Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Below you will find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about our landlords scheme. If you have a question which is not answered here, please contact our Acquisitions team.
- Why can't you give actual rent charges over the phone?
Rent charges or levels are based on the size of the property and its location, and we must see a home to know how many people can live in it. We can give you an estimate over the phone, but not an actual figure.
- Why don't you pay the same rents as the private sector?
We offer a free management service and guaranteed rent throughout the period of the lease. Our rents are set by the local authority and take into account the fact that you will usually continue to receive rent if the property is empty or if our tenant fails to pay us any rent.
- Why do gas and electrical safety certificates need to be dated within the last three months?
Safety checks must be carried out while the property is empty. If they were issued over three months ago we cannot be sure the property has been empty since the safety check was carried out, affecting its validity. Also, the gas safety certificate (CP12) is only valid for 12 months. If it was issued several months ago, it may expire not long after our tenant moves into the property.
- Why do you need to see the Land Registry document before you lease a property?
Before we enter into any lease we need to check that the person we are dealing with has the legal right to lease the property to us. We do this by asking to see the land registry entry dated within the last three months. If you have just bought the property, a letter from your solicitor will be sufficient.
- Can I get a grant to help pay for any work you ask me to carry out to the property?
Most councils offer better-home grants or empty property grants to owners who are renovating properties. There may be certain conditions, for example, in most cases you will have to commit to leasing the property to us for at least five years after the work has been carried out. Also, most councils will need to inspect the property before any work begins.
For more information please contact your local authority grants officer:
Ealing: Empty Property Officer - phone 020 8825 6185
Hammersmith & Fulham: Private Sector Housing Services - phone 020 8753 1221 or email
Harrow: Housing Services Team - phone 0800 371 067 or email
- What is an EPC and why do I have to provide it?
Since 1 October 2008 all properties have to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) before they can be let. An EPC shows the energy efficiency of a property and makes recommendations to improve this and lower both energy bills and the environmental impact. It is valid for 10 years from the date of issue. Owners are asked to provide an EPC for all new acquisitions and we will not accept properties with an energy rating of “E” or below. If a property is given a low rating, owners will need to carry out improvement work and provide a new certificate. To find a local contractor who can provide your EPC, contact your local estate agent or search for one online.
- When will my lease start?
Your lease will start from the day we first let the property on an assured shorthold tenancy. Our tenancy agreement with our tenant must start on a Monday, however we usually give our tenants the keys on the Friday before to allow them time to move into the property over the weekend.
- How long will you to take to let my property?
We will assign you a Property Negotiator who will send you an offer with a schedule of work. When the work has been completed and inspected, and you have provided us with the necessary paperwork, we will start looking for a tenant for the property. We aim to let each property within two weeks, but we cannot guarantee this.
- Am I able to inspect my property during the lease?
Under the terms of the lease you are permitted to carry out an inspection of the property by giving our tenant at least seven working days' notice in writing. To arrange an inspection you should contact the Housing Officer for the property and they will be happy to help.
- What happens at the end of the lease?
Approximately six months before the lease ends, we will let you know whether we are able to offer you a new lease or whether the property will be returned to you. In most cases we are able to renew the lease, but sometimes the local authority no longer needs the property. If we can renew the lease, we will send you an offer letter. If we are handing it back to you we will make sure then current tenant moves out, and then contact you to arrange a joint inspection and hand over the keys.
- Will you redecorate at the end of the lease?
The lease agreement states both our and the tenant's obligations at the end of the lease. It states that we have no obligation to redecorate your property or replace any floor coverings, curtains, or the fridge and freezer. You should expect to have to reinvest in the property at the end of the lease, and we recommend that you set aside approximately 10% of your rental income each month to cover the costs of this.