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Information for Tenants

Renting a house can sometimes seem like a complicated process, but we’re here to help.  We let and manage furnished and unfurnished properties throughout Stamford and the villages beyond. Our stock changes daily and you should contact us for current availability or to register your requirements. In order to remove some of your queries we have described the process
from beginning to end so please read on for help and advice.

Thinking of moving?

Once you begin to think about moving there are lots of things to take into consideration and we will help you with these – but we won’t be able to answer the questions! For instance, the proximity of the property to work or college, number of bedrooms, the amount of rent you can afford, who will be living at the property, do you need outside space, is off-road parking needed etc. When you contact us to register your interest we will note your personal information* and requirements. We then search our database for suitable properties for you to view. 

It is wise to start looking at least one month before you wish to move, as some properties are viewed and reserved quickly. Our tenancies are granted for a minimum term of 6 months unless otherwise restricted by the landlord.

* Please note that we take the Data Protection Act 1998 very seriously with regards to how we process and keep safe your personal information.  Registration number: A1048391   ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office)

Viewings

Once we have found a property or more that you are interested in we will arrange a viewing. Viewings will be arranged at times to suit you as best as we can and you will invariably be accompanied by a member of staff, who can give advice and answer any questions you may have. It is recommended that all prospective tenants attend the viewings at the same time, so decisions can be made quickly if you feel the property is the right one. 

Reserving the property

Once you have decided on a property, you will be asked to fill in a ‘tenant application form’ which will detail where you are currently living and your personal circumstances.  You will also be asked at this stage to pay the application fee of £175 for the first applicant and £75 for subsequent applicants, which is only used at credit check stage (please note this is non-refundable). All details are kept strictly confidential.

Once agreed, to reserve it you can pay a ‘holding deposit’, usually equivalent to one months rent. This means that the marketing of the property will cease whilst references are gathered and the landlord decides whether to accept you as tenants. Assuming that the tenancy goes ahead, this will be deducted from the monies due before you move in. If the landlord declines to grant the tenancy due to negative referencing or credit checks, the holding deposit will be refunded. However the deposit will be forfeit if you decide not to proceed for any reason, or if you fail to provide complete and accurate information in your application.

References

As a minimum we will require satisfactory references from your employer (or college), and a previous or current landlord. We may also require a personal reference, and sometimes a guarantor. In addition a credit check will be undertaken. We use the services of an independent referencing company (Van Mildert) to obtain and evaluate these references.

Photographic ID - We always require a current copy of photographic identification.  This can be a passport, drivers licence or other valid proof.

Proof of Address - You will be asked to prove your current address by way of utility bill or bank statement.

Bank Statement - You will be required to provide a bank statements or pay slips to prove your income.

Guarantor

On occasions it may be necessary for an applicant to provide a Guarantor.  This is someone who is employed and a home owner.  A Guarantor must be aware that they will be required to sign the Tenancy Agreement alongside the tenant and will therefore be liable if the tenant defaults on the terms of the Agreement.  All Guarantors will be credit checked and a £75 fee will be charged for this at time of application.  They will also be required to supply photographic Identification, home ownership and proof of employment.  All details provided will be held securely and are kept completely confidential. 

Rents

Rents are normally quoted as per calendar months, and payable monthly in advance. The tenant is usually also responsible for Gas, Electricity, Water, Council Tax, TV licence and Telephone costs although this is dependant on the individual landlord. All rents are payable by bank standing order to our company bank account or occasionally if it is a small shortfall amount over and above a DHSS payment, a rent book can be issued for a cash payment.

Deposit

A security deposit of a minimum of one and a half month’s rental must be paid, and will be held by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme throughout the tenancy term. Please note if you have agreed with the landlord that you are allowed to have pets at the property, this deposit will be increased to the value of two months rent. This is held to cover damage, breakages, and any other liabilities under the terms of your tenancy agreement. Please note that under no circumstances can the deposit be used by the tenant to cover rent.

Timescales

A lot of people have a certain date in mind for when they want to move in.  However the process of referencing and gathering all the information in order for the landlord to make an informed decision does take time.  So if you wish to move in as soon as possible, returning the completed forms and being as helpful as possible with regards information about landlords etc. will help to speed up the process.   Some people also have to provide their existing landlord with a full months notice (dependent on their current tenancy agreement).  If this is the case for you then the sooner you serve notice to your landlord the better.

Lease/Tenancy Agreement

You will be asked to sign a lease on the day of handover which is accompanied by our own Tenant Notes.  This is a legal document and it is vital that you read it in detail before you agree to the terms and conditions of the tenancy you are undertaking.  A copy of your lease/agreement will be sent to you for your own records. The first months rent and the deposit also needs to be paid at this stage – the funds need to be cleared before you are given the keys so if you intend to pay by cheque this must be given to the agency at least 5 working days before move in date. At this stage you will also be given the keys to the property and a copy of the detailed check-in inventory.

Moving in

The tenancy agreement/lease has been signed and you have received the keys for your new home. It’s probably not what you want to be thinking about having just collected the keys, but it’s always best to double check the inventory against the condition of the house as soon as you arrive.  You should note any discrepancies on the inventory – you have 7 days to return the signed inventory otherwise the agent will assume that the inventory was correct. Noting the discrepancies means these will be taken into consideration at checkout stage.  It also helps if you can take a photo of any discrepancies to provide an accurate record. 

