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Thursday, 26 April 2018 11:09

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Thursday, 01 March 2018 13:16

Privacy Policy

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BALFOURS LLP PRIVACY AND DATA PROTECTION POLICY                 March 2018

At Balfours LLP, we are committed to protecting and respecting your privacy.

It is our policy to comply fully with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that comes into force on 25 May 2018 and associated legislation.

This Policy explains when and why we collect personal information, how we use it, the conditions under which we may disclose it to others and how we keep it secure.

We may change this Policy from time to time so please check this page occasionally to ensure that you are happy with any changes. By using our website, you are agreeing to be bound by this Policy.  

Any questions regarding this Policy and our privacy practices should be sent by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by writing to The Partnership Secretary, Balfours LLP,

Market House, Market Street, Craven Arms SY7 9NN.

Who we are

The Data Controller is Balfours LLP.

The Partnership Secretary is the nominated Data Protection Officer (DPO).

We are a firm of Chartered Surveyors and Land Agents in England and Wales, with a strong regional presence in Shropshire, Herefordshire, Mid-Wales and surrounding counties.

Our website is www.balfours.co.uk.

For Data Protection matters, we are registered with The Information Commissioner’s Office – reg. no. Z9444031.

Data

By definition, the GDPR applies to personal data. This is any information that can directly or indirectly identify a natural person, and can be in any format. The Regulation places much stronger controls on the processing of special categories of personal data. The inclusion of genetic and biometric data is new.

Personal Data

Name
Address
Email address
Photo
IP address
Location data
Online behaviour (cookies)
Profiling and analytics data

Financial information

 

Special Categories of Personal Data

Race
Religion
Political opinions
Trade union membership
Sexual orientation
Health information
Biometric data
Genetic data

Data Protection Principles

Personal data must be processed according to the six data protection principles:

  • Processed lawfully, fairly and transparently
  • Collected only for specific legitimate purposes
  • Adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary
  • Must be accurate and kept up to date
  • Stored only as long as is necessary
  • Ensure appropriate security, integrity and confidentiality

 

Accountability and Governance

We aim to demonstrate compliance with the GDPR through:

  • The establishment of a governance structure with roles and responsibilities
  • Keeping a detailed record of all data processing operations
  • The documentation of data protection policies and procedures
  • Data protection impact assessments (DPIAs) for high-risk processing operations
  • Implementing appropriate measures to secure personal data
  • Staff training and awareness
  • Data protection at the design stage of any new process, system or technology
  • Gathering only the personal data that is necessary for a specific purpose

 

Lawful Processing

The processing of personal data must have one or more lawful basis:

  • Direct consent from the individual
  • The necessity to perform a contract
  • Protecting the vital interests of the individual
  • Our legal obligations
  • Necessity for the public interest
  • Legitimate interests

 

Valid Consent

There are strict rules for obtaining consent:

  • Consent must be freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous
  • A request for consent must be intelligible and in clear, plain language
  • Consent can be withdrawn at any time

 

Privacy Rights of Individual

Individuals’ rights cover a number of important areas:

  • The right of access to personal data through subject access requests
  • The right to correct inaccurate personal data
  • The right in certain cases to have personal data erased – Please note statutory and legislative requirements may mean this is not always possible
  • The right to object
  • The right to move personal data from one service provider to another (data portability)

 

Data Transfers Outside the EU

The transfer of personal data outside the EU is only allowed:

  • Where the designated country provides an adequate level of data protection
  • Through model contracts or binding corporate rules
  • By complying with an approved certification mechanism, e.g. EU-US Privacy Shield

 

Data Security and Breach Reporting

Personal data needs to be secured against unauthorised processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage.

  • The DPO must be advised if there has been a data breach
  • All data breaches must be reported to the Data Protection Authority within 72 hours of discovery
  • Individuals impacted should be told where there exists a high risk to their rights and freedoms, e.g. identity theft, personal safety

Website Use

Log files are maintained and analysed of all requests for files on this website's web servers. Log files do not capture personal information but do capture the user's IP address, which is automatically recognised by our web servers.

Aggregated analysis of these log files is used to monitor website usage. These analyses may be made to available to our staff to allow them to measure, for example, overall popularity of the site and typical user paths through the site.

