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Letting with Henleys

A Tenants Guide to Letting

Please find below essential information relating to renting a property through Henleys Estate Agents, including full notification of any charges made by us that you may incur as a result of renting a property through us. 

 

1. Looking for a property

When you start looking for a home to rent, you should allow at least four weeks to find a suitable property. Sometimes it is possible to arrange a tenancy very quickly, however this is not guaranteed.

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Your first step is to consider your requirements and priorities. The following are examples of the variables to be considered:

• The maximum rent you wish to pay.
• The type of property you would like.
• How long you want to rent for, including any initial fixed-term.
• Where you need to live, e.g. School catchment areas.
• What furniture, if any, you need to be included in the tenancy.

2. Viewing the property

You must make arrangements to view the properties you are interested in directly with one of our lettings staff. When viewing you must consider all aspects of the property, particularly what fixtures and fittings are/are not included in the tenancy.

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Any discussions or correspondence with ourselves or the owner are expressly deemed to be subject to application, references and contract.

3. Application

When you have chosen the property you wish to rent, we ask you to formally apply for the tenancy by completing a pre-reference form. This provides us with the details that we need to submit your application to the landlord(s) for consideration. Once the landlords have confirmed that they are happy to proceed with your application we will ask you to pay the Holding Deposit. Once this has been received the property will be secured for you by being marked as Let Agreed and the full referencing process with commence with our referencing company Vouch.

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Once we receive back the results of the referencing checks and searches, we will report the results back to the Landlord and request their authorisation to draw-up draft Tenancy Agreements.

Whilst we await a final decision on your tenancy, we will discuss with you a provisional date and time you would like to move into the property. However, please note all arrangements are still subject to contract at this stage.

Should the Landlord instruct us to proceed with drawing-up the Tenancy Agreements, the arrangements continue still to be subject to contract until they have been signed and executed.

4. Holding Deposit

Once the first three stages have been completed, it is then time to find your ideal property. We would recommend that you speak to as many agents as possible within the area you are looking to purchase to register your details so that these agents can keep you informed of any suitable properties that become available. It is also a good idea to subscribe for alerts on the major property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla, subscribing to these alerts will result in you receiving email notifications every time a property meeting your requirements either become available or reduced in price.

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If your referencing passes with no issues and you are offered the tenancy the holding deposit will be deducted for the total rent and deposit amount due, meaning you would pay a total of one months and a deposit equivalent to 5 weeks rent.

Should your application require a Guarantor, we will need your guarantors details in order for them to be set up on the online referencing system in order to be fully referenced also.

5. Reference

References are taken up on all prospective Tenant(s) and Guarantor(s) to satisfy the Landlord of your character, credit history, and ability to pay the rent on time. The references may include a credit check, references from your employer/accountant, your previous Landlord or lender and a personal reference. For company tenancies, we will review the company’s trading position and accounts.

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To minimise the risk of failing referencing, all applicants should have a clean credit history (no CCJ’s, IVA’s, bankruptcy orders or any other adverse credit, including a low credit-score), and at least one of the applicants must have an income that can be confirmed by an employer (accountant for self-employed applicants) or pension provider. The applicant’s employment status must be permanent, and not subject to a probationary period. Self-employed applicants will need to have at least one year’s accounts available. The combined annual income of the applicants must be more than 30 times the monthly rent.

Should a Guarantor be required for your tenancy, he/she will need to fulfil the criteria above (subject to an increased annual income multiplier of 36 times the monthly rent), not be a tenant in a rented property themselves, and must reside in the UK.

Should you fail referencing due to any of the criteria not being met, your Holding deposit will not be refunded.

6. Tenancy Agreement

The Tenancy Agreement is designed to specifically cater for the circumstances of both you and the Landlord.

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It is extremely important that you read the Tenancy Agreement carefully and make sure you understand all the clauses in it. If there is anything which you do not understand or would like clarified, you should initially discuss it with one of our lettings staff. You should also seek independent legal advice to satisfy yourself that you understand all aspects of the document.

