Tenants Guide

Finding a property

Our personnel are specially trained and equipped to assist Tenants to find properties to rent that will meet their needs. We maintain a database of properties available to rent and of prospective Tenants and their requirements. As properties become available, our first action is to contact waiting Tenants on the database, who's requirements match the property. Typically, properties to rent become available about one month before occupancy date, so where possible it is advisable to start looking early.

Viewings

Having identified a potentially suitable property, we will arrange a viewing. This will be at a time to suit you, and could be at evenings or week-ends, subject of course to the Landlords permission. All viewings will be accompanied by a member of staff, who will be able to provide immediate advice and answer any questions you may have.

Offer / Application

Having decided on a property, you will need to complete a written application form. At this time any details or requirements can be provisionally agreed, such as occupancy date, duration of the letting, etc. On application, a Holding Deposit will be required. This will usually be 500. Assuming the rental proceeds, this will be deducted from the Fees due before occupation as outlined on the Tenants Guise Notes. If we or the Landlord decline your application the Holding Deposit will be refunded. No monies at all however will be refunded if you decide not to proceed for any reason, or if the tenancy fails to proceed due to incomplete or inaccurate information provided in the tenancy application.

References

We will take references on behalf of the Landlord. Normally these will include your employer, any former landlord and a character reference. In addition a credit check will be undertaken. Where a Tenant is unable to meet the required income or credit checks, the Tenant may have a Guarantor agree to underwrite any rent liabilities.

Rent

Rents are normally quoted on a calendar month basis. In addition, the Tenant is usually responsible for Council Tax, Water Rates, Gas, Electricity and Telephone costs. Rents are payable by standing order (unless alternative arrangements are agreed in advance) to our Company bank account monthly in advance, with the first month's rent due before taking occupation of the premises.

Deposit

A deposit (or 'bond') is required prior to occupation. This is normally equal to one month's rent , but may be more. All deposits paid by tenants will be held by their landlords for the duration of the tenancy.

The deposit is held to cover any breakages, damage, or other tenant liabilities. Where we are managing, at the end of the tenancy we will check the property in the presence of the Tenant (if possible) and assess any damages and deductions due.

Please note that the deposit cannot be used by the Tenant to cover rent.

Tenancy Deposit Protection

A tenancy deposit scheme was first mentioned in the Housing Act 2004 and its implementation has since been deferred, finally coming to be law in April 2007 Tenancy Deposit Protection will apply to all Assured Shorthold Tenancies in England and Wales where a deposit is taken. Virtually all new contracts to let a property are Assured Shorthold Tenancies. Tenancy Deposit Protection has been introduced:

To ensure good practice in deposit handling, so that when a tenant pays a deposit, and is entitled to get it back, they can be assured that this will happen.

To assist with the resolution of disputes by having an Alternative Dispute Resolution service (ADR). It will also encourage tenants and landlords to have in place, from the outset, clear agreement on the condition of the property through best practice, such as the use of inventories, and agreement on the condition of the property.

How does it work?

After 6 April 2007, when you are signing a new tenancy agreement with your landlord, ask how your deposit will be protected. Your landlord can provide you with the contact details of the scheme that he/she is using to protect your deposit.

Here at Stoneshaw Estates we recommend that all landlords use the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, however it is the landlords right to chose any scheme that they wish. The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) is an insurance-backed deposit protection and dispute resolution scheme run by The Dispute Service that builds on a scheme established in 2003 to provide dispute resolution and complaints handling for the lettings industry.

Under the Scheme:

  • deposits will be protected during the tenancy
  • where there is no dispute at the end of the tenancy, deposits will be returned promptly
  • where there is a dispute about the return of the deposit it will be dealt with fairly by the Independent Complaints Examiner (ICE)
  • The ICE will make his decision quickly, and the deposit will be paid out without unnecessary delay