JOWETT'S 10 STEP GUIDE FOR TENANTS
The homes we manage are (in most cases) either the landlord's own home that they need/want to rent out for a period of time or properties that have been bought specifically as an investment for the rental market. Both landlord and tenant have obligations to meet when they enter a tenancy agreement.
Private landlords are usually looking for tenants to rent for a period of 6 months to several years, at the end of which they either return to occupy their home themselves or put the property on the market to sell.
Investment landlords hope to achieve continuous renting of their properties, either with a succession of shorter tenancies or one long period of occupation.
In each case the owner/landlord has asked us to act on their behalf in their absence and to seek suitable tenants who will be happy in their new home.
2. GETTING STARTED
First of all you need to find a home that you'd like to rent. Take a look at our selection of rental properties HERE. We check all our rental properties carefully to ensure they are safe and habitable and ask all our landlords to meet our standards.
Having viewed a property and decided you'd like to rent it we need you to complete a 'referencing form', which will then be processed to verify the information you've provided.
Regrettably simply by submitting the referencing application does not in itself guarantee you the tenancy. A final decision as to whether or not a tenancy can proceed will depend on responses received and the decision of the landlord.
- You will be required to provide personal details ranging from name and address to occupation and salary
- You will be asked to provide financial, employer and sometimes character references as we can only agree to a tenancy subject to satisfactory replies from those referees
- Our investigations will also include a credit check search of the credit registers to establish your financial credibility and contacting your previous landlord / agent if you were previously a tenant
- These are standard routine procedures taken to protect all parties.
If you have County Court Judgements (CCJs) registered against you it may unfortunately prove impossible to grant you a tenancy, unless satisfactory evidence of the clearance of any debt is produced, prior to starting the tenancy.
Should you be unable to provide satisfactory references or credit checks you may still be offered a tenancy subject to a satisfactory guarantor being provided (someone else to guarantee to make the rental payments if you can't). The guarantor will also need to provide satisfactory references and credit checks.
Given satisfactory replies to all the above you should be offered the tenancy of the property. You'll need to agree to the terms of the agreement, payment of the deposit and the agreed advanced rent. The landlord’s agreement to the tenancy is also needed.
IDENTIFICATION: To support your application you will need to provide two forms of identification. These could be a birth certificate, full driving licence, full 10 year passport or new style National Insurance card.
3. DEPOSITS AND RENT
A security deposit is required for all tenancies and is equal to one month's rent + £100. This deposit is in addition to the advanced rent payment required.
If you want to pay the rent and deposit by cheque we must have at least 7 banking days to allow for clearance. Alternatively you may pay by cash, bankers draft or debit card, if that facility is available.
The deposit you pay acts as security to ensure you meet your obligations as a tenant under the agreement. Your deposit will be returned to you at the end of the tenancy term without added interest and subject to any deductions that may be necessary to compensate the landlord for any breach of the tenancy agreement e.g. damage.
Please note that the same security deposit is required from Housing Benefit tenants. Should the property be covered by the Bond Board and you wish to apply for a bond, we MUST have confirmation in writing that this has been agreed before the tenancy can commence.
4. DEDUCTIONS FROM THE DEPOSIT
When you rent a property an inventory (that you sign) is taken of everything in the house and the state of the property when the agreement commences. Should we need to replace items on the inventory that have been broken or gone missing, or clean the house at the end of the tenancy, or if there has been a breach of the tenancy agreement, the return of your deposit will be delayed until all items are valued and replaced / cleaned. In any case we will aim to return your deposit within 28 working days.
Damage and breakage of the landlord's fixtures, fittings and effects, lost inventory items etc, which occur during the period of the tenancy will incur deductions from your deposit. It is important, therefore, that you look after the property during the tenancy and take the utmost care to inspect the property and its fixtures and fittings at the outset.
This inventory / statement of condition will then form the basis of assessment of the property's condition at the end of the tenancy term. Fair wear and tear will obviously be taken into consideration. Damages that occur will be charged to your account, as will invoices from contractors employed to undertake necessary repairs or replace any items.
5. PAYMENT OF UTILITIES/COUNCIL TAX
You are responsible for the payment of all utilities (gas, electricity, water etc) during the tenancy and for the payment of final bills.
You are required by law to inform the Council Tax Register of your change of address and pay the appropriate council tax.
6. LEGAL NOTICES & TENANCY AGREEMENT
Before you sign for a tenancy you will be given a copy of the tenancy agreement and any appropriate notices. Read these carefully and ask us questions if you are unsure of any point.
During the tenancy term you have the right to enjoy the property without interruption provided that you abide by the terms and conditions of the tenancy agreement. However we, as agents for the landlord, have an obligation under our contract with the landlord to inspect the property at regular intervals. We usually do this at approximately 3 monthly intervals but will do so more frequently if deemed necessary. We will write to you to make a mutually convenient arrangement prior to such a visit.
Inspection of the premises is primarily undertaken to ensure that you are observing the conditions of the tenancy agreement, though this is not the only reason.
It also gives you the opportunity to discuss with us any problem that you might be experiencing relating to the property and for us to consider repairs/decorations etc before they become a major concern.
If however you experience any problems of maintenance or repair at any time please notify us immediately and we will do our best to get it sorted. We have a number of trades people available to ensure that delays are minimised and that you can continue enjoying life in your home with minimal disruption.
8. STAMP DUTY
For unusually high rental values, under the Stamp Act 1891, there may be a liability on you as the tenant to have the agreement stamped. In these cases, you are advised to seek independent advice. We will let you now if this applies to you.
We will help you set up the correct payment for your rent, which needs to be paid direct to Jowett Chartered Surveyors & Estate Agents by the due date each month. The method of payment is by standing order only from your bank, which needs to be set up 3 days in advance of the due date to allow for clearance through the banking system.
Where there are a number of occupiers sharing accommodation each person is jointly and severally liable to pay the rent as tenant and will need to pay the rent as a whole. It is important to realise that each tenant is jointly and severally responsible for the whole rent as it means you are equally liable for the non-payment of rent by one of your co-tenants, should they fail to pay.
10. END OF TERM
When its time to leave preparations should be made to hand the property back to us on the due date. You'll need to arrange readings of utility meters and ensure that the authorities have your forwarding address for the payment of all invoices raised.
In no circumstances should you allow the authorities to disconnect supplies. The authorities should be informed that the managing agent will contact them when the property is handed over and provide details of the new account holder. This may be the owner or a new tenant.
Inventory items should be placed in their respective rooms to facilitate easy checking on handing over. Read carefully the inventory/statement of condition, clean curtains and carpets etc if required and generally prepare the property for the final inspection. Liaise with us and arrange a convenient time for handing over the premises. We can advise of local trades people who will carry out all cleaning/preparation at a most competitive rate.
Once checking has been completed and deductions (if any) from your deposit have been agreed, the deposit or balance of deposit will be returned to you.
These notes are intended to provide only a summary to assist you to understand your obligations when you wish to rent a property from a private landlord. It is not our intention to give an authoritative interpretation of the law.
Please do not hesitate to call, visit or e-mail us at any stage prior to or during your tenancy if you wish to clarify any details.
We hope that this guide has been helpful and insightful!
For more expert advise call Jowett Chartered Surveyors & Estate Agents on 01484 536799. Or if you would like to see our selection of rental properties in Huddersfield take a look at our website; www.jowett-huddersfield.co.uk