HOW TO RENT GUIDE
Deciding to rent a property is much like buying one. It can be daunting, especially if you’re a newbie, which is why we’ve created this guide; to cover everything from figuring out your search criteria to getting your deposit back. It should take away any doubts, leaving you stress-free and excited about yournxtdoor!
Work out how much you can reasonably afford to pay in rent each month. Take into account your general costs of living and factor in those unavoidable bills; Council Tax, fuel bills, contents insurance, TV licence and broadband.
In addition, you may need to budget at least six weeks’ rent which will be the security deposit for the length of your tenancy.
Being honest and realistic now only makes life easier later on.
Once you’ve set your monthly budget, the fun begins. If you’re picky (and there’s no harm in that) you can use advance search to hone straight in and start considering
- the type of property you’d like to live in
- the location of the property; do you need to be close to work/schools/the gym/the pub, public transport routes or motorways?
- the size and number of bedrooms you need
- do you need a furnished or unfurnished property?
- if a parking space is essential and if you’re prepared to pay a bit extra for secure parking?
- move in dates
- if you have a pet as most landlords don’t accept them. However it’s always worth trying your luck with an email. We’re happy to ask landlords and you never know…
Got your essential criteria? Start browsing.
Browsing & questions
Yournxtdoor lets you filter results as broadly or narrowly as you’d like to help shortlist your favourites. Before deciding to view a property, double check all the details:
- How much the rent is
- How long the tenancy is
- What date the property will be available from
- What furniture is/isn’t supplied
- Whether the landlord is planning to make any changes to the property
- If there’s any parking and if so, whether there’s an extra charge for it
- If there’s any restrictions on the type of tenant
- Roughly calculate how much deposit is required
Checking these before arranging a viewing can save you time and money. Don’t be scared to email us with any questions you might have i.e. pets, smoking, garden maintenance or even about the fees included in the rental process.
The rental market is generally fast-moving. Good properties in popular areas don’t stay on the market for long (especially in the summer) so don’t wait, if something tickles your fancy, use our online booking system to get a viewing arranged.
Arranging a viewing
Once you have a shortlist of properties that you’d like to visit, book your
viewings! If you cannot get to the property, we can offer you a Skype viewing.
If you arrange to meet at the property, please make sure you know exactly where you’re going and allow plenty of time to get there on time.
Whether you’re planning to live in the property or acting as a guarantor, you need to be present at the application for tenancy. In other words one person can’t represent an entire family or group of friends. You’ll also need to:
- Tell us if you have a bad credit rating, are unemployed or employed part-time.
- Inform us if you’re a student or have been in full-time employment for less than a year as you may require a guarantor (who will also need to sign your contract).
- Provide us with some references. You will receive an e-mail from Legal for Landlords, our referencing company, who will take up employment and landlord references as well as perform a credit check on you.
Once references have been accepted and everything is agreed, the Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreement will need signing by you, any other tenants, possible guarantors and the landlord. Read the agreement very carefully before signing and if you are unsure of anything don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. The tenancy agreement is a legal document and binds you and the landlord to the terms within it. Make sure you understand them. Then a moving in day can be arranged!
The amount you can afford to pay for rent—is worked out according to a standard scale that takes into account your household income, so if there are two tenants, you will each be reference checked for affordability based on half of the rent. Example if your property is £500 PCM, multiply £500 * 30 = £15,000 annual salary required by tenant or combined tenants.
The role of a guarantor
- A guarantor acts to “guarantee” the rent—in other words, if you fail to pay your rent, your guarantor will become responsible for footing the bill. You are required to have a guarantor if your earnings are not considered high enough for you to be able to pay your rent comfortably. This is often the case if you work part time, are a student, or if you’re looking to rent a property with a particularly high rental charge in comparison to your salary. Guarantors are normally parents or close family members but can be anyone who’s been based in the UK for more than 12 months and in full time employment that agrees to stand for you.
You will be required to pay a security deposit that will be held by us in a safeguarded system, on behalf of the landlord for the duration of the tenancy. Its purpose is to provide the landlord with compensation if any damages or expenses arise to the property or its contents during your tenancy.
It is not released until the end of the tenancy agreement when all rent is paid to date and cost confirmation for both parties is agreed. Fair wear and tear is taken into account.
