We appreciate that renting a property is an important decision for you and can be a very confusing with all the legislation. Therefore we have produced this guide for you which should cover the basic procedures that you need to follow when renting. As ARLA members we work to the highest standards and aim to guide you smoothly through the whole process.
This guide explains the most important points of tenants responsibilities but please be aware it is only a basic guide therefore if you have any further questions then please do not hesitate to contact us on 01473 210210 and we will be happy to help.
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- Reserving a property
- Referencing Process
- Tenancy Agreements
- Contract procedure
Reserving a property
Once you have selected the property you wish to let with Property First you will be asked to fill in an application Form and return this to our office. You will need to provide two forms of identification i.e. Driving Licence, Passport, utility bill showing your current address. It is important to have details of your previous landlord, national insurance number, employer, personal referee, guarantor, if required, bank details and previous addresses to hand including full contact details. In order for us to process your application you will need to pay your referencing and tenancy fees. Should you have any special requirements or requests please make us aware so we can agree these with the landlord.
Once we have received your completed application we will take up references from your employer and a previous landlord who can verify your suitability for a new tenancy. We will also run 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 have any credit issues or have any other information that may affect you passing our referencing procedure, please tell us straight away. When the referencing is complete we will then have to contact the landlord for final approval before issuing any tenancy documents.
You may be asked to provide a guarantor who will also need to complete a form and be referenced. Some landlords may request as guarantor where the tenant is not in current employment, does not have satisfactory earnings, or has had previous credit problems. The financial guarantor will agree to underwrite any rent, utility bills, breakages, liabilities. Normally the financial guarantor would be the parents or relative; sometimes an employer; the only requirement being that they must be a property owner (unless otherwise agreed) and over 18 years of age. The guarantor will be responsible for paying for any monies outstanding as a result of the tenancy. Therefore, it is very important for the tenant not to over stretch themselves when looking for a property to avoid any liabilities on the financial guarantor.
If I decide not to take the property will I lose my Administration Charge?
After referencing is completed and the terms of the tenancy have been agreed with the landlord we will prepare your tenancy documents. At this point a time will be arranged to sign the Tenancy Agreement. Tenancy Agreements can be signed in our Office or at the property. A copy of a blank agreement will be given to the tenant in order for them to read the contract before signing.
What kind of contract will I sign?
Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement
This is the name of the commonest form of arrangement for the letting of houses or flats by private landlord and agents. They were introduced by the Housing Act 1988. Depending on the landlords requirements it will determine whether he will offer you a 12 or 6 month contract. Once you have entered into a Tenancy Agreement you are legally bound to the contract until the end of the Tenancy Agreement. Therefore at this stage you must be very sure that you want to proceed with the property and that you have read the contract very carefully.
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. Property First can draw up bespoke tenancy agreements to include specific circumstances outlined by either party.
What will I have to pay when signing the contract?
Rents are normally quoted on a calendar month basis (i.e. £550.00 pcm). The tenant will have to provide one months rent in advance upon signing the contract. Following the first months rental payment, the tenant will be required to pay subsequent monthly rents by standing order.
However, some landlords have different arrangements therefore upon signing the contract a representative will inform you of the payment method.
If you move into the property in the middle of the month this will be your rent due date. Should you or the landlord require the rent to be paid on the 1st of the month the rent will generally be calculated on a daily basis up until the end of the month and paid thereafter on the 1st of each month.
A deposit is also required before taking occupation; this is usually one months rent, however some landlords ask for larger amounts of deposit. If Property First manages the property then we will hold the deposit in a bonded clients account; however if the property is ‘let only’ the landlord will hold the bond deposit separately in an approved scheme.
How should I pay the bond and rent?
The deposit and rent should be paid in cleared funds i.e. Bankers draft, debit card, credit card (3 % charge) or cash. Tenants will not be able to move into the property without cleared funds. You can find more information in Deposits.
What is a Joint Tenancy?
