The team at Bardens Estates has many years of experience letting and managing property. This has given us a very different approach to lettings than our competitors. We understand that when tenants pay high admin/reference/check-in/deposit fees at the start of their tenancy, they are put under financial pressure which can lead to problems and even missed rent payments further down the line. We have therefore structured our business so that we are not only able to offer a great deal to our landlord clients, but we are also charge ZERO admin/renewal fees to our tenants. Marketing our landlord's properties with NO FEES gives us a real competitive advantage over other letting agents too, and often means that we let our properties quickly, minimising voids.
We like to work with landlords to help them maximise the returns that they achieve on their property portfolios. Our in-depth knowledge of the local lettings market means that we can advise on rent levels and on the broader rental market. We offer a free no-obligation lettings valuation to landlords 7 days a week, please see our valuations page for more details. We also know many local tradespeople who can carry out maintenance work on the properties that we manage in a quick and cost effective way.
Staying on top of maintenance issues can save landlords money over the long run as problems can be dealt with before they escalate. To help tenants report problems as they occur, we offer a phone line that is open 24/7, reducing the risk of large maintenance bills.
Managing your tenants deposit is another crucial part of our lettings service. We make sure that all the deposits that we receive are protected in the government approved Deposit Protection Service (DPS), so you can be confident that they are safe and secure.
We offer our landlords three different service levels:
- Tenant Finding Service: £205 +VAT (£246 including VAT)
- Rent Collection Service: 7% +VAT (8.4% including VAT)
- Fully Managed Service: 9.5% +VAT (11.4% including VAT)
Please see below for more details and a breakdown of our charges.
If you would like advice on the best local trades people to use (and the ones to avoid!), please feel free to contact us. We use plumbers, electricians, cleaners, house clearance firms, flooring firms, gardeners, builders, decorators, carpenters, roofers, carpet cleaners, (and many more) on a regular basis. We can also point you towards some great local conveyancing solicitors and an independent full-market mortgage advisor. Please just let us know what you need.
If you decide to sell a property (either with or without tenants in situ) we can help advise you on the current market valuation and on current market conditions. Our sole agency selling fee of just 0.6% including VAT will also help you save considerably on the rates charged by our chain competitors.
Bardens Estates is a licensed member of both the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), and the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA). We are also a member of The Property Ombudsman regulated by the Office of Fair Trading.
To find out more about the landlord services that we offer, please contact us at the Bardens Tunbridge Wells office:
Landlord Service Options
Tenant Finding Service - £205 +VAT (£246 including VAT)
This is our entry level service and includes the key steps needed to find a tenant and to start a tenancy. The day to day management of the property and tenant is then down to you.
The service includes:
- Marketing your property on the major portals including Rightmove and Zoopla. Promoting the property on the Bardens website and on social media.
- Studying tenants that have registered with Bardens to look for potential candidates for your property
- Agent accompanied viewings
- Preparing Tenancy Agreement
- Lettings rules/regulation advice
- Tenant referencing and credit check
- Collection of first months rent and 6 weeks deposit (or 2 months deposit if pets are agreed)
- Advise tenant on future rent payment details
- Protecting the deposit in the Deposit Protection Scheme (DPS) **
- Checking that the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and Gas safety certificate are in order. Note that we can arrange for these to be carried out for an additional cost
Rent Collection Service - 7% +VAT (8.4% including VAT)
This includes the tenant finding service above, but adds the collection of monthly rent payments. You still manage the property on a day to day basis.
The service includes:
- Tenant Finding Service (details above), plus:
- Collection of monthly rent
- Monthly rent statements
- Chasing tenant arrears and serving of appropriate notices if required **
- Debt control and recovery
- Annual rent review
Fully Managed Service - 9.5% +VAT (11.4% including VAT)
This is our most comprehensive service package and includes all the service stages in the Tenant Finding and Rent Collection Services, plus we deal with the day to day management of the property.