We will make no attempt to identify individual users. You should be aware, however, that access to web pages will generally create log entries in the systems of your ISP or network service provider. These entities may be in a position to identify the client computer equipment used to access a page. Such monitoring would be done by the provider of network services and is beyond our control. We will make no attempt to track or identify individual users, except where there is a reasonable suspicion that unauthorised access to systems is being attempted. In the case of all users, we reserve the right to attempt to identify and track any individual who is reasonably suspected of trying to gain unauthorised access to computer systems or resources operating as part of our web services.

As a condition of use of this site, all users must give permission for us to use its access logs to attempt to track users who are reasonably suspected of gaining, or attempting to gain, unauthorised access. All log file information collected by us is kept secure and no access to raw log files is given to any third party.

This website uses Cookies, but does not store any information that would, on its own, allow us to identify individual users of this service without their permission. Any cookies that may be used by this website are used either solely on a per session basis or to maintain user preferences. Cookies are not shared with any third parties.

We use Google Analytics to monitor traffic levels, search queries and visits to this website.

Google Analytics stores IP addresses anonymously on its servers in the US, and neither us or Google associate your IP address with any personally identifiable information.

These cookies enable Google to determine whether you are a return visitor to the site, and to track the pages that you visit during your session. These cookies are set only after the user has given consent to us to use cookies.

The information we process

We collect and process personal information for the purposes of providing property services, full details of which can be found at www.balfours.co.uk.

The personal information we collect might include your name, address, email address, telephone numbers, IP address, and more sensitive data such as your bank account details, where these are necessary for the purposes of providing our services to you.

We have a Data Protection regime in place to oversee the effective and secure processing of your personal data. If you make a payment to us by debit/credit card, your card information is not held by us, it is collected by our third party payment processors, who specialise in the secure online capture and processing of card transactions

Security precautions are in place to protect the loss, misuse or alteration of your information.

When you give us personal information, we take steps to ensure that it’s treated securely.

Our website may contain links to other websites run by other organisations. This privacy policy applies only to our website‚ so we encourage you to read the privacy statements on the other websites you visit. We cannot be responsible for the privacy policies and practices of other sites even if you access them using links from our website.

In addition, if you linked to our website from a third party site, we cannot be responsible for the privacy policies and practices of the owners and operators of that third party site and recommend that you check the policy of that third party site. When you are on a secure page, a lock icon will appear on either the top or the bottom of web browsers.

Non-sensitive details (your email address etc.) are transmitted normally over the Internet, and this can never be guaranteed to be 100% secure. As a result, while we strive to protect your personal information, we cannot guarantee the security of any information you transmit to us, and you do so at your own risk. Once we receive your information, we make our best effort to ensure its security on our systems. Where we have given (or where you have chosen) a password which enables you to access certain parts of our websites, you are responsible for keeping this password confidential. We ask you not to share your password with anyone.

Recipients of personal information

We may pass your information to our third party service providers, agents subcontractors and other associated organisations for the purposes of completing tasks and providing services to you on our behalf.

We may provide contractors with your name, address and telephone number for the purposes of contacting you - for example to arrange property repairs and maintenance. When we use third party service providers, we disclose only the personal information that is necessary to deliver the service and we require them to keep your information secure, to delete it once it is no longer required and not to use it for other purposes.

We have formal contracts in place for the software systems that we use to process information, principally:-

We may also process your data on other systems, as required to deliver our service to you.

We will not sell or rent your information to third parties and we will not share your information with third parties for marketing purposes.

Retention period

We review our retention periods for personal information on a regular basis. We will hold your personal information on our systems for as long as is necessary for the relevant activity, or as long as is set out in any relevant contract you hold with us.

We are required to comply with statutory obligations such as UK tax law, so we will keep your personal information for a minimum of 7 years after which time it will be destroyed.

Your information that we use for marketing purposes will be kept with us until you notify us that you no longer wish to receive this. You can unsubscribe at any time via phone, email or our website.

Your choices

You have a choice about whether or not you wish to receive information from us.

If you do not want to receive direct marketing communications from us, then you can select your choices by ticking the relevant boxes situated on the form on which we collect your information.

We will not contact you for marketing purposes unless you have given your prior consent. You can change your marketing preferences at any time by contacting us:-

    • in writing to Balfours LLP, Market House, Market Street, Craven Arms SY7 9NN
    • by telephone on 01743 241181
    • by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    • through our website www.balfours.co.uk

Your rights

If at any point you believe the information we process on you is incorrect, you can request to see this information and even have it corrected or deleted. If you wish to raise a complaint on how we have handled your personal data, you can contact our Partnership Secretary who will investigate the matter.

