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  • Lucy Forde
    Lucy Forde
    Director of Property Care
  • Kate Mittell
    Kate Mittell
    Senior Property Manager
Looking After You

Looking After You

For most of us, our property is the most valuable asset we will ever own and therefore finding an agent that you trust to look after it is of vital importance.

We understand that landlords want to find a great tenant quickly, who looks after their property, stays for a long period of time and always pays the rent on time. Through working smarter and harder, we aim to make this a reality.

As part of our Customer First principles, our landlords each get a dedicated local Director and Property Manager as standard, so you know your team has an in-depth knowledge of your property - as well as the local property market.

Click here to find out why our landlords choose to stay with Gatekeeper, and read on for a guide to renting your property with us.
Choosing an Agent

Choosing an Agent

After deciding to let your property, you'll need to select an agent. We think there are four key areas to consider:

Customer Service - Good customer service should come as standard. The Gatekeeper team sees this as having your best interests at heart, forming long-term, successful relationships and having the drive to find the right tenant for your property. Remember, it's not just about what your agent does when everything is going well - it's also about how you're supported if anything goes wrong.

Market Leading - It's important for landlords that your property is marketed effectively, to minimise void periods and keep costs down. To find out who's on top of the market, check Google search, Rightmove and Zoopla, and even take a drive around the area to see which 'let' boards you can see.

Price - True value is about getting the quality service you need for a price you're happy to pay, however our landlord fees are incredibly competitive. Click here to read a copy of our contract and standard fees. We're proud to publish all of our feedback here, and the vast majority of our customers believe they get Rolls Royce service for a market leading price.

Registered Bodies - We've chosen to be regulated by the National Federation of Property Professionals and The Property Ombudsman for your peace of mind. Not all agents are registered, so it's always worth asking the question when making your choice.
Market Appraisal

Market Appraisal

Getting an accurate valuation is vital as it helps to drive the marketing, but a market appraisal should be so much more than just receiving a rental value for your property.

To ensure we get this right, we have a Director complete your market appraisal. We advise you on all aspects of letting, to maximise your rent and reduce your costs. This includes the finer details such as decor, white goods, furnishing options, safety information and legal obligations. Our aim is to help your property achieve its top rent and appeal to the widest audience, enabling you to have the pick of the best tenants.

We also help prospective landlords find the best investment property by advising on the best areas and property types to maximise their return. This includes accompanied viewings, if needed.

The next step is to understand your needs. It is crucial we fully understand your situation and what you are looking to achieve from letting your property. First time landlords will often have different needs than seasoned experts and your lifestyle or reason for letting will often drive your service requirements.

Top tip: We have many years of experience and our advice helps our landlords save time and money, plus avoid difficult and costly situations. In most cases, our fully managed service may well be the most cost effective option.
Service Levels

Service Levels

Next you'll need to consider how much involvement you want to have with your property and the tenants. This will be largely down to your experience and time. There are two key service levels:

Fully managed service - Our fully managed service leaves you safe in the knowledge that everything is taken care of by your dedicated Property Manager, who is completely up to date with the intricacies of letting legislation.

The service deals with all the little details, including efficient rent collection, inspections and deposit negotiations. Our comprehensive photographic inventory, annual rent reviews and experience managing tenants are second to none.

Even landlords who have previously managed their own properties have been converted to the service, since it removes any stress and allows them to get on with their own busy lives.

If you ever want to update your details, review maintenance or download information, you can either contact your Property Manager directly, or log into your online account.

Let only - If you feel comfortable drawing up your own inventory, collecting the rent and managing the tenancy, our let only service may be for you.

This gives you freedom to manage the property in your own way, while benefiting from the high profile exposure only available through a reputable agent.

We'll find, verify and reference your next tenant and you can be safe in the knowledge that both parties will be fully protected by the terms of our comprehensive tenancy agreement. On check in day, you can greet your new tenant warmly into their new home, confident that the finer details have been sorted, the tenancy agreement has been emailed to you and the first month's rent is being transferred to your designated account.
Marketing

Marketing

These days, Rightmove and Zoopla should be used as standard, however this isn't enough. To get the pick of the best tenants, you need to market your property to the widest possible audience. We place properties on all major property websites, along with our own.

To maximise your exposure and get your property seen, we rank in the top 3 (usually #1) for Google searches. This is crucial for success because the top 3 sites receive 61.5% of all search traffic and with Google owning 78% of the search engine market, we can make sure everyone is seeing your property. But we do even more than this.

