You need to find a place to rent. What do I do first?
Before starting your search for alternative accommodation we would advise you to make note of your monthly expenditure. Work out your monthly outgoings and compare it to your monthly incomings. By doing this it will show you how much money you have left to go towards your rent and other costs such as utility bills on a monthly basis. Also don’t forget to take into account the initial extra costs for when you first move in, for example in most cases the six week deposit, the tenancy set up fees and of course the first month’s rent.
You've found a place you want to rent. What’s next?
We at HB Lettings ltd as a rule will not let you take a property on unless you have visited the property concerned, if necessary we allow to show it to someone with your agreed permissions. However we won’t accept any cost or liability if you don’t like the property and wish to vacate earlier than the tenancy stipulates so trust your judgement on who represents you!
Once you have found a place we will then ask you to sign a copy of our Tenants Scale of Charges form. This points out the services we will provide to you and the costs you may incur from it all. Once all of this has been agreed HB Lettings ltd will then begin the referencing process to ensure you’re in a position to rent the property.
You may wonder why you need to be referenced.
When renting a property the landlord needs to be able to feel comfortable and sure that the incoming tenant will be satisfactory in committing to their obligations throughout the tenancy agreement, for example keeping up with rent payments and that they will be able to look after the property in a good clean manner as if it’s their own.
What does reference check entail?
Quite simply referencing isn’t anything to worry about. We ask you to fill in the forms correctly and honestly. If you’re unsure about any of the questions please do call us and we will explain what it means. Tenants wishing to apply to rent the relevant property just need to provide details of their previous address, employer and income and some bank account details. These will be checked to confirm they are able to commit to monthly rental payments.
Do I need to provide proof of identification?
As part of the referencing process we will need to be sure the tenant is who they say they are. We would require proof of id for example your passport or drivers licence as well as a form of residency, a recent copy of your council tax bill or a utility bill will suffice.
What if there are problems with my reference?
If in the unlikely event, a tenant may not be accepted and approved via the referencing stage, examples could be tenants currently living with family or relatives and wishing to move for the first time without any rental history behind them. This is not uncommon, but there are still positive options for the applicants in this position. Options could be more commonly to seek out a guarantor or pay their share of the rent for the full term up front. Generally where there is a will there is a way.
What is a guarantor?
If in the unlikely event the applicant isn’t fully approved by the referencing company, they can ask a guarantor to support them. The guarantor is usually a parent or guardian who will agree to take the responsibility to pay the rent for the property if the tenant fails to do so.
Guarantors are also required to pay any rent arrears if the tenant doesn’t pay as well as any accidental damages which equates to more than the original deposit taken at the start of the tenancy.
Once a guarantor individual has been agreed what do they need to do?
The chosen guarantor will need to go through the same referencing procedure as the tenant. The main normal requirement is that they are employed and reside within the UK, and have sufficient funds and or earnings to cover the tenant’s full total monthly rental amount.
Why should the tenant have to pay a deposit?
The landlord trusts the tenant to keep the property in good working condition and order. The deposit is required and held purely to ensure that any damages which exceed beyond the normal signs of wear and tear can be rectified at the end of the tenancy.
What does happen to my deposit once I’ve paid it to the letting agent or Landlord?
So you know by law landlords and letting agents are required to register your deposit with an approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme. H&B Lettings Ltd landlords if they wish may register their deposits with a scheme such as My Deposits. The deposit is then either held by the landlord, the agent or the deposit scheme itself. You should receive details of the scheme, explaining where the deposit is held. H&B Lettings Ltd is a member of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
What does the Tenancy Deposit Scheme do?
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme like My Deposits simply protects the money for you and can offer assistance should there be a dispute about the deposit at the end of the tenancy.
What is a tenancy agreement?
A tenancy agreement is a contract which is signed by both you the tenant and the landlord. It is a legally binding document which outlines all the rules to which both parties must adhere to.
What is an Interim Inspection?
It’s not uncommon that either the landlord or the letting agent will regularly schedule visits to come and inspect the condition of the property. All it really is that they just want to make sure that the property is being well looked after and being maintained in a good satisfactory condition. They will also be keeping an eye out for any potential maintenance issues which could be fixed, repaired, replaced sooner rather than later.
When can my landlord or letting agent enter the property?
Landlords or the letting agent have to give the tenant sufficient notice before entering the property, this is normally anything from 24 hours’ notice, unless of course it’s an emergency.
Who is responsible for the repairs?
Generally the landlord is responsible for maintaining the property in a good state of repair. They have the opportunity to either take care of this via the tenant directly, or if they wish through the appropriate letting agent. Make sure you know who to go to when there’s a fault at the beginning of the tenancy. This will normally already have been discussed with the tenant or by form of an introduction letter explaining the type of service the landlord has elected to use. For example if it is Tenant Find, then you will need to talk to your landlord directly. If it is a fully managed service then the letting agent will assist. If you damage the property you are expected to cover the full cost of putting it all correct as it was when you first moved in.
Can I decorate or make any changes to the property?
In most cases, the landlord will allow the tenant to decorate or make changes to the property but only with permission. You must ask before you do anything to avoid any unnecessary further costs. We recommend receiving this permission in writing.
What if I accidentally cause damage to the property?
Well accidents do happen. Be honest and tell whoever is responsible for the property maintenance be it either the letting agent or landlord as soon as possible. You will however be expected to cover the cost of putting it right. All we say is please don’t try to hide or ignore any damage because it could get worse, and it will only come out of your deposit at the end of the tenancy.
What if the landlord isn't keeping to their side of the agreement?
If a tenant believes the landlord is not keeping to their side of the agreement – for instance, not maintaining the property in a fit state of repair then the first thing the tenant should do is speak to their letting agent. Letting agents do have a duty of care towards the tenant, and they may be able to help to solve any issues depending on the service type the landlord has with the agent. Simply refer to the introduction letter to establish the service level of your landlord. Or, if you wish seek independent advice from The Citizens Advice Bureau.
What happens if the tenant wants to end the tenancy?
If you have signed and committed into a fixed term contract, you are liable for the rent until the fixed term is finished. However, If you are no longer in a fixed term contract for example it has gone into a rolling your tenancy agreement will tell you the required notice you will need to serve.
What if my tenant can't pay the rent?
It is always the tenant’s responsibility to pay the rent, but circumstances change. For example you become unemployed or are unable to work due to ill health and sickness? The most important thing is not to let arrears pile up until they’re unmanageable. We recommend you speak to your landlord or the letting agent as soon as possible to see if the rent payments could be rescheduled. And don’t forget, you can always get insured against sickness and unemployment to keep yourself protected.
Who Are We Members Of?
Estate agents in the residential property industry must be regulated by The Estate Agents Act 1979 (EAA) as well as general consumer protection legislation which includes the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs)
The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA)
The ARLA is the regulatory body that is solely concerned with residential lettings.
H&B Lettings have qualified staff meaning that the advice given is of the highest standard.
All H&B Lettings Ltd client accounts are independently audited every year by ARLA which means you can be sure our systems are following the Principles of Professional Conduct set by ARLA.
The Property Ombudsman (TPO)
We are a member of The Property Ombudsman (TPO) make sure our employees follow their codes of practice.
Client Money Protection
We are memebers of a client money protection scheme:
National Federation of Property Professionals
Arbon House, 6 Tournament Court, Edgehill Drive, Warwick, CV34 6LG