Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

EPC, Gas & Electrical Certificates & Prices

It is a Legal requirement for landlord to have all the gas appliances in a rented property safety-tested every 12 months by a Gas Safe™ registered engineer. At Homefinders we can provide you with your certificate annually to make sure that you fulfil your legal obligations. The certificate takes approximately 30 minutes to complete and is carried out by our subcontracted gas safe engineer. We do not charge extra for additional appliances. The price ius fixed at £65 no additional charges. We also offer a service to our customers where we can pick keys up from a local estate agent or we can arrange access through your tenant to carry out the certificate.

Upon completion of all necessary safety checks you will be issued with a certificate. This certificate will be proof that all appliances are safe to use; a copy will need to be given to your tenant within 28 days of being issued and you will also need to retain a copy for two years from this point.

Failure to produce a valid Gas safety certificate (CP12) can result in prosecution, and can also invalidate your property insurance, which in turn means you, can be liable for potential civil claims. The landlord is responsible for this aspect of their tenants’ safety, and if non-compliance were to lead to a death from carbon monoxide poisoning, the landlord could be charged with manslaughter. If you are a landlord and have gas appliances that require gas safety certificates call Homefinders Maintenance Team now on 020 7033 0311 ext 24 or 020 7749 1794 for information and advice.

Average Turnaround Time: 24-72 Hours

Appointment Duration:30-60 Minutes

Payment Options: Pay online Via Debit or Credit Card or Via Telephone with our maintenance team when booking.

 

 

A Periodic Electrical Inspection is an in-depth inspection of the electrical installation followed by a comprehensive report detailing recommendations and remedial work required. The Periodic Electrical Inspection is the most detailed inspection of the electrical installation and ensures functionality and safety. 1st time landlords and Landlords that have not had the electrics tested in the last five years are also highly recommended to have this carried out.

We will only accept properties to our emergency cover after any remedial work, if any, done after we do the test.

Average Turnaround Time: 24-72 Hours Appointment

Duration: 1-4 Hours

Payment Options: Pay online Via Debit or Credit Card or Via Telephone with our maintenance team when booking.

How do I book my Periodic Inspection Report?

To book your periodic Inspection report which will be carried out by NICEIC qualified engineers, please use the book now form below or alternatively call our maintenance team on 020 7033 0311 ext 24 or direct number 020 7749 1794 and we will be happy to process your booking.

What will a periodic inspection reveal?

A periodic inspection will:

a. reveal if any of your electrical circuits or equipment is overloaded

b. find any potential electrical shock risks and fire hazards in your electrical installation

c. identify any defective DIY electrical work

d. highlight any lack of earthing or bonding

Tests are also carried out on wiring and associated fixed electrical equipment to check that it is safe. A schedule of circuits will also be provided, which is invaluable for a property.

Why is a periodic inspection needed?

Every electrical installation deteriorates with use and age. It is important for the person responsible for the maintenance of the installation to be sure that the safety of users is not put at risk, and that the installation continues to be in a safe and serviceable condition.

When is a periodic inspection needed?

It is recommended that periodic inspection and testing is carried out:

When a property is being prepared to be let (or every 3 to 5 years if it has a current Periodic Electrical inspection and it is currently let.) prior to selling a property or when buying a previously occupied property.

Who should undertake a periodic inspection?

Periodic inspections should be carried out by a competent electrician who is registered by an approved governing body. All of the periodic Inspections that we conduct are carried out by our subcontracted NICEIC registered Engineers who have a minimum of 5 years’ experience in the industry.

What happens during a periodic inspection?

The electrician will check the electrical installation against the requirements of BS 7671 - Requirements for Electrical Installations ( IEE Wiring Regulations) - as amended, which is the national safety standard for electrical installations, and contains around 850 Regulations.

What is a periodic inspection report?

A periodic inspection report (PIR) is a formal method of recording the findings of the periodic inspection, on at least three pages for domestic installations and six pages for larger installations.