Effective use of social media and our effort to keep in direct contact with our database of prospective tenants, using email, post, telephone and text mean that we cover all methods of communication.

Almost half of all property searches are made using tablets and smartphones, so we've optimised our website for use on these devices. Searching is smooth and simple, making it easier for tenants to find your property.

Having close relationships with large local businesses is important to us. We help many companies find their employees somewhere to live, which means we always have great people looking for available property.

Keeping a local focus is essential for success, as we have found that many tenants drive around their desired area to see what is available. Having a 'to let' board outside your property not only increases the interest in your property, but also means that when a viewing is booked, the tenants will be able to find your property easily.

Marketing your property with us will not only be more effective, get quicker results, and save you a lot of time and money. It will also mean that you will get best tenant that is going to look after the property, stay for a longer and pay the rent on time.
Viewings

Viewings

All the best marketing in the world is worthless if you can't get prospective tenants through the door. Research suggests that a tenant's goal is to book three viewings within 30 minutes.

With almost half of applicants only available during the evenings or weekends, a lot of landlords miss out on viewings because this is outside their agents' working hours. To make sure you don't miss out, we focus our energy on weekend and evening viewings. We accompany all viewings so our landlords don't have to.

Our viewing team is friendly, experienced and trained in showing property in its best light. They have a great local knowledge about schools, local conveniences and even what the traffic is like, as well as the property itself. It's really important to us that the property is a great match for the tenant as this tends to mean that the tenant stays longer.

We ensure that we stay connected and your designated Director will give you regular updates on the progress of the marketing. We will give you honest feedback so that you know what people are thinking about your property and if there is any action needed.
Application

Application

Our application process is very different from the rest of the letting market. Firstly one of our Directors personally checks each tenant's eligibility and affordability and makes sure they are suitable for the property. They also walk through the application process with the applicant and vets them in the process.

Before we progress any further we make sure that the prospective tenant has reviewed and is happy with all the tenancy details, the tenancy agreement, TDS deposit information, payment schedule and insurance documents. Only then will we proceed and take any money, so that there are no surprises.

We aim to have the credit checks completed and all tenancy particulars agreed on day one of the application and the tenancy pack completed and back within 3 working days.

In this way we are able to:
- remove any unsuitable tenants from the application at an early stage through our Directors' vetting process
- give confidence to the tenant and the landlord that the tenancy is going to progress successfully
- ensure fewer applications fall through at later stages, saving you money and keeping your void period down
- be upfront and clear with all our tenants from the outset, which enables us to have a great relationship and means that our tenants have greater trust in us throughout their tenancy
Deposit Registration

Deposit Registration

Deposit management can be a complicated and time consuming topic. We have been members of the TDS (Tenancy Deposit Scheme) from the start and as such our Property Managers are fully qualified and experienced in dealing with deposits and keeping up to date with the ever changing regulations and legislations.

Anyone registering a deposit with the TDS must ensure that it is registered within ten days of receipt of the deposit and that they provide the tenant with prescribed information and the TDS leaflet.

It's important to get this right, as failure to do this can result in serious consequences. These can include a heavy fine (3 x the deposit amount), not being able to claim any deductions from the deposit at the end of the tenancy as well as any legal eviction notices being unenforceable.
Inventory Check In (Fully Managed Only)

Inventory Check In (Fully Managed Only)

A picture really does paint a thousand words, which is why we use a comprehensive photographic inventory to keep you protected.

Your Property Manager personally visits your property before your tenant moves in to complete final checks whilst preparing the photo inventory, taking between 150 and 500 pictures (depending on property size) to make sure we capture all the important details for your protection, as well as taking the utility readings (gas and electric).

Our Property Managers complete the inventory (rather than an inventory clerk) to enable them to be prepared to deal with any issues that may arise throughout the tenancy or at check out.
Check In

Check In

We know that on check in day that the tenant's priority is getting moved in, they do not want us getting in the way. So as long as all funds are paid, references are received and the inventory is signed off, we send all the information they need (like access codes and key release information) by email as well as SMS.

The tenant can come in and collect the keys any time of day putting them in control of their moving day and reducing stress.

