check in is completed, the tenant, occupier or representative of either, will be asked to sign a ‘schedule of condition’ which will reflect a general synopsis of the property taking into account the various notations made against each item during check-in. It is usual for the landlord to pay for the compilation of the inventory, and the landlord and tenant to equally share the cost of the inventory check in and check out. The purpose of the inventory and check in is to accurately record the state and condition of the property and its contents when you took responsibility for the tenancy. A copy of the inventory will be sent to you. Should you subsequently find anything to be other than stated you should notify the person managing your property in writing within the first week of the tenancy.

At the end of the tenancy the inventory clerk will attend the property again with the original inventory containing all the notations made at the check in. The inventory clerk will then go through all the items listed in the inventory and make a note of any difference found. Whilst the inventory clerk will make a note of any comments that you may make during this procedure he/she will not enter into any discussion as to your responsibility. It is in your best interest to ensure that all the furniture and contents of the property are still in their original places. This is because the inventory clerk will not ‘search’ for items and if they are not seen in their original places they could be marked as ‘missing’.

Once the ‘check-out’ has been completed you will be asked to sign the schedule of condition. The inventory clerk will then prepare a ‘check-out’ report which will be sent to us and we will in turn send a copy to you and a copy to your landlord. You must liaise with your landlord concerning the cost of any dilapidations indicated, what proportion of that cost is your responsibility and what proportion is classified as Fear Wear and Tear, which is allowable under your tenancy agreement. Where we hold the deposit as stakeholders and once we have received written instructions from both your landlord and yourself regarding any change to be made against the deposit, we can allocate the funds. Please note that where it is necessary to replace missing or broken items at the property your landlord may make an administrative charge, which will vary according to the number and type of articles being replaced. If the deposit is held by the landlord, or another party, you will need to liaise with them direct with regard to the return of the deposit.

Utilities
As a tenant you will be responsible for all utility bills including water rates and council tax. It will be your responsibility to inform utility companies at the commencement of the tenancy. As a tenant you will also be responsible for insuring that there is a television licence for the premises should a television be used in the property. Should you choose to change the supplier of the utility during the tenancy then you MUST immediately notify us or your landlord of the new details.

Insurance
It is the tenants responsibility to ensure that their own contents are insured.

Income Tax On Rental Payments
If you are paying rent directly to a landlord who lives abroad, either by cheque or through a UK or foreign bank account (and not through City Homes Estate Agents or another UK based managing agent) please ask for information regarding potential tax liability.

Care

If you intend to leave the property for any appreciable time during the tenancy you should advise the landlord/managing agent and make arrangements for the property to be checked on a regular basis so as not to invalidate the landlord’s insurance policy. You might like to leave a contact address or telephone number in case of an emergency. You are responsible for the care of the property you are renting. Should any problems come to you attention, which you do not believe to be your responsibility to rectify, you have a duty to advise the landlord/managing agent. You are responsible for minor repairs such as fuses, blocked drains and broken windows.

Condensation
Condensation occurs on cold surfaces such as windows, floors and walls. It can damage the décor, floor coverings, clothes and bedding and can cause mould on the walls and ceilings.

New buildings often take a long time before they are fully dried out and may need extra heat and ventilation. Intermittent heating causes condensation to gather as the air and surfaces cool. Extractor fans, when fitted, should be used whenever water vapour is being produced, i.e. cooking, washing clothes and bathing. Doors and windows should be kept closed when using the fan and it should be left running until any mist clears from the windows. Tumble dryers (other than condensing types) for laundry should have the moist air ducted outside. To minimise condensation: keep all rooms warm and ventilated with an even temperature throughout keep kitchen doors closed when cooking, washing or drying clothes. Open the window or use the extractor fan, where fitted keep the bathroom door closed when bathing and open the window or use the extractor fan, where fitted avoid the use of paraffin heaters and flueless gas heaters in unventilated rooms (Note that paraffin produces a volume of water equal to the amount of fuel used) if possible keep some heating on at all times during cold weather If condensation occurs: heat the room mop up as much as possible open the window a little keep doors shut.

Remember: Warmth and ventilation help prevent condensation

Frost Precaution
It is essential that every precaution is taken to avoid frost damage and burst pipes during cold weather. If you: you leave a property vacant and/or have rooms or buildings which are cold/exposed and they contain water services pipes or plumbing then you are advised to: drain all water systems and central heating radiators or leave the central heating system on at an adequate level to maintain a proper room Temperature Do not underestimate the onset of a severe cold spell. We must stress that if repair costs arise from damage or default on the part of the occupant to take proper precautions, then the landlord will not be expected to pay for reinstatement and repairs – nor possibly will his insurers. If a hot water system is drained down – particularly where an electric immersion heater is installed please ensure that the heater is switched off and the water reinstated prior to switching on again. Please contact your landlord or his managing agent for advice.

