Guide to Renting Property

What is a holding deposit and why do we ask tenants to pay it?

On requesting to rent a property, we ask that you pay a holding deposit to show us and the landlord that you are committed to taking the property.

After paying your holding deposit, there are three possible outcomes:

We hold the money in our client account while the referencing and other administration is completed.

1. Your references and offer are accepted

If your references and offer are accepted, your holding deposit is returned to you. The holding deposit will be transferred back to your bank account when you sign the tenancy agreement and pay the first month’s rent and damage deposit.

2. Your offer and references are rejected

If your references and offer are rejected, your holding deposit will usually be returned to you in full unless you have provided false or misleading information during your application.

We will do as much as we can to ensure this situation does not occur by pre-screening applicants and clearly asking for the early disclosure of any known facts that may adversely affect the referencing outcome.

3. You change your mind and withdraw your offer

If you pull out, you are unlikely to receive your holding deposit back in full. Under such circumstances, we are usually entitled to retain funds to cover us against any loss of time and expenses incurred.

Referencing Process

Who carries out the referencing?

Our referencing is done in two stages:

Firstly we carry out a verbal affordability check with you. We ask that the total monthly income of all tenants (pre-tax) is at least 3 times the monthly rent. (Bonus payments and commission are not considered unless they can be proven to be guaranteed).

If you believe that you satisfy the affordability check, we will then progress your referencing to an external, third party company. They will contact you directly to obtain information from yourself about your income and employment, as well as contact details for your employer/accountant, landlord/letting agent in order to obtain the necessary documentary evidence to support your application.

The combination of our in-house checks and the in depth background referencing conducted by the third party company will give a pass/fail result. If your application passes the referencing process, your application will be passed to the landlord for agreement.

The landlord will usually accept the application and we will begin to negotiate tenancy start dates and contract terms.

What information is required for the reference and what is checked?

Employment Reference

If you are Employed, you will need to provide:

Contact details of employer (e.g. line manager or HR) to include email and landline telephone number.

  • A copy of your employment contract
  • 3 month’s pay-slips
  • NB. A verbal reference from a mobile phone number or personal email address to verify your employment is not sufficient evidence.

Self Employed

If you are Self-Employed, we will require at least one of the below to evidence your earnings:

  • Contact details for accountant to include email address
  • 12 months bank statements
  • HMRC annual tax return
  • Proof of dividends paid
  • Proof of sufficient savings to cover rental term

If you are retired, we will require:

Confirmation of pension through relevant paperwork from your pension provider and/or DWP.

Proof of sufficient savings to cover the full rental held in a personal account for a minimum of 30 days. Please note savings need to be instantly accessible and cannot be held in stocks, shares or investments.

Unemployed

If you are Unemployed, you will more than likely require a guarantor. However, the following benefits are considered (upon providing evidence of receipt) and may be used to top up other sources of income:

  • Long term unemployment and support allowance
  • Working tax credits
  • Child Tax Credits
  • Maintenance payments
  • Disability living allowance

Student

If you are a Student, again you will most likely require a guarantor, however we may also consider:

  • Proof of sufficient savings held for a one month period or longer
  • Proof of a bursary paid for living expenses
  • Landlord Reference

If you are currently residing in rented accommodation you will be required to provide contact details, including email address, of your current and/or previous landlord(s). It may be your current letting agents details that we require – please check who you currently make your rental payments to and provide these details.

Credit Check

A thorough credit history search is conducted, looking back over the previous 6 years. This will not hinder your ability to receive credit moving forward and will not show as a search on your credit report.

Guarantor

We will require a Guarantor if you are a student, if you are not in permanent full time employment, haven’t been employed for longer than 6 months or do not meet the required earnings threshold of 3 x the monthly rent.

If a Guarantor is required, we will need your Guarantor to fill out a referencing form and provide financial information, so please ask them first.

Right to Rent

As from 1st February 2016 all tenants must prove that they have a right to rent property in England. In order to be granted a tenancy, right to rent checks must therefore be carried out.

In order to process your application, please provide a photocopy from the below list of acceptable documentation:

  • Current or expired British / EEA / Swiss Passport or National Identity Card.
  • Valid Biometric Immigration document.
  • Certificate/Card confirming permanent residence issued by the home office.
  • A passport or other document stating that the holder is exempt from immigration control and is authorised to stay in the UK indefinitely.

