Established in 1997 by the directors, John Evans & Ian Kenworthy. After many years working for corporate estate agents, we felt we wanted to work for ourselves and so Samuel Miles Limited was born and we opened our first office in the Market Town of Highworth. In 2002 we opened our second office in Royal Wootton Bassett and established ourselves as the market leaders dealing with all types of property across the three counties of Wiltshire, Oxfordshire & Gloucestershire. We are extremely grateful to past and present clients who have embraced our style of honest, professional and service driven Estate Agency & Property Management.
Our unrivalled knowledge and track record is based upon years of selling and letting property in our respective towns and villages and we have invested heavily in the latest technology in order to offer our clients the most comprehensive service available. Our team of valuers are constantly appraising properties and building relationships with clients. At Samuel Miles our sole purpose is to ensure that when instructed, we do everything possible to ensure the buying and letting process is handled with the utmost care and attention.
Samuel Miles recognises the fact the purchase of your home is the most important and expensive transaction you are likely to undergo.
Our database features hundreds of properties and we are sure that with our local knowledge and expertise, we will be able to find you a property to suit your needs, be it a straightforward move or a ‘Buy to Let’ investment.
To enable you to unravel the complexities of buying your home, we have set out below an overview of the various procedures involved:
REGISTRATION: The first requirement is for you to register your details and property specifications which can be achieved in a number of ways i.e. by email, fax, phone or in person. This will give us an insight into your personal requirements, thereby enabling us to modify the details sent to you.
Once registered, you are then in a position to receive details from us directly in person, via mail or email or download and print these out from our website.
VIEWING: Our friendly team are available to arrange those all important viewings of your selected properties. Our offices are open 6 days a week. Please contact us to arrange a mutually convenient time.
MORTGAGE: In order to speed up your house buying process, it is advisable wherever possible; to get a mortgage agreed in principle before any final decision on your new property is made. This has the advantage of providing you with a clear indication of what is affordable and the fact that you have a mortgage agreed in principle is also attractive to sellers.
MAKING YOUR OFFER: Once you have located your ideal property, your offer will be submitted by us to the vendor for their consideration. This is done both verbally and in writing.
NB: Please note that all offers are “subject to contract” and therefore neither party is legally bound until the contract is actually signed.
ACCEPTED OFFER/INSTRUCTING SOLCITIORS: As soon as your offer has been accepted by the vendor, you should instruct a solicitor to act on your behalf. Your solicitor will handle all legal requirements of your purchase (property conveyancing).
At this point, you also need to formally proceed with your mortgage application and instruct your mortgage consultant/broker accordingly.
SURVEY: The next step is to obtain the Mortgage Valuation, as required by law. This will be conducted by a Chartered Surveyor acting for your Lender. The report is to provide a Valuation i.e. determine whether the amount to be loaned is secure and also deals with the basic condition of the property. Since you as the buyer are also provided with a copy, it allows both parties to evaluate the findings prior to entering into a commitment to purchase.
NB: However, we would not recommend that a buyer relies solely on the Mortgage Valuation survey as the inspection is limited and although it may cost a little more to obtain a more detailed report yourself, this could in the long run save you from making a costly mistake.
There are two types of survey available:
1. HOMEBUYER SURVEY/VALUATION – this is the mid-range option as it is more expensive than the Mortgage Valuation but less than the Building Survey (see below).
It is a basic service and therefore more appropriate to properties in apparently good condition and conventionally constructed. The survey’s purpose is to highlight any pressing or significant defects and problems which are likely to have an overall impact on the value of the property.
The objective of the Homebuyer Survey is to provide a more in depth report which will assist the buyer in making an informed decision whether to proceed with the purchase and also whether the agreed price reflects the actual value. Moreover, the professional opinion of the surveyor as contained in his report will also set out particular features of the property which may possibly have an affect on the present value and potential future marketability.
2. BUILDING SURVEY – Unlike the Homebuyer Survey, this is suitable for all types of property whether conventional or unconventional. The term “unconventional” encompasses properties that have an unusual construction, are historic or Listed Buildings, have been extensively altered or where major work is planned.
The Building Survey is comprehensive and lists full technical details of the construction, materials and condition. It highlights the full spectrum of defects from the more serious down to the insignificant and the terms of the survey are therefore tailored to fit the client’s specific needs.
