Step by Step Rental Guide
10 steps to renting a property
Finding a new home
As a tenant, it is very important that you choose a landlord and letting agent that you can trust. CityLets York operates under strict standards of professional and ethical practice with complete transparency so you are clear about fees, and the legal implications of letting.
When you start the search for your ideal home you may wish to consider the following:
Think about the location you’d like to live in. Consider your ‘must have’ list- what do you really want? What’s your budget? Would you pay more for the right property? How long do you need the accommodation for? Is it a stop gap or a long term solution? When would you like to move in? Work backwards and start your search around four to eight weeks before this. Do not leave everything to the last week as referencing can take as long as 7 days if you work for larger institutions or companies. Take into consideration the cost of council tax and utilities as part of your budget. Whether you have begun your search online or in the office of your letting agent, once you have found one or more properties which meet your requirements, a lettings negotiator will take you on viewings so you can see the property in person. We can either meet you at the property or at the office where we can offer transport. Ask as many questions as you like; this is going to be your home and it is important to us that you make an informed choice.
Securing a property
The rental market can move very fast so if you see the perfect property, you may have to act quickly to secure it (during the summer and autumn months or if we are renting a prime property, this is often the case). We recommend always being prepared with the relevant documents such as a form of identification and confirmation of your address.
Once you have found the right flat or house you’ll need to:
Sign our terms of business. These provide you with clear details about the property and what is included. Pay our administration fees. These are detailed on all our properties and in our terms of business which are given to you at your viewing. Sign a copy of the EPC (Energy Performance Certificate). This certificate gives the property a rating based on such factors as loft insulation, double glazing, boiler age, efficiency etc and more, and is valid for 10 years. Pay a deposit of £200.00. Provide photo ID. This can be a driving license or Passport. Provide proof of address. This can be a utility bill or bank statement- please ask for details. Sign a declaration form from our external referencing company, giving permission to contact you and your former landlord and employer.
Please note references can take up to 7 working days to complete, so please allow enough time for this. If your references fail you may lose your £200.00 holding fee. See full details in our terms or ask a member of our team.
Credit and Reference Checks
You will be asked to provide references prior to moving into your new home. We mostly use an external referencing company for this and they will contact you on-line for your details. There are a few landlords (mostly larger housing corporations or companies) that will complete their own referencing and we will let you know what information you require for this. The main criteria required will be as follows:
Three years’ address history. Landlord details for any property rented in the last three yearsConfirmation of earnings per annum that are 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 judgment, bankruptcy order or similar. If you’re self-employed, either an accounts reference or to provide evidence of the last three years’ tax return.
The Legal Stuff and Payment
Once your references have been completed and accepted, we will arrange an appointment for you to come into our central office to sign all the relevant paper and pay the agreed fees, rent and security deposit.
All tenants will be asked to make payment, sign a tenancy agreement and a inventory and schedule of condition too (unless you have agreed to have a check-in clerk present to go through your inventory with you on-site).
Please ensure you have enough funds in your bank to meet the payments and allow enough time if transferring funds directly into our bank account. We are unable to hand you the keys to the property until we have cleared funds and a signed tenancy agreement by all parties concerned.
Note: A Tenancy Agreement is a legally binding document that sets out the terms of the tenancy and is drawn up to ensure the rights and obligations of both the tenant and the landlord are adhered to. All relevant parties will be asked to sign this document, which agrees the responsibilities of the landlord and tenant. This may include such responsibilities as; you must tell your landlord if you are going away for longer than 14 days, you must not use the property as a business.
Note: The inventory is a detailed list of the contents and condition of the property 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 therefore that you thoroughly check the inventory when you first move into the property and you must let the agent know of any if the property contents or condition differs from the inventory.
At CityLets York for our managed and Let Only service, an AIIC trained Independent Inventory Service will prepare this document for the landlord.
The Security Deposit
Once the deposit is paid in full this deposit is held as the landlord’s cover for any excessive damages that need to be repaired at the end of the tenancy. This deposit ultimately belongs to the tenant and the landlord has to show at the end of the tenancy that he is entitled to any funds for the cost of excessive damages, cleaning, loss of rent and potentially any unreported maintenance.