The main purpose of a PIR is to report on the safety condition of an existing installation. Box E on page 1 of the Periodic Inspection Report will describe the overall condition as either 'satisfactory', in which case no immediate remedial work is required, or ‘unsatisfactory' which means remedial work is required to make the installation safe to use.

Where a PIR describes the installation as 'unsatisfactory', the next thing to look at is Box F on page 2 `Observations and Recommendations for Actions to be Taken'.

This is where any departures from BS 7671 are recorded, and a code to indicate the urgency of the action needed is given.

• Code 1 Requires urgent attention

• Code 2 Requires improvement

• Code 3 Requires further investigation

• Code 4 Does not comply with BS 7671

Code 1 indicates a dangerous, or potentially dangerous, condition that requires urgent attention to make the installation safe. Once the necessary remedial work has been completed, an appropriate certificate should be issued to confirm that the remedial work has been carried out in accordance with BS 7671. The electrician will give a summary of the inspection in the report, which will give a clear indication of the condition of the electrical installation, taking into account all relevant circumstances.

What happens after a periodic Inspection?

If the report is satisfactory you will be given your document and no further action will be needed until your next report is due.

If the report recommends improvements to the installation, we will give you a no obligation quotation for the remedial works to be carried out. If the remedial works are carried out by us you will also be given a free periodic certificate reflecting the changes that you have made and to outline that the periodic inspection has now been recognised as satisfactory.

The pat test includes all electrical appliances that are portable. It should also be noted that plug sockets for the items should be visible & freely accessible. We will not be able to move items such as fridge freezers etc due to insurance and liability restrictions.

Average Turnaround Time: 24-72 Hours

Appointment Duration: 30-90 Minutes

Payment Options: Pay online Via Debit or Credit Card or Via Telephone with our maintenance team when booking.

If you are renting or selling your property as of the 1st of October 2008 you will require an energy performance certificate also known as an EPC. This is required before marketing of your property can commence. The EPC lasts 10 years and is carried out by our accredited energy assessors. The report takes an average of 40 minutes to complete and our team will need access to all rooms in the property.

Average Turnaround Time: 24-72 Hours

Appointment Duration: 30-60 Minutes

Payment Options: Pay online Via Debit or Credit Card or Via Telephone with our maintenance team when booking

What the report contains?

The report gives your property a rating between A and G. “A” Rated properties have the lowest running costs and “G” the highest. The calculation is made using the characteristics of the home which include, but are not limited to: - the age of property, heating system, heating controls, insulation, glazing and lighting.

Once the calculation is made you will receive an 8 page report that will outline your score and give recommendations on how your rating can be improved. It is advised to act on the recommendations but you are under no legal obligation to do so. If you require an energy performance certificate please complete the online order form below. Alternatively call our friendly team on 020 7033 0311 ext 24 or direct number 020 7749 1794 and we will be happy to help.

To keep your boiler working safely, efficiently and to reduce the risk of breakdown, gas boiler manufacturers recommend your boiler is serviced every 12 months. Having your boiler serviced and running to its maximum efficiency can save as much as 15% of household energy bills.

Our engineers carry out a thorough check of you boiler and components. The boiler service should take in the region of 30-45 minutes to carry out depending on the make and type of the boiler. At the end of your service you will receive a service certificate outlining what has been done.

Average Turnaround Time: 24-72 Hours

Appointment Duration: 1-2 Hours

Payment Options: Pay online Via Debit or Credit Card or Via Telephone with our maintenance team when booking.

Tenants

Before the Tenancy

Once you want to take a property we will ask you to pay two weeks rent plus our admin fee to reserve the property. Once we receive a reservation fee we stop marketing the property and cancel any viewings for the next five days, during this time you should supply us with all the documents we need. If you need more than five days you need to inform the negotiator who showed you the property. Reservation fees are only refundable if your prospective landlord decides not to rent the property.

