Watts & Co are a single office independent letting agency owned and run by an experienced team, also landlords and investors in their own right. From our head office in Burley, Leeds, we are able to offer full lettings and management across Leeds and surrounding areas.
Technology is at the heart of everything we do and all our systems and processes are set up to offer a fully paperless service. Watts & Co are a forward-thinking modern letting agency and have expertise in the Buy to Let, HMO, Student and Build to Rent markets. Running alongside the investment and construction division, our friendly and personal lettings service is set up to assist our landlords and investors look after either a single property or grow large property portfolios.
New Landlord Instruction
For all new landlords looking to work with Watts & Co for the first time we require you to submit all your details via the online form available by clicking the link below. The form acts as a prompt and lets you know all the information we require to satisfy the anti-money laundering regulations and make sure our business relationship stays compliant from the start. There is also space to enter all the details of a property you wish us to manage for you. Once you have completed the form, all we need from you is a set of keys and we can start the process.
New Property Instruction
If you have already begun your property journey with us and want to instruct us on additional properties, we are very grateful for your business and look forward to helping you grow your portfolio. By clicking on the link below you will be able to complete the form which will ask for all the relevant details, the forms also act as a prompt making sure the property is compliant from Day 1.
Marketing Advice Consultation
If you’re not quite ready to go on the market or wanting to speak to someone face to face about the current trends, market rents and strategies to get you the best results, click the link below to register your details for a no obligation marketing advice consultation. During the marketing advice consultation, we will speak to you about your circumstances, what you are looking to achieve from this property and your portfolio in general and will go through with you the strategies we can deploy to get you the best return on your investments. We will then run through with you a specific marketing plan tailored to your property and will also give you a guide to what rents can be achieved, backed up with reports on similar properties in the area and direct comparable properties. If you decide to instruct us to market the property we will also run through a safety and compliance audit to make sure the property is ready to be let.
Introduction to Watts & Co
Landlords come in many shapes and sizes, from professional investors through to accidental landlords with varying degrees of knowledge and experience. When letting your property, it is important to use an agency that understands your needs and represents your best interests not just their own.
Watts & Co are fair, ethical and honest, the services we offer are designed for landlords like you to keep your properties tenanted, well maintained and giving good returns.
Through our many years of experience we have identified the three corner stones of a lettings agents service.
- Customer Service
Our proposition is designed around these three cornerstones and each of the steps below falls into one of the three categories.
Preparing to rent out your property
Before you begin the process of letting your property, you need to be thoroughly prepared. There is a lot to do before you can think about getting yournew tenants through the door. More and more legislation is coming out every year, making it increasingly difficult for Landlords to comply.
Health and Safety
Landlords are required to ensure their property is safe. Therefore obvious problems need to be addressed, such as loose or torn floor coverings, sharp edges, broken glass, handrails fitted for the full length of the stairs, greenhouses to be removed and ponds to be filled etc. In any event it is general good maintenance to keep on top of these things. You can download the Department for Communities and Local Government guidelines to ‘Housing health and safety rating system’ (HHSRS) HERE.
The Furniture and Furnishings Fire Safety Regulations 1988
All furniture and furnishings must be fire resistant, any that is not fire resistant will need to be removed from the property before the tenancy begins and any replacement furniture would need to comply. More information can be found HERE.
The residential landlord association has a fantastic tool and lots of useful information on their web-site, you can access it HERE.
Certification and other legislation
EPC – An Energy performance certificate provides a record of the energy efficiency rating of a building. The building is assessed on a scale from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient). It also recommends improvements that could upgrade this rating, such as installing internal and external wall insulation, replacing the boiler with a more efficient model, or installing double-glazed windows. New homes are rated between A and C and older homes between E and G. The average rating is D.
Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are needed whenever a property is built, sold or rented. You must order an EPC for potential buyers and tenants before you market your property to sell or rent. To see if your property already has a valid EPC you can check the EPC register.
As from the 1st April 2018 there will be a requirement for any properties rented out in the private rented sector to normally have a minimum energy performance rating of E on an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The regulations will come into force for new lets and renewals of tenancies with effect from 1st April 2018 and for all existing tenancies on 1st April 2020. It will be unlawful to rent a property, which breaches the requirement for a minimum E rating, unless there is an applicable exemption. A civil penalty of up to £4,000 will be imposed for breaches. This guidance summarises the regulations.
Gas safety certificate – If there is a gas supply at the property you will need to ensure there is a gas safety certificate in date before the tenants move in, as part of the De-Regulation Act 2015 this will need to be provided to the tenants when they move in and will need to be renewed every 12 months by a qualified gas safe engineer.
Electric safety certificate – It is not a legal requirement for a landlord to have an electrical safety certificate for each property unless it is a HMO. For non-HMO the landlord needs to demonstrate that the electrics are in good working order, it is therefor-best practice to have a certificate in place. With a HMO the certificate will need to be renewed every 5 years.
