Why Scriven & Co.
At a time where there are more Letting Agents than there ever have been, it is crucial to be able to identify one that will do you and your property justice. At Scriven & Co we understand the importance of not only being great at the ‘letting’ part, but at the ‘property management’ element too. Property management is the backbone of a successful let, and we know from experience that it is where a diligent, compliant agent like ours proves it's worth. Renting out a property can be straightforward and hassle free, but like any process, issues may arise. It is easy to manage a property when things are running smoothly, but when there is an issue, be it minor or major, we will look after you and your property, dealing with matters promptly, cost effectively and ensuring communication throughout.
You may even be asking yourself, is an agent necessary? Our answer is always yes. With more red tape and compliance hoops to jump through than ever before, the risk of overlooking something that could cause an issue in the future is immense, and with tenants increasingly wise to the system, the sensible thing is to appoint an agent. And we would love it to be us.
Ideally, we would work with you from the moment you decide to rent out your property, but if you would like to move your property over to us, either from having looked after it yourself or having someone else do it for you, we would love to step in. Our qualified, experienced and friendly team work hard to provide both clients and tenants with a seamless experience.
With Directors Charles Scriven and Gordon Tibbetts at the helm, The Residential Lettings department comprises a team of 6 experienced staff, dedicated to providing the best service possible. You will find that all our staff are very approachable, will always be happy to speak to you, and understand the importance of finding a quality tenant as quickly as possible. With some larger organisations, you may find yourself calling into an offce and finding that you speak to various people with no one seeming to know the required information to be able to answer your query. Once you become a client of Scriven & Co, you will soon know all the members of the team and will be able to speak to the person that has visited your property. In doing this we can give first-hand advice and opinions in relation to condition, maintenance and tenants. We pride ourselves on providing a personal and professional service, with honesty and integrity, at a competitive price.
We have built up a varied client base ranging from clients with a single property to those with several.
Over time we have built up a varied client base ranging from clients with a single property to those with a large portfolio. We act on behalf of landlords that live locally, and for some that live overseas as far as New Zealand. We also act for several landlords in the collection of ground rents. Some like to be heavily involved, others like to sit back and let us handle everything. Our clients come in all forms; we like the variety; it keeps us on our toes!
I want to let out my property, how can Scriven & Co help?
We would love to help! We can be reached via email firstname.lastname@example.org, by telephone on 0121 422 4011 (option 2) or of course by simply visiting us in our office at Estate House, 821-829 Hagley Road West, B32 1AD. We will ask you a few questions about the property in question, and make an appointment to conduct a free, no obligation market appraisal.
What happens during a market appraisal?
The appointment typically consists of us conducting a brief inspection of the property, and then talking you through factors such as current market conditions, comparable rental values, your legal obligations, our internal letting process, tenants’ obligations, how we can help minimise your risk, referencing and our terms and conditions, including our fees.
What happens next?
Following the appraisal, we will produce and send to you our terms of business, with a covering letter clarifying all points that were discussed during the appraisal. This letter will form a useful checklist for you, as there will be a lot to take in.
Scriven & Co manage almost six hundred properties in the West Midlands including but not limited to areas such as Alvechurch, Billesley, Birmingham, Bartley Green, Bearwood, Belbroughton, Bobbington, Bromsgrove, Coseley, Cradley Heath, Dudley, Edgbaston, Hagley, Halesowen, Handsworth, Harborne, Kidderminster, Old Hill, Oldbury, Oldswinford, Quarry Bank, Quinton, Redditch, Romsley, Rowley Regis, Sedgley, Shirley, Solihull, Smethwick, Stourbridge, Tipton, Walsall and West Bromwich.
Please note we are not restricted to these areas and we would welcome the opportunity to manage properties in other areas.
At Scriven & Co we spend a lot of time creating relationships. Not only with our clients, but with our tenants too. We try to find tenants that do not just treat your property as accommodation, but as their home. We find that in building and creating these relationships, tenants are encouraged to invest their time and effort into your property. As your agent we pledge to provide peace of mind by ensuring legal compliance, professional advice (relating to maintenance or tenancy matters) and frequent updates (in terms of the property’s condition/tenant requests etc).
