Tenants Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

When can I move in?

Once the tenancy has been signed and rents and deposits have cleared, the tenancy can proceed. You can now collect the keys to your new home.

Can I have pets in my new home?

You must consult us prior to obtaining a pet.  If you are viewing properties and you have pets, please ensure you let us know as some properties will not allow certain animals.

Can I decorate my rental property?

You must consult us prior to carrying out any changes to the property. We will contact the landlord and await his permission.  It is likely that acceptance will mean you must have a professional contractor carry out the work, and it may be an additional requirement that you put the room back to the original colour at the end of the tenancy.

Do I need insurance as a tenant?

The landlord of the property is responsible for insuring the building and any furnishings that are included in your tenancy. You will be responsible for insuring your own contents and your personal possessions that are stored within the rented property.  It is also advisable to have accidental damage added to your policy, just in case anything belonging to the landlord is damaged during the tenancy.  

Can I run a business from the property I rent?

No. You must use the property solely for residential purposes unless specifically agreed in advance, in writing.

What if I find any faults or repairs that need addressing?

If you find any problems with the property you are renting, you should contact us immediately. We have an online reporting system for this purpose.  Once we have been informed of any issues or faults, we will instruct the landlord and await their instruction.  Be aware that if you DO NOT report issues quickly and they subsequently get worse, you could be liable for the cost of the additional work to rectify the issue.

What happens to my security deposit?

Once we receive your security deposit it will be transferred to the DPS (Deposit Prote tion Scheme) within 30 days of receipt.  The DPS will provide confirmation of receipt and details of the protection scheme, which we will provide to you with your moving-in pack of documents.  When the tenancy comes to an end it is up to the landlord to confirm any amount of money they feel should be deducted (if any) in order to return the property to the same condition as when you moved in (less fair wear and tear).  You must accept this amount before it can be awarded to the landlord.  In the case of any dispute over the deductions, the DPS will return any undisputed money plus interest to the relevant party but will hold onto the disputed portion.  The scheme will then use an Alternative Dispute Resolution Service (ADR) to decide what is fair based upon the documentation provided to them. Your deposit cannot be used to pay your rent.

What are my tenancy obligations?

When you live in your rented home there are a number of things that you MUST DO:

  • Pay the rent on time. If your rent is more than 14 days late, you could be liable for a default fee. A default fee for late payment of rent is limited by the Tenant Fees Act to interest on the outstanding amount, capped at 3% above Bank of England base rates. The landlord/agent cannot charge any other fees.
  • Pay any other bills that you are responsible for on time, such as council tax, gas, electricity and water bills. If you pay the gas or electricity bills, you can choose your own energy supplier.
  • Look after the property. Get your landlord’s permission before attempting repairs or decorating. It’s worth getting contents insurance to cover your possessions too because the landlord’s insurance won’t cover your items.
  • Be considerate to your neighbours. Anti-social behaviour may be a reason for your landlord to evict you.
  • Do not take in a lodger or sub-let without checking whether you need permission from your landlord.

 

What SHOULD I do as a tenant?

When you live in your rented home there are a number of things that you SHOULD DO:

  • Make sure you know how to operate the boiler and other appliances and know where the stopcock, fuse box and any meters are located.
  • Regularly test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors – at least once a month.
  • Report any need for repairs to your landlord. If you think there are any repairs that are needed, you should report these to your landlord. Failure to report the need for repairs could be a breach of your tenancy agreement. In extreme circumstances, there may be a risk to your deposit if a minor repair turns into a major problem because you did not report it.
  • Consider obtaining insurance for your contents and belongings – the landlord will usually have insurance for the property but it will not cover anything that belongs to you.
  • Consider if having a smart meter installed would save you money if you are responsible for paying the energy bills. Read guidance about your rights and information about how to get a smart meter. We’d recommend that you tell your landlord before you get one.
  • Register to vote on the electoral register.

What are my landlord's obligations to me?

Your landlord must…

  • Maintain the structure and exterior of the property.
  • Ensure that the rental property is free from serious hazards from the start of and throughout your tenancy.
  • Fit smoke alarms on every floor and carbon monoxide alarms in rooms with fixed combustion – excluding gas cookers – and make sure they are working at the start of your tenancy. If they are not there, ask your landlord to install them.  Landlords must repair or replace faulty smoke or carbon monoxide alarms once you have notified them that they are not working.
  • Deal with any problems with the water, electricity and gas supply.
  • Maintain any appliances and furniture they have supplied.
  • Carry out most repairs. If something is not working, report it to your landlord or agent as soon as you can.
  • Arrange an annual gas safety check by a Gas Safe engineer (where there are any gas appliances).
  • Arrange a 5-yearly electrical safety check by a qualified and competent person (this applies to new tenancies from 1 July 2020 and existing tenancies from 1 April 2021).
  • Seek your permission to access your home and give at least 24 hours’ notice of proposed visits for things like repairs and those visits should take place at reasonable times – neither the landlord nor the letting agent is entitled to enter your home without your express permission.
  • Get a licence for the property if it is a licensable property (such as a house share or student accommodation).
  • Ensure the property is at a minimum of EPC energy efficiency band E (unless a valid exemption applies).

 

What else SHOULD my landlord do?

