Tenancy Process

The tenancy process will vary according to the type of property, the location (England or Wales), and the type of tenant you are (sharers, renting away from home, company let) so this is a basic guide to how our process works and it may differ slightly according to your circumstances.



Get Financially Prepared

Understand the costs associated with renting a property:

Refundable holding deposit = 1 weeks rent can secure a property for 15 days whilst references and checks are carried out.
Rent in advance = Usually 1 months rent, but can be more if you do not meet employment criteria.
Security deposit = 5 weeks rent (for annual rent of > £50,000) or 6 weeks rent (for annual rent of £50,000 >).


Moving Costs

There could be set-up fees for your broadband services, setting up your media and phone services.
Do you have to buy furniture or furnishings, crockery, cutlery or other items for your new home?
On-going utilities: Council Tax, Gas & Electric (you can get an idea of the energy efficiency of the property on the EPC).
Do you need to hire removal help or a van?


Your Requirements

Have a list of your criteria and consider whether they are 'deal breakers' or 'nice to haves' but not 'necessities':
Maximum rental amount
Must accept pets
Must have parking - how many spaces do you need?
A place to work from home - if so what is the internet speed?
Outside space: balcony, terrace, garden?
Close to public transport or easy transport links?
Catchment of a certain school?



Who are the neighbours?

If you meet the current renter or the landlords, it's a good idea to ask about the neighbours: are they loud, quiet, a family, young, or old? Do they own any animals? Have past tenants had any run-ins with them (they legally have to report any difficulties that have arisen)?
If you are renting a flat or a connected house, or if you have to share a garden or hallway with your neighbours it's important to know how their habits might affect you.


What is included?

Whether the place you want to rent has furniture or not, what you see when you look at it might not be what you get. The furniture may belong to the previous renter, who is now moving out.

This doesn't just include furniture; make sure to ask about white goods, light fixtures, curtains, and blinds.

If the property is furnished or has any fittings, it is wise to take out accidental damage liability insurance with your contents insurance. This will protect you against any accidental damage you cause to the landlord's property, and safeguard your security deposit.


Can I decorate?

Many leases say that you can't paint the walls, put up shelves, hang pictures, or change the way the place looks in any way. If this worries you, you can always ask to add a separately negotiated clause to your contract that gives you more freedom.
If the landlord doesn't let you decorate, there are other things you can do. For example, you could use "peel-and-stick" wallpaper for renters or "wallpaper pictures," which are just large "canvases" made from your favourite wallpaper. This way, you can put your personality into your space without losing any of your deposit.


What's the internet like?

Will you be streaming a lot of TV, playing games online, or working from home? If so, you need to make sure that your internet speed can handle it.
Find out what Internet providers are offering and what the fastest speeds are.

If you don't plan to only use online TV services, you'll also need to know whether there is an aerial or satellite dish fitted.
If you rent a flat, there may be a clause in the headlease that says you can't put up a Sky dish.

You may want to ask if cable services are available and if there is already a phone line. New builds may not have these in place and there could be a set-up cost involved.


Check out the heating system

Check to see what kind of boiler is there and if you can see if the taps have immediate hot water and if all the radiators work. If it's a combi boiler, hot water will literally be "on tap," but if it stops working for any reason, it is good to know if there is a backup, like an immersion heater.

Check to see if each radiator has its own thermostat or if they are all connected. This will tell you if you can turn off the heat in places you aren't using to save money.

Does your landlord have a service contract for the boiler or any other services? Ask if there is a 24-hour emergency service available. Even though you hope you won't need it, it's nice to know that if a pipe bursts in the middle of the night, it will be fixed as soon as possible.


How is the water pressure?

Finally, check the water pressure in the shower – you'll be glad you did. There's nothing worse than finding out after you have move in that the water flow in your shower can't even rinse the shampoo from your hair.
If the pressure is too low will the landlord fit a pump to increase the pressure for you?

Is the shower thermostatic? This means it will balance out the temperature, so you don't scald/freeze yourself if someone turns on a tap elsewhere in the property.



Ensure that you list anything that you require to be part of the agreement - such as oven/carpet cleaning, furniture item removed, pets or break clause included etc.



Once the landlord has agreed to your offer you will be asked to secure the property with a one-week holding deposit, whilst references and checks are carried out and the contract is drawn up. This can take up to 15 days.



Read your written tenancy agreement carefully to understand your rights and responsibilities. If you have any concerns about the agreement, seek advice before you sign.



It is usual for references to be taken from your employer and a previous landlord, along with a credit check to ensure you have no bad credit such as IVAs, CCJs, or bankruptcy orders. You will need to have a right to rent in the UK and your documents will be checked in person.



Once your references have been accepted and everything is ready for you to proceed you can sign your contract and pay your moving-in money. This is usually the equivalent of 1 month's rent in advance (unless another amount has been agreed upon) and a 5-week security deposit (you have already paid 1 week) for any rental up to £50,000 PA or 6-week if higher.



You will usually have an appointment time to meet with the inventory clerk and go through the check-in at the property. It is really important to pay attention and ensure you agree with the schedule of condition and the inventory report, as this will form the basis of your deposit return at the end of your tenancy. The smoke & CO detectors must be checked at this time and witnessed by you. Take meter readings and accept the keys to your new home. CONGRATULATIONS!