7. Signing the Tenancy Agreement

We will send you the Tenancy Agreement via email a few days prior to your visit to our office for signing.

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All tenants over the age of 18 who will be living at the property will be named on the tenancy and will be required to attend the office for signing. If you require a guarantor, they will also be required to visit the office on the day of signing. If required, we can make alternative arrangements for signing.

8. Inventory & Schedule of Condition

Before the tenancy starts an Inventory will be prepared to provide a detailed schedule of the contents and their condition, and the condition of the property.

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You will be provided with a copy of the inventory along with tenancy agreement and will have 7 days in which to check the inventory over at the property and to advise us of anything that has been missed or you disagree with. We will not accept any amendments to the inventory after 7 days. You will be asked to sign a copy of the inventory upon receiving it and if no amends are received by our office within the 7 days we will assume the signed copy is correct. The Inventory is a very important document because it protects both you and your Landlord from disagreements about these matters at the end of the tenancy. See ‘Returning your Deposit to you’.

9. Check-in & Check-out

The Inventory and Schedule of Condition is reviewed at the beginning and at the end of the tenancy. If you provide us with any amendment, we will sign off the amendment sheet and provide you with a copy to be held alongside your inventory to be used at the checkout to confirm the condition of the property at the outset.

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During the check-out, any discrepancies against the original Inventory are noted, including discrepancies over the condition, cleanliness etc. A Check-out report will then be drawn-up and set to you in the case that deductions are required.

10. Initial Payments

The following payments must be received as cleared funds at least 3 days before the start of your Tenancy.

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  • The first month’s rental payment.
  • The Security Deposit

Payment must be made by direct credit transfer into our Client Account (e.g. CHAPS or BACS payment). Please ask your bank to quote the address of the property as the payment reference, to help us identify it when it is received. Please bear in mind though that often these types of ‘electronic payments’ take a certain number of days to reach our account.  Therefore, if you are in any doubt as to the best way to make these payments, please contact a member of our Lettings staff.

11. Security Deposit

The security deposit on all properties is the equivalent of five weeks rent; this is usually held by The Deposit Protection Service’s Custodial Scheme for the duration of your tenancy. 

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If your Deposit is to be held by your Landlord, we will notify you of this along with the Deposit scheme in which they will be using.  The Deposit is intended to be used to offset any costs required to remedy the failure of the tenant to fulfil the conditions of the Tenancy Agreement. Please note that in extreme cases it is possible that deductions due from the deposit may exceed the actual deposit amount. In these cases, you will be required to meet any shortfall.

12. Overall Responsibilities

You are required to take proper care of the property.  This includes, for example, cleaning chimneys when necessary, unblocking the sink when it is blocked, replacing electrical fuses if required, and changing electric light bulbs, and general pest-control where necessary.

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In addition, you must not damage the property wilfully or negligently, and you must ensure that family or guests do not damage it. If they do, you will be liable to bear the costs. Please be advised that there is a ‘non-smoking’ policy in the property unless you have written consent from the landlord or us to contradict this. There is also a ‘no pets’ policy unless agreed and confirmed in writing by ourselves prior to commencement of the tenancy. All amenities gas, electric, oil, telephone etc. are the tenant’s responsibility during the tenancy term. 

The above information is intended for brief guidance only.  The Tenant’s full responsibilities are set out in your Tenancy Agreement.

13. Rent Payments

Your rent will always be due on the same date of the month that your Tenancy commenced. For example, if your Tenancy starts on 10th of the month, your rent will always be due on 10th of the month, so you should consider this when agreeing a Tenancy start date. 

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After the initial payment, your rent should be paid by Standing Order. We will provide you with details of the bank account to pay the rent to, but it is your responsibility to set-up the standing order. Some banks do not yet offer ‘faster payments’, which means that your standing order payment may take up to four working days to clear into the account. The rent must be cleared into the account on the due date, so you should check with your bank how quickly the payment will arrive, and adjust your payment date accordingly. Please ensure that there are sufficient funds in your account on the day to meet the payment.

