PROPERTY SEARCH: FOR SALE + TO RENT +

TENANTS

Reporting a problem?

To help us with dealing with a problem as efficiently as possible we use an online software product called Fixflo. This streamlines the whole repair process and has proven to be of great benefit to tenants and landlords.

Click on the "more" button to go to the next page where you will find the link.....


The Fixflo online system enables us to receive the information we need to better understand the issue and therefore deal with it more efficiently.
 
The system also allows you to upload photos of the problem which will enable our contractors to bring the right tools and equipment to fix the issue straight away.

To report a problem click on the Fixflo link


Fixflo login 

 

Out of Hours Emergency call out information

For Gas Leaks please call National Grid (Transco) IMMEDIATELY ON 0800 111 999 – do not turn on any switches or light cigarettes.

In the event of all other EMERGENCIES :

Mr Simon Baulk – 07903 721 983 who will endeavour to help and arrange an appropriate contractor if he agrees that the matter is an emergency.

Wherever possible, please leave repairs until the next working day as only absolute emergencies will be dealt with by our out of hours team. We would ask for your understanding.

Continued....


If you are unable to reach Mr Baulk please contact the following contractors as follows:

For heating or hot water, leak to boiler or pipework: Baker Smith Limited – 07778 052 321

Electrical Faults – Please contact your energy provider or contact Mr Simon Baulk – 07903 721 983

Please note that if you have left your keys in the property or you have lost them, you will be liable for the contractors charge.  

If this is the case, please contact the emergency Locksmith directly, Mr Andy Bethwick – 01727 240 169 or 0800 448 4488.

In some cases Mr Baulk may be able to retrieve a copy set of keys from our Management office, you will also be liable for this call out charge.

In the case of an emergency only and you are unable to contact the above contractors, please consult your local trade directory or web search. For Gas Safe registered engineers, visit the website at

www.gassaferegister.co.uk and follow on-screen instructions for a list of those in your area.

 

If Collinson Hall consider the emergency call out necessary, you will be fully reimbursed. 

 

The renting process

Once you have completed the online registration form, called or visited our office, we will begin a specific search for suitable property for you.....




We will search our database, keep you up to date with new instructions and arrange viewings for the properties that interest you.

  • Once we have found a suitable property we will ask you to complete our tenant referencing documentation (for which there is a charge), pay the holding deposit and to thoroughly read through the prospective tenant information paperwork.
  • Subject to satisfactory references and with the landlord's agreement, we will provide you with a draft tenancy agreement for your perusal.
  • On the day the tenancy commences we will arrange for you to be met by the inventory clerk (if applicable), who will produce a report of the condition of the property.
  • Prior to the commencement of the tenancy you will need to have provided us with your signed tenancy agreement and in cleared funds, your advanced rent (your first month), your deposit (normally 6 weeks rent) and if applicable, the check-in fee. Provided all the above is completed satisfactorily you will then be given the keys and can move in.

Tenant's fees & Important information

There are various fees and charges associated with renting a property that you should be aware of when considering making an offer on a property available through us.......


Charges associated with the setting up of your tenancy

Initial Holding Fee 


We require a holding fee as confirmation of your intent to proceed with the proposed tenancy. This will be put towards your first rental payment and will only be refunded if our client elects not to proceed. Payment of this sum does not constitute the granting of a tenancy.

The holding fees are as follows:-

1 bed = £200

2 bed = £300

3 bed = £400

4 bed = £500

5 bed = £600

6 bed = £700

Administration Fee - £200 Inc VAT

This charge covers the cost of preliminary paperwork, including preparation of the tenancy agreement. 

Referencing Charge - £100 Inc VAT

This charge is payable by each person, guarantor or company named as tenant on the final tenancy agreement to cover the cost of referencing. Referencing is carried out by an independent referencing agency (Van Mildert Tenant Referencing) including establishing the right to rent in the UK. The charge will not be refunded if negotiations are unsuccessful and references have been undertaken.

