Guide for tenants

We all know renting gives you greater flexibility than owning a property, but you should still take the time to research to ensure you can afford the rent and that it’s the right place for you.

What you need to budget for

  • 1 Weeks holding deposit payable once you have found and secured your chosen property.
  • 1 Month’s rent (calculated as per calendar month payable prior to moving in).
  • 5 Weeks security deposit if your annual rent is under £50,000 and six weeks rent if above £50,000 (minus the week you have already paid of course payable prior to moving in).

Think about where do you want to live

If you want to move to a home close to where you already live, there is little to decide however if you are looking to move to a different part of town or near to work or family, then I suggest doing your research, as you would not want to be moving again in a hurry soon.

Choose a specific property

Decide whether you want to rent a furnished or unfurnished property, period or new build apartment or house as there are a lot of pros and cons between them. Visit as many properties as you can that fit your requirements but remember its hard to find a property that meets them all.

Making an offer

Once you are sure of the property you wish to rent make a calculated offer taking into consideration its condition and location. Its ok to offer under the market price but consider whether the property is in high demand and so calculate your offer based on demand at that time.

Once your offer has been agreed

You will need to place down a holding deposit (equal to one weeks rent) and start the tenant referencing process. You may also request a draft copy of the tenancy contract in order to go through any fine print. Whilst not all landlords/agents are willing to amend clauses within the actual tenancy agreement additional clauses can be added to the appendix at the end if required.

Tenant referencing process

  • Employer’s details, start date & monthly salary & position.
  • Previous landlord/agent details and address of previous rental.
  • Copies of your passport. (Note should you not attend in person with it, it would need to be attested either by a professional or from the post office and scanned through).
  • Copies of last 3 months utility bills
  • Last 3 months payslips
  • If you are not a UK resident, then you will also need to provide proof of stay in the UK and a copy of your visa/letter from employer/letter from University/College
  • If no previous rental history, then you may also be asked to pay up to 6 months rent upfront.

Taking possession of your new home

Assuming the landlord and agents are happy with the referencing and all your documents you can then arrange a move in date. Remember the landlord should leave the property in a clean a tidy manner.

Documents your landlord/agent must provide:

  • A copy of your tenancy agreement with landlords/agents details.
  • A copy of the “How to rent” guide.
  • A copy of the gas safety certificate.
  • A copy of the deposit certificate lodged with a government backed scheme.
  • A copy of the energy performance certificate.
  • A record of any electrical inspections.

Remember

  • To take meter readings.
  • Agree for an inventory check in report to safeguard your security deposit.
  • Register for broadband & phone line.
  • Register with the local borough for council tax.
  • Register for all utilities – water, gas (if applicable) and electricity.
  • Think about whether you require contents insurance for your personal belongings too.

Extending & ending your tenancy

There are a number of options available to you should you wish to extend your tenancy. A fixed term or periodic tenancy. A periodic tenancy is one that continues until either the tenant or the landlord/agent gives written notice to end. Usually two months’s notice for a landlord and one months’ notice for a tenant at any time during the periodic term. Whilst with the fixed term, the contract term or conditions can be amended or changed and both parties will need to adhere to the end of the fixed term.

To end a tenancy the landlord legally is required to give two months’ notice whilst the tenant is still usually only required to provide one months’ notice.

Returning the deposit

The deposit is usually returned within 10 working days unless there is a disagreement between the landlord and tenant. Both parties should lodge their disagreement with the government backed deposit scheme. Note the agent is not a party to this disagreement and cannot be blamed in any way for holding up the process.

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