If CityLets York is managing the property on behalf of the landlord, the deposit will be registered with the TDS (Tenancy Deposit Scheme). However, if the landlord manages the property themselves, we’ll inform you what deposit scheme the landlord will be using and the terms and conditions of that scheme will form part of your Tenancy Agreement.
All deposit need to be registered within 14 days and the registration number and details given to the tenant.
For full details on the TDS please go to www, TDS.co.uk. Details of the other schemes are: www.mydeposits.co.uk, www.DPS.co.uk
Safety Regulation and Insurance
If you chose a licensed lettings agency such as CityLets York, it is our duty to keep up-to-date with the safety regulation to ensure that you rent a safe and comfortable property.
We advise all our landlords on their legal responsibilities for keeping their tenants safe from harm, by making sure their property and its contents (if furnished) meet the UK’s legal safety standards.
Tenants often overlook the need to take out contents insurance when renting a property. CityLets York can provide information on tenants insurance.
Once the tenancy agreement has been signed and cleared funds are in our client account, you are ready to move into your property on the start date agreed on the tenancy agreement. Keys can be picked up at the office or, if you have arranged for a check-in clerk, they will meet you at your new home.
Maintenance and Property Inspections
If CityLets York manages your landlord’s property we are committed to ensuring the property is well maintained and cared for. This is where we work together with a tenant to ensure that all maintenance is reported immediately to ensure that a small problem does not grow into a major costly repair. We are also committed to ensuring that your home is kept safe and in good repair so that your stay is comfortable and stress free.
Reporting maintenance is easy and can be done on-line or via mobile device. Just click here.
The property you are renting is a large investment for your landlord, so either CityLets York will arrange visit days to meet with you at the property and check that everything is in order, usually only a couple of times a year. Of course, if anything breaks down or needs repairing then the landlord or nominated contractors will visit the property more often to ensure the property remains in good condition for you to live in.
If your property is professionally managed by us, you’ll receive a welcome call within 48 hours from your designated Property Management team, who will be your main point of contact during the course of your tenancy. They will advise you on any maintenance issues and if action is needed either by yourself or the landlord- depending on whether the issue is a long term fault or through ‘wear and tear’.
A managed property will also receive regular inspection visits (carried out by your property manager) which will generate photographic reports. Both you and your landlord will receive copies of the report, so that everyone is aware of the property’s current condition and disputes can either be avoided or easily resolved.
Once you are nearing the end of your tenancy period you will need to decide whether to extend your stay or move out (remembering to give two months’ notice in writing).
If you do want to renew the tenancy, we will liaise with you directly and send you all the necessary paperwork to complete. If your circumstances have changed, some new checks may be needed, but this will be advised on at the time. The landlord at this stage will be within his/her rights to serve notice on your tenancy if they need the property back or there have been any persistent issues.
If we manage the property on behalf of the landlord, we’ll arrange a check out with an independent inventory company (carried out on the last day of your tenancy) to ensure the property is left in an appropriate condition – at this point, you’ll hand back the keys. If the landlord manages the property, you’ll need to liaise with them directly in order to arrange a time and date to meet there, complete a check out and hand the keys back.
After serving your notice you’ll need to ensure that the property is left in good condition in order for you to be entitled to your full deposit back. 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 days after the deposit release agreements have been received.
Allowing for normal wear and tear, if the property is in the same condition as when you moved in, getting your deposit back should be no problem.
Here’s what to do next:
Give the property a thorough clean, including carpets, windows, walls and furniture (if necessary hire a professional cleaner)
If it’s your responsibility, tidy up the garden and clear away any rubbishReturn all the keysRemove all your personal belongings
For all properties managed by CityLets York, we will send you a comprehensive letter with hints and tips about moving out of a property and details of the check-out time and date when an independent inventory clerk will come and check the property. It is ideal if tenants are present at the check-out but no essential. As the check out is completed by an independent AIIC (Association of Independent Inventory Clerks) trained clerk, no bias will be shown towards the landlord or tenant, and the clerk will just document what she observes. For more information go to www.aiic.co.uk.
Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding the letting or management of your property; we are always happy to advise and guide all our tenants.