We are a local, independent firm specialising in Residential Lettings and Property Management. As specialists we are fully focused on the priorities and needs of the Landlord, and, unlike estate agents, our loyalties are not divided by dealing with property sales and mortgages.
We understand that letting your property, especially for the first time, can be a worrying experience and with this in mind our most important consideration is providing you the Landlord with the best possible service and the right tenant for your property.
We never forget that property is your most important asset and we can confidently assure you that by instructing us as Letting and Management Agents your asset will be in professional and caring hands.
A Personal Service
Because we are a small firm, we are able to offer a personal and friendly service, whilst at the same time maintaining a high standard of competence and professionalism.
Our fees are competitive and may be open to negotiation dependent on the service required. We are particularly committed to investment Landlords and savings can be made on the smallest of portfolios.
Carefully Selected Quality 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.
Out of Hours Service
For our initial meetings with you we will, if necessary, be pleased to visit your property outside normal office hours, at a time that is convenient to you, and thus fit in with your busy schedule. We are also available on the telephone in the evenings and at weekends up until 8.00pm.
Insurance for Landlords
We are able to suggest a range of competitively priced insurance products designed especially for Landlords, providing extra security and peace of mind. These include:
- Guaranteed Rental Insurance
- Legal Expenses Cover
- Contents Insurance
- Buildings Insurance
In addition to our local services, we are part of a UK-Wide Network of independent but associated Letting and Managing Agents, thus enabling us to offer an efficient national relocation service, and are often able to assist both individual and corporate clients, from within the UK and abroad.
Repairs and Refurbishment
In addition to property letting and management, we have been involved in property development for many years, with many properties being developed solely for the purpose of letting. Consequently we are able where required to offer a complete service to property owners and investors that involves anything from arranging a simple redecoration to full refurbishment and development. We would be happy to discuss any requirements you may have in greater detail upon request.
Levels of Service offered
A Tailored Service
Outlined below are the two basic elements of our service. However, we maintain a flexible attitude, and are generally able to adapt our service to meet our client's individual circumstances and needs, for example by providing a part only service, or occasionally by taking on additional tasks and duties.
This is our inclusive service, which provides for the marketing of the property and carrying out viewings, leading to the introduction and vetting of a prospective Tenant. This proving satisfactory, we will then go ahead and prepare the tenancy agreement, and if required an inventory. The Tenant will then be checked in against the inventory.
During the tenancy we carry out periodic inspection visits. Should these bring to light any maintenance issues, we will (within the confines of our Management Agreement) recommend, oversee and account for any necessary repairs.
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 renew the tenancy agreement or arrange to check them out as applicable.
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.
Our Letting Only service includes marketing of the property and carrying out viewings, leading to the introduction and vetting of a prospective Tenant. This proving satisfactory, we will then go ahead and prepare the tenancy agreement, and if required an inventory.
Following this, the first month's rent will be collected and credited to the Landlord less our agreed fee. Managing the tenancy, Tenancy Deposit Protection, inspection and maintenance of the property and rent collection, will then be the responsibility of the Landlord.
General Practical Issues
Preparing the Property
To let a property quickly and achieve the best possible rental values it is important that the property is presented in a clean, tidy and well decorated condition. We recommend decorations should be in plain, light and neutral colours. It is our experience that tenants are 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.
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.
Gardens should be left neat, tidy and rubbish free, with any lawns cut. Tenants are required to maintain the gardens to a reasonable standard, however few Tenants are experienced gardeners, and you may wish to consider us arranging for a 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
You should provide information for the Tenant on operating such things as 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. Where we will be managing we will require holding a set also. We can arrange to have duplicates cut as required.
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 from the Freeholder 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 advise 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 Telephone companies 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.
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 or 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 is a brief synopsis of the requirements that 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. We will be happy to discuss any requirements in greater detail upon request.
It is a legal requirement that all gas appliances and flues in rented accommodation must be adequately maintained and checked for safety at least every 12 months by a competent Gas Safe registered gas engineer. 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. Although there is currently no legal requirement for electrical safety certificates (except in the case of all HMOs) to avoid the risk of being accused of neglecting your 'duty of care' we strongly recommend periodic electrical inspection testing and portable electrical appliance testing (PAT tests).