However, it should be noted that this does not include a valuation and is only conducted by prior agreement.
SEARCHES: These are conducted by the buyer’s solicitor who submits a local authority search to the local borough council. Its purpose is to ascertain if there is any planning consented previously granted on the property or if there are any other local issues which may have an impact on the purchase. In some instances, the search may also include an Environmental and Drainage search.
DRAFT CONTRACTS: The draft contract is drawn up by the seller’s solicitor and is forwarded to the buyer’s solicitor for consideration. Any additional queries or questions will be asked and answered and the contract amended accordingly, subject to final approval.
MORTGAGE OFFER: The Lender is now in possession of the Mortgage Valuation survey and, subject to the findings of this report; receipt/approval of the mortgage application and provided all references and checks have been conducted satisfactorily, the Lender will send a formal mortgage offer to the buyer and their solicitor. The document is then signed and returned and funds requested by the buyer’s solicitor.
EXCHANGE OF CONTRACTS: Once the contract has been signed by both parties, a deposit (normally a small percentage of the purchase price) is paid by either bank transfer or banker’s draft. At this stage, the parties agree on a date for completion.
COMPLETION: Completion usually follows a few days or weeks after exchange of contracts. The balance of the purchase price is transferred by the buyer’s solicitor to the seller’s solicitor and the keys released – Congratulations! You are now the owner of your new home!
Selling your home can be stressful so it is important to choose an agent you can trust who will make this process as smooth as possible. We at Samuel Miles aim to eliminate the stress and make the experience as easy as possible.
Buying or selling a home? Do you require a valuation? Please contact any of our offices and we will be happy to advise.
In the meantime, here are a few guidelines which we hope will assist:
Firstly, if you are selling, you will require a valuation. At Samuel Miles we can offer you a free, no obligation factual and accurate appraisal of the current market value of your home. Our experienced property valuers will provide you with a valuation based not only on their in depth knowledge of the immediate area, but also utilising our extensive database of recent properties sold.
Having received your valuation, and provided that you are satisfied with it, we will then proceed to prepare full sales details of your property. Bearing in mind the importance of presentation, we will ensure that your sales details highlight the vitally important aspects of your property and ensure that your home is shown to its best possible advantage with the aid of full colour photographs and comprehensive floorplans.
Once you have seen and approved our particulars of your home, you will then be in a position to receive prospective buyers. Appointments to view your property are arranged and accompanied viewings can also be arranged to show prospective buyers around your home should you be unable to do so.
Your property is now ready to market and we offer the following:
FOR SALES BOARD - This is the most simple and effective marketing tool, available 24 hours a day.
OFFICE AND WINDOW DISPLAY – External and internal photographs will be prominently displayed in our premises in order to optimise exposure to the market place.
EMAIL – Wherever possible, all prospective buyers who register with us are asked to provide email addresses in order to ensure that they are notified of any new properties as soon as possible within 24 hours of receiving your instruction.
MAIL SHOTS (and telesales) - We will contact registered prospective buyers as soon as possible after receiving your instruction and your details will be forwarded to any new registered buyers immediately.
WEBSITE – This is updated daily and full colour details of your home are placed on our website within 24 hours of being placed on the market.
Besides the exposure on our own site, Samuel Miles is also affiliated with the following national property websites which will feature your home:
Rightmove.co.uk, Primelocation.com, Vebra.com
ADVERTISING - We provide regular prominent advertisement of your property in various publications to ensure that your home is fully marketed.
UPDATING ON YOUR SALE – At Samuel Miles, we pride ourselves on our conscientious sales management. We aim to keep you regularly appraised of your sales process right through to completion and liaise with your purchaser, the legal representatives, surveyors and mortgage lenders in order to ensure that your sale is progressed as smoothly and as stress-free as possible.
OFFERS – Any offers we receive are promptly notified and once accepted, followed up in writing. Our competent sales team will negotiate between you and your prospective applicant in order to achieve the strongest buyer.
We will inform you of the position of the buyers and liaise with you until an accepted offer has been agreed.
Should you require your sale to be completed by a certain date, this is when you should notify us and we will endeavour to satisfy your request wherever possible.
At this stage, you should also provide your list of Fixture and Fittings which will be negotiated separately between the solicitors and forms part of the final contract.
