Frequently Asked Questions
I want to let out my property; do I need to tell the mortgage lender?
Yes, you must obtain permission from your mortgage lender and inform us of any special conditions that they impose. We may require written evidence of this.
I don't have the time to manage my property can you provide any assistance?
We offer various service packages to our landlords, so no matter how much or little involvement a landlord may want in the process of letting their property, one of our flexible solutions will provide the required level of support.
Do I need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)?
It is a legal requirement for all rental properties in England and Wales to have an EPC. Once obtained the certificate it is valid for 10 years. An EPC measures the energy efficiency of a property using a scale of A-G.
How do I know how much rent to charge?
We will assess the potential rental value in current market conditions and recommend the type of tenant that would be most suitable for the property. We will also agree with you the terms on which the property will be marketed, including any restrictions.
If I let out a property do I have to provide the tenant with any furniture?
No, you can let out your property; fully furnished, partly furnished or unfurnished. However when deciding whether to provide furniture with a property or not consider the type of tenant you are targeting and what their needs are likely to be. It is also important to note the condition of the furniture provided in the inventory.
How do I know I am getting a good tenant?
We conduct identity and residency checks on all applicants. We also obtain a credit reference and take up employer and current landlord references. For applicants who have a clean credit history but who are financially weak for the rental commitment we either ask for a guarantor or obtain full settlement of rent in advance for the tenancy term. For non-UK applicants we have access to international referencing facilities, which cover many countries.
What do I do about a deposit?
We collect a security deposit from the tenant as cleared funds before the Tenancy Agreement is signed and register the deposit with an approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
Who has to pay the council tax on the property?
A tenant is responsible for the payment of council tax during the period of the tenancy (as long as this is stated in the Tenancy Agreement). However when the property is vacant the landlord or homeowner is responsible for paying the council tax.
Who is responsible for the TV licence, the tenant or the landlord?
It is both the landlord and tenant's responsibility to ensure that the address has a valid TV licence. However the responsibility on who has to pay for the licence is usually stated in the Tenancy Agreement. However if the landlord provides a television with the property then they would be expected to pay for the TV licence, particularly in any communal areas.
What is an inventory?
A list detailing every item contained within a rental property and the condition each listed item is in, usually checked by all parties on the day the tenant moves in and signed by all parties. Whitegates can provide a comprehensive inventory service for landlords.
What happens about insurance when I let out a property?
It is a good idea for the landlord to have insurance on the property and for any contents, such as furniture and white goods they have provided in the property. Tenants are responsible for insuring their own contents left in the property (however it is a good idea to state this in the tenancy agreement).
How do I receive my rental income?
We arrange for the tenant to sign a standing order or direct debit mandate for rent and account to you for all rent received, less outgoings, fees and commission accompanied by a statement, normally within 7 days of rent being cleared into our account.
What should I do if a tenant has left furniture in the property after they have moved out?
Property left behind is still classed as the tenants and if removed, or sold a claim can be made against the landlord for the value of the goods. The landlord becomes a bailee when the goods are left behind and can only legally sell or remove them under the Torts (interference with goods) Act 1977. Landlords are not permitted to sell the goods for compensation on any damage caused by the tenant or for any unpaid rent. However in practice a landlord cannot get a court order for each tenant that leaves property behind, and a landlord has to make a judgement, and with items of value keep clear evidence that they have done all they can to contact the former tenant in question.
Who can help me if I have problems with my local Whitegates office?
If you have a complaint about the service that you have received from a Whitegates local office you should put your concerns in writing to the Whitegates office concerned. The correspondence will be acknowledged within 3 working days. The matter will then be investigated and a full response sent to you within 15 working days. If you feel the matter remains unresolved you need to address your complaint to the proprietor at the relevant Whitegates office, marked for the attention of the proprietor, who will conduct an investigation and will give a final viewpoint. In the unlikely event that you remain dissatisfied then you may refer the matter to the Property Ombudsman at the following address:
The Property Ombudsman Milford House 43-55 Milford Street Salisbury Wiltshire SP1 2BP