Frequently asked questions from tenants about renting a property

I need to find a place to rent. What do I do first?

Before you start searching for your new home it’s a good idea to work out your rental budget. What are your current outgoings and what money do you have left each month to spend on rent? Take into account that, when you first move in, you will need to pay a deposit as well as the first month’s rent and any tenancy set up fees.

Furnished or Unfurnished?

Around 95% of rental properties are offered as unfurnished. This means properties will be offered with curtains (usually), carpets, floor coverings and possibly a cooker  and you will need to provide your own furniture, kitchen utensils etc.  However if you are looking for furnished property please contact us as we may be able to help.

How do I reserve a property?

If you see a property you like, don't delay – put forward your application immediately. You will need to complete an application form, read the terms & conditions, sign and return the document to us along with photo ID, proof of your current address and the administration fee.

How much deposit and other fees will I have to pay?

The deposit is typically the equivalent of one and one half months rent but may be higher; for example if the property was furnished.
The fees incurred in obtaining references and drawing up the Tenancy Agreement will amount to £150.00 for a single application or £200.00 for an application with more than one tenant. Everyone over the age of 18 who intends to live at the property will be required to complete an application form and the application will not be processed until this fee is received.

If the application is unsuccessful a charge of £60.00 will be retained from the administration fee the remainder will be returned.

In the event of a Guarantor being required to support the application there will be an additional charge of £25.00 and this fee is non-refundable.

If the tenancy is renewed at the end of the initial tenancy period an administration fee of £60.00 will be payable by the tenant for the drawing up of the Tenancy Agreement

Why do I need to be referenced?

The landlord needs to be sure that that their tenant won’t have any problems paying the rent on a monthly basis and that the tenant will take good care of their property.

What does referencing involve?

It is normal practice for any good letting agent to check your suitability to rent the property, and we are no different. We will ask for details of your employer and a previous landlord who can verify your suitability for a new tenancy, as well as running checks with a credit referencing agency. We will confirm your right to live and work in the UK and seek proof of your identity and that of anyone living with you. If you do have any credit issues or you believe there is any other information that may affect you passing our referencing procedure, it is best to tell us straight away.

Do I need to show ID?

As part of the referencing process we are required by law to confirm the identity of each person living in a property and that they have a right to live in the UK. We also need to be sure a tenant is who they say they are. We will require a copy of the passports of everyone over the age of 18 intending to live in the property. EU citizens can supply their National Identity Card. For any residents from outside the EU we will need sight of a valid visa or a Home Office biometric card. We will also require a proof of residency (such as a utility or council tax bill from the last 3 months)

What if there are problems with my references?

In some circumstances, a tenant may not be approved immediately via referencing. Obvious examples are someone without a regular income, or someone leaving their family home for the first time with no renting history. This is not uncommon, and there are still options for tenants in this position. You could pay the rent for the full term up front, or seek the support of a guarantor.

What is a guarantor?

Some landlords might ask for a guarantor if they are not satisfied your earnings are quite enough to cover the rent or if you have previous credit issues. This is not uncommon and you should not be concerned.

A guarantor (usually a parent or guardian) will agree to take joint responsibility for the rent for the property if the tenant fails to. Guarantors are required to pay any rent arrears (if the tenant does not pay) and for any damages costing more than the deposit.

What does a guarantor need to do?

You must choose someone to be your guarantor who lives in England or Wales and can cover your rental commitment in the event of a default. The same reference checks are then carried out for your guarantor as were done for you.

How quickly can I move in?

This all depends on how quickly we can obtain your references and when the property is available. The process from viewing to moving in normally takes between 2 to 3 weeks on average

Why should I pay a Tenancy Deposit?

Many owners prefer to leave keys with us for daytime viewing appointments, and we will always be happy to accompany potential purchasers. Keys are security coded and are never released without your prior authority to do so. You may decide that you’d like to be present at the same time or carry out viewings yourself. It’s entirely up to you. We will discuss the respective merits of the options available to you.

Where will my Tenancy Deposit be held?

It is a legal requirement that all deposits are held in a government-backed Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme. Most of our Landlords ask us to hold the tenants deposit on their behalf and this is registered with The Dispute Service, although some have their own preferred scheme.

What does a Tenancy Deposit Scheme do?

A Tenancy Deposit Scheme like The Dispute Service will protect the money for you and can offer assistance should there be a dispute about the deposit at the end of the tenancy.

What is the tenancy agreement?

This is a legal document that states the precise terms and conditions of the tenancy and is designed to protect both you and the landlord.

How long is my tenancy?

