Tenants FAQs

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Can my rent be increased?

Landlords do have the right to increase the rent at a reasonable rate. It is a clause in our tenancy agreements that the rent shall be reviewed on the first anniversary date and annually thereafter and that the rent shall increase by approximately 3% subject to the relevant notices. 

Can I change my rent date?

Rent is due in advance as per the tenancy agreement. If you want to change the date you pay the rent then the apportioned rent must be paid to make sure that your payments remain in advance. Please contact our accounts team to apportion the rent accordingly and amend your payment date.

Can I change the gas/electric supplier?

It is advisable to remain with the same supplier when you first occupy the property so that the supplier have correct opening meter readings.  It is then your duty to arrange what tariff you wish to be on and to arrange your payment plan.  You are then at liberty to change the supplier but it is advisable to inform your landlord/agent of this information.

Can I change the meters to pre-paid meters?

Only with landlord consent in writing.  This is usually with the condition that the meter/s are changed back to normal meters at the end of your tenancy and at your cost.  

Can I decorate?

Only with landlord consent in writing.  Always check with your landlord/agent before making any changes.

Can I email my notice to end my tenancy?

Yes, notice must be given in writing by letter or by email and must be received before 4pm on any day otherwise the notice will be effective from the next working day.

Can I get a dog/cat?

If you are already in rented accommodation, it is important that you get permission in writing from your landlord/agent before you get a pet.  

Can I hang pictures on the walls?

Yes but you must make sure that you use picture hooks not nails.  Any damage to the walls must be rectified by yourself and at your cost at the end of the tenancy.  Damage to walls is a reasonable deduction from deposit and is not regarded as wear and tear.

Can I have family/friends to stay?

Family and friends are able to visit you for up to a two week period. Any longer period of stay should be with landlord approval. Anyone permanently residing in the property over the age of 18 should be noted on the tenancy agreement.

Can I install a water meter?

Landlord permission in writing must be granted before you arrange any appointments.  If the property is a flat or an apartment, the block management company may also have to agree in writing and may be dependent on the head lease.

Can I install Sky TV?

Written permission from the landlord/agent must be granted. There may be restrictions in apartment blocks regarding single dishes and if you install one without permission you will be asked to remove it at your cost and may incur additional penalty costs.

Can I rent a property with a dog/cat ?

This is dependent on individual landlord preference and it is advisable to check this information before viewing a property.  Many landlords do not accept pets and if this request is granted, this will be subject to a strict pet clause within the tenancy agreement and on some occasions a higher deposit amount may be requested.

Can I run my business from home?

No,  it is a condition under the tenancy agreement that you are – not to receive paying guests or carry on or permit to be carried on any business, trade or profession on or from the Property.

Can I use my deposit as the last months’ rent?

No, the deposit is held against the property in the event of any damages at the end of the tenancy and it is a condition in your tenancy agreement that your deposit should not be used for your last months rent.

Do I have to put my notice in writing?

Yes, notice must be given in writing by letter or by email and must be received before 4pm on any day otherwise the notice will be effective from the next working day.

Do I need a carbon monoxide monitor?

It is advisable to place a carbon monoxide monitor in a property where there are any gas appliances for peace of mind,  however the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 which came into effect on 1 October 2015,  only apply to solid fuel appliances.  

Do I need a TV licence?

You need to be covered by a TV Licence if you watch or record programmes as they’re being shown on TV or live on an online TV service. This is the case whether you use a TV, computer, tablet, mobile phone, games console, digital box, DVD/VHS recorder or any other device.  For further advice Click HERE 

Do I need contents insurance?

Contents insurance may cover the contents of a property including electrical appliances, carpets, furniture for a landlord for such purposes as damage if the property was in a fire or flood. Usually tenants cover these items against damage by themselves during a tenancy on their own contents insurance policy. Tenants contents insurance may be obtained separately for their own items such as clothing and personal items therefore it may be that both landlords and tenants decide to have contents insurance in place for their specific items.

Do I need smoke alarms?

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 came into force on 1 October 2015. Private sector landlords are required to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their properties and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. a coal fire, wood burning stove). After that, the landlord must make sure the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy, and it is the tenants responsibility during a tenancy to check the functionality at regular intervals. The requirements will be enforced by local authorities who can impose a fine of up to £5,000 where a landlord fails to comply with a remedial notice.

How do I re-pressurise the boiler?