If you are not satisfied with our response or believe we are processing your personal data not in accordance with the law you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). www.ico.org.uk.

Thursday, 18 December 2014 00:00

Contact Balfours

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Contact Balfours
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  6. Any personal information that you submit via this form will be used for the purposes of processing your enquiry in accordance with our Privacy Policy. We may be required to contact you to do this. Your details will not be used for marketing purposes without your consent. We will not sell or pass on your contact details to third parties therefore you will not receive marketing from anyone else as a result of giving us consent to contact you. If you wish to consent, please do so below. You can withdraw your consent at any time by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by actioning the unsubscribe link in the marketing emails.
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Thursday, 18 December 2014 00:00

Find out what your property is worth

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We would be happy to visit you at your property to carry out a free, no obligation market appraisal and provide advice on appropriate rental figures, necessary renovations and legislative requirements.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014 00:00

Request Lettings Valuation

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  6. Any personal information that you submit via this form will be used for the purposes of processing your enquiry in accordance with our Privacy Policy. We may be required to contact you to do this. Your details will not be used for marketing purposes without your consent. We will not sell or pass on your contact details to third parties therefore you will not receive marketing from anyone else as a result of giving us consent to contact you. If you wish to consent, please do so below. You can withdraw your consent at any time by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by actioning the unsubscribe link in the marketing emails.
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Monday, 15 December 2014 00:00

Request Sales Valuation

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Request Sales Valuation
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  6. Any personal information that you submit via this form will be used for the purposes of processing your enquiry in accordance with our Privacy Policy. We may be required to contact you to do this. Your details will not be used for marketing purposes without your consent. We will not sell or pass on your contact details to third parties therefore you will not receive marketing from anyone else as a result of giving us consent to contact you. If you wish to consent, please do so below. You can withdraw your consent at any time by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by actioning the unsubscribe link in the marketing emails.
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Thursday, 11 December 2014 00:00

Property Management

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We are pleased to be able to offer you a fully comprehensive management service enabling you to rest assured that your property is in good hands.

Our full management service proves to be our most popular package as we become the first port of call for the tenant if there are any issues. The following aspects are also included:

Regular property inspections

The first inspection will be carried out 3 months after the commencement date and will usually be every 6 months thereafter unless there is an issue that requires special attention. We will check every room of the property to ensure it is being well looked after and we find this is a good opportunity for a tenant to raise any concerns they may have. It also provides us with a good indication as to how well the tenant is settling in and enables us to ascertain whether they are likely to become long term tenants.

Organising repairs and maintenance

Every property will require some work to be carried out at some point and once we have been notified by the tenant we will contact you immediately. Carrying out repairs quickly is as important for you as it is for the tenant. After all, repairs caught early can save money. We will use contractors that we know and trust or you can choose your own if you prefer.

Monitoring rent collection

When we manage a property we set up a standing order with the tenants which enables us to closely monitor rental payments. This will help us to pay any invoices (from contractors etc) on your behalf if required. Our management fee is deducted from the rental payment and then the remainder is sent directly to your bank with a monthly statement forwarded to you for your records.

Legal advice

We are happy to discuss any clauses in your tenancy agreement, or changes in legislation, with you in further detail.

Rent Reviews

As a landlord you have the right to review the rental figure on an annual basis and we are happy to advise on this, however it is sometimes worth remembering that having a good tenant in a property can be more valuable than a few extra pounds each month.

Ensuring your property and appliances comply with legislative requirements

This involves us keeping up to date with changes to legislation and advising you accordingly. Where works are required to the property or appliances within we will discuss these with you and arrange for the works to be carried out.

Negotiating deposit returns at the end of the tenancy

Returning a deposit once a tenancy has come to an end can be a sensitive issue. As members of the TDS we can provide up to date advice on how to make a claim including calculating appropriate figures on your claim and seeking the necessary quotes. Should we not be able to reach an amicable agreement between you and your tenant then the Independent Case Examiner for the Tenancy Deposit Scheme will arbitrate your case. We will compile the evidence and submit a claim on your behalf.

However this is the worst case scenario and quite often we find the full deposit can be returned to the tenant who has left the property in excellent condition following a thorough inspection.

Thursday, 11 December 2014 00:00

Tenants

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Finding A Suitable Property

To view all of our properties that are currently available click here

You can register your interest in any of our properties or arrange to view a property here.

