A tenant’s guide to renting property
A step by step guide to tenancies
01 | Securing a property to let
When you find your property to let you should begin by putting down a holding deposit in order to state your intention to rent the property and get the property to let off the market, this will comprise of a payment equivalent to 1 weeks rent. We will then begin the administrative process of requesting references from you and a full bond/damage deposit equivalent to a maximum of 5 weeks rent will be due prior to occupation.
02 | References
Your prospective new landlord will be keen to make sure that you are a suitable tenant for the property to let and that you have the ability to pay your rent, while also making sure that you have rented a property without any major problems in the past (if this is applicable). If instructed we will organise this along with your permission to conduct the relevant searches. Be aware that should you fail any of the necessary checks or supply us with false or inaccurate information you will not get your initial holding deposit back. If you agree, some, or all, of the following documents may be requested:
References from previous landlords – you may be asked to give the details of where you have lived within the last three years
A credit check – this will allow them to see if you have a good history of paying your bills
Your bank details, including bank name, account number and sort code
Details of your employment, including your employer, job title, payroll number, salary and previous employer
Copies of passports and any relevant visas
In the event that the information highlights any potential of risk to the landlord, you may be asked to provide a guarantor for your property to let. A guarantor will be contractually liable, both financially and legally, should you fail to pay the rent during your tenancy or in the event of damage to the property.
03 | The Deposit
The final event in your securing the property is the deposit. This is a equivalent to a maximum of 5 months’ rent and held for the duration of the tenancy. The deposit is a safety net for the landlord to guard against the cost of replacing or repairing property damaged by the renter. It is, however, the single most disputed area of the renting process. New legislation was introduced to the Housing Act 2004 in April 2007 to help protect all parties with regard to the return of deposits.
04 | Tenancy Deposit protection in summary
Landlords will be required to join a statutory tenancy deposit scheme, if they take deposits on their property to let
This will mean that deposits are safeguarded
Tenants will get all or part of their deposit back, if they have kept the rental property in good condition and are entitled to get their deposit back
The scheme offers alternative ways of resolving disputes which aim to be faster and cheaper than taking court action
05 | The inventory
This is one of the most important documents in the renting process and can often be key in deciding how much of your deposit you get back at the end of your agreement. You should therefore be extremely thorough and give it your full attention, while taking the necessary precautions to protect your interests.
06 | How the inventory is prepared
The inventory is a simple list detailing every item contained within the property and the condition each listed item is in on the day you move in. This may be prepared by either the letting agent or the landlord. Either way, you should go around the property with the landlord or agent and agree the state of each item before signing anything. If necessary, take photographic evidence to give you extra protection and to avoid any unnecessary disagreement at a later stage. You will be expected to sign the inventory and initial every page, along with the landlord.
07 | Inventory checks
It is not uncommon for landlords and letting agents to schedule in regular three monthly inventory checks at the property in order to assess any damage that may have occurred. Find out if there are regular checks planned and when they are likely to take place. It is most common, however, for a final inventory check the day you are scheduled to move out.
08 | Tenancy Agreements
The tenancy agreement is a contract between you and the landlord. It specifies certain rights to both you and the landlord, such as your right to live in the home for the agreed term and your landlord’s right to receive rent for letting the property.
09 | Moving in
We will meet you at the property as soon as all monies are paid in full and agreements are signed by all tenants. Relevant keys will be handed over to you and we will also agree meter readings for all utilities at the property. It is then your responsibility to contact the relevant suppliers to provide your details and set up accounts. You should also contact the relevant local authority regarding council tax and BT regarding the telephone. NB: It is your responsibility to insure your own contents (the landlord is only responsible for the buildings insurance) and most insurance companies will have suitable tenancy policies or you can find out about the full range of our insurance products at Mortgage and insurance services.
10 | Moving out
So, you’ve come to the end of your time at the property. You now have two options to consider:
Extend the agreement Remember, you need to provide two months’ notice in writing to your landlord, stating either your intention to vacate the property or to ask permission to stay on beyond your initial agreement. Providing your landlord is happy with you and the condition of the house or flat, you’ll most likely be allowed to continue with your occupancy.
Move out If you decide to move out, then it’s worth putting in a bit of work to get the property up to scratch to maximise the chances of getting your full deposit back. As long as the condition of the property is the same as when you moved in (barring normal wear and tear), you’ll have no problem. Here is what you should do:
Give the property a thorough clean, including carpets, windows, walls and furniture
If it’s your responsibility, tidy up the garden and clear away any rubbish
Return all of the keys to the landlord
Remove all of your personal belongings
Be satisfied you’re leaving the property as you found it
11 | Final Inventory check
You’ll have the opportunity to run through the inventory checklist on the day of departure. It’s important that this job is done before you leave the property to avoid you being accountable for any damage that occurs after you’ve left. If there is any damage, you should agree with the landlord the cost of repairing or replacing such items. If an agreement cannot be reached as to the damage of particular items, which items have been damaged, or repair costs, then you should make sure you take photographs. Get your own repair cost estimates and write to the landlord with your findings and work towards a mutually agreeable solution. If both you and the landlord are satisfied the property has been left in an acceptable state and you have made your final rental payment, there should be no problem getting your deposit back.
12 | Fees for tenants
Deposit for a long let tenancy – Equivalent to five weeks’ rent
Contract variation, novation, amendment or change of occupant at the tenant’s request within an existing tenancy – £50.00 + vat
Default fee of interest on late rent if rent is more than 14 days overdue – 3% above Bank of England base rate
Default fee for lost keys or other respective security devices – Actual cost of replacement + £10.00
Credit card fees – 2%
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