May 31, 2017

Information for tenants

If you are looking to rent a property, Eltze Estates can help.

We manage a large number of residential properties for private landlords who have instructed us to act on their behalf to find suitable tenants for their property.

Please find our guidance notes below relating to renting a property, setting out the obligations of both the landlord and the tenant.

This guide is not an authoritative interpretation of the law but we hope that you find the information useful.

Getting started

Once you have viewed the property and arrived at a decision to make an application to proceed with a rental we require:

All applicants to complete a referencing/application form.

Pay a referencing fee of £165 including vat, for the first adult (over the age of 18) moving into the property and an additional charge of £35 including vat for each additional adult or Guarantor. This fee must be paid at the time of the application and is non-refundable if you, the proposed tenant, decides not to proceed or if your references, once processed, prove to be unsatisfactory.

You will be required to provide personal details including your name, address, occupation and salary.

We pass your information to an external referencing company and will only be able to agree to a tenancy subject to satisfactory replies from the searches made. The referencing company will seek to establish your financial credibility and will make contact with your previous Landlord/Agent and employer or accountant. These are routine procedures taken to protect all parties.

Should you have County Court Judgements registered against you it may prove difficult to grant you a tenancy, unless satisfactory evidence of the clearance of debt is produced prior to the commencement of the tenancy.

If you are granted a tenancy as a result of the information you have provided, which subsequently proves to be false, you may be committing an offence and your tenancy may be at risk. Hence it is vitally important to provide accurate information.

Should you be unable to provide satisfactory references or credit checks, you may still be offered a tenancy subject to a suitable Guarantor being provided.

The Guarantor will need to provide satisfactory references and credit checks, and will be expected to sign a form to guarantee your legal commitments in the tenancy, including payment of rent.

You will only be offered a tenancy of the property, subject to the above requirements and the terms of the tenancy agreement, the payment of the application fee, the deposit, the agreed advanced rent and the Landlord’s agreement that the tenancy can proceed.

To support your application you will need to visit our office and provide us with a copy of a current passport and proof of right of residency, if applicable.

As the tenant(s) you should satisfy yourself as to the contents and the amount of furniture being provided by the landlord , if applicable. You should make you’re your own enquiries as to telephone, internet, television reception etc.

Most Flats/Apartments have a clause in the Head Lease prohibiting installation of satellite dishes and most do not allow pets. Properties are taken as seen unless otherwise specified.

Many landlords do not accept pets or smoking within the property. If you have pets or you smoke please make this clear before submitting your application form so that we can check that it is worthwhile proceeding.

If the landlord agrees to accept a pet/s a pet clause will be included in the tenancy agreement and in some cases a larger security deposit may be requested. A professional clean and treatment of carpets and fabrics within the property will also be required at the tenant’s expense, at the end of the tenancy.

Your tenancy agreement will clearly list your responsibilities regarding the acceptance of a pet/s.

Inventory

At the beginning of the tenancy the landlord normally commissions an independent inventory clerk to prepare and inventory of the property. The inventory clerk will then meet you at the check in date and run through the inventory with you and take the opening meter readings. The inventory is then sent to you and you have 7 days from the day the inventory is sent to you to add or dispute any points in the inventory.

The landlord pays for the inventory and the check in and the tenant/s pay for the check out. Prices are circa £60 to £100 including vat, depending on the size of the property.

Deposits

A security deposit is required for all tenancies and is equal to 1.5 times the monthly rent. This deposit is in addition to the advanced rent payment required at commencement of tenancy and must be paid in cleared funds before the signing of the Agreement and key hand over. We recommend that you make a bank transfer for the payment of funds and we will provide you with our bank details.

A tenancy will only proceed once all funds have been paid and are showing as cleared funds in our letting’s bank account.

The deposit acts as security for the furtherance of your obligations as a tenant under the tenancy agreement and as protection for the landlord against damage to the property. This deposit will be returned to you at the end of the tenancy term without interest, subject to deductions for damage or any other dilapidation costs that may be necessary to compensate the landlord for any breach of the tenancy agreement.

Homes in multiple occupation (H M O)

When there are a number of occupiers sharing accommodation, each person is jointly and severally liable to pay the rent. Please note, in instances where there are several un-related adults sharing a property, it is likely that the property will fall into the category of an HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) meaning the Landlord requires a special licence.

If you form a party of sharers, you must declare this status. Each tenant is jointly and severally responsible for the whole rent so that they are equally liable for the non-payment of rent by one of their co-tenants, should they fail to pay.

In the case of joint tenants, one tenant has to be nominated to act on behalf of the others as the ‘Lead Tenant’.

Rent

The first month’s rent is paid in advance with your security deposit before you commence the tenancy and subsequent rent payments should be paid to us or the Landlord by the ‘rent due date’ each month (the date that you checked into the property).

If paying by standing order this should be set up 2/3 days in advance of the due date to allow for clearance through the banking system. Where there are a number of occupiers sharing accommodation, each person is jointly and severally liable to pay the whole rent so that they are equally liable for the non- payment of rent by one of their co-tenants, should they fail to pay. In the case of joint tenants, one tenant has to be nominated to act on behalf of the others as the ‘Lead Tenant’.