Caring For Appliances
Under the terms and conditions of your tenancy agreement you will be under an obligation to look after the landlords contents. Special care is needed where domestic appliances are concerned and below are a few basic instructions to help prolong the life of some appliances and assist in a trouble free tenancy. Read the instruction booklet carefully before use. If an instruction booklet has not been left or has been lost by the previous tenant you should contact you landlord or his managing agent. Check to see that the machine is plugged in.

Washing Machine
Ensure that all items are removed from pockets of clothes before putting into the machine, as failure to do so can result in blockage being caused and the machine refusing to empty.

Tumble Dryer
Ensure that all items are removed from pockets of clothes. Ensure the filter is kept free from fluff and fibres. Using a tumble dryer when the filter is clogged can result in burnt clothes and seizure of the motor can result in burnt clothes and seizure of the motor.

Dishwasher
The machine will need regular filling up with special dishwasher salt, which can be obtained from any local supermarket. You will also need to regularly fill the machine with ‘rinse’ fluid. Again this can be obtained from any local supermarket. Ensure that the filter is cleaned regularly. Do not put cutlery with ‘bone’ handles into the dishwasher as they will crack and eventually disintegrate.

Vacuum Cleaner
If the appliance uses an internal ‘dust’ bag ensure that you only use the type recommended for that particular model and that the bag is changed regularly. Routinely check for hair and thread winding around the suction head of the machine and remove if necessary. Only use a domestic vacuum cleaner for normal everyday use.

Waste Disposal Unit
The operation of the waste disposal unit varies with different appliances. Nearly all of them however will require running water during use. Before using do ensure that the unit is free from any item other than food. Paper, cutlery or anything plastic or metal will jam (and possibly break) the appliance.

Water Softener
You will need to ensure that water softener is regularly topped up with a special type of salt, this can only be obtained from the supplier.

Radiators
You are advised not to place damp or wet items of clothing over the radiators as this causes the radiators to rust. If the wall behind the radiator is papered it can also cause the wall paper to lift.

The landlord/managing agent may wish to inspect the property from time to time. They will usually give you notice of when they intend to visit. If you are absent from the property during the day you must ensure that they are able to gain access to all parts of the property.

Moving Out

You should advise the utility companies of your date of departure and arrange for the meters to be read. Unless you have been advised otherwise you should give the landlord’s name as the next occupant. The utility companies will require an address to which they can send your financial account. Telephone lines should be put in suspense. It is ESSENTIAL that you give us or your Landlord the supplier details for any service where the supplier has been changed during the tenancy. We advise all tenants to arrange to have their post redirected to the post office. Before the day of departure you should make your own check of all items in the property against the inventory. It is in your interest to replace any broken or missing items at this stage as you may be charged a fee for doing this for you. Ensure that the property and all its contents are properly cleaned and, where appropriate, curtains, carpets etc have received professional attention. Fridge/freezers should be switched off and defrosted. The landlord may ask that during the winter months the central heating is left on a minimum setting.

On the last day of your tenancy an appointment will probably have been made for the inventory clerk or the landlord to re-visit the property and check the inventory (the checkout). Once the check out has been completed you will not be able to remain in the property.
All your personal effects should have been removed and all keys handed to the inventory clerk. A report will be prepared from the notes made during the check out. If Andrew Nunn & Associates are holding your deposit as stakeholders it can only be released when they have received authorisation from you and the landlord. Should any items on the inventory require attention this will inevitably lead to a delay in monies being returned to you. We are only able to issue one cheque when returning a deposit. If you have a shared tenancy we ill release the deposit to the first named person on an
agreement, unless we received your written request to do otherwise. We will require a forwarding address in order to contact you and you will need to provide us with the details of your bank account (this must be a UK based account) to where the deposit is to be sent.
Payments will be made by BACS directly into your bank account.
Should you fail to cancel your standing order at the end of the tenancy resulting in an overpayment of rent there will be a charge of £25 + VAT on each occasion money has to be returned.

Safety and Legislation



 

Gas Safety Regulations
Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994 and the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) (Amendment) Regulations 1996, where gas is supplied to a property, all gas appliances in that property must be inspected and serviced at least once in every 12 months. The gas appliances at the property will have already been inspected within the previous 12 months and the Gas Safety Inspection Record will either be at the property or enclosed within this pack. If the annual inspection becomes due during the term of your tenancy then your landlord/managing agent will arrange for a CORGI engineer to attend the property and carry out the safety inspection under the above mentioned regulations. The regulations were brought in to protect you from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning and it is imperative that you allow access for the engineer to carry out this very important safety check.