If you have no heat or hot water, the most common reason is that the pressure has dropped on the boiler.  For a  central heating system to work properly the water pressure should remain constant. Modern combination boilers are pressurised systems and water will enter the system from the mains cold water supply through a manual filling device, known as a ‘filling loop’. Adding water via the filling loop to the system after a drop of pressure will help bring your system to the correct pressure again and the pressure gauge will then increase.  This should be at 1.5 bar.  Refer to the operating instruction leaflet for the make and model of the boiler for instructions of how to do this.  If you do not have an instruction booklet, these can often be downloaded from the internet.

How do I tackle condensation?

Why does condensation occur? Condensation occurs when moist air comes into contact with air, or a surface, which is at a lower temperature.

Sources of condensation – The moisture in the air comes from a number of sources within the property from breathing (while asleep or awake), cooking, washing and drying clothes among others.

Helpful advice:

a) Keep all rooms warm and ventilated.
b) Keep the internal kitchen door closed and window open when cooking.
c) Keep the bathroom door closed and the window ajar when bathing or showering, or open the window immediately afterwards.
d) Use an electric extractor fan, if installed, when cooking, washing clothes or bathing, particularly when windows show a sign of misting. Keep doors and windows closed when the fan is in operation. Leave the fan on until the mistiness has cleared; this is especially important where extractor fans have been installed so as to counteract prevailing air flows within the dwelling.
e) Do not use paraffin heaters or flueless gas heaters in unventilated rooms, as every litre of paraffin burnt can produce approx 1 litre of water.
f) Keep heating on at all times in cold weather (intermittent heating causes condensation to be deposited as the air and surfaces cool).
g) Keep the heating on low if your home is unoccupied in the day.
h) If condensation has occurred:
    1) As much as possible should be mopped up (kitchen roll is ideal).
    2) The room should be heated.
    3) The window should be opened a little.
    4) The door should be shut.
Unless such actions are taken, condensation can become a nuisance.
i) If condensation occurs in a room which has a heating appliance with a flue, check the heating installation immediately as the condensation may have appeared because the flue has been blocked.

Drying clothes – The drying of clothes inside should be avoided. This is the main cause of condensation and mould growth.
Furniture – Items of furniture should not be placed directly against external walls. The resulting pockets of trapped air can lead to serious surface condensation and mould growth on the wall and furniture. The contents of wardrobes and cupboards can also be affected.
Please note that this sheet is for guidance only and Stuarts Property Services Ltd cannot be held responsible for actions taken by tenants or landlords to avoid/cause condensation.

I have no heat or hot water…

If you have no heat or hot water, the most common reason is that the pressure has dropped on the boiler.  For a  central heating system to work properly the water pressure should remain constant. Modern combination boilers are pressurised systems and water will enter the system from the mains cold water supply through a manual filling device, known as a ‘filling loop’. Adding water via the filling loop to the system after a drop of pressure will help bring your system to the correct pressure again and the pressure gauge will then increase.  This should be at 1.5 bar.  Refer to the operating instruction leaflet for the make and model of the boiler for instructions of how to do this.  If you do not have an instruction booklet, these can often be downloaded from the internet.

I have post/mail for the last occupiers, what do I do with it?

You must not open post addressed to any other person than yourself or addressed to the occupier. If the post is addressed to the occupier but does not relate to your occupancy dates, please forward to the landlord/agent.  We do ask that outgoing tenants re-direct their mail to their new address but if you continue to receive mail for them, either send this to our office or alternatively write on the envelope “not known at this address” and re-post it.  If the agent/landlord do not have the forwarding address then all mail will be returned to sender. 

 

I need to move out early..

If you have signed a tenancy agreement for a fixed period (usually six or twelve months)  then you are tied to that agreement until the end of that period so to leave early can ONLY be with landlord permission and there will be restrictions to allow the early release. This means that you are obliged to pay the rent and all utilities (inc gas, electric, council tax and water) up to the ‘finish date’.  Please ring us to enquire about the early release process.  Please be aware that the landlord does have the right to refuse this request as you have signed a legally binding agreement.

 

I’m struggling to pay rent this month, what do I do?

It is important to note that you have signed a legally binding contract that states what rent amount it to be paid and on what date.  Failure to make these payments can have serious consequences such as being given notice to leave the property and you also may incur additional charges, see Fees and Charges.

If you are experiencing a temporary financial problem or are falling into arrears, it is very important to speak to your landlord or agent as soon as possible as they may be able to help you through the temporary period by agreeing a payment plan. To be clear, this is ONLY with landlord approval and cannot be guaranteed. 