I would like to instruct Scriven & Co, what do I do next?
This is music to our ears! On the basis that you are happy with our service and the terms provided, you simply need to sign and return the terms that have been sent to you, whilst also providing the following documentation for all legal owners:
Government issued Photographic ID such as a passport or driving licence.
Proof of address in the form of a recent utility bill or bank statement.
Proof of ownership (a recent mortgage or title register)
Should you have any queries regarding our terms, we would be happy to discuss these over the telephone, or even together in person, at our offices.
Once we have received all your paperwork and carried out our internal checks, we will work with you to get the property ready to be placed on the market as available to let.
Is Your Property Ready To Let?...
Does it Need a Makeover?
Here are some useful tips:
Of course, every property is different and there may be other useful tips and recommendations we can make. We would normally highlight these during the initial market appraisal. Scriven & Co are ISO registered; this means that we have numerous procedures to maintain quality control. One of these procedures relates to ‘approved contractors.’ These approved contractors have been vetted to ensure that they are reasonably priced, provide quality workmanship, and have the required insurance. If you would like us to assist with any maintenance using one of our approved contractors, we would be happy to organise a quotation for you. Should you wish to discuss anything further, including maintenance, a member of our team is always on hand to provide advice.
Ensure the property (including appliances, carpets and floorcoverings) is clean throughout.
Test appliances to make sure they are working and provide user manuals where possible.
Prospective tenants love a property that has a clean fresh look. Therefore, making good decoration or redecorating the property in cream or magnolia (walls), white (ceilings) and white gloss/satin (wood joinery) is often carried out to help create a good first impression.
Where a property needs modernising, simple changes like replacing dated door furniture and curtain poles with a polished chrome or brushed metal effect really helps.
Help protect your property by installing door stops behind doors and bathroom fixtures such as toilet roll holders and towel rails. This discourages tenants from installing their own.
Maintain any external areas to include the installation of guards where there is a significant change in level, stabilizing loose or uneven paving or paths and undertaking general garden maintenance.
In an ever-changing industry, not many landlords are aware of the amount of red-tape and legislation that needs to be complied with. Failure to comply can result in failure to recover possession of properties.
To ensure that we keep up to-date with legislation, each member of the lettings department take part in regular in-house and external training to maintain CPD (Continued Professional Development).
Here are some of the legal policies that govern Residential Lettings. (This list is not exhaustive):
- Immigration Act 2016
- Housing Act 2004
- Housing Act 1988
- General Data Protection Energy Efficiency Regulations 2015
- Landlord & Tenant Act 1985
- Deregulation Act 2015
- Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015
- Electrical Equipment Regulations 1994
- Equality Act 2010
- Money Laundering Regulations 2017
- Rent Act 1977
- The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) (Amendment) Regulations 2018
- The Fees Act 2019
- The Terrorism Act 2000
- Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015
- Housing and Planning Act 2016
Within our terms of business, you will find a section requesting your consent to arrange various legally required certifications. Therefore, upon receipt of the terms we will begin to organise these for you. These include:
- Arrangement of Landlord’s Gas Safety Check (excluding cost of check/test), if required
- Arrangement of electrical certificate and PAT testing to be completed by NICEIC contractor (excluding cost of test and portable appliance test), if required.
- Arrangement of Water risk assessment (legionella assessment).
- Arrangement of EPC (Energy performance certificate), including advice if required, on upgrades to be completed before the EPC is prepared.
How Will We Find Your Tenant?
By using the best marketing techniques and over 80 years of experience in the industry including:
- Producing detailed property particulars and listings to include quality photographs and a virtual tour/walk-through video which is displayed on our YouTube channel.
- Engaged a media company to monitor and manage our SEO (search engine optimisation) which helps target the right people / audience and direct them to our website.
- Using our social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram to encourage prospective tenants to view Scriven & Co’s properties on the various portals.
- Internet listings on websites such as rightmove.co.uk, scriven.co.uk and onthemarket.com which links to Facebook market place.