The above has to be cleared funds.

A confirmed Tenancy start date which gives Collinson Hall at least one week from the completion of the referencing is required

BEFORE HANDING OVER OF KEYS

Rent in Advance – 1 Month

Under the terms of most tenancy agreements you will usually be required to pay 1 months rent in advance prior to commencement of the tenancy.

Deposit – Equivalent to 1.5 months’ rent

The deposit is held to protect your landlord from you not meeting your obligations under the terms of the tenancy. Whilst you should check the tenancy agreement for details specific to your tenancy, it will likely be held by us as stakeholder and protected under Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS).

This means that no deductions can be made until you and the landlord have reached an agreement or there is a judgement by the courts or a TDS. 

Inventory Check – Typical Cost £84 - £150 Inc. VAT * dependant on the size of the property. Please see separate tariff 

This charge relates to an independent inventory clerk meeting you at the property to establish its condition. You will usually be responsible for the cost of checking the inventory at the beginning of your tenancy and your landlord at the end (please refer to the Agreement for confirmation). Inventory checks are to your mutual benefit as they are used to establish if your deposit can be returned in full or whether a claim against it needs to be made. The actual cost of the check is dependant of the size of property and the clerk instructed. We will give you a price applicable to the property you wish to rent in good time.

Please note that ALL MONIES MUST BE IN RECEIVED IN CLEARED FUNDS BEFORE YOUR TENANCY CAN COMMENCE. 

NB: We cannot hand over keys to any property without having ALL tenants or guarantors signatures are on the Agreements.

INCOME GUIDE (Approximately Monthly rent x 30)
Gross Basic Salary can be made up of joint salaries. Anyone who is not in full-time permanent employment, or is self-employed may need a suitable Guarantor or could pay the full term up front - To proceed on this basis we need authorisation from the Landlord. For more information please see Referencing  Criteria and Guidance. 


Special Conditions

As a general rule, No Pets, No Smoking and No adverse credit history unless by special prior agreement in writing.


Lease renewal fee - £60 Inc. VAT

This becomes payable if an extension to the current tenancy agreement is required. This charge covers the cost of preparing a document that confirms the details of renewal (if applicable).

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations.

Landlords are now required to install smoke alarms on every floor of their property, and test them at the start of every tenancy.....
Landlords will also need to install carbon monoxide alarms in high risk rooms such as those where a solid fuel heating system is installed.


The Private Rented Sector Code states carbon monoxide alarms should be installed where there are gas appliances.
Those who fail to install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms would face sanctions and could face up to a £5,000 civil penalty.
Collinson Hall will always endeavour to ensure our landlords are fully protected and their tenants safe in their rented accommodation.
If you haven't already had your carbon monoxide alarms installed, or need additional smoke alarms fitted, it's imperative you arrange for this to be done. We can offer our landlords a supply and fitting service at very competitive rates.
To arrange for the installation please call 01727 794100.

The importance of being inventory savvy

The inventory is the only document that will provide an accurate account of your property, its fixtures and fittings and is the only document against which we can measure dilapidations, which may occur during the tenancy. Therefore it is safe to say that the inventory is probably just as significant as the tenancy agreement when letting our properties.....


 

It is just as important to have an independent, impartial professional body undertake this on our behalf. In the event of a dispute occurring at the end of the Tenancy an inventory which has been carried out by an independent third party will carry much more weight than an inventory carried out by someone directly associated with the property.

We are all aware of the occasional horror story relayed to us by an unfortunate sole who has neglected to carry out an inventory prior to his/her Tenants taking up residence.

When we lease a car the lease company will run through checks with us making note of the condition before allowing us to drive away and rest assured, upon collection they will scrutinise in detail every dent or scratch and promptly charge us for any unfortunate mishaps.

A property is one of the most valuable possessions any of us will ever own.

