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Countywide Properties Ltd understands that your property is likely to be one of your largest and most valuable assets. As an independent, local business we are able to provide a personal yet professional service to all our landlords. We have been successfully letting and managing property in Ipswich and Suffolk for over 20 years.
We specialise in all aspects of property management and residential letting and pride ourselves providing peace of mind to our clients that there investment is in safe hands.
- Countywide Properties has been built on local experience and knowledge for the last 20 years
- We manage a substantial property portfolio which is growing year on year
- Our continued growth is predominantly from referral and recommendation
- We are RICS registered – so adhere to strict codes of conduct and regulation
- We are a local, family owned and run business who put our clients first
- You will receive a personal & professional service from us at all times
- Competitive rates of Full Management, Let Only and Tenant Find services to include;
1. Tenant find service
Our tenant find service includes
- A Free market appraisal
- Comprehensive marketing of your property
- Tenant referencing
2. Let only service
Our let only service includes all of the tenant find services plus
- Preparing the approved Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement
- Providing an inventory and schedule of condition
- Collection of the deposit and first month’s rent, in advance
- The rent and deposit is then transferred to you – we can register the deposit with TDS (The Dispute Service) for an additional charge
3. Full management service
Our full management service includes everything within the tenant find service and the let only service plus the following:
- Registering the deposit with TDS (The Dispute Service)
- Monthly rent collection and payment to landlords
- Comprehensive monthly statements of income and expenditure
- Notifying utility companies and Council Tax authority of account transfers
- Six monthly inspections with full reports
- Arrangement of gas and electrical safety checks and renewals
- Full property and maintenance management
- 24hr call out response
- Serving appropriate notices
- Negotiating renewal terms
Free market appraisal
Our Property Management and Lettings Manager will initially visit your property at a time that is convenient to you and provide you with a FREE market appraisal at this time we will also give you expert guidance and letting advice to make your property as attractive as possible to potential tenants. You will be able to tell us of any specific letting requirements you have for the property, which can be included in the property details, if you so wish.
Marketing your property
We will advertise your property both locally and nationally to a wide spectrum of potential tenants. We work hard to find good quality, reliable and fully referenced tenants for your property, we understand that you don’t want your investment sitting empty for long periods costing you money, but we also appreciate the importance of finding good quality, reliable tenants that will respect and take care of your property.
You will find us on all of the property major websites, we also have display adverts in the Yellow Pages and Thomson Local as well as being on Yell.com. We regularly advertise in the local press such as the East Anglian Daily Times and Evening Star. We also hold an extensive list of potential tenants on our database which we can access and utilise as soon as we get an instruction to market a property.
Finding a suitable tenant
All viewings are strictly by appointment with Countywide Properties and accompanied by our Property Management and Lettings expert, who will ensure that post is collected and forwarded to the relevant parties and the property is left secure when left.
Once we have found a suitable applicant for your property, we will notify you immediately by phone or email to discuss. If you are happy from the initial information provided we will ask the applicant to fill in an application form, this allows us to take an employment reference and credit check as well as a landlord reference (if they are in rental accommodation).
At your request we can then pass the response form on to you for your approval, if at this stage you are happy to proceed we will draw up all the relevant paperwork. Likewise if for whatever reason you are unsure or unhappy with something that has been flagged up through the referencing process we can either ask applicant to provide a suitable guarantor or look elsewhere for a suitable tenant who you are 100% satisfied with.
The tenancy agreement
Once we have found a suitable tenant we will prepare an approved Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement, which incorporates all up to date legislation and can be amended to meet your individual needs as our client. We will ask the tenants to sign and have witnessed two copies of the agreement both of which are then sent to you for your counter signature. A copy of the agreement signed by both parties is then provided to both you as our client for your records and the tenant.
Schedule of condition
Prior to the tenants moving into your property, a full comprehensive inventory and schedule of condition is undertaken. This lists in detail, the current condition of the property, and includes contents in each room, including fixtures and fittings. The tenants will be given 7 days to go through the schedule and make any agreed amendments (where necessary).
If the schedule is not returned to us within 7 days then the schedule will be taken as it stands, the Inventory is also signed on behalf of Countywide Properties. The inventory and schedule of condition will be carried out by our Property Manager, unless otherwise requested.
Meter Readings and Meter References will be taken at this time so we have a signed record to prove readings when the tenant took occupation of the property.
Images are also taken.
