Step by step guide to letting a property.
Step 1: Make sure you have your finances prepared.
There are several cost implications to consider. Make sure you are ready!
When renting, there are costs in addition to your weekly or monthly rent, you need to factor into your budget.
In 2020, the Tenant Fees Act 2019, came into full force meaning many of the fees once paid by the tenant, are now not payable. There are however some upfront costs involved before renting a property. These costs normally include:
- Holding Deposit (equal to 1 week's rent)
- Tenancy Security Deposit (equal to 5 week's rent where the rent is less than £50,000 p/a and equal to 6 weeks rent where the rent is above this).
- First month’s rent
Questions to ask before beginning your property search.
How long do you want the tenancy for?
Tenancies can range in terms of length and it's always worth discussing this with us or the landlord. Don't let your dream property go to someone else just because the property description says otherwise. You can generally sign terms for tenancies between 6 months and just under 3 years.
What can you afford?
At the heart of your search should be your budget. If you have a monthly rental price in mind, make sure you check added costs including bills and tax. You can check how much you can afford on the Money Advice Service website.
What documents should you start getting together?
To save time when you start looking, make sure you have your identification documentation, immigration status and proof of address (less than 3 months old) easily to hand.
Step 2: Finding the right property for you
As a tenant it is vital to choose a Landlord and/or letting agent that you can trust – you will be renting a home from them which is a big and long-term decision. At Day & Co we operate under strict standards of professional and ethical practice and are members of safeagent and The Property Ombudsman, which offers further reassurance that you are in good hands.
What is your budget?
- Most agents will have an income criteria as part of the referencing
- £rent pcm x 30 - would give you an approximate guide to what your annual salary should be in terms of affordability
- Where there are, for example, two people sharing a property which seems out of your original budget, it may well be more within your reach
When would you like to move in?
- Properties on the rental market can often be available to view around six to eight weeks before they are ready, so work to this timescale.
- Start your search as soon as you know you need to move, up to 8 weeks prior
- We will register you as an applicant and keep you updated on new properties during this time.
You can begin your property search with us online, over the phone or in branch, but once you've discussed your needs and narrowed down the shortlist, we can then then arrange a viewing appointment for you in person.
Finding the right place to rent.
There are many places you can look for your new property and Day & Co makes this easy for you.
The best place to start, is our property search on line. Here you can filter the properties we have on the market to match your needs.
Use our rental search and adjust the filters and advanced features to narrow down the search to find exactly what you want, where you want.
Register as a tenant with us and we will sign you up for property alerts making sure you're first to know about any new properties that come to market.
You can also call or visit us in branch, where we can discuss your needs and register you for properties.
Step 3: Start viewing the properties you're interested in
The rental market moves fast, so if you see the perfect property with us, you have to act quickly to secure it. Arrange a viewing, or multiple viewings, as soon as you can and try to view properties in quick succession so it’s easier to make a decision.
Ask the right questions.
- Space: does it meet your needs? Will your furniture fit, or does it have the furnishings you need? What about storage?
- Parking: does it come with a parking space or garage? Does the parking space cost more on top of the rent? Do you need a permit?
- Decor: you won't necessarily be able to re-paint without permission, so does it match your preferences? Also ask about putting up pictures/mirrors - are there existing hooks for these?
- Ask about mobile phone reception, cable/ satellite dish, broadband availability and electrical sockets
- Who is looking after the tenancy once someone moves in? Is it the agent or the landlord?
- If you like the property and are considering renting it, ask about any works being done (or not done) before a new tenant moves in. If there is something you'd like doing before moving in, ask if it is a possibility as this will help you make your final decision.
Day & Co’s top tip for securing a property
Once you have found the right property, you will need to put a holding deposit down, equal to 1 weeks rent, to state your intention and show good faith.
You can check our website and our local branch, for a list of all potential charges & terms. Before you move in, you will have to pay the first month’s rent and a deposit so make sure you have cleared funds available for this.
Step 4: Tenancy Application
Credit and reference checks.
You will be asked to give references to confirm your details and background. An application form can be completed online, or in branch. Please make sure you give plenty of contact details so that the process is quick. It’s also worth speaking with your references / referees so they know they will be approached.
The typical referencing criteria consists of:
- Three years' address history
- Landlord details for any property rented in the last three years
- Confirmation of earnings, per annum, that are normally equal to the monthly rental fee, multiplied by 30
- If you're retired, then your (joint) pension, per annum, will also need to equal 30 times the monthly rental
- No adverse credit in the form of a county court judgement, bankruptcy order or similar
- If you are self-employed, either an accountant’s reference or evidence on the last three years' tax returns
The tenancy agreement, the deposit and getting ready to move in.
So, you’ve passed your References and “subject to contract” you are moving in! What next?
A Tenancy Agreement is a legally binding document that sets out the terms of the tenancy and is drawn up to ensure that the rights and obligations of both tenant and Landlord are adhered to.
It is very important that you read the tenancy agreement as soon as you can, so you have ample opportunity to check that you understand all the terms and what your responsibilities will be. Once all parties agree, sign and you pay your move in monies, you are legally bound by this agreement until the specified end date.
Once the deposit is paid in full along with the first month’s rent and the tenancy is fully signed, the property is secured and keys can be released to you on the day the tenancy starts.
A tenancy deposit is held to give your Landlord protection in case you leave without paying the rent, cause damage to the property and / or its contents or you breach a term of the tenancy. From 1st June 2019 landlords in England are limited to 5 weeks’ deposit for new and renewed tenancies (or 6 weeks if the annual rent is £50,000 or more). Your tenancy agreement will show clearly what the deposit is for and how it will be dealt with under the terms of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme laws, according to what type of Tenancy you have. You will be informed which government approved scheme is being used and you will get confirmation once the deposit is registered, within 30 days of you paying it.