- Using our in-house graphic design team to produce displays to feature in arguably the largest illuminated office display and office reception in the local area, fronting the busy Hagley Road West and that also shares the border with Halesowen, Quinton and Oldbury.
- Large recognised “To-Let” board where it is possible for these to be installed.
- Newspaper advertising at our discretion, but at no charge to you (unless specific newspaper advertising is requested).
- Accompanied viewings. This gives us an opportunity to meet your prospective tenant and give you honest, personal feedback.
- Rather than request prospective tenants fill-out tenancy applications directly with the referencing agency, we ensure that each tenancy application is submitted to our offices. This allows us to review each application, assess whether we think they will be a suitable tenant(s) for you, enabling us to be in a better position to give you the right advice.
- Whereas other agents may only require the lead tenant to be referenced and credit checked, we insist that all prospective tenants over the age of 18 years must be referenced/checked with each name being detailed on the tenancy agreement. This ensures joint and several liability (in respect of the tenants) and provides better security for you.
How do Scriven & Co. deal with interested parties?
Once your property is on the lettings market, we will speak to interested potential tenants and book viewings in accordance with a system that will have been pre discussed with you. Those who are keen to apply for tenancy will be asked to complete a pre-tenancy application form which will outline the key information of their application – this will include income, current living status, preferred contract length and rent etc. Once tenancy pre- applications are received, we will review them and subsequently contact you via email or telephone with our recommendations. Our review will also ensure that any tenant has the right documentation to satisfy the Immigration Act and Right to Reside requirements. Once a tenant(s) has been selected, they will then pay the holding deposit so that the property is secured for them whilst the full referencing is undertaken.
At this stage you can then add rent guarantee and damage protection in relation to the proposed tenancy; however, there is an additional charge for this.
I’ve selected my tenant; how do we proceed?
Once a let has been agreed in principle, we will reference and undertake a credit check on each prospective tenant through a third-party source. At this time, the property will appear as “let”, however we will continue to record any further registered interest, enabling us to contact these applicants, should the proposed tenancy fall through. Although the cost of referencing and credit checks is charged to the landlord, subject to satisfactory reference and credit checks, the landlord is entitled to free legal cover for the initial tenancy term. For further information please do not hesitate to ask us.
If all referencing and checks are returned satisfactorily, the letting process will continue. If, however the references and checks identify any concerns, we will discuss these with you and if a decision is made not to proceed with the proposed let, the applicant will be notified, and the property will be made ‘available’ again.
An additional check is undertaken to ensure that everything is in place in relation to all legal elements, including the installation of smoke detectors to each storey, carbon monoxide detectors, and water risk assessments etc.
We will then prepare the following:
- Tenancy Agreement
- Property handover schedule including comprehensive written schedule of condition and photographic survey. Subject to your instruction.
- Initial meter readings (if accessible) to be displayed in schedules of condition.
- Prescribed information in relation to the tenancy deposit
- Gas safety certificate where applicable,
- ‘How to rent’ checklist and any other documentation is issued to ensure compliance with the Deregulation Act.
Tenancy agreements and deposits
Depending on your tenant and the circumstances surrounding them, we will use the appropriate tenancy agreement. Where properties are let directly to individuals, we use an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST). Where properties are let to companies for the occupation of employees, a Contractual Tenancy Agreement is used. It is crucial that the correct type of tenancy agreement is used, as legalities differ depending on whether your tenancy forms part of The Housing Act.
In each case our Tenancy Agreements allow for a refundable deposit to be taken (in accordance with the Fees Act 2019) as well as rent in advance. To ensure compliance with tenancy deposit regulations, we are members of The Dispute Service Ltd Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme. This means we can accept and register deposits in accordance with the tenancy deposit protection regulations. To help avoid any deposit disputes at the end of a tenancy, we can produce a detailed written inventory/schedule of condition and Photographic Survey at a small extra cost. This inventory, along with the ‘check out’ report produced at the end the tenancy, are the perfect comparable tools used to identify any need for repairs or remedial works at the close of a tenancy, and most importantly, to identify responsibility.