If your financial problems are likely to be permanent during the tenancy, then you must discuss this with your landlord/agent as soon as you can.  You may be entitled to additional help and should contact Citizens Advice or Shelter as soon as you can but communication is the best option in the event of any arrears.   The landlord can pursue you through the courts for non-payment of rent and this could affect your credit rating in the future.

I’ve lost my keys/I’m locked out…

Your landlord/agent will have a spare set of keys. In the first instance try ringing them to gain access. This may incur a call out charge.  If you have lost the keys, then for security reasons you will need to consider replacing the lock at your expense and you must make sure that your landlord/agent are advised of the change and issue them with a spare set.

Is it my responsibility to maintain the garden?

Yes, it is a condition of your tenancy agreement to keep the gardens, driveway, pathways, hedges, rockeries and ponds in a good and safe condition and properly tended, unless your landlord has a garden contract in place.

 

My partner wants to move in…

Any new person wishing to move into the property must complete an application form and go through the usual reference checks for which there is a fee. This is to ensure that the landlord is protected and also that the landlord is complying to their landlord obligations.  A new tenancy agreement must be drawn up subject to the above procedure and this will incur an administration fee

My son/daughter is 18

Anyone permanently residing in the property over the age of 18 should be noted on the tenancy agreement

We’re splitting up, what do we do?

Whilst it is a common occurrence, each tenant must be mindful of their legal responsibilities and some issues need to be addressed BEFORE either party can be released.

  • All tenants need to write to the landlord/agent stating that they all wish this change to happen and that they are happy for the deposit protection to reflect the changes.
  • The landlord/agent must agree in writing that they give permission for the change and give consideration to the affordability of the remaining occupant if they are remaining in the property on their own. (Up to date references may be required).
  • The deposit protection must reflect the current occupiers and therefore the deposit protection may have to be released to the landlord/agent to then re-register the deposit in the new occupants’ names. The lead tenant has this responsibility.
  • Any new person wishing to move into the property (if applicable) must complete an application form and go through the usual reference checks for which there is a fee so that the landlord is complying to their landlord obligations.
  • A new tenancy agreement must be drawn up subject to the above procedure and this will incur an administration fee

Should one party disagree then the current tenancy agreement remains in place and each tenant remains jointly and severally liable for the duration of the tenancy.

What is a Gas Safety Certificate?

A gas safety certificate is a form showing gas safety information to show that your gas appliances are working safely.  These checks are to be done yearly by a Gas Safe engineer.

 

What is a periodic tenancy?

A periodic tenancy, sometimes known as ‘month to month’ tenancy is when you are out of your ‘fixed’ term agreement but continue at the property on a month to month basis.  This form of tenancy gives you the flexibility to not ‘fix in’ for a duration of time as you just have to give one months’ notice in writing (unless your contract states otherwise) and is ideal if you are thinking of moving on, whilst the advantage of a fixed period is that you have the security of knowing you can remain in the property for a specified period of time.

What is a Section 21?

A section 21 is the official notice to evict a tenant.  This notice is officially called a ‘Notice Requiring Possession (under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988)’. It’s used in England & Wales by landlords to evict tenants and to gain possession of a property that is let under an assured short hold tenancy.

What is an AML?

AML is an abbreviation of Anti-money laundering.  The landlord or agent must satisfy the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, Terrorism Act 2000 and Money Laundering Regulations 2007.  Completing accurate due diligence is vital for any business that has to comply with Anti Money Laundering regulations and these checks are an essential part of ‘Know Your Customer’ (KYC) policies and have become a legislation to landlords taking rent from tenants. They are becoming increasingly important when preventing identity theft, money laundering and financial fraud.

 

What is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy?

An Assured Short Hold Tenancy, sometimes referred to as an AST,  is a tenancy agreement which is used for letting furnished or unfurnished residential accommodation with certain protections under The Housing Act 1988 as amended by Part III of the Housing Act 1996. As such, it is a legal document and should not be used without adequate knowledge of the law of landlord and tenant. Prospective tenants should have an adequate opportunity to read and understand the tenancy agreement before signing in order for this agreement to be fully enforceable. This agreement may be used for residential tenancies of three years or less and where the rent is below £100,000 per annum and is for an individual or group of individuals rather than a company. Agreements for tenancies of a longer duration should be drawn up by deed.

 

What is an Energy Performance Certificate?

Otherwise referred to as an EPC, the certificate gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and is valid for 10 years.  It is a requirement to have an EPC before marketing the property and shows where the property could be more energy efficient but also advises tenants in advance of them occupying the property of the ratings so that they can make an informed choice.