Safeguarding your tenancy deposit
All deposits in assured shorthold tenancies must be registered with one of the government-approved tenancy deposit schemes that guarantees no-one can run off with the money. We use Deposit Protection Service (DPS) who will also provide a dispute resolution service if, at the end of the tenancy, you cannot agree the amount charged by the landlord or their agent for the damages.
Within 14 days of paying your deposit your landlord or agent is required to give you details about how your deposit is protected. This includes the contact details and policy number of the tenancy deposit scheme and what to do if there is a dispute at the end of the tenancy. After the tenancy ends the landlord or agent will be required to inform you of any deductions within 10 working days of the tenancy ending.
Some landlords offer Zero deposit which is an FCA regulated, insurance backed guarantee. It gives landlords the same protection as a six week deposit and involves a non-refundable payment of one weeks rent from tenants. Any disputes are resolved by the TDS (Tenant Deposit Scheme), so you get a fair and impartial decision. Zero deposit guarantees to pay you within two working days of that decision.
A payment of £240 inc VAT is required to show your commitment, remove the property from the market and for us to proceed with references. The payment is non-refundable should your application be unsuccessful or withdrawn. ALL persons aged eighteen or over will need to complete the reservation form and will be named in the tenancy.
We use Legal for Landlord to carry out our references; they will need you to be able to provide an employer’s reference and a previous landlord reference. A credit check will also be done on each person.
If you fail references, you are not entitled to a refund as we have already carried out the work. If you require a guarantor, there is a £120 fee per person for this. Failing a guarantor, you will be required to pay the rent upfront for the duration of your tenancy.
If you are sponsored by your country’s government or work, we will require all original documentation before the tenancy begins. This includes a sponsorship letter, passport and visa and proof of address in your country.
Non-EU Tenants & Overseas Applicants
If you are from outside the UK and unable to come and look at the property yourself then we can offer you a video tour of the property. Tenants from outside the EU will need to be able to show their passport and visa details, if these cannot be provided then we will not be able to move you in to a property.
Immigration Checks (Right to Rent)
Before being granted a tenancy, all residents must demonstrate that they are eligible to rent a property within the United Kingdom under the Right to Rent act 2014.
The immigration Act 2014 applies to everyone wishing to rent a property with the United Kingdom, whether you are a British National, from the EU or anywhere else in the world. The validation of your immigration status is required by law and is required for anyone who will be living at the property including children who are over the age of 18 years old.
Make sure that on moving-in day you’re highly organised. This is your checklist of what you’ll need to have with you:
- Photo ID: this can be a driving licence or passport (we will need to see the original copy)
- Non-EU residents we will need to see a copy of your visa
- Proof of Address: an official letter like a bank statement or utility bill (a driving licence will be accepted but only where this has not been used as your Photo ID)
- A debit/credit card so that you can pay your deposit, rent and check in fee.
- Evidence of Contents Insurance
- We will meet you at the property to carry out a final viewing and go over the inventory with you present
Remember to keep details of your Property Manager and/or Landlord safe in case of any problems during your tenancy.
The paperwork in your welcome pack states where the gas, electricity and water meters are located.
If they are not inside your property or in a communally accessible area on site, you will need to ask your building management company to provide you with the readings.
NB: not all properties have gas and water meters.
It is the tenant’s responsibility to pay these bills directly to the companies. We will require final bills before any deposits can be returned.
The same goes for all media and telecommunications bills.
It is the tenant’s responsibility to pay the Council Tax directly to the local authority.
Even if the property is being let unfurnished, it is really important to have a properly prepared and thoroughly detailed inventory, which is carefully reviewed and signed by tenant and landlord.
It covers the contents, furniture, fittings and meter readings and lists any existing faults in the property such as areas of damaged decoration, marks on carpets or chips in bath enamel. We suggest that you are present at both check in and check out as it’s the inventory that forms the basis for any damages claims. Once you move in to the property, you have 7 working days to make any amendments to the inventory and return it to us with any discrepancies.
Should you wish to keep any pets in the property we first need to make sure your landlord is happy with this and the management company allows pets in the building. If all parties agree then a clause will be added to your tenancy agreement (this mainly is for dogs, cats and rabbits).
You are responsible for insuring your own personal effects and furnishings. You can take out tenants insurance which is a type of contents insurance that covers your belongings while you're renting.