14. Unpaid Rent

We will charge Interest at 3% above the bank of England Base Rate from the Rent Due Date until paid in order to pursue non-payment of rent. Please note: This will not be levied until the rent is more than 14 days in arrears.  

15. Utilities

You are responsible for the payment of all utilities charges (for example gas, electricity, telephone and water) during your tenancy. You must notify all utilities companies of your contact details and meter-readings. 

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You are also responsible to notify them of your commencement and departure dates. It is your responsibility to ensure that the utility companies are informed. If you wish to change a utility supplier during a tenancy term you must inform us (Henleys Estate Agents) in writing and have written permission and acknowledgement in return. You must also ensure that if you are bound by a minimum term contract, you can take that contract with you when you move. The landlord may wish to revert to the original supplier. If you have a television, you will require a TV licence. If you require any local parking permits, these are also your responsibility.

16. Council Tax

You are responsible for registering with the local authority Council Tax department for the duration of your tenancy. You are responsible for paying appropriate Council Tax for the period of your tenancy. 

17. Insurance

You are strongly advised to arrange your own insurance to protect your belongings, contents and valuables. Any insurance the Landlord may have will not cover the tenant’s belongings.
You are also responsible for any injury or death at the property caused by you or your guests, and insurance should be taken out to cover this.
 

18. Property Management & Maintenance

We will notify you when you start your tenancy who to contact with maintenance issues or problems. On some occasions, this will be us. On some occasions this will be your Landlord or their nominated repairers.

19. Periodic Inspections

We will carry out property inspections on a regular basis, the first inspection is carried out after 3 months and then every 6 months after than unless requested otherwise by the landlords.  

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The inspections are only carried out during normal weekday working hours. You can opt to be present at such an inspection, if you would like to be. We always endeavour to arrange these visits well in advance to ensure you are put to the minimum inconvenience.

20. Renewal

At the end of your initial period of tenancy, it is often possible to extend your tenancy if you so wish.  Should agreement be reached between both you and your Landlord to extend your tenancy, we will draw-up paperwork to confirm this.  

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If your rent has increased as part of the renewed agreement, please remember to amend your Standing Order mandate appropriately. Any such proposal to extend/renew your tenancy remains ‘Subject to Contract’ until the necessary paperwork has been signed and executed.

21. Early Termination

If you enter into a tenancy, you are legally bound by its terms, including any fixed minimum period of tenancy shown. However, in rare circumstances, Landlords may agree to your request to release you early from your tenancy.  

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Should this be the case, this is solely at your Landlord’s discretion, and may be subject to conditions which will be made clear to you. If your Landlord agrees to your early termination of tenancy, you will be responsible for the Landlord’s fees, costs and charges incurred due to the early termination, and our administration charge. Our administration charge for early termination (including the fee for remarketing the property) is one month’s rent, plus VAT. In the event of an Early Termination Request being allowed, you will be required to sign a ‘Deed of Surrender’ confirming the date on which you will vacate the property and surrender your tenancy. You will also need to pay the Early Termination Administration Charge at this stage. It cannot be paid by way of a deduction from your deposit.

22. Your responsibilities when vacating the property

At the end of your tenancy you must ensure that all your obligations are met, including making sure that rent and utilities charges are paid up to date.  

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You must arrange for final meter-readings of electricity, gas, telephone and water (if applicable) and give the utilities companies a forwarding address for final accounts. You must also notify the Local Authority about Council Tax charges. In addition, you must provide us with your forwarding address. You must ensure that the property is left in a thoroughly clean and tidy condition. You must:

  • Return all items of fixtures/fittings to their original position as detailed in the Inventory;
  • Replace all broken/missing items to equivalent standards;
  • Return all keys, including duplicates, to us;
  • Arrange for the Post Office to redirect your mail;
  • Pay all final utilities accounts and provide your forwarding address to the utilities companies and Council Tax department of the Local Authority.
  • Ensure the garden is left properly-tended for the time of year.

