Managing the tenancy (full management service)
A detailed inventory/schedule of condition is completed before the check-in. The Check-in will be carried out on the first day of the tenancy (unless otherwise agreed). The tenant will meet with one of our agents who will provide them with the inventory/schedule of condition and complete and sign off the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm checks as per the current legislation.
Council tax is the responsibility of the tenant during the tenancy. We will notify the local authority of each change. When a property is unoccupied, the landlord is responsible for Council Tax. In some cases exemptions may be available from local authorities. Landlords should check with the relevant Local authority.
The appropriate companies are advised of a change of tenant and meter readings. At the end of the tenancy, if the property is unoccupied, the landlord is responsible for any charges.
Telephone companies will only deal with the customer using the service. All arrangements for service provision must therefore be made by the landlord or the tenant.
Oil/Calor Gas/Log stocks are recorded at the start and at the end of the tenancy. The outgoing tenant is required to pay for any shortfall or compensated for any extra.
We recommend all new landlords and outgoing tenants to arrange for mail re-direction to their new address where appropriate. We cannot be responsible for collecting and distributing mail once a new tenant is in occupation.
Regular visits are conducted to ensure the property is being kept to an acceptable standard. A report is sent to the landlord following every visit. This is a vital part of our full management service. Our first visit is made soon after the tenant moves in. Thereafter we try to do a visit every three to six months, depending on the tenancy. It should be remembered that the timing of any visit is subject to the tenant's agreement.
Maintenance and repairs
The tenant is obliged to inform us of any problems during the tenancy. We also look for signs of problems during property visits. We advise the landlord of maintenance issues and arrange for contractors as required.
The costs of day-to-day repairs and maintenance are normally deducted from rent. We usually ask for authority to spend up to £100 on general repairs without prior consultation with the landlord. For more significant repairs we will obtain quotations and consult the landlord before proceeding.
In the event of an emergency we are often obliged to act on the landlord’s behalf without prior consultation. Under these circumstances we reserve the right to take, at the landlord's expense, whatever reasonable steps we feel are necessary to safeguard the tenants and protect the landlord’s interests.
Check-out and change of tenancy
We conduct a thorough inspection and update the inventory/schedule of condition. We deal with any issues arising and, if necessary, charge the tenant for any recompense from the deposit. Our objective is always to part with the tenant on the best of terms without compromising the interests of the landlord.
Serving notice during the tenancy
Notice may only be served after the first four months of the initial fixed term, but a tenancy cannot be brought to an end until the fixed term expires unless it is agreed by mutual consent. The Notice period is a minimum of two months from the landlord and a minimum of one month from the tenant.
This is normally discussed towards the end of the first year of a tenancy and annually thereafter. If an increase is thought to be unreasonable, it can be challenged by the tenant.
Full management, Tenant find and rent collection services
Rents are normally paid by standing order on the first of each month. However problems can arise due to a tenant's changed financial circumstances, forgetfulness or a mistake by the bank. We monitor late payments and arrears carefully, informing the landlord as soon as a problem becomes apparent and try to obtain payment as soon as possible. Usually we secure payment promptly or during the course of the month and pay the landlord. If late payments become habitual or if arrears accrue, it may be necessary for the landlord to instruct his solicitor to take the appropriate legal action. We can do this on the landlord’s behalf.
Our referencing procedure helps to ensure that the need to issue eviction proceedings is very rare. However, where Dorset Property in managing a property has done everything possible to resolve a situation but without success, then the landlord must pursue the matter through the due process of law. Unfortunately, this process can take several months and although the landlord may be awarded costs and rent arrears he will almost certainly be involved in some expense.
Dorset Property will handle simple claims on the instruction of the landlord as part of the full management service. If however we are involved in a substantial amount of work, obtaining estimates, supervising repair work etc. then we will charge for our time at our prevailing hourly rate.
We are competent in all legal aspects of the business including the preparation of appropriate tenancy agreements and serving statutory notices as necessary. We also retain a specialist law firm to provide specific advice when needed.