Joint tenancies can be agreed with two or more people from the outset of the tenancy. Each tenant is then responsible jointly and individually for meeting the terms of the tenancy in full including paying the rent. Therefore if one joint tenant leaves the property before the end of the tenancy without your agreement and you cannot recover the rent due from him, the remaining tenant will be responsible for paying the full rent.
Under a joint tenancy, all the tenants have equal rights.
Therefore if you have any doubts about living with anyone you should not proceed as you will be jointly liable for the full rent. Can the tenant leave during the tenancy?
As a tenant, if you wish to terminate your tenancy before the expiry of the contract, you have the two following options:
- Continue to pay the rent until the end of the tenancy.
- Request the landlords permission for us to remarket thr property. You would be liable for all the landlords costs if permission is given.
What is a deposit?
A deposit is required prior to occupation of the property. The deposit is normally equal to 1 or 2 months rent, but may vary depending on the landlord. The deposit is held to cover any breakages, damage, or other household liabilities. The deposit cannot be used by the tenant to cover rent.
Where is the bond deposit kept?
If the property is managed by Property First the deposit is held as a stake holder in a bonded and secure client account until the termination of the tenancy. We register the deposit with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Details of the scheme can be viewed by clicking on this link.
If the property is not managed by property first then the monies are kept with the landlords in an approved scheme ie. TDS, My deposits or DPS
How and when do I get my bond back?
The deposit is returned back to the tenant at the end of the Tenancy Agreement after Property First has inspected the property. The property is checked against the inventory that was drawn up at the beginning of the tenancy; we will check the property in the presence of the tenant and asses any damages and deductions due. Proof of payment of utility suppliers is also required, in the form of a receipt, including gas, electric, water and council tax. The deposit less and deductions will be returned within 10 days of vacating the property unless a dispute is raised with the deposit protection scheme provider.
Move in procedure:
- Firstly tenant/s will need to make an appointment to check into the property.
- Please book an appointment as far in advance as possible, so as not to be disappointed, as certain dates of the year become fully booked very quickly The individual/group will need to be present.
- The tenants will meet at the property or our Office.
- Tenants will be issued with a front door key and a bedroom door key (if applicable), and any buzzers, fobs, door entry systems will be given as well as parking space numbers (if applicable).
- An inventory will be provided which must be checked at the property, This will provide a detailed list of fixtures and fittings and their condition.
- Check the inventory carefully as you will need to sign this document which is legally binding (see inventory section for more information).
- Please take this opportunity to ask any questions you may have regarding the property (central heating, gas, electric, stop cock location etc).
- The meter reading will be recorded for gas and electric. It is the tenant’s responsibility to inform the suppliers of their occupation.
Landlords insurance on your rented accommodation will usually cover the building itself and the landlords contents, for example carpet, curtains, fixtures and fittings. Your personal possessions will therefore not be covered under your landlords insurance.
It is essential that you consider the options of taking out your own insurance for your personal possessions. There are various companies, which provide specialist insurance for rented accommodation.
Different policies will cover different criteria and it is important that you find the cover to suit your needs. For example some policies will provide (included in the price) cover for the landlords fixtures and fittings. This is an additional security on your bond deposit (after all accidents do happen and can be costly).
Summary of Cover
- Malicious act or right
- Fire, explosion, lighting, earthquake
- Storm, flood, escape of water
- Collision by aircraft, vehicles or animals
Cover can also include:-
- Your liability under Tenancy Agreement for damage to landlords building and contents
- New for old cover on your contents
- Accidental damage to TV and audio equipment
- Replacement locks following theft of keys
- Your personal liability – £ 1 million
- Cost of alternative accommodation
- Contents in your garden, garage etc
- Fatal accidental benefit
- Frozen food
- Money and credit cards
- Pedal cycle
If you have an repair issues please report these to the Property First office immediately either by phone 01473210210 email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have an out of hours emergency that cannot wait until office hours please call 01473210210 and there are further instructions on the answerphone.
Hopefully you will not have reason to complain but should you need to raise any issues please contact the office in the first instance.