Managed Properties will be subject to six monthly inspections this is to check the condition that the property is being kept in its cleanliness, maintenance and garden (if applicable) and the way in which the tenancy is being conducted generally. We will send a text message out 3 days before the appointment to inform you that we will be coming if you should wish to be present then please let us know and we can arrange an appointment so please keep us up to date with your contact number.
The date your rent is due is in your tenancy agreement.
Rent is best paid via standing order made 3 working days prior to your rent due date to allow for clearance (set up on move in day). It’s your responsibility to cancel standing orders after the tenancy ends.
Ensure that rent is paid on time and in full. Non-payment of rent is a serious matter that can end up in court.
Despite what you may have heard, you do not have the right to withhold rent payments due to disrepair. Doing so is guaranteed to make resolution all the more difficult and puts you in breach of the terms of the tenancy agreement. It can also show up in future referencing checks and might cause problems if you come to rent another property. If you need to make a complaint, follow complaints procedure. If the issue is with one of the team, report it to us via email.
If you get into any payment difficulty or rent arrears, communicate with your property manager. They are here to help stop things escalating.
Paying Up Front
This is an option if you fall short on the reference checks in terms of affordability and cannot use a UK based guarantor for some reason. Applicants that pay their rent upfront must provide us with a letter from their employment/University stating they work/study there or a letter from the bank along with proof of Identification, All monies will have to be transferred in to our bank account 3 working days prior to the agreed move in date to allow funds to clear and you will need to show us proof of funds. Cash will not be accepted. The money will remain in our client bank account and be paid monthly to the landlord as normal or transferred to them in one go (if they have proven to be financially stable).
Can I speak directly to my landlord?
Depending on the type of arrangement your landlord has with us, you may or may not be expected to deal with your landlord directly during your tenancy. Where the tenancy is classified as “Let Only”, the landlord is responsible for any queries and sorting out all maintenance issues. If a tenancy is “Managed”, then the landlord pays us a fee to look after the tenancy so we will be your first point of contact for any issues or questions that arise.
You will have been told whether your property is managed or let only and who to contact.
- Managed properties - yournxtdoor team. Contact information is in your welcome pack and is also in your tenancy agreement.
- Let only properties - landlord directly. Their contact information is on page is in your tenancy agreement.
As well as causing health issues, both only worsen over time and can take longer and be more costly to fix so report any issues ASAP.
There can be faults within the fabric of the property which cause damp and will need to be fixed at the landlords expense
More often, the cause is from people living in the property so be mindful as damage caused as a result of carelessness will come at a cost to the tenant. Take care to
- Heat the properly adequately, leaving heating on low in winter months
- Do not block air vents, chimneys or ventilators
- Open window/s when drying or washing
Take care to only flush toilet paper down the toilets. Blockages due to tenant misuse will incur cost to them.
All lightbulbs are also the tenants responsibility to replace unless noted at check in.
Contact your property manager. You may get lucky if your landlord is local. If yournxtdoor manage your property, we will be able to lend you our set for you to have a copy made (refundable deposit of £20) If it’s out of hours or your landlord is unavailable, you are responsible for arranging and paying for a lock change and the additional sets of keys you’ll need to have cut for us/the landlord. For a replacement fob, you normally need to speak to the development management company and order directly. Their contact details will have been given to you on moving in.
What is an emergency call-out?
If something goes drastically wrong and needs to be addressed immediately outside of office hours, you will need to arrange an emergency call-out. Our engineers can be contacted 24 hours a day for situations where there is:
- No hot water
- No heating (in cold months)
- No electricity (AFTER checking the fusebox, speaking with building management company and contacting you energy supplier)
- No water (AFTER checking the stop tap, speaking with building management and contacting your water supplier)
- Locked out (loss of keys and fobs and keys locked in apartments are tenant responsibility)
- Break in – contact police first (we can only secure the property)
- Property flooded/leak- if from your property: turn off the water ASAP and call the emergency number. If from apartment above: knock on the door and ask them to turn the water off. If no one is home call the building management company
*NOTE* emergency call-outs are substantially more expensive than standard call-outs, for obvious reasons, and should only be requested in the above circumstances.
Ensure you have done basic checks before calling the emergency line; boiler reset buttons should be tried, fuse boxes should be checked for tripped switches and neighbours should be asked if their services are OK, in case an energy or water outage is area-wide, rather than being confined to your property.
