As a multi-disciplined agency operating from within the UK and abroad we have expertise in the following property sectors:-
- - Residential sales
- - Residential lettings
- - Property management
- - Lease Plans
- - Leasehold Enfranchisement/ Lease Extension
- - RICS Homebuyers Report
- - Matrimonial Valuations & Expert Witness Reports and Reports for Litigation
- - New build sales
- - New build letting
- - New build investments
- - Probate & Taxation Valuations
- - Insurance Valuations
- - Asset Management
- - Project Management
- - General Insurance Brokerage
- - Commercial retail
- - Commercial warehousing
- - Commercial Manufacturing
- - Office space
• Residential sales
BL&CO boast exceptionally broad sales experiences and excellent local knowledge of London’s niche markets. Customer Service is paramount, as is going the extra mile for all our clients.
Every property big or small is of equal importance to us and requires its own creative marketing strategy in order to achieve the best possible price in your ideal timescale. BL&CO offer Sole (one agent), Joint-Sole (two agents) and Multiple (three plus agents) Agency services. Our fees reflect our ability to offer you the finest possible service available and deliver you value for money. We recommend discussing with a member of our team which service would be most suitable for your individual situation and property. As an independent agent we have the ability to adapt and tailor our services and advertise in niche sectors for specialist property.
Offers to Purchase
We strongly recommend that all our prospective buyers have finance in place (if required) and have instructed a solicitor prior to making an offer on a property. All offers are submitted to our vendors in writing in accordance with the Estate Agents Act 1979 (and Estate Agents Regulations 1991) and thoroughly discussed and verified with all parties. It is important that you understand the process of buying a property in London as it is very different from elsewhere in the world. Your solicitor will take care of the majority of the process but it is essential that you keep in regular communication with them and your agent, to keep momentum going and show your sincerity as a purchaser or vendor.
Importantly, we have a historic and significant network of professionals who we work with and who’s work we value, in all required sectors, from legal, financial and tax, to surveying specialists and so on. Employing trustworthy professionals is absolutely key to the smooth and efficient progress and successful completion of a sale and for us to execute our duties to the best of our ability. If you would like to benefit from a recommendation please just ask any of the team.
It is worth while exploring your financial implications and third party finance options to search for the best deal for you and your lifestyle. We are able to introduce you to exceptionally experienced specialists who deal with, not only retail banks but private banks across the world and have the ability to source finance abroad, arrange offshore companies, Special Purpose Vehicles and deliver related advice.
Conveyancing Solicitors & AD Law
It is imperative that you instruct a competent solicitor to act for you, who has a track record in concluding transactions in the local area, who understands leases in the vicinity, associated complications and can give advice accordingly. In so many transactions, time is of the essence for many reasons, and having a reliable solicitor could be the difference between you acquiring your perfect home or selling your investment and facing that unfortunate fall through sale. It pays off to do your research before you instruct a solicitor and we are more than happy to help guide you to a range of firms with exceptional local experience.
Alternatively BL&CO actually boast an ‘in-house’ solicitor. AD Law is a reputable solicitors practice with wide ranging experience and they operate from within our branch although remain a completely independent firm from BL&CO. We find it is an exceptionally helpful tool to be able to have first class legal advice on hand for our team and for any of our clients. You can contact AD Law directly on 0203 204 1110 or visit their site www.adlawonline.com. The time saving and efficiency benefits to our clients of having the conveyancing solicitor within the same office can be the difference between a successful sale and otherwise and we highly recommend their services.
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
There is a requirement by law to provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), which must be ordered prior to marketing a property but there is no longer a requirement to have a Home Information Pack. An EPC is valid for 10 years and therefore there may already be one available for your property, but otherwise we are happy to arrange for an EPC to be ordered on your behalf at a competitive cost.
We have an excellent network of contacts, across the globe, to source and sell ‘off market’ property and exclusive residences in London which require a discrete sale. BL&CO understand that many of our clients require privacy and confidentiality throughout the sale of their property. Please speak to one of the Sales team for further information on the advantages and disadvantages of proceeding with such an approach.
BL&CO would be delighted to have the opportunity to sell your property and prove to you that we are the best agents around and exceptional value for money.
• Residential lettings
BL&CO has been letting property for over 40 years and are delighted to offer an experienced, knowledgeable and professional service based on a strict code of practice. The feedback we receive from our clients and tenants is impressive because we operate a step by step process to ensure accuracy, low risk, reliability and precision:
Having registered your requirements with a member of our team and viewed a property which you wish to rent, the next step is to make an offer. It is important to consider all your terms, including the rental price, moving date, length of term and form of rental payment. If you have any requests it is important that you make them at this early stage. Once we have agreed an offer for you with the landlord we take a holding deposit equivalent of up to two weeks rent plus a referencing charge to secure the property while the paperwork is being processed.