Therefore, would it not be prudent for us to ensure that the same checks are carried out on our properties before allowing strangers to walk off with our keys? So that when our friendly Tenants decide it might be a fabulous idea to paint the walls luminous pink there is a document in place which clearly illustrates that the walls were not this colour when the Tenancy began. If we are able to prove that dilapidations etc have occurred, then it becomes fair (taking fair wear and tear in to account) for us to ask that the Tenants return our properties to us in a comparable condition.

Contact information for utilities

On moving into your new property it is your responsibility to notify the utility providers of your move-in date and meter readings. Please ensure that you contact them without delay.....


On moving into your new property it is your responsibility to notify the utility providers of your move-in date and meter readings.  Please ensure that you contact them without delay. 

NATIONAL GRID - 0870 608 1524
Ring this number to find out who supplies gas to the property 

GAS ESCAPE/EMERGENCY - 0800 111999 

EDF ENERGY - 0845 601 5467
Ring this number to find out who supplies electricity to the property

BRITISH GAS Customer Services - 0845 609 1122   

E.ON General Enquiries - 0800 015 1670   

NPOWER General Enquiries - 0845 790 6050   

SCOTTISH POWER General Enquiries - 0845 270 9102   

VEOLIA WATER THREE VALLEYS General Enquiries - 0845 769 7985   

BRITISH TELECOM General Enquiries - 0800 800123   

COUNCIL TAX St Albans District Council, St Peter’s Street, St Albans, Herts Council Tax Department - 01727 866100

Pets and Lets

Dogs Trust, the UK's largest dog welfare charity, successfully launched its Lets with Pets campaign in 2009 with the aim of encouraging more landlords and letting agencies to accept tenants with pets. The charity hopes to make the process of privately renting with pets easier for tenants while highlighting the potential benefits to landlords and letting agencies.....


 

Until now pet owners have largely been an untapped market but, by adopting a pet-friendly approach, landlords and letting agencies can increase demand for their properties and attract responsible tenants. After all, 47% of the UK population currently owns a pet1.

Research carried out by Dogs Trust has revealed that the three most common problems faced by landlords are rent arrears, damage caused by tenants and unpaid utility bills. Damage caused by pets did not feature in the top three.

To enable landlords and letting agencies to target and manage pet owners as tenants, Dogs Trust has launched a Lets with Pets website www.letswithpets.org.uk where they can download a range of comprehensive resources covering areas such as pet deposits, reference checks and writing tenancy agreements for pet owners.

The charity understands that landlords who have little experience of pets may be concerned by what they see as the pitfalls of pet ownership. To help them make an informed decision about accepting tenants with pets, the website contains information on responsible pet ownership, animals and the law and the most commonly kept pets.

Dogs Trust believes that the key to renting properties successfully to tenants with pets is to establish a clear pet policy, so it has developed a set of guidelines to help both parties:

Tips For Landlords

1. Limit the number of pets allowed according to the size and type of property

2. Ask for proof that cats and dogs are fully up to date with vaccinations and flea treatments

3. Evaluate prospective tenants and their pets on an individual basis– get a reference from a previous landlord where possible and judge each case on its merit. In the case of dogs, you could ask to meet the pet in advance

4. Ask for a reasonable, additional refundable deposit to cover any damage caused by pets or a non-refundable pet payment to cover the cost of professionally cleaning the property when the tenant moves out

5. Consult your solicitor about adding a clause to your usual tenancy agreement. This should include details on deposits, obligations and responsibility

6. Ensure the property is checked regularly by yourself or a management company to prevent problems from arising

7. When letting your property through a letting agent, make sure you tell them you would consider renting to pet owners and which pets you would accept.