Your landlord should…

  • Insure the building to cover the costs of any damage from flood or fire.
  • Check regularly to ensure all that products, fixtures and fittings provided are safe and that there haven’t been any product recalls. Help is available at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA), Trading Standards and the Child Accident Prevention Trust.
  • Ensure blind cords are safe by design and they do not have looped cords to prevent accidents. This is especially important in a child’s bedroom. More information can be found HERE.

What documents MUST my landlord provide me?

The landlord must provide you with:

  • A copy of the guide ‘How to rent: the checklist for renting in England’ as a printed copy or, if you agree, via email as a PDF attachment.
  • A gas safety record (GSR). The landlord must provide you with a copy of this certificate before you enter into occupation of the property and must give you a copy of the new certificate after each annual gas safety check if there is a gas installation or appliance.
  • Security deposit paperwork. If you have provided a deposit, the landlord must protect it in a government-approved scheme within 30 days and provide you with prescribed information about it. Make sure you get the official information from your landlord, and that you understand how to get your money back at the end of the tenancy. Keep this information safe as you will need it later.
  • The Energy Performance Certificate. Your landlord must provide you with a copy of the EPC, which contains the energy performance rating of the property you are renting, free of charge at the onset of your tenancy. As of April 2020, all privately rented properties must have an energy performance rating of EPC Band E or above (unless a valid exemption applies) prior to being let out. You can also search online for the EPC and check its rating.
  • A valid Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR).  Under the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020, landlords have to get their property electrics checked at least every five years by a properly qualified person. This applies to new tenancies from 1 July 2020 and existing tenancies from 1 April 2021. The electrics must be safe and your landlord must give you proof of this. For more information please see our guidance on electrical safety standards in the private rented sector.
  • Evidence that smoke alarms and any carbon monoxide alarms are in working order at the start of the tenancy. Tenants should then regularly check they are working.

What paperwork will I receive?

Tenancy Agreement

Make sure you have a written tenancy agreement and read it carefully to understand your rights and responsibilities before you sign it. This is most likely to be an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) which gives you the protection of the Housing Act 1988 and all subsequent revisions.

When you enter an assured shorthold tenancy you are entering into a contractual arrangement.  This gives you some important rights as well as some responsibilities.  Take your time to read documents and contracts carefully. When you rent a home, people sometimes expect you to make a quick decision, or to sign documents before you’ve had time to think about them.  You shouldn’t feel forced into a decision and it is important to understand the terms and conditions of any contract you are agreeing to before you sign it.

If you have any concerns about the agreement, seek advice before you sign. If you are unhappy with the tenancy agreement, the Tenant Fees Act allows tenants to walk away from unfair terms without forfeiting the holding deposit paid.

Inventory and Schedule of Condition

A landlord is not legally bound to provide you with an inventory and schedule of condition for your rental property, however, they will be very unlikely to deduct any money from your security deposit at the end of the tenancy if they do not have this vital proof of how the property was when you moved into it.

The usual practice is to meet with your landlord, property manager or an inventory clerk at the very start of the tenancy, in order to agree on the inventory (or check-in report) before you move in.  This document will then form the basis for any negotiations regarding the condition at the end of the tenancy.  If you are happy with the inventory, sign it and keep a copy.  If you do not get any inventory documentation it would be wise to record each room or item on your mobile phone, camera or in writing.

 

Meter Readings

Remember to take meter readings when you move in. Take a photo showing the meter reading and the date and time, if possible. This will help make sure you don’t pay for the previous tenant’s bills.  If the water meter is outside in the road you may have to run the taps in order to see which of the meters belongs to your property, alternatively call the Water Board to come and read the meter for you, although there may then be a dispute over payment from the end of the previous tenancy and the start of yours if it is unclear exactly what the reading was.

Contact details for the tenancy duration

Make sure that you have the correct contact details for the landlord or the managing agent, including a telephone number you can use in case of an emergency. You are legally entitled to know the name and address of your landlord and this must be provided within 21 days of any request in writing.

If your property is being fully managed by the letting agent it is likely that you will not have any contact with your landlord during your tenancy.

HMO Licence

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs):  usually properties where three or more unrelated people share facilities such as a kitchen or bathroom.
Some HMOs must be licensed. Check that your landlord has the correct licence. Landlords of licensed HMOs must by law give tenants a statement of the terms on which they live in the property.  Be careful not to move additional occupants into your rental property without the express permission of your landlord, or this could make the property an HMO without the landlord knowing.

Selective licensing: some single-family dwellings may also need to be licensed. Selective licensing enables a local housing authority to require all landlords of privately rented housing in a designated area to obtain a licence for each individual property. It gives the local housing authority powers to inspect properties and enforce standards to address specific property issues.

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Jacqueline Graham said:
Re: Usman Ayub – Lets Rent Letting & Management Prior to meeting Usman, the experience in trying to rent property in Bristol for over 6 months was demoralising. A Let's Rent representative (Seb) contacted me by phone to say they'd managed to alter a few appointments for the viewing & I would be me by Usman. He was punctual & informative throughout prior to our entrance to the building. He informed me of the layout, security & access which therefore covered all the H&S criteria in case there was an issue. Once the viewing was over, Usman assured me that he will send over the documents via email for me to complete, which was actioned without delay. Throughout the legal itinerary & required information, he kept me informed which enabled me to clear up some issues the automated system rejected unbeknownst to me. Usman is a valid member of the team and the functionality of this business benefits with him as a valid member.
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