Most agencies mention “referencing” to new tenants. We carry out referencing checks to ensure that you can afford the rent, and are suitable to rent our properties. To do this we need:

  • Proof of ID – Driver’s License or Passport
  • A reference from your previous landlord
  • Proof of income – three months of bank statements/pay slips and a letter from your employer confirming your current job situation
  • Proof of address – utility bills, bank statements, etc, from your current address

It is your responsibility to make sure that you are registered with utility companies. We will require final bills before we refund your deposit.

We usually advertise weekly rents, to work out the monthly rent simply multiply the weekly amount by 52 and divide by 12.

We credit check our tenants to ensure that they can pay the rent. Some of our tenants don’t earn enough to cover the rent (normally students) so we need a guarantor. A guarantor is another person (usually a parent) who is prepared to sign the contract with you, and undertake all of your responsibilities towards the rent and the property if you don’t.

Under the Housing Act 2004 all deposits taken to secure a deposit must be registered with a licensed TDS scheme. Tenancy Deposit Schemes exist to ensure that your deposit is protected and administered fairly. At the end of your tenancy, if we make any deductions from your deposit that you feel are unfair, you can request that the TDS arbitrate the decision.

During the Tenancy

We only accept rent by standing order. When you sign up we will give you our account details, all you need to do is contact your bank to set up a standing order, this can be done online, over the phone, or by visiting your local branch. You must put the tenancy code given to you when you sign your tenancy; otherwise we will not be able to identify and allocate your rent payments.
In exceptional cases we will accept debit or credit card payment over the phone or online. Unfortunately we incur a 2.5% charge for credit card payments, and 1% charge for cash payments, which we have to pass on to you if you pay by these methods.

If you rent is due on the first of the month, then we should have the money in our account on the first of the month. Most payment methods take three days to clear so try to make sure you’re allowing enough time for your payment to reach us by the date it’s due.

Although we are flexible if it happens once, there will be £25 late payment charge if it continues to be a problem.

If there is a maintenance issue please inform our maintenance manager’s contact details are:

Office – 020 7033 0311 ext 24

Mobile -  07815 694 581

Email - maintenance@homefinders.net

For emergencies repairs outside of office hours, you need to call the head office and where further information on how to report the problem can be found on our phone system.

Usually our contractors book appointments with tenants directly, if that’s not convenient and you agree they can gain access with our keys. In certain circumstances (for example, Gas Safe certificates) we have a requirement to carry out repairs in order to be legally able to continue renting your property. If we are unable to contact you to arrange access then we will contact you, provide notice of access, and provide the contractors with keys.

At the end of the Tenancy

If you have a one year agreement you cannot break the agreement unless agreed by the landlord as well. If you want to move out at the end of tenancy, you can tell us when we contact you to find out if you want to renew your agreement. You have to tell us a month before the end of tenancy that you wish to end the contract. If you don’t want to renew for a full 12 months we can usually arrange for the contract to be extended by a few months, you just need to give us a minimum of one month’s notice of your knew exit date.

If you break the agreement, unless agreed with the landlord, you will be responsible for the full rent until we find a new tenant. You will also incur a cancelation penalty equal to 10% of the rent for the remaining period. If there is a genuine change of circumstance and you need to move out it is always best to get the landlords agreement. In most cases if we find a new tenant and there is no break in rent payments our landlords are happy to accommodate this.

You will need to contact your bank to stop the standing order after the last month’s payment.

You must hand the keys to our inspection officer at the end of your check out, if it is convenient, you can return them to the head office.

As long as the flat or house is in the same condition as you took it, except fair wear and tear, we will refund the deposit in full except the check out fee, which is set out in your tenancy agreement.

Under the Housing Act 2004 all deposits taken to secure a deposit must be registered with a licensed TDS scheme. Tenancy Deposit Schemes exist to ensure that your deposit is protected and administered fairly. At the end of your tenancy, if we make any deductions from your deposit that you feel are unfair, you can request that the TDS arbitrate the decision.

