Renting in Guernsey
Guernsey is a beautiful island with low crime rates, a benign tax regime and stable government making it a very attractive place in which to live. With limited space it is no surprise that demand for housing is strong and strict controls are needed protect local housing stocks whilst still allowing for the movement of key or essential workers and EU passport holders into the island. There are two categories of housing:
There are approximately 1,600 open market properties on the island, many of which are considered Guernsey's finest homes. They are eligible for rent or purchase and occupation by anyone with the right to live in the UK or other EU member states.
Approximately 90% of the 22,000 houses in Guernsey are local market. They are only eligible for rent or purchase and occupation by locally qualified residents or by non-local persons who have been granted an essential Housing License by the States Housing Authority. Some of the jobs advertised locally will have a Housing License available as part of their terms of employment.
We hope the following information will be of assistance - should you wish to discuss your specific requirements in more detail please do not hesitate to contact us.
Our letting service is designed to find you a responsible and reliable tenant. We are able to advertise locally, on our website, via social media and display our property particulars in our showroom. We attend all viewings, provide feedback and details of prospective tenants. Upon your approval we will use our best endeavours to check the suitability of potential tenants by taking up character and bank references. We will also arrange final readings, with exception of the telephone provider. As associate members of the Guernsey Private Residential Landlords Association, Cooper Brouard is able to provide the association’s standard Tenancy Agreement. We also prepare an inventory of the contents, including remarks and photographs on the general condition and any obvious damage to individual items, where applicable.
Our management service is designed to save you the time, effort and worry of managing your property, while it is tenanted. As well as the above we will visit the property to carry out regular inspections, deal with any queries the tenant may have, obtain quotes for any necessary repairs or maintenance for which the Landlord is responsible and reconcile the accounts received for such work. At the end of the tenancy we will notify tenants to organise final readings, topping up of oil etc. We ask Landlords to be guided by us as experienced professionals and whilst we are not qualified to advise on legal matters we are able to offer comment and opinion based on our knowledge and experience.
We would be delighted to view your property without obligation, to discuss its letting potential and provide you with a rental valuation. In addition our sales team are also available should you wish to purchase further properties to let and we are pleased to offer this advice free with our compliments.
We use professional-quality digital cameras, floor plans and a clear literary style to produce acclaimed property details. The most up to date agency computer programmes and this, our fourth generation website ensures these details can be on prospective tenants doorsteps, social media pages and email inbox without delay. We advertise in the local newspaper, House & Home and Under One Roof. Accompanied viewings and swift feedback keep you informed at all times.
VETTING OF TENANTS
We want to be sure that the tenants are suitable for your property and whilst it is impossible to guarantee their reliability and trustworthiness, we do take care to first obtain bank and character references. If Letting and Managing your property we will also check the tenants in and out. On our Letting only service Landlords are required to liaise directly with the tenant.
WHAT THE TENANTS PAY FOR
All amounts due for utilities used or consumed ie. Gas, oil, telephone, electricity, sewage, water and parochial rates, the exception would be when these are included in the service charge. Tenants pay a security deposit equivalent to a minimum of 1½ month’s rent (or an amount agreed by both parties), which is retained until the termination of the tenancy and refunded unless there is reason to retain all or part of it.
WHAT THE LANDLORD PAYS AND IS RESPONSIBLE FOR
All payments of tax on real property. Parochial rates (which the tenants will reimburse). Any service/management/residential charges applicable to the property. Ensure the oil tank is topped up and boiler services are carried out prior commencement of the lease.
Typically the lease is for a period of twelve months with either party giving a minimum of two months written notice should they decide not to renew the lease at the end of the term. If no notice is given, the lease will continue on a rolling basis, together with an annual rent review based on the Guernsey Retail Price Index and thereafter notice can be given at any time, again based on a minimum of two months.
We prepare a full, detailed inventory of the contents, fixtures and fittings. The condition is carefully noted and photographs taken. A copy is given to the tenants at the beginning of their tenancy, and they are advised that it will be used at the end of the term to confirm that the property is returned in the same condition, subject only to fair wear and tear. It is advisable not to leave items at the property that you would not want damaged as this can happen unintentionally.