Finding a suitable tenant is absolutely key to a landlord’s investment. Our prospective tenants are rigorously referenced by a professional company which incorporates credit checks, employment and salary verification, as well as background residency checks which combine to formulate an application score. Providing this score and associated information is acceptable to the referencing company, we are confident that our landlords will be satisfied and comfortable with the prospective tenant’s financial credentials and character. However, should a landlord have any specific reference requirements or wish to conduct the referencing according to their usual practice please speak with one of the team and we will accommodate it where feasible and legitimate. On the occasions where prospective tenants are not resident or without income in the UK and wish to rent a property, we advise our landlords to accept rental payment upfront and obtain character references and relevant VISA’s/Permits where necessary to ascertain the suitability of the prospect.
A tenancy agreement is a legal agreement in writing that sets out the rights and responsibilities of both landlord and tenant. It will contain detail such as the length of the agreement, the rent payable and what is and isn't allowed in the property.
Our tenancy agreements are in principle written by the National Association of Estate Agents in conjunction with their Solicitors and the Office of Fair Trading. There are two main types of agreements which we use by law: An Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) is a tenancy agreement which commands a total annual rent of less than £100,000. An AST is governed by the Housing Act 1988 and the amended Housing Act 1996, which dictates certain rights and responsibilities for both landlords and tenants, as well as making the registration of deposits with a Government scheme compulsory. Alternatively, for an annual rent totaling £100,000 or more, the tenancy agreement is negotiated under a contractual tenancy and is governed by contract law which remains outside the Act. For further information on how this affects you as a landlord or tenant please consult one of the team.
Some of our landlords chose to use their own tenancy agreements and provided this is agreed with the prospective tenant we are more than happy to accommodate this subject to the necessary legal requirements.
BL&CO is a member of the tenancy deposit scheme ‘The Dispute Service’ where we register all relevant deposits as required by the Housing Act 2004. Should a client wish to use an alternative deposit scheme this can be arranged subject to the necessary legal requirements and agreement with the incoming tenant.
In order to ensure the administration of the deposit is dealt with as efficiently and fairly as possible, we recommend the use of a reputable, professional inventory company. They construct an extremely detailed report and provide photographs where necessary. We recommend to both the tenant and landlord to use the same company for both check in and check out to minimise miscommunications. It is traditional that the landlord bares the cost of the check-in and the tenant the check-out.
We agree the renewal of a tenancy when it is in the interest of both parties and in fact find countless numbers of our landlords and tenants forge great relationships which lead to longterm contracts, ideal for both parties in many instances. We do recommend our management service to cement the smooth running of this relationship by having any issues responded to efficiently and effectively. There have been several instances where tenants have been willing to pay a higher rent in order to secure a professionally managed property.
Our commitment to customer service and tenant selection procedures illustrate our professional and honest approach to our industry. Our lettings, combined with our 24/7 management service offers our clients the best possible product on the market. Please click here to view further details on our Property Management Service.
Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or click here to register for a complimentary valuation on your property or to rent your next home.
• Property management
BL&CO property management is a comprehensive service which is available 24 hours a day, every single day of the year. Our dedicated management line is constantly manned and answered within 5 rings. Not only does our service ensure that problems are dealt with efficiently and effectively for tenants, but to minimise potential damages and costs for our landlords. In each locality we have a network of contractors who we trust, have longstanding working relations and who we agree competitive rates with. We vet our contractors regularly and ensure that they not only remain reliable and competitive, but that they hold the relevant qualifications to carry out work on rental properties. Our staff are trained to distinguish between an emergency call out and something that could be dealt with more effectively during normal hours, as to minimise disruption for the tenant and costs for the landlord.
Our objective when we manage your property is to reduce to a minimum the time and effort you have to put in, while at the same time keeping you fully informed of all matters of importance. You can be confident that your property is well looked after, and we take care any issue or question which may arise.
It is easy to under-estimate the amount of work involved in supervising a tenancy. The duties are able to routinely perform for our management clients include:
• Liaising with your letting agent to ensure smooth check in and check out with a reputable inventory clerk.
• Obtaining all relevant contact details for the tenant(s).
• Producing periodic statements and collection of rent.
• Settlement of regular outgoings such as Ground Rent, Service Charges and Maintenance Charges.
• Ensuring the Landlord is complying with all regulations and legislation for their protection.
• Arrange the transfer of utilities and council tax and arrange settlement of final accounts.
• Arrange an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and annual Gas Safety Certificate.
• Carry out periodic inspections of the property and report on its general condition.
• Arrange any cleaning and garden maintenance necessary to put the property in order before or after the Tenancy.
