Getting to know the local agents
Get to know your local estate agents and make sure they understand exactly what you are looking for. Be proactive, too – chase them every now and again. This will make sure you are at the forefront of their mind when a new property comes to the market.
Securing a property to rent
Having found a suitable house or flat to rent, what happens next? We will ask you for an application fee which is payable at the time of your application. We will then begin the administrative process of requesting references on your behalf.
Your prospective new landlord will be keen to make sure that you are a suitable tenant and that you have the ability to pay your rent, while also making sure that you have rented a property without any major problems in the past (if this is applicable). You will be asked to complete an application form which not only gives us the information that we require, but also your permission to deal with this part of the process on your behalf as quickly as possible. If you are unsure of any part of this process please contact us before submitting your application.
When you apply for the property, some or all of the following documents may be requested:
- References from previous landlords – you may be asked to give the details of where you have lived within the last 3 years References from previous landlords – you may be asked to give the details of where you have lived within the last 3 years
- A credit check – this will allow them to see if you have a good history of paying your bills A credit check – this will allow them to see if you have a good history of paying your bills
- Your bank details – including bank name, account number and sort-code
- Details of your employment – your employer, job title, payroll number, salary, previous employer, etc.
Sometimes referencing decisions will require you to provide a guarantor if for example your earnings are not quite enough to cover the rental payments or if you have only recently started in your job. Your guarantor will be required to undergo the checks as above to enable you to achieve the appropriate rating set by the referencing agency. They will be expected to pay the rental should there be any default during the tenancy and they will also be held responsible for the upkeep of the property. Do not worry if this situation does apply to you, it is not uncommon and we will be able to explain the details at every step of the way.
The security deposit
The final event in your securing the property is the deposit. The Landlord trusts you to keep their property in good order. The deposit is held against non-payment of rent and to ensure that any damages over and above fair wear and tear can be corrected at the end of the tenancy.
New legislation was introduced to the Housing Act 2004 in April 2007 to help protect all parties with regard to the return of deposits. A brief summary of the legislation can be found below:
Tenancy deposit protection in summary
All Landlords and agents are required by law to register and protect your deposit within a government-approved scheme on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy. This means that your security deposit is protected.
The scheme offers alternative ways of resolving disputes, which aim to be faster and cheaper than taking court action.
Find out more about the Tenancy Deposit Scheme by contacting our office or by visiting www.gov.uk/tenancy-deposit-protection/overview
The inventory is a detailed list of the contents and condition of the property. By both parties agreeing that the inventory is correct at the start of the tenancy, we minimise the risk of any disputes at the end of the tenancy. We recommend therefore that you thoroughly check the inventory it before you sign it.
Heritage, the landlord or an independent inventory company may prepare this document.
The Tenancy Agreement
All relevant parties will be asked to sign this document which outlines the agreed responsibilities of the landlord and tenant.
Please take time to read and understand the draft copy which will be given to you before the move in day.
It’s just as important to insure your belongings against theft or damage when you rent a property as it is when you own a property. We can provide you with details of our insurance partners who can quote for tenant contents cover. For more information please contact the office.
During The Tenancy
It is not uncommon for landlords and Heritage to schedule in regular visits to the property in order to check that you are happy and that the property is being kept in good order. Usually these visits take place three or four times a year and are agreed beforehand with yourself.
Renewing your tenancy
So, you’ve come to the end of your first tenancy at the property. You now have two options to consider: Do you sign another tenancy or move out?
If you decide to extend your stay at the property then remember you will need to provide at least two months notice in writing to your landlord or Heritage, asking permission to stay on beyond your initial agreement. Providing your landlord is happy with you and the condition of the house or flat, you’ll most likely be allowed to continue with your occupancy.
If you decide to move out, then again you will need to serve at least two months notice in writing to your landlord or Heritage to terminate the contract at the end of the initially agreed period.
Remember to ensure that the property is left in good condition when you leave to ensure that you get your full deposit back. If applicable refer to your copy of the inventory to check that the property is up to standard.
As long as the condition of the property is the same as when you moved in (barring normal wear and tear), you’ll have no problem. Here’s what you should do:
- Give the property a thorough clean, including carpets, ovens, windows, walls and furniture
- If it’s your responsibility, tidy up the garden and clear away any rubbish
- Return all of the keys to your Heritage branch.
- Remove all of your personal belongings
Final inventory check
You’ll have the opportunity to run through the inventory checklist on the day of departure. It’s important that this job is done before you leave the property to avoid you being accountable for any damage that occurs after you’ve left. If there is any damage, you should agree with the landlord the cost of repairing or replacing such items.