AGREED SALE – At this point (if you have not already done so), you will need to instruct a solicitor and, should you require assistance, Samuel Miles will only be too pleased to recommend local firms.
The solicitors will then write to all parties and the buyers will instruct a surveyor to conduct a survey of your property (the “agreed sale” is subject to the contract and any survey) and the buyers’ mortgage offer (if required) will also be subject to the results of the survey.
The sellers’ solicitors will request the TITLE DEEDS from the lender (if appropriate) or yourselves as the seller and the FIXTURES AND FITTINGS form must be completed at this stage.
The solicitors draw up the DRAFT CONTRACT which sets of the Terms of the Sale and sends it to the buyers’ solicitor together with all relevant documents. Any enquiries will then be raised, the Title Deeds and Lease (if applicable) will be checked and LOCAL SEARCHES carried out.
Once the draft contracts have been approved, it can be signed by both parties.
EXCHANGE OF CONTRACTS – As long as the mortgage offer has been received and cleared funds placed with your buyer’s solicitor, a mutually convenient date can be agreed upon for the exchange of contracts.
COMPLETION – The completion and your actual house move may take between 7 to 28 days depending on the buyers, sellers and their respective solicitors.
At Samuel Miles, we let and manage a variety of furnished and unfurnished properties within Wiltshire, Oxfordshire & Gloucestershire.
All security deposits are held in a designated Clients Account and fully bonded.
Our site consists of our entire register of property to let and it is updated daily. In order to receive a regularly updated list of our available rental properties, please register and we will contact you with details of new properties to suit your specified requirements.
For more detailed information or to arrange viewing appointments please contact the lettings department on 01793 861663.
Please keep in mind that credit and reference checks will be carried out on all prospective tenants and we usually require one and a half month’s rent as a deposit plus one month’s rent payable in advance. Should you be uncertain as to your suitability or have specific requirements, please call to discuss your situation.
Although Letting Agents have different procedures, this guide is intended as a general overview to assist you when renting a property. We have set out below a few significant pointers to assist you.
YOUR OFFER – Once we have found your suitable property, you will be in a position to make an offer to the Landlord for consideration. Please note that any offer you make would be subject to you fulfilling our reference criteria.
At this point, you will be requested to provide a RESERVATION FEE which holds the property for you. However, if the Tenancy Agreement is not signed by you (the Tenant) within 14 working days after receipt of your application, the Landlord reserves the right to re-offer the property. In these circumstances or, should your references prove unsatisfactory, the reservation/application fee would be non-refundable.
AGREEING THE LET- As soon as your offer has been accepted by the Landlord, we will apply for references and draw up the relevant documentation which will form the basis of the agreement between you and the Landlord.
You will be expected to provide:
Utility bill (less than 3 months old)
Full driving license
Council tax bill (less than 3 months old)
Mobile phone bill (less than 3 months old)
We will also contact your employer and your landlord (if you are in rented accommodation already). Your previous employer will also be contacted if you have recently changed jobs. If you are self employed we will need to contact your accountant. A credit check will also be conducted.
To assist us in collating the necessary references, it would be advantageous for you to warn the above individuals in advance that references are required as these can be return to us within a matter of a few days, barring any delays.
Occasionally, a GUARANTOR will be required if, for example the tenant has been working abroad in the previous 6 months; the tenants’ income falls short of our criteria or the tenants’ employment is considered as changeable.
Please note that the same criteria applies to the guarantor and, furthermore, the guarantor must earn the equivalent of 3 times the yearly sum of the rent, be in full time employment or be able to prove by bank statements that they have “independent means”. All tenants should be able to provide a guarantor and should the tenant be unable to provide one, we will decide that the tenant has withdrawn their application. The tenant will therefore forfeit their deposit.
The guarantor must be aware that they will stand as guarantor for you, (and your partner if you are moving in to the property with some one else), for the entire occupancy of the property, not just for the period of the initial tenancy term.
TENANCY AGREEMENT – An appointment will be arranged with you to visit our offices to sign the Tenancy Agreement when all references have been received. The Landlord will also be asked to sign their copy of the document.
RENT AND DEPOSIT – You will be required to provide the agreed sum of rent and deposit before taking possession of the property.
