Before you start
How long do you want the tenancy for?
You can ask for a tenancy to be any time between 6 months and 7 years. This has to be agreed with the landlord.
What can you afford?
Think about how much rent you can afford to pay: 35% of your take-home pay is the most that many people can afford, but this depends on what your other outgoings are (for example, whether you have children).
Which area you would like to live in and how you are going to look for a rented home?
The larger the area where you are prepared to look, the better the chance of finding the right home for you.
Do you have your documents ready?
You will be asked to confirm your identity, immigration status, credit history and possibly employment status.
Do you have the right to rent property in the UK?
It is a legal requirement to check that all people aged over 18 living in their property as their only or main home have the right to rent. We will need to make copies of your documents and return your original documents to you.
Before moving in
Specifying your proposal
Once you have found a property you like, your first action is to put a proposal in writing (an email is fine). We will forward it to the landlord.
It should state:
- the length of tenancy you want, and whether you will require an option to extend it, and/or a break clause allowing you to end it
- the weekly rent and how it will be paid (i.e. monthly or quarterly.) All rents must be paid at least one month in advance
- any special requests (for example, different decoration, additional furniture, new equipment).
It is important that your proposal is as detailed as possible, so the landlord has all the relevant information to help come to a response.
Deposits, references and guarantors
Once you and the landlord have come to an agreement, we will ask you for a holding deposit in order to reserve the property. This will amount to one weeks’ rent and signifies a firm intention on both sides to proceed.
We will also seek two references. The first is from a credit referencing agency, who in turn may need to contact your employer, solicitor, or accountant (if you’re self-employed), a previous landlord or a person of professional standing who knows you personally.
The second reference is from your bank. In some cases, we may also require that your commitment is backed by a guarantor. This is someone who will guarantee to meet all your obligations if you fail to do so. A guarantor needs to be based in the UK and have a UK bank account.
If you have not lived in the UK before we may also need further references from your home country
Money Laundering Regulations
By law, we have to establish your identity. We need to see two documents as follows:
- Either your passport or driving licence or birth certificate;
- a recent utility or similar bill showing your name and address (mobile phone bills excluded). Please note we have to see original documents, from which we will make certified copies. If you can’t bring in or post originals, you will need to send us copies that have been certified as genuine by a lawyer.
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
Before signing the tenancy agreement, you will receive a certificate which satisfies the requirements of the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Order 2007.
An appointment will be arranged with you to visit our offices to sign the Tenancy Agreement when all references have been received. The Landlord will also be asked to sign their copy of the document.
The end of a tenancy
Once the tenancy tenure is up, the tenant can either renegotiate to extend their stay or vacate the property. If moving on, there will be a check out procedure where the property’s condition is checked and compared to the inventory. Any discrepancies and damage may forfeit some or all of the security deposit.
Please note: this summary is intended to be a basic guide only, and there are variations in the way the law is applied (for example, in Scotland). Please take professional advice from a solicitor on all aspects of buying and selling property.