The agency will inform all the utility companies and council that you have moved in and you are then responsible for paying the bills (unless otherwise advised).  The meter readings will be included in your check-in inventory – so please double check these on moving in day. The agent is unable to contact any telephony companies - these require the bill payer to contact them directly.

One of the most important things that you need to do is arrange contents insurance for all your belongings.  The landlord’s insurance WILL NOT cover your belongings.

Your tenant notes provided by the agent should tell you where the water stop cock is – please familiarise yourself with its location.  These can be hard to find in an emergency if they are in the back of a cupboard behind all your belongings!

The deposit that you paid will be registered with one of the Government Approved Tenancy Deposit Schemes (details of the exact one will be included in your agreement).  The landlord or Agent, whomever if holding the deposit has 30 days from receiving it to register it.  You should therefore have received a confirmation certificate before the 30 days is up.  If you haven’t received one please call the agent to find out where it is.  This is important to you as a tenant because it is proof that you paid the deposit and you may need to refer to it at the check out stage.

Being a Perfect Tenant

Not only does the landlord have responsibilities throughout the tenancy but you do too.  There are responsibilities on you as a tenant in a rented property to act in a  ‘tenant-like manner’ and in doing so carry out duties around the property that are reasonably expected of you.  Below are a few examples – not an exhaustive list – also there will be specific things listed in your tenancy agreement, so make sure you read through the tenant responsibilities thoroughly.

Utility Bills – It is your responsibility (unless otherwise stated) to pay all the utility bills for the property, including TV licence and council tax, for the duration of your tenancy. This also includes periods when you may be away. 

Ventilation – ensure the property is kept well ventilated throughout to prevent mould forming as a result of condensation.  In cold weather it is advisable to leave heating on as much as possible because the warmer the house, the less condensation will form.  Also make sure that you open windows after showering/having a bath and also whilst cooking.  Try to dry clothes outside where/when possible since drying them inside on radiators contributes to the build-up of condensation.

Holiday – if you are leaving the property for longer than 24 hours during a cold spell then you will need to leave the heating on low to avoid pipes freezing and bursting. 

General Maintenance – You are responsible for everyday general maintenance, this includes changing light bulbs (regardless of their type or height), changing batteries (e.g. smoke alarms, cooker clocks), unblocking sinks, bleeding radiators etc. Again more details are in your tenancy agreement so please refer to that.  If there are maintenance issues at the property that you believe you CANNOT address then please inform either the agent or landlord within a timely manner.  The sooner it is reported, the quicker it can be fixed and in the majority of cases the less damage will be caused.  Should you not report an issue then the landlord/agent could hold you responsible due to negligence and you could be charged with the cost to repair. The website has a maintenance/repair feedback form for you to complete and submit to the agent who will then act upon it.  However if the repair is urgent or significant then we recommend you call to make sure that the agent is fully aware.

Waste Management – make sure you remove all household waste in a timely manner.  Familiarise yourself with the days when council remove household waste and make sure you put yours out on the day of collection. Council websites have calendar dates available if your input your new postcode.

Gardens – it is your responsibility to make sure that the garden is maintained and kept tidy.  This includes keeping them clear of rubbish, grass cut and trimming back foliage. An important part of keeping your garden clean is to prevent attracting mice, rats and vermin.  You are likely to be held responsible for pest control at the property.
You will also need to  ensure that your property is internally clean as well to avoid infestations of bugs and vermin. Stamford Homes operates a 21 day pest policy – we will deal with any pest control issues within the first 21 days of you moving in.  After that it’s your responsibility.  If you have a pet, the cost of fumigating the house will be held back from your deposit at checkout.  This will be held for 22 days – in case the house needs to be fumigated once you have left. If no fumigation is required the money will be returned back to yourself.  

Anti-Social Behaviour – this is not tolerated and tenants should ensure that nothing that they or their visitors do will interfere with other occupants in the neighbourhood. 

End of Contract

Towards the end of your contract you need to start thinking about whether you want to stay in the property or move on.  The agent or landlord will contact you before the end date of the tenancy agreement to see what you would like to do.  At this stage you can discuss the various options available to you in order to make an informed decision. A new tenancy agreement will give you peace of mind regards staying at the property for an agreed number of months - renewal charge is £50.  A periodic agreement gives you more flexibility in that you only have to give a full calendar month's notice, however it also gives the landlord more flexibility in terms of giving you notice too.

Moving On

So the time has come to move on - whether into another rented property, a house of your own, or changing area  - the process is the same.  Once you have decided then you need to let your landlord/agent know and the date of your departure will be determined by the dates of your initial contract.  The agent/landlord will be able to give you the earliest date that you can leave the property.  

On the day you leave or the earliest working day, a check-out inventory will be done at the property.   They will be checking how clean the property is, so please pay particular attention to the kitchen (inside the oven), bathroom and garden. Then the state will be compared to what it was when you moved in (check-in inventory and photos will be used as evidence)  and having taken into account reasonable wear and tear, some deductions may need to be taken from your deposit.  If you agree with these deductions, you will receive the remaining balance within 10 working days of agreement, if you disagree then this may need to be taken to arbitration and will take longer for your deposit to be returned.