The service includes:
- Tenant Finding and Rent Collection Services (details above) plus:
- Tenant check-in and inventory **
- Take utility meter readings at the beginning and end of the tenancy
- Notify utility companies of change of tenants
- Enforcement of Tenancy Agreement terms
- Property maintenance and repairs with our trusted local tradesmen **
- Routine property visits
- Serve Section 21 and Section 13 notices if required **
- Holding of property keys
- Annual HMRC return if required **
- Tenant check-out and inventory reconciliation **
** Additional fees may apply, please see the detailed fee breakdown below
Here is a more detailed breakdown of our landlord fees (all fees include VAT):
|Inventory fee – varies depending on property size||£ poa|
|Follow up Right to rent checks||£ 40 / person|
|Tenancy renewal fee||£ 120|
|Check out fee – varies depending on property size||£ poa|
|Legionella risk assessment||£ 150|
|HMO license application – initial application||£ 180|
|HMO license application – renewal of tenancy||£ 96|
|Additional contractor quotes||£ 24 / quote|
|Arrangement fee for works over £200||12% of invoice total|
|Annual statement of income and expenditure||£ 60 annually|
|Quarterly submission for non-resident landlords to HMRC||£30 / quarter|
|Annual submission for non-resident landlords to HMRC||£ 60 annually|
|Copy statements (each months statement or part of statement)||£ 15|
|Additional property visits||£ 30|
|Court Attendance||£ 36/hr + expenses|
|Withdrawal fee before tenancy starts||Actual cost incurred +VAT|
|Withdrawal fee if tenant remains in property||Actual cost incurred +VAT|
|Refurbishment / Improvement fee||£ 30|
|Service of Section 13 Notice||£ 60|
|Service of Section 21 Notice||£ 60|
|Vacant property service||£ 75|
|Vacant property visit service||£ 75 / visit|
|Extra service required when property not fully managed||£ 60 / task|
|Short let service cost||30%|
|Short let agreement preparation||£ 100|
|Same day bank transfer (overseas accounts)||£ 36|
Bardens zero up-front tenant fees sounds great for tenants but how does it benefit me?
We feel that traditional Tunbridge Wells letting agents charge tenants fees that are much too high. Our approach is completely different. We absorb most tenant admin costs ourselves by running a very efficient estate agency business. In our many years of experience letting and managing property we know that by reducing the fees that tenants pay, we significantly reduce the risk that they will get into financial difficulty and miss a rent payment. Reducing the risk for tenants reduces the risk for landlords too. We also know that a landlord that has chosen to let their property through a tenant friendly agent should benefit from some extra tenant goodwill which is never a bad thing.
The average tenant will save hundreds of pounds in fees at the start of their tenancy and this is obviously a great incentive to find a property to let through Bardens. We are therefore confident that we will generate a great deal of interest from potential tenants if you decide to market your property with us, and this can reduce the risk of a lengthy void.
The benefits for landlords and tenants aren’t limited to the start of the tenancy as we don’t charge tenants renewal fees either. This means that there is an additional financial incentive for tenants to renew a tenancy which should help to reduce voids.
Another advantage for landlords is that by using Bardens to find a tenant, your property will be more competitive as the total cost for the tenant will be much lower. If you were a teneant what property would you choose, one at £950 pcm with letting agent fees of £350, or a similar property at £950 pcm with no tenant admin fees? Our approach often means that our properties rent relatively quickly, helping to reduce void periods for our landlords.
What minimum criteria do Bardens tenants need to meet to secure a property?
- We would need to see evidence of the tenants ability to meet an affordability calculation of 2.5 x the annualised rent figure, either singularly or jointly. (For example: If the rent for the property is £800.00pcm, then the tenant would need to demonstrate income of (12 x £800.00) x 2.5 = £24,000 p.a.
- The tenant must be able to evidence their income source; this can be through evidence from their employer, pension provider, accountant, military allowance confirmation etc.
- The tenant must not have an adverse credit history within the past 3 years (e.g. County Court Judgements (CCJs), Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs), Outstanding debts that are overdue or in arrears).
- If the tenant is currently renting we will require a satisfactory landlord reference.
- We will need to obtain a satisfactory credit agency score for the tenant.
- For corporate lets, most established PLC / Ltd companies or large organisations will meet our criteria providing three years trading records are available at companies house and satisfactory accountants references are forthcoming.
Who needs to be referenced?
All occupants aged over 18 years must be named on the Tenancy Agreement. Each Tenant will be referenced for an equal share of the total rent payable for the property.
What about the Right To Rent Act?
The Right to Rent Act states we must see a copy of all occupiers passports and Visa’s if applicable in person, within 28 days of the start of the tenancy. We require all tenants bring these originals to BEL to be copied before the start of the tenancy. For more details see www.gov.uk/government/news/right-to-rent-checks-what-they-mean-for-you
How much deposit do you recommend?
We normally recommend one and a half month’s rent as a deposit. If you agree to let the tenant keep pets this normally increases to two month’s rent.
