We have created this step by step guide, so you know exactly what your tenant rights and responsibilities are as well as those of your landlord or letting agent.
SET YOUR LETTINGS BRIEF
Before you contact an agent or landlord, be clear about what you want:
1. Budget including rent, heating, water and council tax
2. Commute distances to work, family and any evening or weekend hobbies
3. How long do you want to rent for? a few months, six months or a year or more?
4. What amenities (schools, hospitals, shops, restaurants) would you like?
WORKING WITH AGENTS AND LANDLORDS
All of our staff are trained to their high standards. This means they understand how to let a property correctly and have signed up to a code of conduct to provide a great service to both tenants and landlords.
QUESTIONS TO ASK ON VIEWINGS
If one of our lettings experts views a property with you, they will ensure the property being let is in good condition. If you are viewing a property through another agent or directly from a landlord, ask:
1. What bills do you have to pay in addition to the rent?
2. What is it like to live in the local area?
3. Which government approved tenancy deposit scheme is your deposit secured with?
4. How much does it cost to rent a property through the landlord/agent? You can read our up-to-date charges at the bottom of this page.
5. Who do you call if there is a problem with the property? How quickly will they respond?
Make sure you also see an Energy Performance Certificate and gas safety certificate for the property. While not required by law, some landlords may also provide an electrical safety certificate.
OFFER / APPLICATION
Rental properties are typically advertised at the rent per week or month that the landlord will accept. Our lettings experts will help you put an offer together for the landlord. You will need to complete a written application form. At this time any details or requirements can be provisionally agreed, such as occupancy date, duration of the letting, etc.
On application, a reservation deposit will be required to remove the property from the market. Assuming the rental proceeds, this will be deducted from the fees due before occupation. If we or the Landlord decline your application, your holding deposit will be refunded. It will however not be refunded if you decide not to proceed for any reason, or if the tenancy fails to proceed due to incomplete or inaccurate information provided in the tenancy application.
Once an offer is accepted, the landlord or letting agent should carry out referencing checks so they know you or a guarantor can pay the monthly rent. We will take references on behalf of the Landlord. Normally these will include your employer, any former landlord and a character reference and a form of identification. In addition a credit check will be undertaken to determine your suitability.
Where a tenant is unable to meet the required income or credit checks, the tenant may have a Guarantor agree to underwrite any rent liabilities and may be required to pay a portion of the rental upfront (contact one of the team for specific instances).
TENANCY DEPOSIT PROTECTION
A deposit normally the equivalent of six to eight weeks’ rent will be required. A larger deposit may be requested by the landlord, for example when the landlord has agreed the tenant can have a pet. We will registere a tenant's deposit with a UK Government approved tenant Deposit Scheme until the end of the tenancy. The deposit is held to cover any breakages, damage, or other tenant liabilities. Please note that the deposit cannot be used by the tenant to cover rent.
SIGNING THE TENANCY AGREEMENT
Our letting experts regularly see out-of-date tenancy agreements. Our agreement is regularly updated by our residential lettings lawyers/legal experts and we retain a library of different clauses to speed up the process for bespoke agreements.
ENSURING THE PROPERTY IS IN GOOD CONDITION
We work closely with our landlords to ensure our properties are in the best condition to attract tenants. We use an inventory to record the property’s condition at the start and end of your tenancy.
MOVING IN / CHECK IN
Some agents and landlords do no more than let you into the property and hand you the keys. If we have rented a property to you, we will be available to help you and ensure, if we are not managing the property, that you have contact details for your landlord.
Where we are managing the property we will appoint a dedicated property manager to assist you with any property issues or queries that you may encounter. We will also organise for a clerk from an inventory company to accompany you when moving in and carry out a 'check in report' with you if possible.
MOVING OUT / CHECK OUT & DEPOSIT
Your tenancy agreement will have an end date. Unlike many agents or landlords, we proactively contact you before the deadline so you can decide if you want to stay or move on. When you move out, it is important that you attend the inventory check out, this is when the property is checked against the original inventory and a report is produced to aid any discussion regarding the return of your deposit.