The deposit is required for the full tenancy against loss, damage or charges payable at the termination of the tenancy. Whilst this is usually the equivalent of one month’s rent, this may vary therefore we suggest that the actual amount is verified via the property description as found on our letting list. The deposit will be held by Samuel Miles in their designated clients’ account and is fully bonded. It is returnable in full at the end of the tenancy subject to final inspection of the property and it should be noted that deductions will also be made for cleaning should the property (and garden areas) not have been left in a satisfactory condition.
Rent is to be paid monthly in advance commencing on the first day of the tenancy and then on the same day each month thereafter. The preferred method is by bank standing order.
FEES - We charge an application fee of £220.00 (inclusive of VAT) for the first tenant, with a fee of £50.00 (inclusive of Vat) for each additional tenant or guarantor. These fees are non-refundable, even if a tenancy is refused on the grounds of references or if the tenant withdraws from taking the property.
Please note that all monies to be paid on the signing of the agreement prior to the occupation and should be paid in cash or by bankers draft, unless they are paid a minimum of seven working days prior to occupancy.
CHECK IN AND CONDITION REPORT - If we have been instructed by the Landlord, a Condition Report will be prepared of your new home and a convenient appointment will be made with the Inventory Clerk to carry out a Check In report to coincide with your move in day.
All information is provided in good faith. It does not replace the advice of a qualified legal advisor. We will accept no responsibility for any inaccuracies.
1. The Tenant will be responsible for insuring their own possessions
2. The Tenant will take over all utilities such as Gas, Electricity, Water/Sewage charges, Council Tax & Telephone upon moving into the property and will be responsible for contacting the relevant suppliers accordingly prior to commencement of the tenancy.
3. The Landlord is responsible for any repair/maintenance problems to appliances etc. but the Tenant is responsible for any breakages which should be reported immediately.
4. Decoration of the property must only be done with your Landlord’s permission
5. No pets are allowed unless the Landlord has given consent
6. Reasonable notice should be given in the event that the Letting Agent or Landlord wishes to inspect the property outside pre-agreed times. It is usual for the Agent to inspect the property at least twice during the term of your Tenancy and the Tenancy Agreement should cover this eventuality.
7. Most lets are for 6 or 12 months. Please speak to us for further advice on individual properties.
8. Should you wish to quit your Tenancy earlier than the agreed term, you will be liable for all rent until the end of the agreed Tenancy.
9. There is no set law regarding the time limit for returning deposits but this is normally subsequent to the final inspection of the property.
10. The most common type of Tenancy Agreement is the assured short hold used for 6-12 month lets and usually takes the form of a standard contract between both parties.
However, should any “extras” be agreed such as certain furnishings to be provided by the Landlord, you should ask that an extra clause be added to the agreement to this effect. It should be noted that the landlord is not obliged to carry out promises so it is important that your requests are documented.
11. The Letting Agents will deal with the property viewings, references, agreements and getting you moved in. If the agent has been instructed to manage the property then you will normally report any repairs or queries to them. If not, then you will deal directly with the Landlord.
12. The Letting Agent, whilst acting for the Landlord, operates within accepted guidelines in the industry to ensure that you are able to rely on a professional letting agent taking your concerns seriously and advising the Landlord if they are being unreasonable. In this regard, you should be assured that the property conforms to all safety regulations and is fairly priced.
13. You require a professional service and, as such, Samuel Miles ensures that professional standards are met, for example, the correct Tenancy Agreement is used; proper procedures are in place for reporting and dealing with repairs; safety checks are conducted and a bonding scheme is provided to protect your deposit.
Samuel Miles provide a range of letting and management services based on the experience, skills and expertise of our lettings team. You can be assured that we have a detailed understanding of the lettings and management sector and will ensure that you are given the best possible service.
Over the last few years and, following the introduction of the 1988 Housing Act which offers greater protection and possession rights to Landlords, there has been resurgence in the lettings market.
People from all walks of life are looking to become involved in the rental market whether Investors, Companies, people who need to relocate with their work or homeowners who are having difficulty in selling their own properties. Increasingly, large numbers of people are entering the ‘Buy to Let’ sector as an opportunity for investment.
As a result, Landlords have come to expect extensive knowledge and expertise from the Agency they choose to act in their interests.
