Renting a property can be a frustrating process but at Fisks we try to make it as simple as possible.
Often tenants can be made to feel very helpless whilst trying to secure their preferred rental property and there are a number of different strategies that typical high street agents use to streamline the process at the expense of the tenant. This is not the service standard promoted by Fisks and we strive to deal with every tenancy on an individual and personal basis, ensuring that both you as well as the landlord receive a professional and comprehensive experience.
Delve a little deeper
Once you have identified your ideal rental property Fisks can begin the reservation process. To reserve a property we will ask for the equivalent of one weeks rent to be paid as a holding deposit. This can be calculated using the following formula:
(Monthly Rent x 12) ¸ 52 = Weekly Rent
The holding deposit will be withheld if any relevant person withdraws from the tenancy, fails a Right-to-Rent check, provide materially significant false or misleading information, or fail to sign their tenancy agreement within 15 days (or other Deadline for Agreement as mutually agreed in writing).
Upon receiving the holding deposit we will issue you with our tenant application form that needs to be completed as promptly as possible. If you require a copy click here.
Once we have received your completed application form we will commence the referencing process and once we have obtained all of your references we will propose you to the landlord for approval.
As part of the referencing process we are obliged to perform a Right to rent check. The Immigration Act 2014 introduced new restrictions that apply to private residential rental agreements. Before we accept a new tenant, we are required to perform a check that they have the right to live and rent in the UK.
Before the start of a new tenancy, we must check all tenants aged 18 and over, even if:
- they’re not named on the tenancy agreement
- there’s no tenancy agreement, and
- the tenancy agreement isn’t in writing
We have to check all new tenants.
If the tenant is only allowed to stay in the UK for a limited time, you need to do the check in the 28 days before the start of the tenancy.
The checks are modelled on the ‘right to work’ checks employers have performed for many years. In most cases, the checks will involve a face value examination of documents such as a passport, a permanent residence card or a biometric immigration document. We need to keep copies of the documentation as evidence the checks have been carried out and retain them for one year after the tenancy ends.
If you are concerned about your right to rent and live within the UK you can use the Government’s online checker.
To help you comply with the legislation, you can use a simple online toolkit or call the dedicated landlord helpline on 0300 069 9799.
There are some types of accommodation for which these checks aren’t necessary. These include social housing and care homes. You can find a full list of these types of properties on the government website.
Upon receiving the landlords approval and completing a Right to Rent check we will then be able to move forward with your application for tenancy and propose a start date as well as seek the balance of the security deposit from you.
Typically we ask for the equivalent of one month’s rent and the holding deposit will be used towards this. The balance that will be due can be calculated using the following formula:
One Month Rent – Holding Deposit = Balance of Security Deposit Due
The security deposit is payable upon the landlords acceptance of your referencing and prior to the commencement of your tenancy. A security deposit is designed to give landlords surety against damage to property and possible non-payment of rent. When a tenancy comes to an end, there is usually no disagreement about the return of the deposit. But sometimes there is and this can cause much hardship and inconvenience to both landlord and tenant.
The Housing Act 2004 (Chapter 4,sections 212-5; & Schedule 10) made provision for both the protection of tenancy deposits and the resolution of disputes over their return. The Deposit Protection Service (The DPS) are the original Government authorised Custodial scheme, protecting over 7.2 million deposits since 2007, and the largest provider of deposit protection scheme in the UK and Fisks use the DPS to protect all of their tenants deposits. The legislation came into effect on 6 April 2007. Since that date all deposits taken for Assured Shorthold Tenancies have to be covered by a tenancy deposit protection scheme.
Any landlord or agent who takes a deposit from a tenant for an Assured Shorthold Tenancy must safeguard it in an approved tenancy deposit scheme and…
- The tenant must be told which one.
- The deposit must be in money.
- Landlords in breach of these provisions will not be able to issue S 21 notices, and may have to pay the tenant compensation of three times the deposit.
- Each scheme must have procedures for resolving disputes without going to court.
- There are strict time limits for the return of the deposit if there is no dispute.
- The Act allows for both custodial and insured schemes. Custodial schemes are where the deposit is lodged with an independent third party i.e. outside the control of the landlord. Insured schemes allow the landlord/agent to retain control of the deposit as long as they are subject to suitable insurance arrangements.
- Secondary legislation will fill out the detail, including time limits for dealing with disputes.
The most common form of tenancy within the UK is an Assured Shorthold tenancy (AST). Most new tenancies are automatically this type.