Applying For A Property

Once you have viewed a property and have decided you would like to make it your home, then you will need to complete an application form. You can download our application form here.

This form provides us with all the relevant information we need to be able to draw up your tenancy agreement.

Fees Payable

At the point of referencing you will be required to pay an administration fee of £200 to cover the cost of referencing and our time spent in processing your forms, negotiating your offer and drawing up the legal paperwork.

The first months rent in advance and a deposit (usually the equivalent to two months rent) will need to be paid prior to receiving the keys to your new home.

Your deposit will be protected by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (unless your landlord is a member of a different scheme) and further information regarding deposit protection regulations can be found at their website.

For full details of our fees for Tenants, please refer to our Tenants fees information sheet.

Tenant's Obligations

As a tenant you are responsible for keeping the interior of the property clean and are expected to change light bulbs and replace batteries as well as pay for any material repair of any item which you have damaged.

Rent

  • You are responsible for ensuring your rent is paid on time and in full. It should preferably be paid by standing order.
  • You will be required to pay a deposit for your tenancy that will be protected by the TDS, unless your landlord is a member of a different scheme. This is only refundable after your tenancy has ended and you have vacated the property, provided that:
  • The landlord must be satisfied with the property before the deposit is refunded.

Deposit

  • Your rent has been paid up to date
  • All utility bills relating to the tenancy have been paid
  • The property has been well maintained and is returned to the same condition and cleanliness as it was at the start of the tenancy (allowing for fair wear and tear).
  • All items listed on the inventory are present, in the correct places and in good condition.

Faults & Repairs

If a fault becomes apparent at the property you must inform us immediately. Failure to do so may mean that you are held responsible for any further deterioration as a result of the delay. Once we have been informed of a fault we will contact the landlord and act upon their instructions. You should not instruct any contractors yourself as you will be liable for the cost.

Smoke/Fire & Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Where detectors are fitted in a property you are obliged to ensure they are checked regularly and kept in good working order, this is for the safety of you and your family. We recommend a daily check, however they must be checked at least once a week. If you become aware of a fault you must notify us immediately.

Mould/Condensation

It is important to ensure the property is adequately heated and ventilated throughout the duration of a tenancy to prevent the build up of mould and condensation.

Legionella

Legionnaire’s disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia, which can affect anybody. It is caused by inhaling small droplets of water from contaminated sources containing Legionella bacteria. Taking the following simple precautions will help you stay safe:

  • Flush through showers and taps for 10 minutes following a period of non-use (i.e. after you have been on holiday or when you first move into your new home)
  • Keep all shower heads and taps clean and free from build up of limescale, mould or algae growth (regular bleaching and descaling a least every 3 months will help sterilise and kill any bacteria)
  • Keep the hot water on your boiler system at a temperature of 60 degrees centigrade or greater – BEWARE OF SCALDING
  • Report any deposits such as rust or any unusual matter flowing from your water outlets

Leaving the Property for Long Periods of Time

If you are planning to be away from the property for more than two weeks at any one time you must inform us in writing as this may be in breach of the house insurance and we may need to take steps to protect the property.

During periods of severe weather we recommend you have the heating/water system drained down in order to avoid frozen/burst pipes as the damage this can cause is extreme and you could become liable for the cost if you haven’t taken preventative action.

Alternatively, if you choose to leave the heating on to help prevent this, we recommend a minimum of 15 degrees for 24 hours a day.

Further Information & Useful Links

We appreciate that moving home can be stressful time for all involved and we aim to ensure this process runs as smoothly as possible. If you do require any further information regarding this process please do not hesitate to contact us on 01743 277069.

Alternatively you can contact the Citizens Advice Bureau or your solicitor for further information regarding renting a property.

The Government have put together a useful guide to renting which can be downloaded here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-rent/how-to-rent-the-checklist-for-renting-in-england

Thursday, 11 December 2014 00:00

Landlords

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 An empty property is not only losing rental income but also becomes a liability. As soon as we are instructed on a property our aim is to find you a reliable tenant who will take care of the property and pay a market rent.

We know that our clients often do not want to be involved in the irritations of residential lettings so we also provide a property management service, keeping abreast of regulations so that our clients don’t have to.

It should be no surprise that Balfours is the largest residential lettings agent in Shropshire. We know how to position a property on the market and have invested in a state of the art web based lettings database that generates 80% of our enquiries. We know what our clients are looking for and we know how to provide it.