Your Property Manager will text your tenant on their move in day to offer support and encourage them to get in touch if they have any questions.
Rent Payments (fully managed only)

Rent Payments (fully managed only)

We understand that rent payments are one of, if not the most important aspects of letting, as most landlords have mortgages or financial commitments. That is why we work so hard ensuring that our landlords receive their rent on time. In fact we very rarely come across any serious issues and 99.5% of all our rent is paid to our landlords on time. This is all down to time-tested processes:

Application Process
Any agent can find a tenant. We want only the best and as such we have a tight financial criteria. If the tenant does not have a good credit file then we will insist on the rent being made in advance or a guarantor, or both.

Director Call
Four out of five tenants are accepted during the Director vetting stage. Those who don't reach the next step are rejected for a range of reasons and we do this to protect you.
Great Customer Service
Looking after the tenant means that we simply get fewer issues. Our Property Managers have an excellent working relationship with our tenants, ensuring that any problems are reported and resolved quickly.

Experienced Property Managers
Our Property Managers are experienced at chasing rent and understand how important it is to our landlords, so they never delay. If the rent is late then they will start chasing it from day one and use a number of methods for ensuring success. They are extremely proud of their 99.5% payment record!

Payment Dates
To avoid any complications for you that may occur from late payments, we pay the rent to you at the end of the month. This gives us time to chase the payment and gives you the confidence that your payment will arrive on time even if the tenant is late. If there are any concerns or a payment is going to be late we will let you know a week beforehand so that you have time to make the necessary arrangements. We also email you a reminder around the 20th of the month to check your online statement giving you time to ask any questions or rectify any issues.

To fully support our landlords on the very rare occasion that there is a major problem, all of our tenancies start with a rent guarantee policy which means that not only will the rent still get paid, but the cost of the legal work, which runs into £1000's is also covered.
Landlord Login

Landlord Login

One of the earliest requests we had from our landlords was for an online log in function enabling you to:
- Update your address, contact or bank details in your own time
- Review service details and look at any maintenance that has been reported
- Review and download a copy of your monthly statement

We believe that this system is the best in the marketplace and is offered to all our landlords as part of our standard service. We're always looking to bring you new features to make life easier, so if there is something you think we're not doing, let us know, because we really do want to know.
Inspections

Inspections

Inspections are another very important aspect of managing a property. Most tenants look after their homes extremely well, however when circumstances change, they change quickly and this could be costly for you. So therefore we inspect all of our properties at least three times a year. This enables us to:
- Catch up with our tenants and make sure they are happy, because happy tenants stay for longer and this maximises your return
- Check the property condition and any maintenance that has been done
- Give our landlords the reassurance that their property is being looked after

Your Property Manager will also call and email you after the inspection to let you know that everything is fine, or what we are doing to manage anything that does come up.
Maintenance

Maintenance

There is never a convenient time for appliances to breakdown or toilets, taps and showers to stop working. Maintenance is a normal part of renting out your property, however where we look after the maintenance, we promise to get issues fixed quickly at the best value.

Just under 50% of issues are resolved over the phone without the need for an engineer, which means they are sorted straight away without cost. We take the time to troubleshoot the problem with the tenant and give advice on how to fix it there and then.

90% of issues can be fixed by our contractors in the first visit and usually for less than £100. By making sure they don't have to quote or make two trips to the property, we get preferential rates enabling us to offer better value for money. We manage the small things and keep you in the loop by email, but will be in touch to walk through the bigger, important issues so you're still in control.

It's important to us to know how our contractors have performed. Were they punctual, professional and tidy? Nobody knows this better than the tenant, which is why we send out a feedback survey on every job, so they can tell us how good the contractors really are.

We have a manned out of hours number for emergencies, just in case. This is strictly for situations like flooding, when the property is in serious danger of being damaged. We don't believe in getting contractors out at weekends or at night unless absolutely necessary. In our experience this can be extremely costly and in most circumstances, can't fix the issue there and then anyway.
Renewal

Renewal

There should be no need for your life to stop just because your tenancy is due for renewal. Most tenants renew their tenancies, so your Property Manager will email you when it is due, to give you an opportunity to let us know if your needs have changed, otherwise we will get on with reviewing the rent in line with the market to maximise your return and arranging the renewal.

We will ask the tenant 12 weeks before the end of tenancy date if they are looking to renew. Although this seems like a long time, it is enough time to issue and receive back the tenancy renewal pack or allow us to serve all the required legal notice paperwork. This also gives us two months to market your property and keep your void period to a minimum. This tried and tested method is perfect for making sure you get maximum flexibility and maximum protection.