What is the deposit return process?

Once the tenants have moved out of the property, the deposit will be returned within 10 working days of the vacating date.  If there are proposed deductions, these will be discussed with them within this time period. If the property is managed by the landlord directly, the agent may have the deposit protected under their scheme ID. This means that the agent will require written confirmation from the landlord to confirm full receipt of rent and that the property has been handed back in  a satisfactory condition with due consideration to fair wear and tear.

What is the minimum period I can rent for?

Assured Short Hold Tenancy agreements are for a minimum period of six months but can be up to three years with landlord approval.

What monies do I have to pay upfront?

You will be required to pay an administration fee to secure the property which is for the referencing process.  After this, there is nothing to pay until nearer the move in date where you will be asked to pay one months’rent plus one months’ deposit (sometime six weeks).  It is important to note that the rent is payable in advance each month and the deposit must be protected in a deposit protection scheme where no-one can touch your deposit monies without your consent. See fees and charges for any other costs you may experience throughout your tenancy.

What notice does a landlord have to give to tenants?

Tenants are entitled to at least two months’ notice before being required to give up possession of the property.  However, if the tenancy started on a periodic basis without any initial fixed term, a longer notice period may be required depending on how often they are required to pay rent (for example, if they pay rent quarterly, you must give at least three months’ notice, or, if it is a periodic tenancy which is half yearly or annual, you must give them at least six months’ notice (which is the maximum).  The date they are required to leave should be shown, then after this date the landlord can apply to court for a possession order against them if needed.

What repairs should I be doing as a tenant?

Tenants are expected to deal with small repairs.  As a tenant, you’re responsible for:

  • looking after your home by using it in a ‘tenant like’ way 
  • telling your landlord/agent about the repairs that are needed
  • providing access to have any repair work done, and
  • having a duty of care to your visitors

Using your home in a tenant-like way generally means:

  • keeping your home reasonably clean
  • doing minor repairs yourself, such as changing fuses and light bulbs, checking the smoke alarm batteries, tightening door handles, plunging toilets in the first instance of a blockage, running hot water down a sink to clear debris etc.
  • not causing any damage to the property and making sure your visitors don’t cause any damage
  • using any fixtures and fittings properly, for example, not blocking a toilet by flushing something unsuitable down it

Your tenancy agreement may also set out some express terms on what your responsibilities are for repairs.

Your landlord cannot include a term in your agreement that would pass on any of their repair responsibilities to you, for example, that you are responsible for repairs to the roof. This type of term would not have any force in law.

The Landlord is obligated to keep in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling, and to keep in repair and proper working order the installations for the supply of water, gas and electricity and the installations in the Property for space heating and heating water.

Who pays the service charge/ground rent?

The landlord of the property should pay the service charges and any ground rent charges if applicable.  It is important to make sure tenants are aware that if documents relating to these charges are sent to the property in error, then it is important to pass them to the landlord/agent at the earliest convenience.


  • Colin Hayes
    Colin Hayes
    10:58 21 Jun 17
    The property was let to the other viewer on the day, they acted quickly and had secured it during the viewing, all applicants are informed it sadly is a first comer first served basis. This is a very fast moving market and sadly sometimes this happens.
    Joy Sadeghiani
    Joy Sadeghiani
    13:46 06 Mar 17
    What a fabulous letting agent Stuarts are. Their attention to detail in fantastic. Everything you need to know is clearly explained on the website. Their customer service is second to none and they are always happy to answer any queries a potential tenant may have. I would highly recommend using this letting agent.
    kati pasztor
    kati pasztor
    16:20 07 Mar 17
    I have been with the company with over 7 years. I would highly recommend them to anyone who is after a secure and well looked after rental. Claire, Margaret and Colin are not only helpful but genuinely lovely people. Anytime I have a request they sort things out for me straight away. I feel safe and trusted in the properly I live in and if I would ever have to move, i'd definitely stick with Stuarts to find me a new home.
    Sue Jelks
    Sue Jelks
    13:35 06 Apr 17
    First class service provided, personally tailored to suit each client. As a professional accountant and tax advisor such excellent service is always appreciated especially to enable up to date planning with clients.
    Gemma Cullum
    Gemma Cullum
    15:45 14 Feb 17
    We have recently completed work for Stuarts Property Services at one of their tenanted properties. I would like to say a huge thank you for the work you have offered to us recently and what a great company you are to work for. All the best for the future and we look forward to continuing our good working relationship.
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