Legionella risk assessment – There is no legal requirement for a landlord to provide a certificate to prove this has been carried out but they will need to demonstrate that they have assessed the risks before renting out the property.
Licensed HMO’s – the general rule is that any property with more than 4 unrelated tenants will require a HMO license and additional certification such as a fire alarm test certificate may be required. Due to the ever-changing nature of the legislation as well as the variance between councils the advice would be to consult with the local HMO officer when looking to rent a HMO property.
Smoke Alarms – As per ‘the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations 2015’, private sector landlords are required from 1 October 2015 to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their properties and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (eg a coal fire, wood burning stove). After that, the landlord must make sure the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy. The requirements will be enforced by local authorities who can impose a fine of up to £5,000 where a landlord fails to comply with a remedial notice.
Download the The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations HERE.
De-regulation Act 2015 – On 1 October 2015 a number of provisions in the Deregulation act 2015 come into force. These provisions are designed to protect tenants against unfair eviction where they have raised a legitimate complaint about the condition of their home.
These provisions also require that landlords provide all new tenants with information about their rights and responsibilities as tenants. They provide that a landlord cannot serve a section 21 notice unless they have complied with certain legal responsibilities, and introduce a new standard form that landlords must use when evicting a tenant under the ‘no fault’ (section 21) procedure. This will make it more straightforward for landlords to evict a tenant where it is legitimate to do so.
These provisions apply to all new assured shorthold tenancies that start on or after 1 October 2015.
Download the guide HERE.
How to rent guide – one of the requirements of the de-regulation act is that each tenant is issued with a copy of the how to rent guide when they move in. Download the how to rent guide HERE.
Deposits – All tenancies on an assured shorthold tenancy since 6 April 2007 must have the deposit protected in a government backed tenancy deposit scheme within 30 days of it being paid. Failure to do this can result in the landlord having to pay compensation of 3 times the deposit amount to the tenant, together with returning the original deposit to them. Tenants need to be provided with a copy of the deposit registration certificate and prescribed information which indicates the scheme the deposit is registered with and the schemes terms and conditions. Failure to protect a deposit and/or provide the tenant with the correct documentation will prevent a landlord from evicting a tenant using a section 21 Notice.
Right to rent – The Immigration Act 2014 introduced the concept of ‘right to rent’ to the private rented sector. Originally introduced in the West Midlands, right to rent requires landlords and agents check the immigration status of their prospective occupiers at the outset of the tenancy. Failure to do so could result in fines for landlords and letting agents as of February 1st 2016 across England. From December 1st 2016, the government has introduced additional penalties and offences relating to right to rent. Landlords now face potential imprisonment for failure to check the occupier’s right to rent status, so it is even more important that they do it correctly every time. This guide will help prepare landlords for the current requirements of this scheme. Download the guide HERE.
Rental Valuation & Lettings
For every landlord we deal with it’s important to take a pro-active and consultative approach, our service starts from the moment a landlord or potential landlord starts to think about renting a property out, not just when the keys are handed over.
Although the majority of our business is done by phone, email and using the internet, our clients are always welcome to arrange a face-to-face meeting to sit down, have a brew and discuss a property they rent out, are looking to rent out or are thinking of adding to their portfolio.
We charge no marketing fees; hold landlords to no obligations and only charge when we find the tenants on a strictly no-let, no-fee basis.
In most instances the initial meeting will be at the property in question, we will consult on what needs to be done prior to let, what market we will be aiming for, time frames and rental potential.
We can then discuss our fees, terms of business and run through our procedures in more detail.
From there we can actively look to market your property and move things forward to the marketing stage.
To book a lettings appraisal today, Click Here
Marketing your property
Without a shadow of a doubt the most important part of letting a property is having a full set of up-to date, accurate and enticing pictures. When we visit your property, we will take a full set of photographs using a Digital SLR camera complete with wide angled lens and bounce flashgun. This gives us a professional standard portfolio of photographs that gives all potential tenants a better perspective of the property.
We will also take a set of social media friendly photos and square portraits optimised specifically for Instagram as well as creating a 3D walkthrough, dolls house floor plan and separate video tour hosted on YouTube. The property will then be marketed to the widest audience possible on platforms including, Zoopla, On the market, Spareroom, our website, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook as well as having a paid for Facebook ad campaign.
We will erect a to-let board, cross-reference our database of recent applicants and start booking the viewings in immediately.
You will be amazed at how quickly and efficiently we go from instruction to viewings.
Our lettings philosophy is simple:
Good pictures + detailed advert = more enquiries = More viewings = Houses let quicker
At Watts & Co we know an unanswered phone could be a missed opportunity, not only do we have multiple active phone lines but also software that allows online enquiries to qualify themselves and book straight into the diary.
Our aggressive attitude to enquiries means we fill our diary full of viewings and get our properties let quickly.