Deposits and first month rent
We require all tenants to provide a minimum of one month’s rent as full deposit and the first month’s rent in advance. Full deposits will only be returned to the tenant/s if the property is left in a satisfactory condition in accordance with the Schedule of Condition which we have signed when they moved in, taking in to account general wear and tear.
Deposits will be held in our deposit account and registered with the TDS (The Dispute Service) to comply with the deposit regulations that came into effect in April 2007.
Inspections are carried out 6 monthly on all our managed properties, these are undertaken to ensure the condition of your property. Full reports will be kept on our records and are available to you at your request. We will ensure to send you an emailed summary of the general condition with any required works which we consider to be necessary. You are also welcome to visit the property, should you wish, so long as prior notice has been given to the tenants (we are more than happy to carry out inspections quarterly at your request).
Maintenance of the property
As a landlord you have a statutory responsibility for the upkeep and maintenance of your property in accordance with Section II of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. We deal with day to day repairs to the property up to £200, and will deduct the invoice payments from your rental account. Any maintenance work required over £200 will require your authorisation before we can arrange for work to be carried out. We do, however, reserve the right to use our own discretion in the event of an emergency.
We provide tenants with a 24 hour/365 days help line in the event of an emergency. We use reliable and trustworthy contractors to undertake our works. However we are happy to liaise with your contractors if you have preferred people you would like us to use.
Should your property require major works including refurbishment, full redecoration, renovation etc, we are able to offer a project management service to our clients at no extra cost this will be included in our monthly management fee.
We will provide you with a minimum of 2 quotes for your perusal. Once you accepted a quote and agreed for the works to commence we will manage the project start to finish ensuring a high standard of work is carried out efficiently to ensure your property is ready to rent again ASAP or if the property is in occupation to minimise the disturbance caused to your existing tenant/s.
End of tenancy
When a tenancy is coming to an end we will arrange with the tenants to inspect the property (usually a week before the final day on the contract). At this time we compare the schedule of condition against the condition of the property. Any damage/dilapidations will be agreed and deducted from the deposit, with the exception of fair wear and tear.
If you have a mortgage on your property, your Mortgage Deed will usually require you to obtain consent from your lender, before you are able to let the property. If the property is Leasehold, the landlord should obtain permission from the superior Landlord and Management Company.
You should inform both your Building and Contents insurers that you are proposing to let your property and obtain their confirmation that this does not affect your cover. If you are letting the property completely unfurnished, it would be the responsibility of the tenant/s to find their own contents insurance.
Landlords legal requirement
There a certain things which you are required to do as a landlord before choosing to rent your property including;
- Obtain permission from your building society
- Inform your insurers that you are letting the property (or your insurance is void)
- If there is Gas at the property you must have a Landlord’s Gas Safety Certificate
- All properties require an Energy Performance Certificate
- All portable appliances should have an annual PAT test
- Working smoke alarms must be installed on every level of a residential dwelling where there is a room used wholly or partially as living accommodation
- A carbon monoxide alarm must be installed in any room which contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance
- All furnishings at the property must comply with the Fire and Furnishings Act.
- If you are going to be living abroad you will need a Tax Exemption Certificate.
Countywide Properties can arrange for fully qualified engineers to carry out all the above checks. An additional requirement by law is that all properties have a fixed wiring test every three to five years, we can also arrange this for you.
Smoke Alarms Building Regulations 1991 require all properties built since June 1992 to have interlinked mains-connected smoke detectors / alarms on each floor of the property. Older properties must be fitted with standard smoke detectors/alarms. Smoke alarms must be checked regularly to ensure that they are in full working order. At Countywide Properties we can arrange this for you.
Rent and Legal protection
You can add rent protection to any property as long as all the tenants (over 18) are named on the Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST). Our referencing company offer 6 or 12 month terms with one month excess or NIL excess, covering up to £2500 (rent per month) with a maximum of £10,000 (any single claim). If you choose to use Countywide Properties as your managing agent we can help to guide you through the process with the added incentive that you will get the benefit of our Agent discount.
Once you have decided that you would like to instruct us we will require the following to get started;
- Sign and return our terms and conditions
- Provide us with 2 sets of keys (one to be given to the new tenant, the other to be held securely)
- Advise us of the Landlord’s full name, address, contact numbers, email address and bank details for rent payments
- Provide us with a copy of the EPC, Gas/Electric Safety Certificate (where applicable).
Please click on the above heading to access all our landlord fees.