FAQ Page

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I have to pay a service charge or a ground rent?

The service charge covers all of the running costs of your development such as gardening, cleaning and maintenance etc. Your lease or transfer document specifies these costs and how they are apportioned between individual properties. The service charge is paid into a specific bank account for your development. If we collect ground rent, this cannot be kept in the same account because it is payable to the freeholder or Management Company. Therefore another bank account would be opened for ground rents. Contractors supplying services are paid from the service charge account, not the ground rent account.

How is the service charge calculated?

A budget is prepared for the forthcoming financial year which is based on actual expenditure from the previous financial period. This includes things like cleaning, gardening, electricity for common areas, repairs and maintenance, buildings insurance, management fees and accountancy charges. Provision is normally made for major works such as redecoration of common parts and usually a separate reserve/sinking fund account is opened for these cyclical works and included in the annual budget.

How often must I pay the service charge?

This is specified in your lease/transfer document and will usually be quarterly or half-yearly. Invoices are issued in advance of the payment due date.

How do I pay the service charge?

This can be by cheque, bank transfer or by debit and credit cards. There is a small fee for paying by credit card. In exceptional circumstances, individual arrangements can be set up for payment by standing order for a temporary period.

What if I can’t afford the service charge?

Basically if you do not pay your service charge, you will be in breach of your lease/transfer document because these set out the terms of such documents. If therefore you run into difficulties, please contact us or your mortgage provider if you have one.

Why is my service charge higher than my neighbour’s

Charges are usually apportioned according to property size.If your service charge is higher than a neighbour’s, it may be because your property is larger.

Will I know how service charges are being spent?

Accounts are prepared showing annual expenditure at your development. The invoices that make up the accounts are available to property owners to inspect.

Can I sub-let my property?

It is likely you will require either the Freeholders or Management Company’s consent. If it is given it would be conditional on the sub-tenant signing a document to confirm they will abide by the same “rules” as owners. These “rules” can be incorporated within a Tenancy Agreement. The Freeholder or Management Company may stipulate that a professional letting agent or solicitor is used to execute any Tenancy Agreement and that suitable references are obtained.

I have Noisy Neighbours. Who can assist?

The first action should always be to discuss it with the neighbour. A friendly invitation for them to hear the noise transmission in your property can usually prove successful.
If, however this is unsuccessful your local environmental health department will have a Noise Control Policy and will provide guidance on the subject. This will include a formal complaints procedure. Alternatively we may be able to give you some guidance.

Can I make alterations to my property?

This will depend on the clauses in the legal documents signed at purchase. It is usual in flats that no changes can be made to external appearance, this will include the colour and style of the entry door and windows.
If you live in a flat your lease may stipulate how often you are required to decorate the inside of your property.

I live in a flat and water is dripping through my ceiling. What should I do?

The first action would be to contact the person above. If they are home and you can’t find the source of water turn off their water supply at the mains stop cock for that property.
It is their responsibility to repair the fault or call a plumber.
If the person above is not at home, put a note through their door asking them to contact you as soon as possible and why.
You can contact Broadlands and we will contact them if they have provided this office with contact details.

What are the arrangements for cleaning and maintenance?

Cleaning your flat is your responsibility. General cleaning and maintenance of common areas, such as stairs and gardens, is carried out by independent maintenance companies. If any maintenance is not carried out regularly, please let us know.

What should I do if I have condensation problems?

Condensation is a common problem in modern buildings, but there are a few things you can do to help reduce it.
Keep your property Ventilated at all times to minimise condensation.
keep a window ajar, using your trickle vents and closing kitchen and bathroom doors when in use.
Leave space between wardrobes and walls.
While cooking, cover pans, don’t leave kettles boiling, keep the kitchen door closed and use an extractor fan and open a window.
If you are drying clothes indoors, use any dryer function on your washing machine, or dry them in the bathroom with the window open or fan running.

Can tenants make any alterations to the property?

Tenants may only make alterations if consent is given by the landlord/agent. If the alterations are quite major, then generally the tenant/agent will want to arrange these themselves and advise the tenants of when the works will take place.

When and how can tenants pay their rent?

Tenants can pay their rent by either:-
Standing Order to the landlord’s/agent’s account.
Debit card or credit card (3% charge for credit card payments).
Private landlords generally do not accept cash for rent payments, however if with an agency, they may take cash and pass the rent by direct debit to the landlord.
Pay by using banking online- transferring money into the landlord/agent’s account.

Should landlords let their property Furnished or Un-furnished?

Choosing whether to let a property furnished or un-furnished all depends on the property and the location. For example, if the property is in or near a well known city with close public transport and is a one or two bed flat, then that will be what young professionals are looking for. Young professionals tend to aim for furnished, modern and easy to reach properties, so if this applies to the property it will most likely be better offering the property furnished.
If the property sounds more of a quite family home, then un-furnished will be the best option. Or even a small one bed house in a quiet estate as they will be most likely home a lot they will want their own things, unlike a young professional who will just want the basics for when they come home. So check the property and clientele, and it will be easier to choose what to offer.

Will tenants rent increase?

