Terms & Conditions

You have the right to cancel the arrangement during the next seven days after receipt of this contract. There are regulations that have to be complied with but in practice you can de-instruct us at any time with no penalty.

Marketing Your Property

We have in nearly forty-five years, as a professional letting and management agency, gained much experience and many contacts. We use this to make the successful marketing of your property our priority.

Most of the tenant’s introduced to us are in middle or senior management positions, with multi-national companies, embassies, and other international organisations.

As well as direct applicants, we also work with other selected agents giving important additional exposure to your property. On this basis there is no need for you to instruct other agents, unless you wish to do so. If another agent is involved all negotiations will be through us, including the processing of the offer to a successful conclusion.

We confirm that until such time as we have effected a tenancy, we have no management contract with you unless a specific arrangement has been made in writing.

If we are successful in letting the property, commission will be payable by you at 10.00% of the total rental agreed for the initial period of tenancy, or any continuations thereof, plus VAT at the prevailing rate. If a tenancy is arranged with the tenant requiring a release clause, commission is payable by you up to the day on which the release clause expires. If you agree that a tenant may leave prior to the dater the notice expires, commission is payable by you up to the expiry date, whether or not a new tenant is found in the interim.

The commission is for the introduction of a tenant and applying for the rent, if required. If you do require us to apply for the rent we will, approximately two weeks prior to the rent becoming due, send a reminder to the tenant requesting payment. In the event that we have not received the rent five working days after the due date, a second reminder is sent. After that, we endeavour to make contact by telephone. You will be advised approximately ten days after the due date if the rent has not been paid.

You should expect monies to be sent to you, or your bankers as agreed, ten working days after receipt, by us, force majeure excepted. At the time of crediting the monies to you, we will supply you with a statement of income and any deductions. We will also, on your instruction, send a copy of the statement to one other named person, i.e. your accountant or bankers.

In addition to this, we will at no extra cost, obtain references on the prospective tenant (normally an employer’s and bankers reference), unless the proposed tenant is a large company whereupon we will advise you that references will not be taken up. We will, in this case, usually obtain a reference on the occupier from the occupier’s employer and will endeavour to obtain a copy of the company’s annual report.

We would advise you that if we are collecting the rent during a tenancy, it is our policy to take payment of commission (and management charges, if applicable) for the first six months in advance from the rent received (when rent is paid monthly) or payment for the period if the tenancy from the first quarter’s rent (when the rent is paid thirteen weeks or more in advance) and thereafter (in respect of monthly rents) to deduct as the rent comes in. If the tenancy continues into a second or subsequent year, the payment is taken in the same manner as in the first year. If we are not collecting rent, payment is due in total in advance.

Please note that we do not pay interest on any monies held by us in respect of tax (see notes) or for any other reason.

We confirm that in the event of anybody introduced by us either directly or indirectly, purchasing your interest in the property, we will look to you for sales commission in the normal way. Our commission in respect of a sale is 2.00% of the sale price achieved (plus VAT at the prevailing rate). In the event of the property being sold to someone other than the tenant, letting commission is still payable to us up to the end of this tenancy. You can ‘pass on’ this obligation to any new owner but no matter what private arrangement you may make, in the event of our charges not being paid by the new owner, we will look to you for payment. If you sell any of the fixtures or fittings, commission will also be calculated at the rate quoted as above. All commissions/fees appertaining to the selling of the property or any fixtures etc, are payable to us through the vendors solicitors as at the date of the completion of the sale.

Management Service

Should you require a full management service, we are prepared to give this at an additional 5.00% of the total rent plus VAT at the prevailing rate. 

In the event that we are instructed to give a management service and you subsequently decide that you are able to deal with the matter personally, we require one months’ written notice to terminate our management agreement with you.

It is difficult to define a management service but it generally covers the arranging and seeing through of day-to-day repairs, which may be necessary during the tenancy. In the event that repairs are arranged, we will pay invoices on completion of the works, after firstly ascertaining that, so far as the tenant is concerned, the works have been completed satisfactorily. If the work is of larger than usual size, payment will be made as above unless you require us to employ somebody qualified on your behalf to inspect and report on the works. If practical, we will arrange for a management inspection to be to be carried out as soon as possible after the works are completed.

We do not generally undertake arrangements in respect of major works such as rising damp, or renewal of roofs. In the event that we do agree to assist with these works, an additional charge will be payable on the basis of the time involved, which will be advised on request.

We do have contractors used by us on a regular basis but if we are managing a property it is useful to know of individuals or firms who have a knowledge of a particular property. The owner of the property is generally responsible for any structural repairs and redecoration which may become necessary during the tenancy. So far as any equipment breakdown is concerned, the landlord usually takes responsibility if a breakdown is caused by normal usage but the tenant is responsible if the breakdown/damage is caused by misuse or accident.

We generally arrange repairs up to a cost of £200.00 excluding VAT per repair without prior reference to the landlord. However, we reserve the right to arrange repairs in excess of this figure in the vent of an emergency if we are unable to contact you. If the rent in respect of the tenancy is paid quarterly, we retain up to £300.00 to pay for repairs etc. We will also deal with the payment of final utility accounts (gas, electricity, telephone, water service charges, and Council Tax) from monies retained/collected, if required.

We carry out inspections of the property, followed by a written report to you. If you require further clarification on management matters, please telephone the office asking for John Birch.