8. Visit the Lets with Pets website www.letswithpets.org.uk for information, advice and downloadable resources

Tip For Pet-Owning Tenants

1. Write a CV for your pet so that your landlord can objectively consider if it’s suitable for the property. It’s important to cover the following points:

• Your pet’s breed, size, age and activity level

• Your pet’s history of good behaviour and house training

• If your pet is neutered

• For dogs, if they has attended and completed any training classes

2. Get a reference from your previous landlord, letting agent or your vet to show your pet is well behaved and capable of living in rented accommodation without causing problems

3. Offer to pay a larger deposit to cover any potential damage

4. Be as flexible as possible on location and property type

5. Don’t leave house hunting until the last minute and begin your search at least 6-8 weeks before you need to move out

6. If you own a dog, introduce him to your landlord to put their mind at ease

7. Be honest and don’t sneak your pet in without permission - or you could both find yourselves homeless

9. Tell your landlord how long your dog will be left alone in the property on a regular basis. It will help if you are able to state whether you will take your dog to work, arrange for day care or be at home with your dog most of the time

10. If your landlord gives you permission to keep a pet, make sure you get it in writing

Landlord case study 1

Landlord Hilary from Rugby has four buy-to-let properties and is happy to let them to pet owners. She says: "I use a letting agent in Rugby to look after my houses for me and they take an extra deposit from the tenant just to cover the possible cost of carpet cleaning or repair any damages that might be caused by a pet. This gives me a little extra reassurance that there will not be any problems. I have let houses to tenants with both dogs and cats and would far rather a property was occupied by a responsible pet owner than left empty."

Landlord case study 2

Landlord Ben from Norwich has one rental property, which he has been happy to let to pet owners. He says: "I rented my two bedroom house to a family with a dog and it was a very positive experience. The tenants brought their dog with them on the second viewing so I could meet him and see for myself that he was well behaved. They even offered to pay a higher deposit. They moved out after 18 months and the property was left in a good condition with no sign of a dog ever having lived there. I found that because we offered the property to tenants with pets, we found tenants very quickly. I would definitely rent my property to tenants with pets again."

Common myths exposed

Pets in rented accommodation will cause extensive damage to the property

Millions of households in the UK have pets in their homes without them causing damage to the property. Pet owners who care responsibly for their pets will also ensure that their home is well cared for. Landlords and letting agencies can minimise the risk of damage by finding out as much information as possible about the tenant and their pet before they move in. It’s also a good idea to ask for a reference from a previous landlord. Regular property inspections should be carried out so that any problems can be identified quickly and not allowed to escalate. Responsible pet owners often make the most responsible tenants.

Tenants with allergies won’t be able to live in a property where there has previously been a pet

While many people suffer from pet allergies, this should not prevent them from moving into a property where a pet has lived. Unless you are buying a brand new home, it’s impossible to guarantee that any property will be free from allergens. Dogs Trust recommends that all properties are professionally cleaned once the tenant and pet have moved out. This includes cleaning the carpets, curtains and soft furnishings. Cleaning a property at the end of a tenancy is normally done as standard so landlords and letting agencies should not have to take any extra steps to ensure it is suitable for a subsequent tenant with allergies.

The property will be infested with fleas and it will be impossible to get rid of them

Responsible pet owners will ensure that their pets are regularly treated for fleas to prevent a flea infestation. However, cats and dogs may get fleas at some point during their lives. Flea infestations should be treated immediately by getting veterinary treatment for the animal and treating the property with a flea spray that kills the flea eggs as well as the fleas. Landlords may also consider asking tenants for a non-refundable pet payment to pay for the property to be professionally cleaned at the end of the tenancy. Again, you should ensure that the cleaning company uses chemicals that kill the fleas and their eggs to ensure that the fleas are completely eradicated. It’s good practice to provide the tenant with a written estimate for professionally cleaning the property so that they know the payment is fair.

A guide to deposit protection schemes

With full credit to "On the Market" we have reproduced this article as it is an excellent guide to the deposit protection schemes.....