Step 5: Staying safe and protected in your rental property
Day & Co ensure we are fully up to date with the latest lettings industry legislation. This means we will constantly keep our landlords updated on their legal responsibilities for keeping their tenants safe from harm, by making sure their property and its contents (if furnished) meet the legal safety standards. We will look on an annual basis at certain safety checks and you may well be contacted whilst you live there, so approved contractors can enter the property to carry out the checks.
Step 6: Moving in
Now that the proposed move-in day has arrived, there are steps you need to complete before keys can be handed over:
- All tenants/ guarantors to sign the Tenancy Agreement – which all parties can do online by DocuSign, or in person at our office.
- Move-in money must have been paid and cleared, this normally includes:
a. First month's rent
- Bring to the office any documents you've been asked for, such as:
a. Photo ID
b. Right to Rent documents (England only)
c. Proof of recent residency
d. Confirmation of any insurance
What information will the agent provide to you?
We will then hand over a copy of the Tenancy Agreement for your records along with the contact details of who you deal with going forward -this may be the Agent or the Landlord. We will provide you with a copy of the Gas Safety Certificate (if applicable), EPC, How to Rent Guide and a copy of an Electrical Safety Report (England only).
Future rent payments will normally be made monthly and paid by standing order – we will give you all the forms to complete or bank details, including a payment reference, so you can set this up in time for the next rent due date.
Your keys will be available to collect from our office, where we will go through the main terms of the tenancy agreement and anything that you may not be sure about.
Should the landlord have had an inventory carried out, you will receive a copy. The inventory is a detailed document listing the property contents and condition at the point that you move into it. By both parties agreeing that the inventory is correct at the start of the tenancy, any risk of disputes at the end of the tenancy will be minimised. We recommend that you thoroughly check the inventory before you sign it and advise us of anything that you wish us to note, within 7 days of the tenancy starting. This document is used when you move out of the property to so that any changes can be easily identified and charged for, where necessary, after fair wear & tear is taken into account. If we do not receive a signed copy of the inventory within 7 days, we will assume it has been accepted as correct by the tenant.
Council Tax, Water, Gas, Electric and TV Licence
From the day you move in until you move out you must ensure that your name is on the bills and all are paid on time (unless your rent includes bills). You should contact each supplier once you have moved in but we may also do this on your behalf. Keep a note of your meter readings on move-in day from your Inventory and make sure you send off your meter readings regularly, so your bills are accurate.
Day & Co’s Top Tip for post move-in
Keep a file for your rental property, including the signed tenancy agreement, inventory and contact numbers in one place and to hand in case you ever need some information and especially for when you move out. Add Day & Co or your landlords contact information into your phone, which will make reporting maintenance issues easy.
Step 7: Living in your new property
Property maintenance problems/ questions.
If your property is managed by Day & Co, you will be advised who to contact during your tenancy. They will discuss maintenance issues with you and whether action is needed either by yourself or the Landlord- depending on whether the issue is a long-term fault or through 'wear-and-tear'.
Your Tenancy Agreement will help guide you on who is responsible for what and the timescales we aim to meet.
If your property is managed by the Landlord, you will be advised of their name and contact details and you should contact them directly with any issues you may have.
Under the terms of the tenancy, your rent will be due each month (or each week/quarter) and it will be clearly stated when and how it should be paid. As the Tenancy Agreement is a legally binding contract, it is important that you pay your rent as due, on time. Day & Co and Landlords alike understand that on occasion payments can be late, but it is best to talk to us or your Landlord about this as soon as it happens, or may happen, so that action is not taken.
A property managed by Day & Co will receive regular visits carried out by a member of our staff. This will give the us an opportunity to check the property is being cared for on behalf of the Landlord and it is also an opportunity for Tenants to raise any queries during their time at the property. Many Landlords do not live nearby so we are often employed to ensure the property maintains in a good condition for you to live in. If the Landlord manages the let themselves, they also may wish to visit periodically – both Landlords and Agents must give you proper written notice of when this may happen.
Day & Co’s Top Tip
If anything breaks down or needs repairing before or after a visit, please don’t wait for the next visit to tell us or your landlord! Make contact straight away.
What happens near the end of your contract?
Towards the end of the fixed term of your contract, Day & Co or landlord will be in touch to find out what you would like to do - you will need to decide whether to extend your stay or move out. Make sure you get in touch so we or your landlord can action the necessary.
Step 8: Moving out of the property
It is best to let us know at least 1 month before the end of the fixed term (or give 2 months’ notice if you are on a rolling/periodic tenancy) that you may want to move out. If we manage the property for the Landlord, we'll arrange a check out appointment once the keys have been surrendered, so we can ensure the property is left in an appropriate condition in accordance with the deposit legislation. If the Landlord manages the property, you will need to contact them directly to arrange a time and date to meet there, complete a check out and hand the keys back to the landlord.
Getting your deposit back
Once you know you are moving out and you have told Day & Co or your landlord, you will need to make sure that the property is left in good condition for you to be entitled to your full deposit back (fair wear and tear excepted). We will confirm in writing to you certain requirements and tips in order that you can do this easily. If there are no deductions or disputes and all the necessary forms are filled out correctly by you and by the Landlord, your deposit should be returned ten working days later – in accordance with the tenancy agreement.
Day & Co’s Top Tip
Make sure the property is left clean; including carpets, oven, windows, walls and furniture (if necessary, or more convenient for you, hire a professional cleaner). Tidy the garden and clear away any rubbish, return all the keys, remove all of your belongings, notify the energy suppliers, water company and council tax that you are moving out and settle your final bills.