Our engineers are not obliged to attend any out-of-hours problems that are not classed as emergencies. If our engineers are called to attend your property and the problem is deemed not to be an emergency, you (as opposed to your landlord) will be liable to pay the fees for the call.
If your property is let only, you should always try to contact your landlord before getting in touch with our emergency line. We can only step in at let only properties if the circumstances are deemed to constitute a breach of the terms of the tenancy.
I Cannot Get In Touch With My Landlord. What Should I Do?
If you’re having difficulties with getting hold of your landlord, give him/her a day or two—your query may be on their list of things to do. If after several attempts, you are still unsuccessful, let us know—we will check the phone numbers and email addresses we have on record to see if any changes have been made and we will also attempt to get in touch with him/her directly for you. In an emergency, we do have the right to step in if a landlord cannot be contacted, so don’t suffer in silence!
8 weeks before you are due to vacate, your property manager will send you (via post or email) a letter so you can confirm whether you wish to renew or end your tenancy.
If you want to end your tenancy and move out, you must give one clear calendar months written notice. Please note that during this month the property will be back on the market and we’ll need to carry out viewings. We’ll always give 24 hours notice for viewings.
If you wish to extend your tenancy after the fixed term ends, let us know so we can create a rolling contract.
Can I leave my tenancy early?
You are responsible for paying rent for the entire fixed-term that you signed on your AST. You can move out early without paying rent for the full tenancy if:
- Your landlord agrees to end the tenancy early (you may be charged a fee to include any losses incurred by the landlord).
- The property has been sold.
Your Tenancy Can Be Ended In One Of The Following Ways:
- You break any conditions of the tenancy agreement.
- You abandon the property (there can be repercussions in this instance).
- There are legal grounds for possession under the Housing Act 1985, the Housing Act 1996 or any other laws.
- We are granted a county court order to evict you
- Your landlord may end your tenancy giving you a minimum of 2 months’ notice, in line with your rent due date.
You Can Face Eviction If:
- You have broken one or more of the tenancy conditions
- If you failed to pay the rent (we will always try to resolve any issue first)
- If you or anyone living in the property is responsible for antisocial behaviour
- If you or anyone living with you has been convicted of using your home for illegal purposes
- You seriously neglect or damage the property or shared area.
- You got your tenancy because you deliberately gave us false information
When it’s time to find yournxtdoor (we might have what you’re looking for), we recommend you leave the property how you’d like to find it which will also help minimise any deposit deductions. You will get a checklist that tells you what we expect on departure which includes:
- Checking every item on the inventory is present and in the same place as it was when you moved in
- Clean the property through out, we’re talking wiping out cupboards and drawers too
- Clean all the windows inside and out
- Vacuum and mop all floors including under furniture
- Walls cleaned and repainted if necessary
- Removal of all personal belongings, food, rubbish and any furniture that was not on the inventory.
- Curtains and blinds to be cleaned
- Replace any light bulbs that have gone
- Any damage to the property needs to be rectified before you vacate
- Return the keys to us on time
- Provide us with a forwarding address.
- Get meter readings and final bills.
- Arrange a check out appointment with your property manager.
- Let us have your bank details so we’re able to pay your deposit back.
You may still be asked to pay for some cleaning from your deposit. This is because a ‘good job’ might not be up to the professional standard we need – if the property isn’t clean enough for the next tenant to move straight in, someone needs to cover that. It isn’t unusual for a property that has been lived in for six months or longer to need a professional touch when it comes to carpets, ovens, grouting and other problem areas. Bear in mind that it is still in your best interest to leave it clean to keep the costs down, a full days cleaning is not cheap.
Shortly after you leave, you’ll receive a statement of any charges that were discussed during check-out. If both parties agree, the balance of your deposit should be returned without delay. No interest on the deposit is payable to either party.
This is when all those pictures taken at the start and end of each tenancy are important. They act as evidence of the condition of the property and its belongings at the Check In and Check Out stages. If there is any dispute about cleanliness or damage in relation to your deposit, the DPS will look at the photo evidence, along with the written inventory of items and their condition.
Do remember that you won’t be charged for what’s considered ‘fair wear and tear’ i.e. fading of paint.
We are happy to provide a one-off written reference. Email your property manager if you require one.