The aim is to have a good tenant paying a competitive rent for a term that suits you best. However, your circumstances may change or there may be cause to end a tenancy. Both Assured Shorthold Tenancies and Contractual Tenancy Agreements allow possession to be gained at the end of the fixed term, or possibly during the term, depending upon the breach of the tenancy and/or the ground for possession. If you require advice regarding serving notice or grounds for possession, please speak to us and we will advise accordingly.
The start of a tenancy/Key handover
We will visit the property on the day the tenancy commences to test and document the successful testing of all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms in accordance with the smoke and carbon monoxide alarm (England) regulations 2015. A small charge will be raised in respect of this testing; however, you are welcome to visit, test and document the testing if you prefer. As part of the handover process, we will ensure the following:
- Taking receipt of tenancy deposit on behalf of Landlord, held in accordance with the Terms & Conditions of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (Insured Option)
- Setting up of Standing Order for payment of rent
- Implementing the Tenancy Agreement
- Notification relative to council tax
- Notification to water supplier
- Notification to utility companies
My tenant has moved in, is that everything?
Absolutely not – We’re only just getting started! We will remain on hand and will keep in touch with you regarding the following:
- Oversight and administration of rent collection.
- Annual property inspections to include advice on property condition/maintenance, the tenancy, and compliance.
- Assisting with any maintenance or repair issues during tenancy, to include obtaining quotation, engaging contractor and then checking and signing off invoice upon completion.
- Ensuring tenant complies with tenancy agreement and write/notify tenant where/if they fail to comply.
- Providing monthly statements detailing all income and expenditure. Statements can also be provided to advisors or accountants if requested at no extra charge.
- Providing rent review advice at the appropriate time.
- Administration of Landlord’s Gas Safety Check renewals
- Administration of NICEIC Approved Contractor’s Electric and Portable Appliance Test renewals
The end of a tenancy
If your tenant provides notice to end their tenancy, we will review to ensure that the correct notice has been given and accept the notice on your behalf. At this stage we will also take instruction in relation to re-letting/marketing. If we have issued notice to the tenant in order to recover possession, we will simply keep you up to date regarding the process and the return of the keys. Where a property is due to become vacant, we will remind you of your obligation to ensure that the property is adequately insured when the property becomes vacant.
Upon notification of end of tenancy, we will proceed as follows:
- Write to the tenant(s) confirming their tenancy end date. This correspondence includes a tick-list highlighting the important things they need to carry out, before keys are returned.
- Keys are returned, checked and logged accordingly.
- The check-out condition assessment is completed, and any dilapidations are noted and resolved accordingly.
- Administration of return of deposit subject to the terms & conditions of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (Insured Option) in relation to monetary deductions, if necessary.
- Check-out meter readings are taken, and the relevant utilities and the local authority are notified.
Our ongoing relationship with you
Our aim is for our landlords to feel at ease throughout the entire lettings process. Should any issue or matter arise, we will contact you as soon as possible to discuss, and endeavour to provide more than one solution/option, along with the appropriate advice. After discussing matters with you, we will act upon your instruction, ensuring that you are comfortable in your decision. We will not engage any contractor without your consent, unless you have previously given us consent to do so, or in the event of an emergency. Should you require us to engage a contractor for you, we will only instruct contractors from our approved contractors list. We are proud to say that we do not earn commissions from engaging building contractors, and where we engage them on your behalf, we do so in accordance with the Construction Design and Management Regulations.
Do you offer any other services?
In addition to our Letting & Management Service, we can also provide a Letting & Management Service with Rent Guarantee & Property Damage Protection. If you would be interested in hearing more about this option, we would love to discuss this with you.
Please also discuss any requirements you may have regarding Residential or Commercial Sales, or surveys and valuations.
"Absolutely first class service from Scrivens in the letting of my mom’s property, Charles Scriven was on top of the process through to it being let, always happy to help and give advice, thank you so much."
Get in touch
Call us on 0121 422 4011 or send us a message...