Whilst a tenant is in a tenancy agreement the rent will not increase. Once the tenancy agreement has expired however, the landlord will have to right to increase the rent with short notice. Also after a tenancy agreement and a tenant chooses to evacuate the property, the landlord will have the right to withhold the deposit or charge extra for any damages made to the property whilst the tenant was living there.

Can Tenants have pets?

Tenants will have stated in their tenancy agreement if they are allowed pets or not. Most tenancy agreements are standard and if the landlord gives consent to a pet although the tenancy agreement may say differently, tenants will need dated, written consent in writing to themselves stating they are allowed the pet from their landlord. If with an agency, that consent must be given to agent also or the agent will get the consent.

What should tenants do if there is a leak?

If a tenant finds that there is a leak they will need to get a contractor to stop the leak and call the landlord or agent. The contractor must not repair the damage; they must simply stop the leak. The landlord/agent will then get a contractor to investigate where and how the leak started and provide a quote to repair the damage. If the leak turns out to be the tenants fault, then the landlord may charge the tenant for all the costs involved. If the leak is a pipe or mains (landlord’s responsibility) then the landlord will have to pay for the damage.

What if a tenant cannot afford to pay their rent for a month?

If a tenant cannot afford to pay the rent for just one month, the landlord/ agent may let them just pay for two months worth on the next rent due date. Or the landlord/agent may say they can pay for the missing one month’s rent in monthly payments on top of the usual monthly rent. It all depends on the landlord/agent and whether there have been financial problems before.

Will Property Inspections be carried out?

Property Inspections will be carried out throughout the tenancy; if the property is not under management then the Landlord should carry out these inspections. Property inspections are on different days of the week (no set days) and we will write to tenants at least one week in advance to advise them of the appointment day. If we should hold a key to the property, we will enter using that key unless tenants advise us that they wish to be in attendance. If we do not have a key and the tenant is not present for the inspection to allow us to the property, a ‘missed property inspection’ fine of £lots will apply.

What should tenants do if they receive any post belonging to the Landlord?

Post belonging to the landlord, the landlord’s name and address can be found on the Tenancy Agreement. Referring to the landlords name and address, simply cross out the old address, handwrite on the landlords new address and place the post back in the post box.
Post not belonging to the Landlord, it may be that it is post belonging to a tenant who previously occupied the property. Simply, cross out the old address and handwrite ‘return to sender’ or ‘RIS’ on the envelope. The only exception to this rule is for utility bills that are received, in which these can be brought into our office.

How do tenants end their tenancy?

To end a tenancy agreement tenants must give the appropriate amount of notice, in a form of a letter to us. This commences on the next rent day from the date that the letter is received. This will determine a final day for the tenancy. Rent must be paid in full up to and including this final day and the deposit cannot be used as rent throughout this final period. It is the tenant’s responsibility to ensure that all service and utility companies are advised of their final tenancy date and relevant metre readings, in order for them to calculate final payment due on their account.

What do I do if I need to leave the property before the minimum six month term is over?

Tenants are committed to their Tenancy Agreement for a minimum term of six months. However should tenants have an unforeseen change in their circumstances and needs to leave early then firstly they would need to confirm their intentions in writing, the official end of tenancy date would be at the six month stage. Next we would confer with the landlord to see if they want to re-let the property. If this is the case then we would place the property back on the market and should we find a tenant who wishes to move into the property before the tenant’s end of tenancy date, then they would be released from their contractual obligations early, only when the landlord agrees and the new tenant has paid their first month’s rent and deposit in cleared funds. Should the landlord not wish us to re-let the property then it would be down to the landlord’s discretion as to whether the tenant could be released early or not.

Damages and repairs- who do tenants tell?

At all times, damages to and within the property must be reported to either the landlord/agent (however is point of contact). If tenants see something is starting to break or get worn, they must report this before it breaks or get damaged. This is because the problem may be fixable if treated early, but if it is left it may cause more expense. Depending on the tenancy agreement, this can be found and tenants could be blamed for not complying with the agreement which could lead to them paying for the costs or its replacement.

How do tenants deposits get returned to them? What is the tenancy deposit scheme?

We will arrange to meet tenants at the property on the final day of their tenancy to carry out the final inspection. At this time the inventory which was taken at the commencement of the tenancy plus any amendments they may have made, will be re-checked.
The final inspection needs to be at a time when all the tenants belongings have been removed from the property and the property has been cleaned. Normally tenants, we and the landlord would all be in attendance. Allowances will be made for normal wear and tear, however should there be any discrepancies over and above this, these can be discussed between all parties immediately. This may involve a deduction from deposit.
Tenancy Deposit Scheme
If there are no discrepancies then we will endeavour to return the tenant’s deposit to them swiftly, normally within 5 working days. This will always be in the form of a cheque. We are members of The Dispute Service- in accordance with the Housing Act, all agents and landlords who their tenants deposit must be a member of deposit protection scheme by law. Shortly after tenants move into their rented property we will send them a certificate which confirms that their deposit is protected and gives them individual membership code. In the majority of cases The Dispute Service do not need to be involved at the end of the tenancy, as we much prefer to negotiate any deductions from the deposit to the satisfaction of both the landlord and the tenants, ensuring the swiftest possible return of tenant’s money.