We manage over 2,500 residential properties and the rental prices in the areas we cover vary from £250 per calendar month up to £4,000 per calendar month. In a 12 month period we will be involved in the letting of over 500 residential properties.

CONSENTS TO LET

Once you have made the decision to rent out your property you must obtain the necessary consents from any other interested parties which may include the following:

Mortgage Company

If your property is subject to a mortgage or loan you must seek permission from the lender before entering into a tenancy agreement. It is your responsibility to arrange this and our Terms of Business request this is done prior to the marketing of your property.

Insurance

As the landlord and owner of the property, you remain responsible for insuring the building. We would advise you discuss this with your insurance company and would recommend that your cover is extended to cover kitchen and bathroom fittings and floor coverings. We are happy to discuss insurance policies with you in further detail.

Leasehold Property

If your property is leasehold (usually in apartment blocks) you may need to seek permission from the management company and/or other the freeholders. You will need to check your head lease for any specific clauses and ideally provide us with a copy so we can ensure all aspects are covered in your tenancy agreement.

Overseas Landlords

If you will be residing in another country (outside of the UK) for at least six months of any tax year then you will need to apply to HMRC to become a Non-Resident Landlord (NRL). You can complete the forms here.

The HMRC should then process your application and issue you with an NRL Certificate. Please note this will need to be done for each individual landlord of the property that will be living abroad so if it is jointly owned you will need separate applications.

Without an NRL certificate we are required to deduct basic rate tax from any rental income received and send this to HMRC on your behalf.

SAFETY REGULATIONS

Prior to letting your property you need to ensure that your property is safe to let. We are obviously happy to advise and assist where possible but the following is a handy guide which highlights issues to consider:

Gas Safety (Installations & Use) Regulations 1994 (as amended)

Where there is a gas supply to the property, whether it is mains, LPG or calor, you as the landlord are responsible for ensuring the gas appliances are safe. All gas appliances, fittings, pipework and installations need to be checked annually by a Gas Safe Registered engineer. Without a copy of your gas safety certificate then we cannot allow a tenancy to commence. If you have opted for your property to be managed by Balfours then we can arrange this for you each year when it becomes due.

Electrical Equipment (Safety Regulations)

In the event of an electrical incident at the property a landlord would need to be able to prove that the electrical supply and appliances are safe. We would therefore recommend an electrical inspection is carried out at the property and if you are leaving any electrical appliances at the property then these will need to be PAT Tested.

Furniture & Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (as amended)

If you have chosen to rent out your property on a furnished basis then you will need to ensure the furniture complies with the Furniture & Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (as amended). This relates to all soft furnishings in the property (not including carpets or curtains) and stipulates that any furniture of this type which is included within the tenancy must comply with the regulations and have a label to show this. If your furniture does not meet this criteria then it must be removed.

Smoke Detectors / Alarms

It is a legal requirement to have at least one smoke detector to each storey within the property. For newer properties (built after June 1992) smoke detectors must be mains wired with a battery back up.

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

It is a legal requirement to have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted to any room where there is a solid fuel burning combustion appliance. The carbon monoxide alarm must be checked and in proper working order the day the tenancy commences.

Heating Equipment Testing & Approval Scheme

Any fuel burning appliance that has been installed after October 2010 must comply with appropriate Building Regulations and must have been installed by a HETAS approved engineer. Under these regulations a carbon monoxide detector will also have to be installed.

For appliances installed prior to October 2010 there is no such requirement for certification from HETAS engineers but the landlords should be confident that such appliance is safe and we would advise fitting a carbon monoxide detector to ensure this.

Energy Performance Certificates

All properties that are available to rent must have an EPC unless they are listed. An EPC will last for 10 years and will need to be carried out by a Domestic Energy Assessor. We can arrange this on your behalf but please note that we will not be able to market your property without an EPC.

An EPC will record the energy efficiency and environmental impact of your property on a scale of A-G, A being the best and G the worst. The government are keen to improve the quality of homes in the UK and it has been proposed that if your property is in Band F or below you will not be able to rent it from 2018. An EPC will include a list of various recommended improvements for your property that you may wish to consider to improve its rating. If you wish to discuss this in further detail please do get in touch with us.

Our Fees

For information on our property letting and management services, please refer to our Landlords Fees information sheet.

Friday, 28 November 2014 00:00

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