Your landlord/managing agent will need to arrange to remedy any defect, fault or repair found to be necessary following the safety check. Should you suspect a gas leak at anytime ring Transco immediately on 0800 111999 – do not wait

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon Monoxide can be given off by appliances that burn fossil fuels such as coal, coke, charcoal, wood or oil. It is not just confined to gas fires or boilers. It is odourless, colourless and tasteless which makes it difficult to detect, but the effects are deadly.

Please check the following:
there is adequate ventilation in the room which houses the appliance and this ventilation is not blocked up doors and windows are not “draught proof” so as to prevent ventilation if the room has double glazing make sure there is adequate ventilation chimneys and flues are professionally swept on a regular basis the throat plate should be cleaned monthly ash is removed regularly appliances and flues should be professionally serviced on an annual basis whether the flame in an appliance is burning orange or yellow instead of blue sooty stains on or just above appliances coal or wood fires that burn slowly or gout the fire is difficult to light smoke in the room portable heaters, which do not need a flue, still have adequate ventilation
In any of these cases carbon monoxide may be present!

If you suffer unexplained symptoms such as:
drowsiness
headaches
chest pains
giddiness
sickness
diarrhoea
stomach pains
you could be suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning. Switch off your appliances and see your doctor at once. If the suspected leak is from a gas appliance ring Transco immediately on 0800 111999. Do not wait.

Houses in Multiple Occupancy
Significant changes are being implemented as a direct consequence of the Housing Act 2004. These changes relate to Houses In Multiple Occupations or "HMOs". Although the Housing Act 2004 laid down the primary legislation the actual regulations have only been published in recent weeks. It is compulsory to license larger, higher-risk HMO’s. Councils are also able to license other types of HMO to tackle problems in smaller properties. A house in multiple occupation (HMO) is a house or flat occupied by people who do not live as a single household. These properties include: bedsits shared houses hostels lodgings some hotels or bed and breakfast establishments houses that have been converted into self-contained flats It is an offence if the landlord or person in Control of the property: Fails to apply for a license for a licensable property.
Allows a property to be occupied by more people than are permitted under the license. This a new and complex area where information from the government is developing rapidly;
http://www.ealing.gov.uk/services/housing/hmos/ or www.propertylicense.gov.uk can provide further information.

Tenancy Deposit Scheme
Many tenants in the private sector give their landlords a deposit against possible non payment of rent or damage to property. When a tenancy comes to an end, there is usually no disagreement about the return of the deposit. But sometimes there is, and this can cause much hardship and inconvenience to both the landlord and the tenant.

The Tenancy Deposit Scheme for Regulated Agents (TDSRA) has been developed to ensure that the deposits they hold are protected and that disputes about their return are resolved swiftly inexpensively and impartially.

Under the Scheme:
Deposits will be protected during the tenancy where there is no dispute at the end of the tenancy, deposits will be returned promptly where there is a dispute about the return of the deposit it will be dealt with fairly by the Independent Complaints Examiner (ICE). The ICE will make his decision quickly, and the deposit will be paid out without unnecessary delay.

Regulated agents are:
members of the Association of Residential Letting Agents, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the National Association of Estate Agents, or other bodies which regulate the activities of their members in the private rented sector ; and covered by a recognised bonding scheme which protects and insures money they are holding on behalf of landlords and tenants. Agents who are not part of TDSRA may be compelled to join a statutory scheme which requires them to place deposits with an independent third party. The agent managing the property holds the deposit in their own bank account (or in a special client account if their total deposits are above a certain amount). A company called The Dispute Service (The Dispute Service Limited) has been set up to ensure deposit protection.

If there is no dispute the agent will keep or repay the deposit, according to their agreement with the tenant and the landlord. If there is a dispute, the agent has a couple of weeks to resolve it. After that, any of the parties – landlord, agent or tenant – can approach the ICE. He will appoint an adjudicator to assist him in considering the evidence they provide, and will issue his decision within 10 working days of receiving the all the necessary papers. The agent will transfer the deposit to The Dispute Service Limited. It administers an Assurance Fund, which enables the ICE to carry on with an adjudication and to pay out the deposit even if the agent has not sent it to him. The Dispute Service Limited will pay out the deposit according to the instructions of the ICE following his award. If the agent has not sent the deposit, The Dispute Service Limited will draw it from the Assurance Fund. Further information can be obtained from http://www.tds.gb.com/ The service is free to tenants.