Finding a property
The first step is to contact us by telephone or email to provide us with brief details about yourself and about the type of property you are ideally looking for. We will then match your criteria to suitable properties that we have available (unless you have seen one of our properties already) and arrange a mutually convenient time for you to view. It is wise to start looking for a new rented property approximately one month before you wish to move, since properties are viewed and reserved quickly and it is unlikely that a landlord will hold a property for you unless you are able to move in within a one month period (subject to available date of the property).
Viewings will be arranged at times to mutually suit, including early evenings and Saturdays (subject to availability). All of our prospective tenants are invariably accompanied on viewings, which allows us to answer any questions that you may have about the property or the Terms of letting. It is essential for you to know, as a tenant, what items will remain in the property and what your responsibilities will be.
Once you have decided to apply to rent a property, each adult over the age of 18 who will be living at the property must complete a tenancy application form on our website (see Tenants > Application Form). After this, if the landlord is happy to go ahead with your application, a Holding Deposit is payable to us to secure the property subject to references and contract. This amount is equivalent to 1 weeks rent (not a fee and will go towards balance of move in monies if tenancy goes ahead). Other monies due to move in is the Tenancy Deposit, equivalent to 5 weeks rent, and first months rent in advance (unless more months are negotiated).
Should you withdraw from the application and/or provide misleading information about your circumstances or references, the Holding Deposit may be retained by us and not refunded. Should you have any concerns regarding your circumstances or references, please contact us to discuss prior to payment so we can advise you.
As a minimum we will require satisfactory written references from your employer or accountant, a previous or current landlord / letting agent reference and a credit check to be undertaken. All references will be requested, which may be via an independent referencing company or referencing may be manually conducted in-house. You may be required to sign up to our third party referencing agency to undergo referencing. In circumstances where our referencing criteria is not met, a Landlord may request that a suitable Guarantor be provided by you. A Guarantor should be UK based, have a clean credit check, be employed permanent full time or self employed with an accountant, and be earning a sufficient annual salary (gross 40 x the monthly rent).
Type of Tenancy
Your personal circumstances will determine what type of tenancy agreement is drawn up. A draft tenancy agreement for your information to set out all clauses and terms will be issued to you at the point of application. Our standard tenancy is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) for 12 months with a break clause after 6 months for both parties, to enable either Landlord or Tenant to end the tenancy by giving written notice.
We will need to see sight of certain original ID documents for all occupants over the age of 18 before the tenancy commences (for example: passport, UK driving license card, birth certificate, residence permit card, proof of residency letter for current address, etc). A list of acceptable documents will be issued as part of the application. This constitutes the legal Immigration Act Right To Rent checks and failure to comply with this satisfactorily may result in the tenancy not going ahead and any Holding Deposit paid being retained by us.
On the day your tenancy starts we will arrange to meet you to sign the Tenancy Agreement, standing order mandate and the Inventory & Schedule of Condition document (if applicable). You will also have to pay the balance of initial monies in cleared funds by bank transfer (not by card, cheque or cash). All documentation will be explained. At this point we will leave you with the keys for you to move in to the property at your leisure. You will be informed whether we are managing the property during the tenancy or if the Landlord is directly.
Inventory and Schedule of Condition
If we are instructed to do so, a full Inventory & Schedule of Condition will be prepared prior to the commencement of all tenancies. This document is laid out room-by-room documenting the whole condition, cleanliness and contents. We retain one copy and you have the other, along with an Amendment Sheet. It is important that you notify us within 7 days of the start of the tenancy on the amendment sheet provided, if there are any discrepancies with the Inventory. We recommend that you keep the Inventory & Schedule of Condition in a safe place as it forms the basis of any claims for damages at the end of the tenancy.
Many tenants are concerned about their deposit which is held to cover the cost of any damages, missing items, cleaning and outstanding rent etc. Unless otherwise advised, all tenancy deposits are registered with The Dispute Service (TDS) tenancy deposit scheme and a certificate issued, which effectively protects your deposit and also provides a third party dispute resolution service if we are unable to agree any deductions at the end of a tenancy. Where we hold the money, it is held in our client account which has client money protection insurance (via Propertymark).
Rents are normally quoted calendar monthly, and are payable monthly in advance, by bankers standing order (not Direct Debit, but very similar)
Utilities and Council Tax registration:
We will register all named on the Tenancy Agreement with utilities and council tax authorities. Meter readings will be taken and passed on too. We will inform you who supplies the water, gas and electricity. We are not responsible for these companies setting up new accounts from the information we provide to them so we suggest you make contact with them directly to pass on the accurate information and readings too.
We strongly suggest you insure your own personal belongings, contents and gadgets. If you would like a contents insurance quotation, we can suggest a insurance broker, so just let us know.
Smoking is NOT permitted inside the property.
Gas safety and smoke alarm regulations
The Landlord must ensure that all gas appliances are safety checked annually and you will be given a current certificate at the start of a tenancy. Access will be required annually for it to be renewed (if the property has gas). The Landlord must also ensure that there is a working smoke alarm on each habitable floor of the property at the start of the tenancy and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room with a solid fuel appliance.
Any changes of an alarm code (if applicable) must be requested first.
Changes to property
Anything you wish to change must not be done until written permission has been given by us or the Landlord. Typical example of changes are décor colour and fitting of shelves/brackets/pictures etc
Home telephones, Sky/Virgin Media and TV Licensing:
Although we do have a partner for telephone, television and broadband connections, we otherwise are not involved in the registration of any of the services listed in this section. As a Tenant, you are responsible for any installation costs incurred when taking up these services. Before you have an aerial, satellite dish or Virgin Media box fitted, remember to ask permission first (as this is also a change)
Tenant Obligations / Repairs
You will be responsible for the property and will be expected to report any repairs that are the landlords' liability. However, light maintenance, for instance changing light bulbs, keeping the drains clear, looking after the garden etc. will be your responsibility. If the landlord himself is managing the property, you will be notified of their telephone number so that you can make contact directly should any problems occur.
We require you to submit one month's notice in writing if you want to end your Tenancy, which must expire after any break clause or fixed term date. Upon receipt of your notice we will contact you in order to arrange a mutually convenient time to conduct a formal end of tenancy checkout inspection at the property and to collect your keys. In the event that you are not available to hand back your keys you will be required to arrange a representative on your behalf or send the keys to our office by secure method. We will take all meter readings and deregister your name(s) from utility companies and council tax. You will be required to confirm your forwarding address in order for us to finalise your tenancy ending. In most cases, the deposit is returned by bank transfer within 7 working days, providing you leave the property is left in good condition with no works required at your expense.