For many, letting a property is the first time they will have dealt with an agent so it is helpful to know the milestone events. Even if you have bought or sold a property before, you will find that renting entails a different process. Here is Queensgate’s guide to letting:-
Register with a letting agent
Not every estate agent will have a rental department so it is wise to register with agents who have a strong rental presence and track record in lettings. Those with the best reputation will attract the most landlords and will therefore have the widest selection of properties to rent. Your agent will need to know your monthly rental budget, where you may need to live location wise and any specific requirements, such as off street parking or walking distance of a train station.
Very much like buying a property, your agent will present a number of properties for you to view. Be prepared for them to be empty as many lets are offered unfurnished. We do, however, offer a number of lets that are fully furnished and ‘turn key’ ready, which make ideal corporate or short-term lets.
Make an offer
Renting generally does not involve bartering over a price as seen in sales. It is custom to offer the asking rent or thereabouts, although Queensgate is always willing to open dialogue with a landlord in specific circumstances. Unlike sales, there is a short time frame between an offer being accepted to a move in date - it can be a matter of days, which is one of the great appeals of renting.
Your letting agent will obtain current and historical information about your status. These references will verify your proof of earnings, validate your history as a trustworthy tenant and expose any adverse credit history. All this information will be amalgamated and you will be classed as a high, medium or low-risk prospect. The landlord of the property you wish to rent will use this information as a basis as to whether to accept your offer.
Understanding tenant fees
For now, there are a small number of fees to be paid upfront by a tenant before a tenancy can start. These are usually two larger amounts that equal a number of weeks’ worth of rent - one amount is a tenancy deposit and the second a security deposit expressed as ‘rent in advance’. Other fees you may incur include referencing, administration and credit checks.
Signing a tenancy agreement
Once you have passed the referencing stage and all fees have been paid, you will be required to sign a tenancy agreement. It is important you read this document carefully as it outlines what is expected of you during the tenancy, grounds for a tenancy termination, restrictions on behaviour while in the let and what you may or may not do to alter the property. If you do not follow what is set out in the tenancy agreement, you will jeopardise your deposit return.
Inventories and check in
It is important that the condition of the rental property and the fixtures within are recorded just before you move in. You will be required to witness check in together with your letting agent and a professional third party, who will be charged with creating an inventory. An inventory is an honest recording of the property’s condition, backed up by photographic evidence documenting the state of decoration, fabric of the building and condition of any furniture that may be provided. The tenant will be required to sign the inventory to acknowledge it is a true and fair reflection of the property’s state as they move in.
During the tenancy
It is usual for a property manager to request access, giving at least 48 hours written notice, to inspect the condition of the property. Inspections may happen once or twice during a 12 month tenancy to ensure you, as a tenant, are looking after the property and maintaining standards.
Check out and deposit recovery
Once your tenancy has ended and if you have not negotiated to remain in the property, a formal check out procedure takes place. Usually scheduled for the very last day of the tenancy when any personal effects have been removed, check out will involve the condition of the property being checked against the original inventory to assess any wear, tear, criminal damage or malicious actions. If the property is not handed back to the landlord in the same condition as documented in the inventory, the landlord can withhold some or all of the deposit to cover the cost of putting the property back to its original, documented state. Many tenants find a professional clean at the end of their tenancy helps get as much of their deposit back as possible.