Renting Process

Finding a property to call your home is usually hard enough in itself but sometimes the next steps can be more challenging.   Our award-winning service will help and advise you with regard to finding a property.   We’re here to make it as hassle-free as possible and ensure that you are kept informed every step of the way.

Understanding what your budget is before you start your search will give you a realistic idea of the size, location and type of property you can afford and make the search process much more efficient.   Working out what you can afford to pay in rent each month may help you to decide which, area or areas to base your property search in.   Consider household bills as well as the monthly rent.

We are only too happy to help with your budget and advise you on what the likely monthly outgoings may be.   Typical household bills may include council tax, gas, electricity, water, telephone, broadband, TV licence, digital or satellite TV, and insurance.   We want you to be happy in your new home and not for it to be a financial struggle and believe that sensible planning is the key to a successful tenancy.

The first step to finding the right property is to register with us, either by calling us on 020 8303 5151 or sending us an email.   We recommend beginning your search around 6-8 weeks prior to your ideal move date.

We will take some information from you, such as the type of property you would like, how many bedrooms you need, your requirements for parking, garden, furnished or unfurnished. Also who will be living in the property, will anyone be a smoker or do you have pets, children or any special requirements?

Then we need to know whether you can afford the rent.   We would expect the named tenants (over age 18 and in full-time employment) to be able to prove their income.

Think about your desired property type and location.   You may already know the area you want to live in.   It may be that you need to be near work, a particular school, or near family, but there are other factors to consider.   Whether or not you have a particular place in mind to move to, it is important to consider the local amenities.   These may include transport links, doctors or hospitals, parks, gyms, supermarkets and shops, schools, places of worship, or restaurants and bars.   The more you know about what you want from both the property itself and the area, the easier your search will be.

Consider your ‘must-have’ criteria - what won’t you compromise on, and what would constitute a ‘deal-breaker’?   If you are unsure of location, discuss it with us and we would be glad to help you refine your search.

Having a clear idea of your requirements will help you and your letting agent make your search as quick and easy as possible.   Rental properties vary in terms of age, design, fixtures and fittings and amenities.   So think about the essential criteria but also be prepared to be flexible and compromise when a potentially suitable property becomes available.

Once we have a clear understanding of your requirements, we can forward you properties which match your criteria.   We can also keep you constantly up-to-date via email and SMS alerts when the latest properties become available.

The more you know about what you want, the easier your search will be.   Checking out the surroundings can give you a real time feel for the neighbourhood, as well as distances to transport links and other local amenities.

Talk to your letting agent to arrange viewings.   The letting agent will then accompany you to viewings, and can give you advice and answer any questions you may have.

Try to be available and as flexible as possible.   Yes, we've said it before, but the lettings business is incredibly fast moving and when a good property comes to the market there can be a rush to view and offers are often made immediately.   You could miss out if you can't make yourself available within 24 hours of the agent contacting you.   If you’re moving in with other people, attending the first viewings together will speed the process up.

Don't necessarily be put off by details in the property.   If you don't like the wall colour, or the sofa isn't big enough, have a chat with the agent.   We encourage our landlords to be flexible and accommodate tenant's requests whenever possible.   If you want the landlord to undertake any improvement works, add or remove furniture, put in your request as soon as you decide to make an offer.   It can be much harder to get these jobs agreed once you have moved in.

Make sure your finances, employment or previous landlord references are in order when you reach the viewing stage, so you don’t miss out if you find the right property.   If you find the perfect property, one that suits the majority of your requirements, you might want to make an offer the same day.   But be prepared: it may be the first one you see!

As soon as you have seen the right place, act quickly and put in an offer.   We’ll guide you through the offer process, including the terms of your offer along with any special conditions, requests and move in dates.

We will request a holding deposit before putting any offer forward.   There are many reasons for this but the main one being your commitment to the offer if the landlord agrees. We’ll also need to collect some information about your references and we will then forward the offer to the landlord.

We will then inform you of the landlord's response along with any requests so that we can finalise the offer and make sure that everyone is happy. This is the 'let agreed' stage of the process, but remains subject to contract.   Always allow for some communication to and from before the deal is agreed.

Before moving into a property, reference checks are carried out for all prospective tenants to confirm that they have previously rented without any major issues and are in employment.   Reference checks are carried to ensure that prospective tenants can afford the monthly rent and have no serious adverse credit history.   Each case is treated on an individual basis, and in all cases references are subject to landlord approval.

Please ensure you can provide bank details and the contact details of your previous landlord, along with those of your employer.   We will also require your last 3 years’ address history, passport or driving licence and 3 months’ utility bills from your current address.

Following the Immigration Act 2014 Section 22 it is now the landlord or agents’ responsibility to check that all tenants and occupiers have the Right to Rent.   This means that you must be a British Citizen or European Economic Area (EEA) citizen or a Swiss National or have the Right to Rent in the UK e.g. a valid visa or residency permit for the period in question.

Everyone living in the property over the age of 18 will need to sign the tenancy agreement.   We’ll arrange a time with you to sign this in person, when all references have been received.   The average length of a tenancy is 12 months. If you want a longer or shorter tenancy or have special requirements, we will liaise between you and the landlord to reach an agreement.   You should always seek independent legal advice before signing the contract.

You will be issued with a statement of account for your initial payment and will be required to pay your final monies due for the tenancy no later than 10 working days prior to the start of the tenancy.   We only accept direct bank transfers and not any form of cards for this final payment.   The breakdown of costs is noted in our tenant charges section of our Tenant Guide and will also be sent to you in writing at offer stage, as well as at the signing stage.