What happens to the deposit after the tenant pays it to you?
The deposit will be held in the Deposit Protection Scheme (DPS) for safe keeping. This is a government approved scheme that protects the deposit for the duration of the tenancy. At the end of the tenancy no money will be paid to you unless the tenant agrees to the payment.
Do I need to pay for insurance?
The Landlord is normally responsible for the buildings insurance. The tenant will be responsible for their own contents insurance.
As I am going to let my property do I need to tell my mortgage lender?
Yes. Your mortgage company will need to give you permission to let your property. There are special buy-to-let mortgage products available for investors looking to buy a buy-to-let.
What rent should I charge?
We can carry out a lettings valuation on your property for you, free of charge, so that you will know what a reasonable rent level would be. We are also well placed to talk about the general lettings environment and the types of property that are seeing the strong tenant demand.
Do I need an EPC?
Yes. An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a legal requirement before a property is let, and is valid for 10 years.
Do I need a Gas Safety Record (GSR)?
Yes, and it needs to be checked every 12 months. A Gas Safe Register engineer will need to test all gas appliances like boilers and gas fires, to make sure that they are in safe working order.
Do I need to get my electrical appliances tested?
You are required to check that any electrical devices within the property are safe for use. We recommend an Installation Survey or Portable Appliance Test (PAT) so that you can be sure that your property is safe.
What are the rules on leaving furniture and furnishings in the property?
You must ensure that all furniture and furnishings display fire safety labels in a prominent position.
Do I need an inventory?
A detailed list of the contents and condition of your property before a tenant moves in, can be very important if there is a dispute with the tenant at the end of the tenancy. We recommend getting an independent inventory clerk to carry out the inventory as this will further strengthen your position if there is a dispute with the tenant.
What happens at the Inventory Check-In?
An Independent Inventory Clerk will be present at the agreed time to check the property, take the meter readings and hand over the keys. If the Tenant (or his representative) has not been present at the check-in, then it must be accepted that the Inventory Clerk’s signature on the Schedule of Condition is binding. Any discrepancies should be brought to Bardens notice within 7 days.
What happens at the Inventory Check-Out?
All possessions must be removed from the property and the house and garden. We require tenants to carry out a professional clean at the end of their tenancy at their own cost. An Independent Inventory Clerk will be present to check the property, take the meter readings and hand over the keys. If the Tenant (or his representative) has not been present at the check-out, then it must be accepted that the Inventory Clerk’s signature on the Schedule of Condition is binding. Any discrepancies should be brought to Bardens notice within 7 days.
Who is responsible for paying utilities and Council Tax?
Gas, oil, water, electricity, council tax and TV licence are not included in the rent and are the Tenants responsibility. The Tenant may not change the supplier for gas, electricity, water or telephone without prior written consent from the Landlord. Such permission cannot be unreasonably withheld.
What are the rules about keeping a pet at the property?
No animals (including caged animals) birds or reptiles may be kept on the premises without written permission from the Agent and/or Landlord. Such permission cannot be unreasonably withheld. House, carpet and curtains must be professionally cleaned at the end of the Tenancy – sight of invoices will be required at check out. Note that keeping a pet at the property will usually require the tenant to pay an additional pet deposit (also held at the DPS for safe keeping).
How often do you carry our maintenance visits?
Where Bardens are managing the property the maintenance visits will usually be made quarterly. Additional maintenance visits maybe necessary and we will give at least 24 hrs notice unless in an emergency.
Can I enter the property during the tenancy?
Yes, but only if you give the appropriate notice. We recommend at least 48 hours notice in writing.
How is my rental income paid to me?
If you sign up for the Rent Collection or Fully Managed Services, we will collect the rent for you from the tenant by standing order or direct debit. We will then transfer the money to your designated bank account minus our fees and any costs like maintenance work charges. We will send you a statement each month.
Can the tenant decorate the property or make changes?
A tenant can only decorate or make changes to the property with the express written permission of the landlord.
Who is responsible for repairs to the property?
As landlord, you are responsible for maintaining the property in a good state of repair, either directly or through us. If your tenant does damage to the property they are expected to cover the cost of any repairs.
I’ve decided to sell my property. Can I sell the property with the tenants in situ? What is your sole agency sales commission?
Yes, you can sell your property with or without the tenants in situ. Investors looking for buy-to-lets are often happy to take properties on with tenants already as it can help to reduce the risk of a long void. We only charge 0.6% including VAT sole agency commission – significantly below the rates charged by our chain competitors.