All soft furnishings (upholstery and upholstered furnishings, coverings, loose cushions etc.) must comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988. (Antique furniture or furniture made before 1950 is exempt). Non-compliant items must be removed before a tenancy commences.
Newer properties will have been built with Smoke alarms already fitted. Where not fitted we strongly recommend that at least one smoke alarm be installed on each floor (in the hall and landing areas).
Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP)
It is a legal requirement that all deposits taken are protected by a tenancy deposit protection scheme. If we are providing our Full Management Service we will handle all the requirements to ensure compliance. If we are not providing our Full Management Service it is the Landlords responsibility to ensure the Tenant’s deposit is suitably protected under the terms of the scheme.
Be sure to comply fully and accurately with the requirements - penalties to the Landlord for non-compliance are heavy.
Energy Performance Certificates
From 1st October 2008 Landlords offering property are required by law to provide prospective tenants free of charge with an Energy Performance Certificate for their property.
We have our own in-house registered energy assessor, and we will be pleased to arrange an EPC 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.
The Process of Letting your Property
The following are the steps involved in a full letting and managing service. This can be tailored to suit you individual needs. Please talk to us about your specific requirements.
- Visiting you at your property, and providing a rental valuation and any other advice which you may require about letting your property.
- Advising you on compliance with the various safety regulations.
- Locating suitable Tenants. Through a combination of methods involving local adverting, website advertising, via our wide contacts with local companies and other establishment personnel departments, and from our existing database of waiting tenants.
- Accompanying Tenant applicants to view the property.
- Obtaining and evaluating references and credit checks.
- Preparing a suitable Tenancy Agreement and arranging signature by the Tenant.
- Collecting a Tenancy Deposit which will be treated in accordance with current legislation.
- Preparing an Inventory and Schedule of Condition.
- Checking the Tenant into the property and agreeing the Inventory.
- Supervising the transfer of gas, electricity and council tax accounts into the Tenant's name.
- Receiving rental payments monthly in advance, and paying you promptly, together with a detailed statement from our computerised management systems.
- If required, paying regular outgoings for you, from rental payments.
- Inspecting the property periodically, and reporting any problems to you.
- Arranging any necessary repairs or maintenance, first liaising with you in the case of larger works.
- Keeping in touch with the Tenant on a routine basis, and arranging renewals of the agreement as necessary.
- Checking Tenants out as required, re-letting and continuing the process with the minimum of vacant periods to ensure that you receive the optimum return from your property.
The information contained in this document is believed to be correct but neither Cornish Castle Limited nor its employees accept any liability for any errors or omissions and reserves the right to alter any details without notice.
Before entering into any legal contracts in relation to letting your property, we strongly recommend you seek the advice of a qualified solicitor and accountant to fully understand and advise you on your particular personal circumstances.
Cornish Castle Property Management is the trading name of Cornish Castle Limited. Company No. 06701380. Registered in England and Wales.
Why use a Letting Agent?
Whether a Homeowner with a single property to let, or a buy to let Landlord with a portfolio of investments, it is likely both will hold down full time jobs. It is therefore frequently the case that with so many demands on their time they cannot always be available to handle day-to-day events connected with their property.
If this sounds like you, then using a letting agent offering full property management could be an essential and economical way of ensuring the smooth running of a tenancy, while protecting the property and still receiving an income.
Whilst letting your property through a specialist letting agent is not strictly necessary, a good agent will take some of the effort out of the job of finding and selecting quality tenants, drawing up tenancy documents, inventory and condition schedules, and the day-to-day maintenance of the property.
Because you are quite literally placing your property in their hands, the choice of a letting and managing agent is as important as in choosing any other professional such as a solicitor or accountant.
Unfortunately demand for property to rent has encouraged many firms and individuals to set up as letting agents many of whom are unregulated and have little or no experience, do not operate bonded client accounts or bound by any code of practice. Remember, as the landlord you may be personally liable for any mistakes made by your agent. So choose carefully.
Cornish Castle Property Management is a professional organisation dedicated solely to letting and property management. We are members of the UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA) and The Property Ombudsman (TPO). We are bound by their professional codes of practice. You can be sure your property will be in safe hands by choosing Cornish Castle Property Management.