We also understand that a lot of people have busy lives and it’s not always convenient to view during the day, our office is open for viewings in the evening and Saturdays all year round, we know the importance of getting a viewing booked in quickly and aim to show people round within 48hrs.
For us it’s not just about getting a fee and moving on, we want to build a business and work with the same landlords and their network year in year out.
We recognise that all the good work of finding tenants can be quickly undone in an instant if the tenants are of poor quality. It’s not always possible to predict all eventualities but we minimise the risk of bad tenancies by using a rigid and robust online referencing system.
All tenants and guarantors are credit checked, with a comprehensive overview of their previous tenancy and also employment status gathered.
We believe in empowering our landlords throughout this process so the system has been designed to send an offer letter with all the details of the tenancy included before the tenants references start.
Once the references are completed the landlords are required to sign the AST, which gives them total control of who will be living in their property.
One of the team would be more than happy to go through this process in more detail with you if you want to arrange a market appraisal, Click Here
Property Management, Rent & Maintenance
Property management isn’t just about the property, but also about building relationships with the tenant; if the tenants are happy, the rent is more likely to be paid on-time and the tenancies longer and more successful.
The beating heart of the Watts & Co machine is the property management department, existing entirely online.
All rents are collected on the 1st of every month by standing order, these are then processed through our cloud based property management software which automatically credit’s each landlords account and deducts fees before creating a payment run and emailing out invoices and property management reports. We complete payment runs each Friday with payments made at close of play.
The main reason why landlords give us properties to manage is hassle; many of them have demanding professional lives and don’t want the constant headaches a rental property can bring. We don’t believe a landlord should have to manage the managing agent and therefore we run an efficient maintenance department using the greatest skill of all – common sense. If a tap leaks – we fix it, if a door falls off – we fix it… Unless requested otherwise in advance any minor repair will be completed and the cost of which included on the monthly rental statement, we will keep landlords informed and contact them immediately with complex problems and come to them with solutions to problems not just the problems themselves.
All maintenance requests are made in writing through our website linked to bespoke software designed just to manage maintenance. Our established team of contractors and maintenance engineers are fully equipped to deal with all the issues raised and we are also able to provide quotes for larger projects and full refurbishments.
We will also manage all safety certificates, inventories, notice periods and deposits. Prices available on request.
Landlords are given full 24/7 access to their account through our web-site log in facility (click here) as well as being able to raise a customer service ticket for any day to day requests:
We keep our tenants happy by giving them the respect that is sometimes not offered by other agencies. We will always liaise with them regarding tradesman’s visits and always give notice of any pending repairs or viewings.
Deposits, Rent Collection, Tax & Accounting
For let-only properties the landlord will be sent the tenants details once the deposit has been paid, this will enable them to protect it using a government scheme within the allotted time period.
For managed properties the deposits will be protected within the TDS and the tenants will be issued with a certificate and also terms and conditions.
At the end of the tenancy, following on from the check out inspection, we will liaise with the landlord and discuss any deposit deductions before putting these forward to the tenants and also dealing with any disputes.
The rent collection is fully automated with a strict and rigid arrears collection and debt recovery procedure on place. We use a combination of communication, mediation and court action to prevent and recover rent arrears.
Landlords will be given a statement with each payment run that contains their invoice with unique and VAT reference information.
We are also able to produce end of year final accounts for each property if requested.
Our head office is located in Burley, Leeds, LS4, from here we cover the whole of West Yorkshire as well as managing a couple of blocks of flats in Hull.
We predominantly look after professional tenants but we do have the experience to deal with student lets and we specialise in HMO’s and build to rent blocks of flats – we limit the amount of HMO’s we take on in each area to decrease the likelihood of vacant room competing with each other. We specialise in working with investors looking to build portfolios across a larger area covering different types of let offering them a 1 agent solution across their portfolio.
To speak to us about a property or properties you have in these or other areas please Click Here to arrange a property appraisal.
Why Choose Us
With so many letting agents available it can sometime be hard to decide which one to choose.
By choosing Watts & Co Property you will benefit from the following:
- Top quality marketing including professional photos, 3D walk-throughs and video tours
- Good quality, fully referenced tenants found quickly
- Properties advertised on major portals, on our web site as well as on social media.
- Multiple active phone lines and automated email booking system to never miss an enquiry
- We can let to Professional, Student and HMO tenants.
- We offer a professional fully managed service strictly on a no let no fee basis.
- Completely paperless service with full compliance systemisation.
- Use of all modern technology to ensure a smooth service with 24/7 access to your account through our online portal
Meet The Team
Our team of experts are here to make buying your new property as easy as possible. We take all the hard work and worry out so that you can focus on your future.
Watts & Co is the trading name of FDW Property Holdings Ltd, Registered in the UK Company reg number 10509376 at Office 8, Burley Hill Trading Estate, Burley Road, Leeds LS4 2PU. Watts & Co offer client money protection through CMP – Click here to view the certificate – we are also members of the Property Ombudsman redress scheme.