Frequently Asked Questions
If by any chance we haven't been able to read your mind and answer all of your questions here, please feel free to get in touch where a member of our team will be more than happy to help
What initial costs are involved?
To get the ball rolling and start marketing your property all that is needed is a valid Energy Performance Certificate (if you do not have a valid EPC we can arrange this for you for £55).
Are there any other marketing costs?
No. As long as we have a valid EPC for your property we can start marketing.
What is an EPC?
An EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) is a legally required certificate assessing the energy efficiency of a property on a scale from A - G (with A being best). Valid for 10 years, an EPC is required on all properties before they can be let.
What type of properties do you manage?
We manage everything from 1 bedroom flats to 7 bedroom houses, and everything in between.
How does the Guaranteed Rent Scheme work?
Our Guaranteed Rent Scheme can provide peace of mind for those who prefer rental payments based on a fixed-term contract. The process is relatively straight forward:
- We arrange a convenient time to view your property and talk through any questions you may have
- We will send you a formal valuation, usually within 24hrs
- Once everything is agreed, we will send a contract for you to sign
The contract we use is a commercial agreement, which effectively makes House Smart your tenant for the duration of the agreement and gives us the authority to manage the property on your behalf.
Once the contract is agreed and signed you will receive your first rental payment on the agreed date, followed by monthly payments regardless of the properties occupancy.
Do you offer this service to any property, regardless of condition?
No. There are minimum quality standards which need to be met in order to qualify for this service. Details of which can be discussed further upon viewing of the relevant property.
What charges are involved with this service?
The simple answer is none. We do not charge for this service, we make our money on the difference between the rental amount we pay you and the amount we collect from our tenants. We charge our tenants a slight premium for providing high quality rooms with utilities included and a weekly cleaning service. (Although some maintenance expenses are passed through; see below)
What if a tenant doesn't pay or is late with their payments?
This is our problem and nothing for you to worry about. Your rental payment is guaranteed on the same date of each month regardless.
How can I be sure my property is being properly looked after?
We conduct thorough inspections every 3 months and can send photos directly to you if requested. We believe that it is in our interest as much as yours to keep things in good shape. Our weekly cleaners also keep us informed of a properties condition and we respond quickly to any concerns raised. Our House Smart staff also perform informal inspections every time they visit a property for a viewing or to check a utility meter. For added peace of mind we can also arrange for you to periodically visit the property to carry out your own inspections if you prefer.
Who is responsible for property maintenance?
As landlord you will be financially responsible for maintenance of the property itself. However, as managers of the property we will take care of the logistics including finding suitable contractors, providing quotes, arranging access to the property and ensuring quality of work. We will always provide you with a quote PRIOR to any work being carried out.
What if I want to choose my own contractors?
This is absolutely fine. As long as they have the relevant legal certifications and are fully insured we are more than happy for you to choose your own contractors.
What if a resident causes damage?
As we are acting as you're proxy tenant, this would once again be up to us to resolve. Any costs resulting from such damage to your property ( e.g., a broken cupboard) would be covered by ourselves. If however, we believe the issue was not caused by a resident ( e.g., the boiler breaks down) then we will inform you of the problem and propose a suitable solution.
How do you find potential tenants?
Good question. We work with a number of well-known companies and relocation agents to provide their staff and clients with well-maintained, suitable accommodation. We also advertise online, in print and receive referrals from past/current tenants.
We conduct thorough reference checks including:
Proof of employment
Visa check (if applicable)
A face to face interview
As important as references are, our gut instinct over a potential tenant is just as important. We do not hesitate to reject an application if something doesn't feel right. In our experience, ensuring the calibre of tenants from the start can save us from a lot of potential headaches later on. Our tenants typically sign a 12 month minimum stay tenancy agreement (with many extending afterwards), in order to fully commit to our ethos of forming close knit, well-integrated households. We firmly believe in the quality over quantity approach, aligning our interests with that of landlords in selecting only the best available tenants for consideration.
Do you limit the number of tenants in a property?
Yes absolutely. Our intention is to create well-maintained, vibrant house shares not college dormitories. We impose strict limits on the numbers of tenants allowed in any one property dependant on the size of the property and number of bedrooms available.
Do I need to be present for viewings?
No. As long as we have access to your property you do not have to be present, in fact, potential tenants often feel more relaxed when the owner is not present.
What happens to the tenants deposit?
All tenant deposits are registered with the government approved TDS (Tenancy Deposit Scheme) and held within our ring-fenced client account. For more information on the TDS you can visit their website at www.tenancydepositscheme.com
What is a HMO license and will I need one?
House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licenses are issued by local councils and are usually only required for larger properties of at least 3 storeys and where there are 5 or more tenants. If a HMO license is required for your property, we can arrange all necessary paperwork on your behalf. For more information on HMOs click here.
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