Most initial tenancy agreements will be for just 6 months. This a little like a probationary period whilst the Landlord gets to know you and is happy that you are looking after the property and paying the rent on time. Thereafter, many Landlords are happy to offer longer term agreements generally ranging between 12 and 36 months.

What does my rent include?

Your rent will include maintenance and or block management fees. Tenants are responsible for the council tax and all gas, electric and water bills unless otherwise advised.

How do I pay my rent?

By standing order – the rent must be paid by the rent due date (the same day of the month when you moved in). This is by far the simplest way of paying your rent regularly without payments being missed through oversight.

Who is responsible for repairs?

If you feel there is a problem that needs fixing, an appliance to be repaired or general maintenance work that is due on a property that we manage, you should contact us immediately. If we are managing the property we will inform your landlord and, if necessary, call upon one of the many trusted tradesmen on our extensive database of contractors. You should be aware that if you cause damage you will usually be required to cover the cost of repairing it.

Tenants are expected to carry out any day to day maintenance, eg changing light bulbs and fuses, clearing leaves from drains etc

Can my landlord enter the property?

Your landlord and their managing agent must give you sufficient notice if they wish to enter the property, except in the case of an emergency, such as a burst pipe.

What are my responsibilities?

By signing a tenancy agreement, you are agreeing to abide by all the terms contained within it. The most common duties you must perform as a tenant are to pay your rent on time, pay household bills without delay, report any damages you notice and maintain the cleanliness of the property and the gardens to the same standard as when you moved in.

Who pays for gas, electricity etc?

All utilities such as gas, electricity, water, telephone and council tax are the tenant’s responsibility. You will also need to pay any telephones and pay for a TV licence. When you move into the property we will notify the utility providers that you have moved in along with the date and the meter readings.

Am I responsible for insurance?

You will only need to insure the items that you own. You should arrange a contents insurance policy to the value of possessions you are bringing into the property. It will be the Landlords responsibility to insure the building.

What is an inspection?

Your landlord or letting agent will schedule regular visits to the property. They will want to make sure that the property is being looked after, it is being maintained in a clean tidy condition and that any gardens are being tended. They will also be looking out for any maintenance issues to ensure you derive the full benefit of occupation.

Can I decorate or make changes to the property?

As part of the tenancy agreement the tenant agrees to not make any changes to the property without the consent of the Landlord and you can only decorate or make changes to the property with their express permission. We recommend receiving this permission in writing.

Can I have pets?

Some Landlords will be happy to accept pets, but will often ask for a larger deposit and/or agreement that carpets will be cleaned/fumigated at the end of the tenancy. As part of the tenancy agreement you are not allowed to keep at pet in the property without the Landlords written consent, so please ask first.

What if I can't pay my rent?

It is always your responsibility to pay the rent, but circumstances change. What happens if you become unemployed or are unable to work due to sickness? The most important thing is not to let arrears pile up until they’re unmanageable. Speak to your landlord or letting agent and see if you can reschedule your payments.

What if I accidentally cause damage to the property?

Don’t worry – accidents happen. Tell whoever is responsible for the property maintenance (either the landlord or letting agent) as soon as possible. You will be expected to cover the cost of putting it right. Don’t try to ignore or hide damage because it could get worse, and it will only come out of your deposit at the end of the tenancy.

Can my landlord increase the rent?

Your Landlord has the right to increase your rent on a periodic basis by issuing the appropriate notice. In reality this is normally agreed by negotiation and mutual consent as Landlords are always keen to retain good quality tenants. You do have a right to contest any rent increases but you always run the risk of the Landlord asking you to leave if you are being unreasonable.

Can I extend my lease at a property?

Once the initial fixed term has come to an end, it is often possible to renew it so you can continue living at a property. As the term comes into its final months we will contact you to discuss your options

What happens when I want to move out?

A period of notice will be set out in your tenancy agreement and you must give this when you intend to leave. Providing you follow this, it is easy to move out of a property, as long as you respect the timescales and procedures that are in place. You should tell us as soon as you have decided to move out and we will advise on your next steps.

Can I leave early?

The tenant is legally responsible for the rent for the full term of the tenancy, which is usually a minimum of 6 months. However if special circumstances mean you have to leave the property early we will always try to find another tenant as soon as possible, however you will still remain responsible for the rent, council tax and any utilities until the new tenant takes over. You may also be required to cover any additional costs that the Landlord incurs in sourcing and alternative tenant.

What does the Letting Agent do?

Our Client is the Landlord and therefore their interests are our primary concern. As a professional Agent, however, we will help tenants as much as possible and will not move you into a property unless we know it is safe for you to do so. When we act as Managing Agents we will try to be fair with all dealings between you and the Landlord and if we believe your point to be valid we would certainly let the Landlord know.