Legal notices & the tenancy agreement

Before you sign for a tenancy you will be given a copy of the Tenancy Agreement and any appropriate notices. Read these carefully and ask us questions if you are unsure of any points. The Contract/Agreement takes the form of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement and it is normal for the term to be 12 months with a ‘Break Clause’; however a minimum term is no less than 6 months.

A break clause gives flexibility for landlord and tenant and the clause is listed as:

“The Landlord or Tenant may terminate the tenancy on or after six months of the term on a rent due date following not less than two months notice in writing given by one party to the other or his Agent whereupon the tenancy shall absolutely determine but without prejudice to the other rights and remedies of the Landlord or Tenant hereunder.”

If the landlord requires repossession, a Section 21 Notice (two months notice) must be served in writing to the tenant. Payment of utilities and council tax Tenants will be responsible for the payment of all utilities, including gas, electricity council tax and water during the tenancy, unless otherwise agreed with the landlord.

You are required by law to inform the Council Tax Registrar of your change of address and pay the appropriate council tax.

Stamp duty

For exceptionally high rental values, under the Stamp Act 1891, there may be a liability on the tenant to have the agreement stamped. In these cases, the tenant is advised to seek independent advice.

Repairs

It is the landlord’s obligation to ensure that the property is well maintained and repairs are carried out as quickly as possible, depending on the severity of repair required.

It is most important that all repairs/maintenance issues are reported to the landlord/agent immediately in order that appropriate action can be taken and to lessen any possible further deterioration/damage. Tenants must never carry out any repairs without the permission of the Landlord/Agent. We have a number of trades people available to ensure that delays are minimised.

Property visits

During the tenancy term you have the right to enjoy the property without interruption provided that you abide by the terms and conditions of the tenancy agreement.

However, we as agents have an obligation under our contract with the landlord, to inspect the property at regular intervals. We undertake to do this at approximately 3/4 month intervals (unless the Landlord fully manages the property).

We will contact you to make a mutually convenient appointment. Inspection of the premises is undertaken to ensure that you are observing the conditions of the tenancy agreement and it allows the opportunity for you to discuss with us any personal or property related matters.

Neighbours

We ask that all tenants respect their neighbours by not playing loud music late at night, placing rubbish in the wrong place or obstructing drives and entrances.

If you encounter a problem with a neighbour please report this to us and we will inform the landlord and come back to you with the landlords comments.

End of the term

At the end of the tenancy agreement you should prepare to hand the property back to the Landlord/Agent on the Check-out date. A mutually convenient appointment will be made with the Inventory Clerk, who will meet you at the property, take meter readings, collect keys and ensure that we have your forwarding address for the payment of all closing accounts. Under no circumstances should you allow the authorities to disconnect supplies.

The authorities should be informed that the managing agent will contact them when the property is handed over and provide details of the new account holder.

This may be the owner or a new tenant.

Inventory items should be placed in their respective rooms to facilitate easy checking on handing over. Read carefully the inventory/statement of condition that you received at commencement of your tenancy as this will be a benchmark as to the condition expected at the check-out. Carpets and soft furnishings should be professionally cleaned if done so at the start of your tenancy, this should be clarified when you move in. Liaise with us and arrange a convenient time for handing over the premises. We can advise of local trades people who will carry out all cleaning/preparation at a competitive rate.

Deductions from the security deposit

Should we need to replace items on the inventory which have been damaged, or clean the house at the end of the tenancy or if there has been a breach of the tenancy agreement; the return of your deposit will be delayed until all items are valued and replaced/cleaned/repaired.

We will aim to return your deposit within 10 working days, if there is no dispute. Otherwise 14 working days are allowed to reach a conclusion. Damage and breakage of the landlord’s fixtures, fittings and effects, lost inventory items etc., which occur during the period of the tenancy will incur deductions from your deposit.

It is the responsibility of the Tenant and Landlord to determine what amount, if any, is to be deducted from the deposit. Any dispute arising out of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy which cannot be resolved between Landlord and Tenant is referred to the Deposit Redress Scheme for arbitration, which could mean further delays in the return of your deposit.

It is important, therefore, that you look after the property during the tenancy and take the utmost care to inspect the property and its fixtures and fittings at the outset. An inventory/statement of condition will be prepared prior to occupation and must be agreed by you at the start of your tenancy. It is most important to read through the inventory carefully and agree its contents.

The inventory/statement of condition report will then form the basis of assessment of the property’s state at the end of the tenancy term. Fair wear and tear will obviously be taken into consideration. Damages that occur will be charged to your account, as will invoices from contractors employed to undertake necessary cleaning/repairs or replace any items.

Once the check-out report has been completed and deductions from your deposit agreed (if applicable), the deposit or balance of deposit will be returned to you.

Please do not hesitate to call, visit or e-mail us at any stage prior to or during your tenancy if you wish to clarify any details.

Telephone: 01753 651652 or Email: lauriejane@eltze.co.uk