1. Local Lettings Agent – we would suggest you find a local and established agent with an extensive knowledge of the rental market within the area. Samuel Miles can provide you with a realistic appraisal and can advise you where necessary thus enabling you achieve the best possible price in as short a time-scale as possible.
2. Deposit Scheme - your agent is legally required to adhere to strict criteria such as provision of a separate client account for collection of clients’ money and availability of a bonding scheme to protect the client in the event of misappropriation of clients’ funds.
3. Having chosen your agent, you will be required to prepare you property for rental and below we list a few guidelines to assist you:
The rental market as with any other is competitive therefore, in order to obtain the best possible tenants and price, you must present your property in the most effective way.
4. Other important considerations for Landlords before Letting
The Inventory is required whether the property to let is furnished or unfurnished and accurate descriptions of the overall condition of wall/floor coverings, kitchen and bathroom fittings to name but a few are essential. Amounts cannot be withheld from the Tenant’s deposit unless the loss or damage is proved to have been caused by the Tenant.
In the event that any dispute concerning loss or damage to your property is not amicably resolved then the matter will be referred to the Courts and arbitration but should be noted that any judgement will be on the basis of written documentation – the Inventory.
4. TENANCY – The Housing Act 1988 (amended 1996) has given rise to two types of Tenancy: Assured and Assured Short hold Tenancy as well as the existing Company Tenancy and Contractual Tenancy.
A) ASSURED TENANCY
Certain criteria have to be satisfied for a tenancy to qualify for assured status. Assured Tenancy gives the Tenant security of tenure but at a market rent negotiated between the parties. The Landlord may request back possession of the property let on an Assured Tenancy but must obtain a COURT ORDER. This has its advantages but is not as flexible.
B) ASSURED SHORTHOLD TENANCY (AST)
This Tenancy is attractive to Landlords as it offers market rents without security of tenure beyond the contractual term and the majority of Tenancies are based on this format. However, certain criteria must first be met:
a) The Tenant must be an individual
b) The property must be the Tenant’s main residence/home
c) The rent cannot exceed £25,000 per annum
d) The Landlord must not occupy the same property
If the property is let under an Assured Short hold Tenancy, the Landlord can issue a Section 21 Notice to guarantee possession provided the term of the Short hold is expired and not less than two months notice has been given by the Landlord stating he requires possession.
If court action is needed, this can be obtained on a number of different grounds against the Tenant.
However, it should be noted that is a criminal offence under the Protection from Evictions Act 1977, for a Landlord to threaten or forcibly evict a Tenant from their property.
C) COMPANY TENANCY
This is governed by contract law and is not regulated by the Housing Acts of 1988 or 1996. It is used when a Private or Public Limited Company (excluding partnership or sole trader) want to enter into a Tenancy.
There is no security of tenure and rental payments are often made on a quarterly basis by prior agreement.
D) CONTRACTUAL TENANCY
Contractual Tenancy also falls outside the provisions of the Housing Acts of 1988 and 1996 and is not regulated by statute. It is most commonly used where the rent exceeds £25,000 per annum and both parties have the freedom to contract as they choose, but must then rely solely on the provisions of that Agreement.
5. FURNISHED OR UNFURNISHED - Most professional Tenants prefer the property to be unfurnished and it has been found that a Tenant is likely to respect the property more if they have their own possessions. Moreover the difference between rent for furnished or unfurnished is negligible and the Landlord remains responsible for the repair of replacement of any furnishings which become broken or worn (unless this was caused by a deliberate act of the Tenant – see Damage Deposits).
6. MARKETING/FINDING A TENANT – you will need to decide whether you require your agent to simply market your property and find a Tenant or whether you would prefer to engage the services of their Managing Agents.
Whether you chose to opt for a Managing Agent or not, Samuel Miles, as your Letting Agent will firstly provide colour property details and a rental valuation which will be based on the popularity of the area, proximity to transport, rental price of similar property handled and decorative condition to name but a few.
It is important to price your rent fairly but realistically in order to attract the most suitable Tenant.
Your rental property will be displayed in our offices and feature on our website and other sites such as http://www.rightmove.co.uk/ to ensure maximum exposure. We also contact any listed prospective Tenants, local companies and relocation agents.