If for any reason you are unable to provide one of the above, you must provide 2 of the following documents as evidence:

  • Full birth certificate/Adoption Certificate.
  • Letter from an employer/UK government department or local authority (dated within the last 3 months).
  • Letter confirming acceptance of a UK Educational institution.
  • Full or provisional UK driving licence.
  • Letter from a UK Police force or HM prison service (must be dated within the last 3 months).

In all instances, we will require a form of identity and proof of current address that is dated within the last 3 months.

Deposit

In all cases we ask for a deposit which is the equivalent of five weeks rent. However, some of our clients are happy for us to offer a ‘Zero Deposit’ option.

In line with legal requirements, the deposit will be lodged with the Deposit Protection Service for the duration of the tenancy.

At the end of the tenancy, a dilapidations assessment will be carried out against the Inventory and Schedule of Condition conducted at the start of the tenancy. Deductions can be made from the deposit to cover costs as set out in the tenancy agreement.

Tenancy Agreement

Following a successful referencing application, you will be emailed the Tenancy Agreement. Please read this carefully as it is a legally binding document. Should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us or seek independent advice.

We offer initial tenancies of either six or twelve months. At the conclusion of this term, subject to agreement from the landlord, you may be offered another fixed term contract, or the tenancy will roll on a month by month period basis.

You can find a sample of our tenancy agreement here.

Tenancy Start Date

At the point of making an offer, you will be asked for a preferred date for the commencement of your tenancy. Please note that we require a minimum of 5 working days to complete the administration on a new tenancy. This move-in date will not be confirmed until referencing has been completed. We would also advise that no removal services are booked until the time to collect your keys has been agreed.

Should the tenant request this date be changed following the drawing up of tenancy agreements (should the landlord agree), an administration charge may be payable by the tenant.

Payment of Fees, Rent in Advance and Deposit

Prior to you moving in, you will need to pay the outstanding balances on your account as detailed in your opening statement which you will receive following the return of satisfactory references. This will include your first months’ rent, deposit and any other fees incurred.

The funds must be cleared at least 24 hours prior to the commencement of your tenancy.

Bank transfer is the preferred method of payment. We do not accept payment by credit card, debit card or cheque.

Once payment has been made, you will be able to view your rent account invoices and payments online via the tenant portal.

Furnishings

The inclusion of furnishings and appliances within the let should be discussed prior to the signing of agreements. Levels of furnishing vary greatly and no set precedent exists. If you require clarification on what will be included, please contact us at your earliest opportunity. We will ask the landlord to supply a brief list of furnishings at this stage.

Inventory and Schedule of Condition

On or around the day of you moving in you will be supplied with a schedule of condition for the property. This document records the condition of the property at the start of the tenancy, and will be used to compare the condition in which it is returned at the end of the tenancy.

We use an independent company to compile these documents, to ensure that they’re fair and impartial. You do have a period of time to review this document before it is deemed accepted.

Move In

We will arrange for you to meet your Property Manager at the property on the day of the commencement of your tenancy. You will then be provided with all relevant contact information and keys. Please bring a form of photographic ID with you.

Late / Unpaid Rent

Not paying the rent on time is a serious breach of the tenancy agreement and will not be tolerated. Interest will be charged on unpaid / late rent as per the terms of the tenancy agreement. Persistent late payment / non payment may result in your tenancy being terminated.

If a tenant has to be evicted through the courts, all the costs associated with the repossession and eviction process will be borne by the tenant on an indemnity basis in accordance with the tenancy agreement.

All unpaid monies owed will be pursued through the courts and all available enforcement steps taken. We reserve the right to pass any outstanding debt to a third party debt recovery company.

If at any time a tenant finds themselves struggling to pay the rent, they should contact us or seek independent advice on the matter at the earliest opportunity.

Tenant Like Manner

Though your landlord has a lot of responsibilities during your tenancy, such as ensuring there is adequate heating and hot water, and that drains and sanitary facilities are kept in working order, tenants also have an obligation to look after and carry out the little jobs around the property. It’s called acting in a ‘Tenant-Like Manner’ and it’s part of the legal responsibilities of being a tenant. It basically means treating the house as if it’s your home.

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