At the end of your tenancy we will arrange a check out inspection, the condition of your property will be compared to the inventory provided at check in. Assuming there are no deductions to be made and your final utility bills have been paid, we aim to release your deposit within 7 days. If there are deductions to be made and we need to get quotes or if you dispute the deductions and the TDS scheme we register your deposit with arbitrate, then this can take longer.

We will contact you within the last four months of your tenancy to find out if you want to renew your contract. This allows us several months to resolve any requests that you or your landlord have regarding the new agreement. We don’t renew tenancies where there are/have been rent arrears, substantive complaints about anti-social behaviour, or where the property is not being looked after.

Landlords

The costs involved in letting your property consist of:

Energy Performance Certificate
An EPC, which you will need to make available to prospective tenants at the earliest opportunity. Check if your estate agent can arrange for an EPC to be carried out on your behalf. Homefinders can arrange your EPCfor you, it will cost you £65.

Inventory and check-in report
An inventory and check-in report, which should be organised before a tenant moves in. Ask your estate agent if they can arrange this on your behalf or provide an estimate. Costs vary depending on the size of the property. See our charges Inventory.

Gas Safety Certificate

This is a legal requirement and have be done on a yearly basis. There should be a valid gas safety certificate before tenancy starts. Homefinders can organise this for you and charge will be £55. We will then organise the Gas safety Certificate  for you, if we are managing the property, on a yearly basis, when it is due.

Electric Safety Certificate

The Periodic Inspection is the most detailed inspection of the electrical installation and ensures functionality and safety. 1st time landlords and landlords that have not had the electrics tested in the last five years are also highly recommended to have this carried out. The cost for Electric Certificate is £110 through Homefinders.

Estate agent commission
Your Homefinders’ fee, which is usually payable when a tenant is introduced and enters into an agreement to let the property. This is charged as a percentage of the agreed rental price + VAT at the prevailing rate.

Unlike other agents who charge, Homefinders don’t charge additional fees to market your property

All viewings are conducted by our experienced sales staff.

As long as we have a copy of the keys and any entry/alarm codes then there is no need for you to be present at viewings. Prospective tenants usually feel more relaxed when the owner is not present, making it much more likely they will take the property.

An EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) measures the energy efficiency of a property using a scale of A-G and is valid for 10 years.

It is a legal requirement for landlords to have a valid EPC before their property is let.

Homefinders can arrange an EPC for you and the cost is £65

Typically this is one month to six weeks' rent and is payable before the start of your Tenancy Agreement. The deposit should then be registered with a tenancy deposit protection scheme within 14 days.

Homefinders hold the deposit as a stakeholder and register this with a deposit protection scheme, resulting in a faster and more efficient deposit release process at the end of the tenancy.

All deposits being paid by a tenant for an Assured Shorthold Tenancy are registered with a recognised deposit protection scheme within 14 days guaranteeing that any deposit disputes will be dealt with fairly.

Prices vary depending on the size of your property, we will organise an inventoryon your behalf unless we are authorised to the contrary.

We make payments to landlords on Mondays when we forward any payments received as cleared funds that have been collected since the previous payment run. Payments are made by BACS which take two to three days to clear into your account. When we make payments you will receive notification by text message and a statement by email.

We inspect properties between one and three times a year, dependent upon the management option you’ve chosen.

Yes you will get a full inspection report detailing the condition of your property, any changes since the last inspection, and (if necessary) with photos detailing any damage or issues, click here to view a sample inspection report

Out of hours emergency repairs are handled by our maintenance team. After several years of trying various insurance based emergency policies we decided to form our own cover. Landlords have the option to have the majority of emergencies covered for a small subscription or can choose to use the service on a call-out basis as required*.

*subject to separate Terms and Conditions

We only instruct repairs to the property if they are vital to prevent damage to your property, injury to the tenant, or could lead to the property being uninhabitable and the tenants withholding rent. Everything else is done in consultation with you.

We put all our policy and procedures on our website, so that you know what to expect from us. We always welcome ideas for improving our procedures.  Credit control procedure is on this website for you to see.