 Failure to comply with these requirements will delay the return of your Deposit and result in deductions being made from it. 

23. Returning your Deposit to you

At the end of your tenancy, your Deposit will be returned to you once we have carried out the Check-out report, and agreed any deductions to be made from it between you and your Landlord.

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If we are not managing the property we will liaise between you and your Landlord to establish if any deductions are necessary.  Once we have written agreement from both Landlord and Tenant of any deductions to be made, the balance of Deposit will be requested to be returned to you from the DPS. You will receive an email from the DPS requesting you to log in provide your response to the deposit return and provide the bank details of where you would like the deposit to be returned to.

If your landlord is protecting the deposit under their own scheme, you will need to liaise direct with your Landlord to obtain the return of the Deposit.

Should a Guarantor be required for your tenancy, he/she will need to fulfil the criteria above (subject to an increased annual income multiplier of 36 times the monthly rent), not be a tenant in a rented property themselves, and must reside in the UK.

Should you fail referencing due to any of the criteria not being met, your Holding deposit will not be refunded.

24. Shared’ Tenancies

Tenants’ responsibilities Tenants are jointly and severally liable for all aspects of the Tenant’s responsibilities. This means that each individual Tenant is completely responsible for all the responsibilities, including rent, of the tenancy.

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When considering entering a Tenancy with other sharers it is important to understand the obligations you and your fellow occupants will be entering.  Here are some issues to note and consider:

  • All parties to the Tenancy Agreement will have these responsibilities even if they leave the property before the Tenancy term, unless otherwise agreed in writing.
  • Rent must be paid by one single Standing Order. Any rent not paid is the responsibility of all sharers.
  • At the end of the Tenancy the Inventory will be checked and all the Tenants will be responsible for any deductions even if they themselves did not cause the damage.
  • How well do you know the other sharers? Are you sure you get on with them well enough to live with them?

25. Changes to sharers

Should any mid-tenancy changes be made to the sharers (for example the replacement of one sharer with a different one), these can only be made with the agreement of your Landlord, and may be subject to conditions.

26. Before you decide to rent a property, there are several issues which you should consider:

Think about how long you need to take the tenancy for and only sign for the length of time you can commit to.

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  • All persons over the age of 18 will need to be referenced and be on the Tenancy Agreement. 
  • If you are sharing the property, you are joint and severely responsible for the Tenancy – therefore you must be sure that you will be happy living together for the duration of the Tenancy.
  • Consider whether you can afford the rent – the affordability ratio explained fully in these Guidance Notes for Tenants
  • Ask whether the property is furnished or unfurnished.
  • The deposit is equivalent to five weeks rent and is payable before your Tenancy starts.
  • If you are currently renting a property, ensure you can adhere to your current notice period.
  • All our Tenancies hold a non-smoking clause which states that smoking inside the property is not permitted.
  • If you have a pet you must inform us. Some Landlords do allow pets; however, this will be subject to additional terms.
  • Where a Landlord pays for a Managed service, Henleys will organise maintenance on their behalf. However, this does not entitle the Tenant to a call out service or “serviced property” arrangement.
  • Tenant’s possessions are not covered by the Landlord’s insurance policy. We would strongly urge you to arrange your own contents insurance.
  • All our Tenancies are fixed term and then roll on periodically unless agreed otherwise, which means that you will be responsible for paying the rent in full until the end of your Tenancy. You do not have a right to terminate early. In some circumstances, we may be able to negotiate an early termination; however, this will be subject to terms.
  • Your rent will be due on the date that your Tenancy commenced every month. Please ensure the payment leaves your account in plenty of time to reach our account. If you are relying on your salary to pay your rent, you should ensure that you do not start your Tenancy before your salary is paid