Updated: 10 January 2020
If you have never rented a property before or last rented a property a long time ago you may be uncertain as to what to expect. To assist you we have set out below the answers to a number of frequently asked questions.
Q - What references will be required?
A - Prior to the creation of a tenancy, references will be taken for each applicant. Most Landlords will require a wide range of references and where appropriate these typically comprise: employer’s reference, previous landlord reference, bank reference and/or credit check and also a character reference.
References will be applied for by the landlord or their letting agent directly to the referee and in the case of a letting agent all references received, will normally be sent directly to the Landlord for approval.
Currently if applying for a property through a letting agent it is usual for a non-refundable administration charge to be made to the applicant(s) for obtaining references. In cases where an applicant(s) is/are unable to produce an employer’s reference or information relating to income, a Surety Guarantor to the Agreement may be required by the Landlord and that Guarantor will usually be referenced.
Q - What is a Guarantor?
A - A Guarantor is a person or body who underwrites the applicant(s) of the tenancy. In doing so the Guarantor underwrites all responsibilities and obligations of the tenancy agreement and these will include: unpaid rent, all out-goings i.e service costs as well as any dilapidations. The Guarantor will carry these obligations for the full term of the tenancy, jointly and severally with the tenant(s).
Q - What is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement?
A - In the majority of cases, the arrangement that you are like to enter will be an Assured Shorthold Tenancy and this agreement will be for a minimum period of 7 months.
Unlike some other types of tenancy, an Assured Shorthold Tenancy entitles the landlord to a possession order immediately after the initial agreed period. The landlord is therefore able to evict the tenant after the initial fixed term without a legal reason.
The tenancy agreement, which the applicant will sign, will set out the basis of the arrangement between the Tenant and the Landlord, and the agreement will fully detail the obligations to be undertaken. The Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement provides for rent payable monthly in advance and also provides for the payment of a security deposit before the letting is created.
Q - Do I need an inventory?
A - It would be unwise to take a tenancy without an inventory because the document not only protects the landlord but the tenant as well.
The inventory will fully detail the furnishings, fittings and equipment within the property as well as the condition of the premises at the commencement of the tenancy. The Tenant will be held liable to return the property at the end of the tenancy in the same condition as it was at the commencement.
If there is a dispute, the inventory is the document that will be used to determine what is fair and appropriate.
Q - Do I pay the utility bills?
A - Unless specifically detailed within the tenancy agreement the tenant(s) will be liable for council tax, water and sewerage charges, together with electricity, gas and telephone/internet supplied to the property. These suppliers should not be changed without prior approval from the landlord (or Agent).
Any request to change supplier or the form of meter payment for the electricity, gas or water supply can only be undertaken with prior written consent from the landlord or their agent and we would recommend this consent be retained for future reference.
Q - Do I need contents insurance?
A - The Landlord should be insuring the property and his own contents. Tenants should make arrangements to insure their own furniture and possessions, as these will not be covered by the Landlord’s policy.
Q - What do I do if I have any issues during my tenancy?
A - This will depend upon whether your landlord is managing the property himself or if he has an agent managing the property upon his behalf.
Before referring a matter to your landlord or letting agent as appropriate, give consideration to your responsibilities. As a tenant you are responsible for general day to day maintenance i.e. tightening a screw on a door fixing or replacing light bulbs. If the problem is not your responsibility i.e. a leaking tap or broken down appliance contact your letting agent or your landlord at the earliest opportunity whilst giving consideration to the hours in which your landlord or letting agent can be contacted. Unless a defect is serious or urgent the landlord or his agent is allowed reasonable time to rectify the problem.
Should an emergency occur outside working hours, a tenant should use their discretion. Should a tenant decide to call in a contractor themselves they should be aware that in some circumstances the Landlord might not be liable for the charges incurred.
Q - When and how do I pay my rent?
A - Your rent will be payable on the day that is set out within your tenancy agreement. At Goadsby we require all tenants to pay their rent in advance by standing order. The standing order should be set up to ensure the rent is received by our bank on or before the rent due day.
To avoid overpayments tenants are reminded that at the termination of a tenancy it is their responsibility to cancel the standing order.
Q - Can I sub-let rooms?
A - Under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy tenants are not permitted to take in lodgers or paying guests.
Q - How will my deposit be protected?
A - At Goadsby deposits are held on behalf of the Landlord and Tenant as “stakeholder”. The deposit is protected by ‘The Dispute Service’ tenancy deposit protection scheme. For further information on how the deposit is being held and for details on disputed deposits, please visit www.thedisputeservice.co.uk
Q - How long will it take me to get my deposit back?
A - At the termination of tenancy Tenants should be aware that their deposit is unlikely to be returned immediately. This is because time will be required to offer the landlord the opportunity to assess the property against the inventory and if deficiencies are found for quotes for the necessary repairs to be obtained. Deductions, if any, need be agreed between both Landlord and Tenant before the deposit can be discharged.
At Goadsby any dispute between Landlord and Tenant will be dealt in accordance with our procedures and the procedures of the tenancy deposit protection scheme.