Please go to policy and procedures pages to see all our procedures.

Unless you have instructed us otherwise, Homefinders will make sure a Gas Safe registered engineer inspects your property prior to the expiry of the Gas Safe certificate.

Homefinders have highly experienced property managers who are usually able to resolve issues with tenants without having to resort to court action. Sometimes it is unavoidable, should this happen then eviction is normally for one of two reasons:

Section 21/Accelerated Possession – If we’ve served notice ending the tenancy and your tenant hasn’t left, the property managers at Homefinders have extensive experience in filing possession claims and overseeing the possession process. While it’s highly unusual, sometimes these claims require a hearing, in which case Homefinders can advise you on what needs to be done in order to secure possession.

Section 8/Breach – This notice is used if a tenant isn’t paying rent, or breaches the contract. Homefinders have a long working relationship with one of the country’s most successful firms of property law solicitors. To date they’ve won every case that we’ve asked them to handle, obviously you can always use your own solicitors for this.

Repairs are usually the most contentious issue of property management. You want to minimise expense at your property and keep your rent coming in, sometimes these don’t go hand in hand.

Repairs that aren’t directly attributable to a tenant abusing the property are the landlord’s responsibility. Your tenants will expect repairs to be carried out as required and we always advise this. Repairing your property not only keeps your tenants happy but prevents you incurring further expenses if a problem is left to develop.

While they don’t expect to live in a hotel, your tenants will expect things like leaks, electrical faults and heating issues to be attended to. That doesn’t make them “problem tenants” just people who expect to get what they’re paying for. So, it’s wise to carry out these types of repairs as soon as it’s practical. Other repairs, such as decoration, are entirely at your discretion.

Simple answer? No, it’s not a legal requirement. We strongly advise it though. The amount of people annually who receive shocks, burns, and injury from faulty electrics is in the hundreds of thousands.

Testing your property to ensure that the wiring, installations, and appliances are safe seems a small expense when you consider what’s at risk. If the unthinkable happens and your tenant receives an injury, a PIR or PAT test certificate are the only things you can produce to show that you’ve taken all possible steps to prevent such an incidence.

All our charges are clearly stated on our terms and conditions.

No you are not responsible for white goods or any other furniture, but it is a good idea to be flexible about furniture and white goods to increase the chance of letting the property. If you supply white goods, you will also be responsible for maintaining them.

How long would you be prepared to be without heating or hot water yourself? One to two days at most? It’s the same with your tenants. Heating and hot water is one of the areas where there’s little-to-no tolerance of delays or lack of action by tenants so we try to get these attended to immediately. If it is cold weather and parts needs to be ordered we will always lend your tenants heaters.

Welcome to Homefinders

Legal Support

Sometimes things go wrong, when they do we’ll be right beside you to help you resolve your problem. Our management team have extensive experience in handling accelerated possession cases, filing paperwork, and attending hearings. We also work closely with one of the best property law specialist advocacy teams in the country who, to date, have won everything we’ve needed their help with.

Local Authority leases

We are managing agents for some local Authorities like Hackney, Waltham Forest, Newham and Tower Hamlets. We do lease and manage the properties on behalf of the local Authorities. We also work with other Boroughs on some of their other schemes.

Emergency cover for plumbing, drainage and electricity

We do not sell emergency cover insurance. Our own maintenance team looks after this 24/7 365 days. Below is the terms and condition for this service. The price of this service is £10 pcm, electrical cover is only available after we do the electrical test.

This option is only available for managed properties.

We do not tie you down for long periods

We do not overvalue your property and tie you down for the next 6 months. We do not tie you down at all even if we are your sole agent, anytime you like you can change it to multiple agency.

Thanks to all staff, testimonials

Many of our happy customers have provided a few kind words expressing their gratitude in selling their property for them.

Colour floor plans, only the best for you

Most buyers won’t even consider a property unless there is a floor plan. When looking for a new home it is a space, shape and layout they are looking for. We will advertise all our properties with full colour floor plan.

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