This security deposit is assurance to the landlord that when you move out, their rented property will be left in a good condition.   The deposit for unfurnished properties is 6 weeks rent, for furnished properties or properties where there is a pet it is 2 months’ rent.   If the property is not left in a state fit for purpose your landlord or letting agent may deduct your deposit if there is any damage to the rental property.   This deposit will be held by a government-backed Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS).   Further rent payments will be collected via direct debit from your nominated UK bank account.

The day you move house is likely to be a busy one, but you can make the process less stressful with good preparation.

Before you move

  • Give notice to your current landlord or letting agent
  • Set up a standing order or direct debit for your new rent payments.
  • Notify your bank, insurance, mobile phone and any other utility companies of your new address.
  • Notify utility providers of your change of address.
  • Set up redirection for your post.

Moving out

  • Submit final electricity, gas and water meter readings to the relevant utility providers.
  • Make sure you remove all personal items, the property is cleaned to a high standard and furniture is returned to its original place.   Some landlords and letting agents require professional ‘end of tenancy’ cleaning. When arranging cleaning, this should also include communal external areas.   Check beforehand and book a cleaning company if necessary, keeping any receipts.
  • Repair any damage caused to the property during your tenancy and replace any items which can’t be repaired, keeping any receipts.
  • Return the keys to the landlord or letting agent, and obtain a receipt.

Moving in

  • Make sure you have read, signed and returned the tenancy agreement.
  • Make sure you have paid the first month’s rent and deposit.
  • Collect the keys for your new property from the letting agent or landlord.
  • Take gas, electricity and water readings at your new property.
  • Check that you have seen the gas safety and energy performance certificates, the location of the boiler and operating instructions, heating and any appliances, as well as the location of the stop cock, fuse box and any meters.

So, it's the first day of your tenancy, the paperwork has all been finalised, your first rent payment has cleared, and you've received confirmation that your deposit has been registered.   It's time to get the keys to your new home!

This can be a daunting time, which is why we try and take some of that stress away by going to the property with you and carrying out an accompanied check-in.   We will also email you a Tenant Guide, full of useful information on how to enjoy a comfortable tenancy at your new home, including topics such as setting up utility accounts, property safety, useful numbers, and vacating your property at the end of your tenancy.

An Inventory will also be completed, going from room to room, marking down any areas of damage or disrepair which may need attention.   UK tenancy agreements work on the premise that properties need to be left by tenants in the condition in which they were found, less wear and tear.   So not only will this ensure any teething problems are attended to quickly, but it also allows a more accurate report at the end of your tenancy, leading to a swifter return of your deposit.   Each tenant needs to check that the inventory is accurate, sign one copy of it and return it to us.

Once the meter readings have been taken, and the Inventory has been signed off, it’s time for us to leave you to move your belongings in, and enjoy your new home.   But of course, the relationship doesn’t end there.   Property management involves rent collection, regular visits, the maintenance of the property, its furnishings and appliances, and looking after those living in the home.

The most important part of the process.   Find out who is managing your property and make sure you have been given all their contact details.   That way, if something goes wrong in the property, you'll know who to get in touch with.

If we manage your property, please feel free to contact us at any time to discuss any questions or problems you may have.

If your property is managed by the landlord, you should contact them directly for any maintenance issues.   For any questions regarding tenancy agreements, break clauses, payments or renewals, please contact our property management team and they will provide you with all the necessary contact numbers.

For emergencies at night, such as flooding, call our 24-hour emergency helpline (details of what defines an emergency are found in the Tenant Guide).   See the Tenant Guide for general information on repairs.

Look after the property as if it were your own. This reduces the likelihood of disputes over damage when the tenancy comes to an end.   And remember that you should arrange insurance cover for your furnishings and personal property; the landlord is not responsible for insuring these items.

We’ll contact you a few months before your fixed term tenancy is due to expire to ask what your plans are, and whether or not you’d like to renew your tenancy.   If you’d like to stay, then we will contact the landlord and negotiate renewal terms on your behalf.   Depending on their agreement, we will either let the tenancy move on to a periodic tenancy, or we will draw up a new fixed term tenancy for you to sign.

We ask all tenants to provide 2 months’ written notice in advance should they wish to leave the property.   If your landlord manages the property, you are obliged to write to them directly.   If we manage the property, you need to write to us and please feel free to talk to your property manager with any questions that you may have regarding giving notice.

The ‘check-out’ is when you leave your property.   The inventory clerk visits and goes through the inventory to confirm that everything is in good order.   We always recommend that you are present at the check-out.   Final utility meter readings will also be noted down which will help in finalising your utility account.

If the property was professionally cleaned when you moved in, then the chances are you will need to arrange for the same to be done when you move out.   Whoever is managing the property - be it the estate agent or the landlord - they will want to see a receipt for the cleaning.   We can organise professional cleaners if needed; many of our tenants now use this service.

As soon as we have received a copy of your final utility bills stating that all your utility accounts have been cleared, we will then process your deposit by way of comparing your Inventory with your check-out report.   This will help us establish if any damages were present at the end of your tenancy which were not there when you initially checked-in.

If there were damages caused during your tenancy, these would be rectified by independent contractors, and a copy of their invoice would be present in your deposit pack.

If, at the end of your tenancy, it was discovered that there is a shortfall in your rent, the balance would be taken from your deposit and paid over to the landlord.

Before we return the deposit to you, we will make contact in order to ensure we agree on the amount being returned.   Once this amount has been established and agreed upon, it will be returned to you in the time allotted by the Deposit Protection Scheme.