Whether you are a tenant or a landlord, read this guide to understand how these compulsory schemes operate

Few things have caused more ill feeling between landlords and tenants over the years than deposits. In the bad old days, some landlords would demand a hefty deposit from tenants, then return only a fraction of the deposit at the expiration of the tenancy, citing ‘wear and tear’ to the property. And the tenants, in many cases, would just have to grin and bear it. Bang went most of their deposit and they would have to scramble around for money to put down as a deposit for a new home.....


..... Now, thanks to compulsory deposit schemes introduced by the government (www.gov.uk/deposit-protection-schemes-and-landlords/overview), the system is far more transparent and equitable to both parties. Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, you will need to familiarise yourself with these schemes. Here are 12 points to understand or consider.
 
1. Deposits are paid at the outset of a tenancy and are typically equivalent to one to one and a half  month’s rent – occasionally more. They are designed to cover such things as damage to a property, cleaning and unpaid utility bills.
 
2. Landlords are now legally required to safeguard their tenants’ deposits with one of three government-backed deposit protection schemes: Deposit Protection Service (www.depositprotection.com), MyDeposits (www.mydeposits.co.uk) and Tenancy Deposit Scheme (www.tenancydepositscheme.com). This legislation applies to all properties let on an assured shorthold tenancy after 6 April, 2007.
 
3. Letting agents are empowered to act on behalf of landlords, and often do.
 
4. Deposit protection schemes are not applicable to any deposits paid before the signing of a rental agreement – although such preliminary deposits are later incorporated into the scheme. Protection schemes are also not required when landlords are living in the same property as the tenant.
 
5. There are two basic types of deposit protection scheme. These are custodial and insurance. Under the first, the landlord lodges the deposit for the duration of the tenancy. The money is then released to the tenant when the landlord and tenant have agreed how much of the original deposit should be repaid. Under the second, the landlord pays a fee to have the deposit protected, then repays the tenant at the end of the tenancy. If he fails to do so, the insurer will pay the tenant directly, then try to recoup the money from the landlord.
 
6. Inventories – perhaps surprisingly – are not a formal requirement under deposit protection schemes. But it is obviously beneficial to both landlords and tenants to have an agreed record of the state of a property, and of its contents, at the start of a tenancy.
 
7. It is also worth noting that, even if a deposit is paid by a third party (perhaps the tenant’s parents), a full deposit protection scheme is still required by law.
 
8. The onus of putting a tenant’s deposit in a protection scheme falls squarely on landlords, or their agents. It must be done within 30 days of the signature of a rental agreement, and landlords are required to inform tenants which protection scheme they are using. They are also required to supply further information, such as the circumstances in which they would propose not to return some or all of the deposit.
 
9. At the end of a tenancy, tenants can expect to get their full deposits back, provided they have paid all outstanding bills and stuck to the terms of the tenancy agreement, and provided there has been no damage to the property or its contents. The question of damage can be a matter of dispute between landlords and tenants. It is not incumbent on the tenants to return the property to exactly the same state it was in when they first moved in.
 
10. Should the landlord and tenant remain unable to agree how much of the deposit the landlord should retain at the end of the tenancy, such issues can be ironed out via the protection scheme’s resolution service. A tenant also has the protection of the law, in the form of the county court, if they suspect that the landlord has defaulted on their duty to lodge a deposit in a deposit protection scheme.
 
11. Landlords in Scotland must transfer their tenant’s deposit to one of the three schemes – SafeDeposits Scotland, mydeposits Scotland or the Letting Protection Service Scotland – and provide their tenant with key information within 30 working days of the tenancy start date.
 
12. The regulations in Scotland are retrospective, which means deposits taken before July 2012 must also be protected. As the schemes in Scotland are custodial only, the scheme will hold the money during the tenancy, then the landlord and tenant must log into the appropriate website to release the deposit after the tenancy ends. While the regulations in Scotland apply to landlords as the person requiring the deposit, in a recent landmark case, a letting agent was fined for failing to protect deposits on behalf of their client.
 