The tenant pays a security deposit on signing the lease, which, if we manage the property, is held in our designated clients account. If Letting only, the Landlord must hold the deposit in a separate bank account. We arrange for the tenant to pay the rent monthly in advance by standing order to your bank account or if we manage the property, the rent is paid into our designated clients account and we will pay you the balance of the rent monthly, less our charges and any costs for maintenance, rates, etc. Clearly detailed statements will be sent to you by email or post.
If we manage the property we will undertake to carry out routine visits after the first three months and then six months thereafter throughout the tenancy. A report of our visits will be sent to you, this ensures you are kept up to date on the condition of the property and are made aware of any problems or faults that may have arisen.
REPAIRS AND MAINTENANCE
All properties require repairs and maintenance – quite often at the most unexpected and inconvenient times! If we manage the property we ask tenants to inform us immediately should any problems occur, they are given an “emergency sheet” with the telephone numbers of preferred and reputable tradesman to contact in the event of an emergency out of office hours. You are kept informed of any problems and the next level of our involvement is for you to decide. You may have notified us of your preferred tradesman, or you may want us to obtain estimates – you tell us what you require.
Gas appliances must be annually serviced by the Landlord and a mandatory gas compliance certificate produced in accordance with the health and safety (Gas) (Guernsey) ordinance, 2006.
Electrical appliances and supply must be safe. In the future inspectors may ask for confirmation of compliance though no time scale has yet been stated by law. It is in your interest to provide working instructions for appliances.
Many Landlords prefer not to have pets in their property. However, if you have no objection to pets being kept on the premises, then the lease will include a “pet clause” which provides an under taking that the carpets will be professionally cleaned at the termination of the tenancy. A receipted invoice is required as evidence that this has been done, at the final inspection.
Tenants are responsible for the general upkeep of gardens. However Landlords typically may prefer for a regular gardener of their own to undertake cutting of hedges etc. MAIL We ask tenants to send us any mail which arrives for you at the property – this is then forwarded to you. However, we strongly recommend that Landlords and outgoing tenants subscribe to postal redirection as it is not always possible to rely on the new occupier to forward mail and important documents could go astray.
The security deposit is returned to the tenants following a satisfactory final inspection of the property at the end of the tenancy. The inspection includes a thorough review of the property. We expect and require the property to be returned in a condition, subject to acceptable wear and tear, which is comparable to the condition the property was in when first occupied. In this matter we would ask you to accept our judgement as experienced agents.
There are risks involved with letting your property – tenants personal circumstances can change and rent can go unpaid or disputes occur. The property may suffer damage, or appliances break down. We are able to offer direction and preliminary advice on sorting such matters.
It is required by law for us to know if you are not resident in Guernsey for income tax purposes. If the Landlord does not reside in Guernsey, we, as managing agents, are legally bound by the Income Tax (Guernsey) Law 1975 to calculate and deduct tax from income arising or accruing to persons not residing in Guernsey. We advise you to obtain professional advice from a tax advisor prior to you letting your property.
You need to continue to insure your property and contents, though contents cover may need to be reduced. If you decide to remain with your existing insurers, you should advise them that the property will be let, as this may affect the terms and conditions. We inform tenants (in the lease) that they should insure their own contents and recommend that their cover includes accidental damage to your property and content, although this is not compulsory.
Somewhere in the small print of most mortgage agreements in an item that requires the borrower to tell the lender of any changes in the use of the property; failure to do so could abrogate the terms of the mortgage agreement. We advise you to inform the lender that you are proposing to let your property if you have a mortgage secured on it.
FEES LETTING ONLY
Our fee for Letting a property is one payment of 10% of the first year’s rent payable upon the commencement of the tenancy.
LETTING AND MANAGEMENT
Our combined fee for Letting and Managing a property is 15% of the first year’s rent, this will be deducted on a monthly basis and detailed on the statement. Should the same tenant remain in occupation for successive years, the management fee reduces to 10% of the annual rent on the same basis. Cooper Brouard does not manage the property when unoccupied.
We can assure prospective Landlords of a friendly and comprehensive service based on numerous years of experience. We trust this induction serves as a useful guide and we would welcome an opportunity to discuss your requirements, without obligation.