A tenancy can be an AST if all of the following apply:
- the property you rent is private
- your tenancy started on or after 15 January 1989
- the property is your main accommodation
- your landlord does not live in the property
A tenancy cannot be an AST if:
- it began or was agreed before 15 January 1989
- the rent is more than £100,000 a year
- the rent is less than £250 a year (less than £1,000 in London)
- it’s a business tenancy or tenancy of licensed premises
- the property is a holiday let
- your landlord is a local council
Typically all of the properties offered for letting by Fisks will be let using an Assured Shorthold Tenancy typically for an initial term of either 6 or 12 months.
The inventory is probably the most important document for any tenancy. If you can’t agree deposit deductions with the tenant, and you enter the Dispute Resolution process, an adjudicator will use evidence like the inventory to compare the property condition at the beginning and end of the tenancy.
A robust, thorough inventory can help protect letting agents, landlords and tenants from deposit disputes at the end of a tenancy, so it’s really important that everybody takes the time to complete it.
Fisks use an independent inventory clerk to make the inventory for you.
While you are living in the property, it’s still important to keep records of anything that’s been damaged or replaced, or of any repair work has been carried out. If there’s a dispute at the end of the tenancy, your records could make a big difference.
You will need to let your landlord know in advance if you want to end your tenancy. This is called giving notice. You have to give notice in the correct way – if you don’t, you might have to pay rent even after you’ve moved out. You might also have to pay other bills – for example, council tax.
When and how much notice you give will depend on the type of tenancy you have and what your tenancy agreement says.
If you can’t give the right amount of notice you might be able to agree with your landlord to end your tenancy early. This is called ‘surrendering your tenancy’.
Your tenancy will either have a ‘fixed term tenancy’ which ends on a certain date or a ‘periodic tenancy’, which just continues on a monthly or weekly basis for example. A periodic tenancy is also known as a ‘rolling tenancy’.
A fixed term tenancy means you have to pay your rent until at least the end of your fixed term. You might need to pay rent after your fixed term if you:
- stay in the property
- don’t give notice in the correct way – this will depend on the type of tenancy you have and what your tenancy agreement says
You can only end your fixed term tenancy early if your agreement says you can or by getting your landlord to agree to end your tenancy.
If your agreement says you can end your fixed term tenancy early, this means you have a ‘break clause’.
Your tenancy agreement will tell you when the break clause can apply. For example your break clause might say you can end your tenancy 6 months after it starts if you give 1 month’s notice.
Some break clauses might have other conditions that you have to meet. For example your break clause might say you can’t have rent arrears.
It is important that you read and understand your break clause so you know how and when you can end your tenancy. Follow the conditions and wording of your break clause carefully – if you don’t you might not be able to end your tenancy.
A Periodic Tenancy means you can end your tenancy at any time by giving your landlord notice if you have a periodic tenancy. You will have to pay your rent to the end of your notice period.
You’ll have a periodic tenancy if:
- you’ve never had a fixed term and you have a rolling tenancy – for example, it runs from month to month or week to week
- your fixed term tenancy has ended and your tenancy has continued to roll on
The amount of notice you have to give to end your tenancy will depend on the type of tenancy you have. Check your tenancy agreement to find out how much notice you have to give. You can usually give notice at any time, unless you have a break clause or a tenancy agreement that says otherwise.
The notice you give has to end on the first or last day of your tenancy period. If your tenancy period runs from the 4th of each month to the 3rd of the next month this would mean:
- the first day of your tenancy period would be the 4th of the month
- the last day of your tenancy period would be the 3rd of the next month
So your notice would have to end on either the 3rd or 4th of the month.
You must normally get the agreement of your landlord and the other tenants to give notice to end your fixed term joint tenancy. If you end your tenancy it ends for everyone.
If your fixed term joint tenancy has a break clause you have to get all the tenants to agree to end the tenancy, unless your agreement says otherwise.
If you have a periodic joint tenancy you can give notice to end your tenancy without the agreement of the other tenants – unless your tenancy agreement says otherwise. It’s important to be aware that if you end your tenancy it ends for everyone.
Check if your tenancy agreement says anything about how you should give notice. If it doesn’t say anything, give notice by writing a letter to Fisks Estate Agents.
When you write to give notice make sure your letter clearly states the date you’ll be moving out.
Keep a copy of your letter and get a proof of posting certificate from the post office, in case you need to prove when you posted it.
You can send your letter by email if your tenancy agreement says you can.
When you move out of your property you should make sure you clean the property and leave it in the same condition as when you moved in. You need to do this so you get your deposit back at the end of your tenancy.
It is recommended that you get the property professionally cleaned and it is also worth taking photos of the condition of the property when you leave.
Make sure you pay all your household bills before moving out – for example gas, electricity, broadband and your council tax.
It’s also worth taking photos of your electric and gas meters so you have a record in case there are problems later.
Contact all the companies you pay before you move out and tell them the date you will be leaving. It’s important to do this so you’re not charged for services after you’ve left.