Compulsory deposit protection schemes are a huge improvement on the haphazard system that preceded them. The schemes enable both landlords and tenants to sign a tenancy agreement with confidence, which must be good news for the rental sector.

Property to Rent in St Albans

There is a wide selection of property to rent in St Albans ranging from 1 bedroom flats through to substantial detached houses with grounds and everything in-between .....


 .... In common with many cities the rent you will be asked to pay will relate directly to demand and the quality of amenities. In St Albans' case we often see demand being highest for properties within walking distance of the station. However, we also see a high demand for property close to good schools or the City Centre.

We would be pleased to talk through what is available but please do speak to us as availablility is constantly changing and we may know of something that will be coming to the market soon but not quite hit the websites just yet.

L&C

HELPFUL ADVICE CENTRE

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We're here to help

Use the webform below to ask any your question

We'll get back to you as soon as possible.

Answers to previously asked questions...

  • How much is an annual season ticket from St Albans to St Pancras?

    As at Apr 2016. The standard charge quoted on the Thameslink website is £3,320.00.

  • What are the stamp duty thresholds for buying a property?

    Its all got complicated and now depends if you are buying a property as a principle residence. The most up to date info (as Apr 16) is here https://www.gov.uk/stamp-duty-land-tax/residential-property-rates

  • I am tenant looking to rent one of your properties. What charges should I expect to pay.
    You can find this information in the tenant section of our website - should it need any clarification please call 01727 794104 and we can run through it with you.
  • Why do you ask for so much information about my property? (From a landlord)
    As your agents, we need to know about a variety of little things to be effective in marketing and managing your property. Each piece of information will enable us to either keep you and your property legally compliant, prevent misunderstandings and wasted viewing appointments, or ensure that your tenants have all they need to properly maintain and look after your property throughout their tenancy.
  • How can I find out about school catchment areas?

    Tricky as the rules seem to change but we use School Guru who come up with very useful info - this link will take you to their website http://www.schoolguruhertfordshire.co.uk/

  • What are "exchange" and "completion"
    The exchange means the exchange of contracts. Many years ago this meant that the buyer and sellers solicitors met and literally exchanged the contracts in identical form signed by their respective clients. Today the exchange usually just takes place over the telephone where each solicitor confirms they are in possession of a signed contract. Exchange is a significant milestone in that the transaction becomes a legally binding contract between the seller and the buyer at that point. One of the terms of the contract at exchange will be the completion date. Referred to as completion. This is the date on which the title to the property is transferred by the sellers solicitor to the buyer, the buyers solicitor transfers the agreed sale price to the seller and the buyer takes possession of the property. This is the date that the new owner of the property usually moves in. There is usually a time period between exchange and completion and this period can vary from a few seconds if exchange and completion take place on the same day or several months, even years. The norm however is usually between 2 and 6 weeks, and it is during this period that each party is able to book removals, make arrangements for the transfer of utilities and post and of course tell friends and family, or not !
  • I understand I need an EPC - how much is it and how long will it take?
    We can organise this through a third party. It takes about 24 hours and costs £50 plus VAT.

REGISTER A SEARCH

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Register your search

Complete the webform below and we'll send you updates on all new properties that fit your profile as soon as they become available.

 

ARRANGE A VIEWING

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We would be pleased to organise this for you.
It would be very helpful if you would give us more than one time when you would be able to view - this avoids some of the "backward and forward" messaging if your prefered time is unavailable.
If there is more than one property you would like to visit please make it clear in the message box which properties you would like to see and when.
If this doesn't turn out to be the right one we would really appreciate some feedback. It really helps our clients to understand what people think of their property and it will also help us better understand what you are looking for.
We hope you like it and look forward to hearing from you

 

ARRANGE A VALUATION

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How much is my current property worth?

When asked to give a "valuation" we will offer you our opinion of the likely figure you should expect to achieve should the property be put to the market.... MORE