A Guide to Letting and Management for Landlords

The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations – YOU must ensure that all furniture (as defined in the regulations) comply with all the fire resistance requirements. Should you require further information, please contact us. 

Gas and Electrical Equipment – All the gas appliances and equipment must be checked annually. You must, prior to a tenant taking possession, provide the tenant(s) with a current safety certificate from a registered Gas Safe engineer. Electrical equipment is also now covered by strict checking requirements. If we are managing your property, we will need written confirmation that the gas, electrical and any other regulations have been complied with. Should such confirmation not be given, we reserve the right to arrange and charge you whatever tests, works, and replacements may be necessary. We do insert into our tenancy agreements a clause stating that you do confirm that the property conforms to all regulations. 

Letting Permission and Insurance – It is YOUR responsibility to obtain permission for the letting of the property from any building society, bank, head landlord, or any other body from whom permission is required. It is also important to inform the company or companies that insure the property that it is to be occupied by a third-party. Failure to do so may result in an insurance claim not being accepted. If the property is empty, or likely to be empty either before letting or between tenancies, then you should advise your insurers. It may be helpful to speak to us on these two points before any detailed arrangements are made. Please note that unless we are specifically advised to renew your insurance, we do not undertake to do so. Should you want us to deal with renewals, you should advise your insurers, in writing, that renewal notices are to be sent to this office. 

Please note that if there is a lease on the property, the tenants may wish to see a copy. It would be helpful if you would ensure that you are able to provide a copy without delay. 

Letting Profit – Tax Liability

If we are collecting the rent on your behalf, and you are classified as non-UK resident for tax purposes, we will be obliged to deduct tax at the prevailing rate of the rent received after allowable expenses (paid from rent received) and to pay the tax over to HMRC within thirty days of the quarter end. Other than the alternative detailed below, there can be no alternative to this (unless we are paying the rents received to a third-party who will then have control of the money: if this is the case, that third-party may apply to HMRC for registration to enable them to act as your agent). Under Self-Assessment, overseas landlords can apply for an Exemption Certificate which, if granted, allows us (or the third-party agent) to remit rents to you without having to make the deduction mentioned above. 

If you are classified as non-UK resident for tax purpose when we prepare the tenancy agreement, we will send you an application form for Self-Assessment, which should then be completed immediately by you and forwarded to the directly to HMRC. If, when we come to account to you and we have not received an Exemption Certificate, we will have no alternative but to retain tax at 20.00% (less allowances such as commission and repairs) and remit this to HMRC at the appropriate time. If an Exemption Certificate has been issued previously, either to you or another agent, you should write to the Non-Residents Department of HMRC asking them to send a copy of the Exemption Certificate to us.

Deposits

If the tenancy is to be an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, and the deposit is not being paid to us, we will lodge the monies into a custodial scheme, thorough the Deposit Protection Service. If the monies are being paid over to you, you will have to comply with these regulations.

We trust that the above is clear. If you have accountants or other advisors, it would be worthwhile contacting them now to ensure they are fully informed in the matter. 

Should you have any questions in the matter please do not hesitate in contacting either Christopher Wright or John Birch. 

Domestic Matters

It is very useful to an incoming tenant if they can be introduced to the neighbours, given instructions for any equipment, and supplied with the names and addresses of local trades people and contractors. With properties that we are to manage, this information should be made available to us rather than the tenant, so that we can assess and organise the necessary repairs.

If we are managing, you will be asked to complete a tenant information form – this is most important. You should ensure that you have made adequate provision for the redirection/forwarding of any mail which may arrive for you during the tenancy. We cannot undertake to ensure that all or any mail will be forwarded to you. 

Tenancy Agreement / Inventory

It is essential that the tenancy agreement is correctly drawn, especially bearing in mind the possible effects of legislation, and our clients usually require us to do this. We request a contribution of £150.00 plus VAT for preparation. The Agreements are individually drawn and contain clauses relevant to the specific letting. A deposit is normally held against dilapidations, cleaning etc, and this is usually the equivalent of five weeks’ rent. For rents in excess of £50,000.00 per annum, this is set at six weeks’ rent. We do, when preparing Agreements, insert a clause which confirms that the landlord has obtained all necessary permissions for the letting of the property. This, we would emphasise, includes permission from the bank or building society from whom the owners hold a mortgage.

Under legislation, building societies are requesting that a notice be served which enables them to obtain possession of a property in the event of the owner defaulting. You should let us know prior to the preparation of the Agreement, whether or not this notice applies. If we are not instructed to serve this notice, we will not do so. All other relevant notices are prepared to suit the circumstances. If you require information on this point, please contact us. 

Stamp Duty

Any necessary stamping of Agreements is now the responsibility of the tenant. It is also very important to have an independent inventory professionally made and checked in. We can, on your behalf, employ a professional inventory clerk (advice as to cost on request). The Landlord is responsible for the cost of making and checking-in the inventory, and also the making and checking-out of the inventory. 

Please feel free to telephone or write to us at any time to discuss any points which you feel relevant, including legal matters. 

John Birch

NB: The above information is believed to be correct, however, this firm does not accept any responsibility for any inaccuracies. If you are uncertain on any point, you should take further advice.

Birch & Co


2 Queen Anne’s Gate Buildings, 22 Dartmouth Street, London, SW1H 9BP.
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7222 1975

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