• Arrange all repairs and maintenance to the property.
• Key holding service.
• Arrange to re-negotiate a further rental period, renewal or termination of Tenancy.
• Manage the check-out and deposit negotiation process.
• Generally acting as an intermediary for the Landlord and Tenant to ensure that the tenancy runs smoothly.
There are many regulations and pieces of legislation which landlords are required to adhere to. It is important that as a Landlord you take these responsibilities seriously as there are large fines and even imprisonment should you fail to comply. Our property management team attends regular training to ensure they are up to date with the ever changing legal environment and ensure that their clients are looked after and protected.
A few basic examples of vital compliance are outlined here:
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
There is a requirement by law to provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), for a property before a tenant moves in. They are valid for 10 years and only encounter a one off charge and are readily available from various providers. We are able to arrange for an EPC to be ordered on your behalf at a competitive price.
The Gas Safety (Installations and Use) Regulations 1998
These regulations came into force on 31st October, 1998. These regulations require that any person letting a property must ensure that all gas appliances and flues in the property are maintained in a safe condition so as to prevent risk of injury to any person by ensuring that all such appliances, and flues are checked annually by an approved (CORGI) engineer. The legislation also requires that a record of the annual check is given to the tenant before occupation takes place, or in the case where a tenant is already in residence within twenty eight days of that check being carried out. A copy of that record must also be held by the Landlord (or his agent) for at least two years and made available for checking upon request.
The Electrical Equipment (Safety) regulations 1994
Although there is no mandatory requirement for electrical equipment to be checked at a property or any requirements as to how often they should be checked, Brian Lack strongly recommend you have all electric and electrical equipment checked before the commencement of the Tenancy and regularly thereafter, especially if you know there could be a fault. However, from 1st January 2005 new rules came into force controlling who could carry out certain works on certain electrical installations in property and the procedures around those works. As your managing agent we would ensure that your property complies with all the relevant regulations and can arrange on your behalf, an Electrical Safety Test should you wish us to.
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 1993:
The Landlord must ensure all the furniture provided complies with the Cigarette test, the Match test and the Ignitability test and has a permanent label. These regulations came into force on 1st March 1993 for any new lettings and 31st December 1996 at the end of the transitional period. The regulations set new levels of fire resistance for domestic upholstered furniture, furnishings and other upholstered products and act as secondary legislation under the Consumer Protection Act 1987.
Residential Block Management
BL&CO are delighted to have teamed up with Premier Management Partners to offer a new level of service in residential block management.
Highlights of our service include:
• All calls answered in person
• Within 5 rings
• 24 hours a day
• 365 days a year
• By our own staff in our own office with all your details at their fingertips.
• No answering machines, no push number options
• We are so confident of our ability to deliver that we will enter into a Service Level Agreement guaranteeing the service.
If your managing agents are not offering you the levels of service that you expect and deserve then call us and get the best of both worlds.
• Lease Plans
We are able to arrange the preparation of title and lease plans which are Land Registry compliant to meet your needs.
Leasehold Enfranchisement/ Lease Extension
With recent reforms in legislation, it is imperative that you seek expert advice on this ever-contentious issue. We at Clarke Hillyer understand fully the responsibilities of each party and the critical areas of valuation and law.
• RICS Homebuyers Report
This is the leading survey presently available in the residential home buying market and has built a reputation for delivering a clear, comprehensive report for home buyers at an affordable price with the authority of having been delivered by a fully qualified surveyor member of the RICS.
• Matrimonial Valuations & Expert Witness Reports and Reports for Litigation
We are qualified to provide fully compliant reports for court purposes on matrimonial asset valuations, and other civil litigation. Our clients range from individuals to large corporate solicitors.
• New build sales
• New build letting
• New build investments
• Probate & Taxation Valuations
Establishing the value of property assets is essential to avoid overpayment of inheritance tax. As professional valuers, we offer a comprehensive valuation service for solicitors, executors and members of the public. We have all the expertise needed to provide accurate valuations on all types of property for probate and capital taxation.
• Insurance Valuations
Property insurance policies are generally indexed linked. It is however strongly recommended that regular periodic formal revaluations are undertaken. This will prevent under or over insurance of properties and can on occasion save more than the cost of the valuation through the premium.
• Asset Management
We are able to advise on maximising your property assets either by considering potential development or other enhancement of the rent or ensuring lease covenants are being maintained.
• Project Management
We assist in project managing refurbishment, redevelopment or conversion of all types of property.
• General Insurance Brokerage
Building insurance is strongly recommended on your property, together with other forms of insurance available to protect your investment. Should you wish to discuss this matter further, we are able to place your insurance needs for you through our block policy. Clarke Hillyer is regulated by the FSA.