Should you decide to employ us as your Managing Agent, we will also field calls, arrange viewings, vet prospective Tenants and obtain references, draw up contracts and advise you on your Safety and Repairs obligations (see LEGAL DUTY OF CARE).
7. FULL CREDIT CHECKING – thorough credit checks are carried out on all prospective Tenants as we can reserve the right to decline an application where necessary in the interests of protecting the Landlord’s investment.
8. REFERENCES – these can be obtained through us as your Managing Agent and include references from the Tenant’s employer and previous Landlord.
We can also provide you with/assist you in obtaining a linked insurance policy to safeguard your rental income and provide legal protection (RENT GUARANTEE).
9. DRAFTING OF TENANCY AGREEMENT/LEASES – the Letting team at Samuel Miles can prepare and supply you with all legal documentation and give practical general legal advice.
10. DAMAGE DEPOSITS – This is usually equivalent to one and a half month’s rent and is taken from the Tenant to be held in our Client Account until the end of the Tenancy. Upon vacation of your property, there will be a re-inspection and any refunds will be made within a maximum of 28 days, provided that there are no disputes and all utility accounts have been settled.
The costs of everyday repairs and maintenance are the responsibility of the Landlord but, if we are instructed to manage your property on your behalf, we can pay the contractor out of the Tenant’s rent. We can also organise quotes for approval on any major repair as this becomes apparent.
Under the LANDLORD AND TENANT ACT 1985, Landlords are responsible for repair of the structure and exterior of the property, together with installations for the supply of gas, electricity, water and sanitation.
If the property is not in a good state of repair at the commencement of the Tenancy, the Tenant has the right to insist that repairs are carried out and, in the event that the damage is serious, the Tenant will be entitled to consider the letting as terminated as the Landlord will be in breach of his obligations.
11. COLLECTION OF RENT – this is usually done on a calendar monthly basis and is forwarded to the Landlord via any previously approved method after any agreed deductions have been made for contractors etc.
12. LEGAL DUTY OF CARE – Under common law, the Landlord must ensure that properties to let are safe and failure to comply with Safety Legislation is considered a criminal offence resulting in legal action and prosecution.
As your Managing Agent, we can carry out safety checks upon your request, deducting the cost from your rent.
1. Gas – (The Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1994 (amended 1998) – the Landlord must maintain gas installations and all gas appliances through annual inspections and safety checks carried out by a CORGI registered engineer and a copy of the Current Inspection Certificate must be left at the property.
2. Electricity - (The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 & Electricity at Works Regulations 1989- the Landlord must ensure that all mains voltage household electrical appliances and equipment is tested and safe to use. Any non-repairable items must be replaced and removed.
An NICEIC or similarly qualified electrical engineer must carry out these tests on an annual basis and we would also recommend this is done upon change of Tenancy.
All operating instructions must be left in the property for the Tenant’s benefit.
3. Furniture and Furnishings – The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety)Regulations 1988 (amended 1989 & 1993) - Soft furnishings (such as mattresses, settees, bed bases, cushions and padded headboards) must meet fire resistance standards and bear a permanent label confirming this. If compliance cannot be proved, the item must be removed and replaced.
4. Smoke Detectors – whilst only properties built after 1992 legally require the fitting of smoke detectors (Building Regulation 1991), we would strongly recommend that smoke detectors are fitted to each floor of the property being let.
NB: The penalty for failure to comply with statutory safety legislation is currently a maximum of £5,000 and/or 6 months imprisonment for each offence. This can be harsher in the case of injury or fatality.
The above is only a guide to the legal safety requirements and should you have any further enquiries, we would recommend that you contact a qualified solicitor who will be able to verify these in full.
13. OVERSEAS LANDLORDS – you are considered an overseas Landlord if you live abroad or go to work abroad for lengthy periods of time.
It is important to firstly note that Inland Revenue regulations apply even if you are a non-UK resident. Moreover, non-resident Landlords must apply to the Inland Revenue Financial Intermediaries Claims Office (FICO) for authorisation (by way of an exemption certificate) to receive payment of property rental “gross”, that is without deduction of Income Tax by the letting agent or Tenant as required by law.
NB: The above is merely a guideline and for fully qualified advice, you should contact an appropriate Accountant or Tax Expert.
BRIEF GUIDE TO SERVICES: