Category Archives: Blog

Does your rental property meet the new EPC rules?

The deadline for meeting the new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) falls on Sunday 1st of April (Easter Sunday), but according to ARLA there are still thousands of landlords either not aware of the new rules or haven’t as yet done anything about them.

From next Sunday all rented properties on new lettings (including renewals) will have to comply with the MEES regulations or face a heavy fine.

Every buy-to-let property will have to meet the minimum energy efficiency rating and obtain an energy performance certificate rating of “E” or above, but it is evident that there are still many thousands of landlords with rental properties that fall into the F or G ratings bands.

With Sunday’s deadline looming, some landlords will face fines of up to £4,000 when they come to re-let or renew their tenancies, or otherwise face losses through having their property stood empty while it’s brought up to standard.

Any landlord in this position should be making plans now to bring their rental up to standard, otherwise they could also face difficulties when it comes to mortgage applications and renewals.

If you need help bringing your rental property(s) up to the new specification please feel free to book a consultation with a member of our team

– legal content applies primarily to England and is not a definitive statement of the law, always seek professional advice.

What is an End-of-Tenancy Deep Clean?

In preparation of re-marketing a property for Letting.

A Landlord requires that the property is returned with a high standard of cleanliness. Typically these days an inventory clerk will inspect the property after the tenant checks out, and write a detailed report with photos attached. This report will be compared to the previous inventory report, and they will highlight issues relating to cleanliness and ant damages.

Therefore the property should be cleaned throughout before checking out, with particular emphasis on windows (inside and out) woodwork, sanitary ware, kitchen appliances, kitchen units, ovens, hobs, cooker hoods, (inc. filter) extractor fans , refrigerators, microwave, tumble dryers, (inc. filters) tiled or wooden should be cleaned to a professional standard. In accordance with your tenancy agreement, you may also be required to professionally clean carpets and upholstery at the end of your tenancy.

Failure to complete these obligations to a required standard, will often incur charges deducted from any deposits the agent / landlord is holding for the tenant.

As the average cleaning companies in your area, do not provide all of the services it may require 2 or even 3 operators to get all of the jobs done, which can be very expensive to the tenant.

Saints CPM are a specialist E-o-T cleaning provider, we have 10 years experience working with Landlords, Agents and Tenants across Bristol and the surrounding areas. To avoid any of the problems mentioned, give us a call to arrange a consultation at your convenience or book online

Schedule your appointment online.

Tenancy Fee Ban Draft Bill

Tenant Fees Ban: What Landlords Need to Know

The Government has published a Draft Bill with plans to make big changes to how landlords can let properties in England. At the centre of the plans is a ban on tenant fees.

If the bill gets enacted, this means that it would become illegal to charge tenants for referencing, inventories, and any other cost you can think of.

Here’s everything a landlord needs to know about the Draft Tenant Fees Bill.

Summary of Tenant Fee Ban

  • Limit tenancy deposits to six weeks’ rent
  • Limit holding deposits to one week’s rent
  • Ban any other fees (except contractual default penalties)
  • Fines of £5,000 for first offence (civil)
  • Fines of £30,000 for second offence (criminal)

What’s New in the Draft Bill?

Here are the key new rules contained in the Draft Bill.

1. A Ban on All Fees

Landlords – or their agents – will no longer be allowed to charge tenants for anything except: the rent, the tenancy deposit and a holding deposit (more on these below).

This means you will no longer be allowed to ask tenants to cover the cost of their own referencing. This is going to have some big consequences that we’ll be updating about very soon! You also won’t be able to charge check-in, inventory or admin fees.

2. Some ‘Defaults’ Are Exempt

You will still be able to charge ‘defaults’ once the tenancy is set up. These are things like fees to replace lost keys and fines for late rent-payment.

They will need to be included in the tenancy agreement for you to be able to charge them, and previous rules about fair clauses will still apply.

3. Limits on Tenancy Deposits

Tenancy deposits, also called security deposits, are to be limited to six weeks’ rent.

In practice, deposits have always been kept below two month’s rent due to the fear of the tenancy becoming a premium tenancy. This new rule will mean you can’t ask the tenant for a deposit larger than six times the weekly rent of the property.

4. Limits on Holding Deposits

Likewise, holding deposits will be limited to one week’s rent.

This is a big change, since most holding deposits are currently much more than a week’s rent. A recent national poll found that 47% of tenants have paid a holding deposit of over £750 – much more than the average weekly rent for a UK property.

5. New Rules on Holding Deposits

The Draft Bill includes new rules about how holding deposits must be treated.

The holding deposit must be returned to the tenant: either in payment back to the tenant, or being put towards the first rental payment, or the security deposit.

There are some exceptions. In these cases the landlord can keep the holding deposits:

  • The tenant withdraws
  • The tenant doesn’t take all reasonable steps to enter the tenancy
  • The tenant fails a right to rent check
  • The tenant provides misleading information which materially affects their suitability to rent the property

If that last clause sounds a little vague to you, then you’re not alone. We’re hoping that this will be tightened up in the final version of the bill.

What Are the Penalties to Landlords Who Charge Tenant Fees?

Landlord (or agents) who charge illegal fees will face paying huge fines.

The first offence would be a civil offence, with a fine of £5,000.

If the offence is repeated within five years, there would be either a criminal offence or a fine of £30,000.

There are also plans to help tenants recoup any illegal fees they paid from the landlord (or agent). Local Trading Standards organisations will enforce the ban.

Remember: It’s Just a Draft Bill

Although the Government seem set on banning fees and restricting the size of deposits, the Bill is currently only in the Draft phase. The details could still change.

There will now be a period of scrutiny and feedback and the bill will be revised. When that happens, we’ll be back to keep you up to date with all developments.

Summary

  • Limit tenancy deposits to six weeks’ rent
  • Limit holding deposits to one week’s rent
  • Ban any other fees (except contractual default penalties)
  • Fines of £5,000 for first offence (civil)
  • Fines of £30,000 for second offence (criminal)

You can read the whole Draft Bill here.

Moving Forward

Should this new bill become enshrined in law, it can potentially add another level of bureaucracy which prevent Landlords from making deductions to deposits for vacant properties which have been left in a poor condition and leaving them exposed to greater risk.

If you missed reading our last blog on Rental Property Maintenance Plans, now you know about the prospect of changes to the law, it might be a good time to do so, as they’ve been designed to assist helping Landlords and Agents navigate the choppy waters of handovers.

Learn More

Landlord / Tenant Disputes

The most common reason for disputes between landlords and tenants usually relates to poor levels of cleanliness when properties are handed back. Sometimes even with the greatest effort the inventory will fall short of the mark. This then impacts the tenant as the deposit will be withheld until the problems are resolved and can sometimes lead to additional charges on the rent to cover the period that it takes.
The landlord will then legally have the right to make deductions which can have a devastating effect on a tenant from not having the funds to put a deposit or pay rent at a new rental property or having to borrow to make up the shortfall or even worse becoming homeless.
Either way its disruptive to both parties and can often lead to lengthy arbitration with the DPS or even legal action. That’s why tenants need to pay close attention to the tenancy agreement and the attached photographic inventory. These documents carefully outline what’s expected from both parties, however these are surprisingly disregarded until an issue arises by which time its often too late to avoid the expense of charges and fees.
Saints CPM work closely with landlords, Estate Agents, Inventory Clerks and Tenants so we’re fully knowledgeable in these matters and are often drawn in to resolve these matters on behalf of either party.
Our advice to tenants is read all the documents related to your tenancy from the outset (including the clauses in small print), and make sure you can find it easily, as not knowing is not a defence when you’ve already signed and accepted the terms. Allocate funds for not just moving, but also have a budget for any cleaning and repairs.
Unless you’ve cleaned in a professional capacity, instruct a reputable cleaning company that is capable of meeting all of the requirements and get them to guarantee their work.
The other area where disputes arise are when damages are made to furniture or the fabric of the property walls, doors, fittings, carpets etc. In this instance it is likely that the entire deposit can get swallowed up. Therefore its probably cheaper to take out a home insurance policy which covers accidental damage. I have worked in student properties where a house party has lead to an entire kitchen being destroyed during a drunken episode of laddish behaviour.
We’re fully aware of the pitfalls tenants can face and so devised a rental maintenance plan for tenants. The plan works similar to an insurance policy, and is an affordable way to budget for handover and will eleviate that pressure which can be very stressful on top of moving home.
We have affordable packages which can be paid monthly, to cover different levels of cleaning and will ensure you get a smooth check out and a prompt return of your deposit. If you want a professional company to handle your End of Tenancy Deep Clean, we’re best placed to deliver that, as we cover all of the aspects which include General Cleaning, Windows, Carpets, Upholstery and Ovens. Click to find a package that suits your needs and sit-back and relax.

Deposit Protection Scheme.

Moving out of rental properties has become a lot more complex since the introduction of the Deposit Protection Scheme. The scheme was introduced in 2007 because the government recognised deposits were being unfairly withheld by some unscrupulous landlords.
Since then a raft of procedures have been put in place by estate agents and landlords to protect both parties. The most common format is the inventory which has become part of the rental agreement, which tenants have to sign to accept returning the property to the same standard in which it was provided.
Inventories are undertaken by the estate agent or and independent 3rd party. The fully document the condition of the property and include photos that will eliminate any disputes should they arise.
The majority of tenants pay little attention to the rigour of those expectations until its time to move out. Quite often the required level of cleanliness isn’t achieved by the vacating tenant and they’re often penalised with an unexpected cost so the landlord is able to put the property back on the rental market.
Saints CPM has almost 10 years experience in the cleaning industry, and to date have completed 100’s of End of Tenancy Deep Cleans. We are the only local provider that covers every aspect of cleaning rental properties to the highest standard, so there’s never a need to use anyone else.
Our range of services include:- General cleaning, Windows, Carpets, Upholstery and Ovens. We provide the highest grade cleaning products which are typically used in hotels to give a showroom finish which is the standard we aim for.
Each job is bespoke as the ergonomics of every home is different. Some have children, students or pets, others have singletons, couples or elderly folks. Therefore we like to visit each property so we can specify what will happen, how long it will take and how much it will cost.
Our solid reputation has been built by following a method that ensures every job is completed to the highest standard to ensure our client deposits are returned in full.
If you’re moving out of a rental property and are worried about meeting the level of cleanliness it was in when you moved in call us or book a consultation.

For The Office

A clean office can make all the difference to yourself, your employees and your current or prospective clients. We have found that a cared for working environment inspires people and shows an extra degree of pride and professionalism in your business!

We have experience working with SME’s, large and multi-site companies so no job is too big or too small and our hours of work can fit around your requirements with both evening and day time cleaning being available to you.

Depending on the size of your business we can offer you a dedicated team or a team member who will ensure your business looks great for any potential clients and employees alike.

An internal clean is crucial to keep a hygienic and safe environment, so this festive season, call Saints to start the new year with a sparkling home or office!

For The Home

From sparkling hard woods floors to rejuvenated carpets, and deep cleans to weekly once-overs no matter what you require from your residential cleaning, you can be sure that Saints offer you the best as a Free Index Top Rated one stop cleaning service provider.

We have years of experience in the field of gleaming homes, and with our internal service you will not believe your eyes after we have finished. You will be given a dedicated team or team member who will offer you a one to one consultation to gauge your exact requirements for your home cleaning. From there, you can simply sit back and relax knowing that your home is getting the best service available.

If you require an end of tenancy deep clean to see the safe return of your protected deposit or else to ensure the best rental price for your property then Saints can offer you a full package including both internal and external cleans, plus oven cleaning and carpet and upholstery cleaning.