Finding the right property to suit you can be a daunting task if you have never done it before and even if you have, there are often questions that arise that you may not have thought about. Stuarts Homes have been letting agents since 1908 and here you will find our Step by Step guidance to assist you.
What can you afford?
When renting a property you are normally asked to pay your rent one month in advance plus a deposit (usually the same amount as the monthly rent, but can be the equivalent of up to five weeks rent). Once you are in the property, you must pay your rent on time each month and you will also have other bills such as council tax, utilities, TV licence etc. It is advisable to explore these costs before you commit. Energy Performance Certificates are available for each property so as to guide you to the efficiency of the property.
Decide which area
Decide which area you would like to live in – the larger your search area the better the chance we can find the right home for you. Also check that the property has an available date which meets your requirements.
If you decide to apply for a property from ourselves, we will need to identify you. We will require a copy of your passport and/or drivers licence and we will conduct a credit search and anti-money laundering check, employment reference, landlord reference (if applicable) and Right to rent check. Further guidance can be found on our ‘How to Apply‘ page.
Accreditation and fees
We are members of SAFEagent, The Property Ombudsman and The Deposit Protection Service. This means that we commit to offer services to landlords and tenants meeting Safeagent service standards and that we also offer client money protection as well as having a written customer complaints procedure which offers independent redress should any complaint not be resolved in house.
Our fees can be found by clicking here.
Viewing the property
Arrange a viewing
We conduct viewings 9 am to 5.15 pm Monday to Friday and Saturday mornings 9am to 12noon. We try to be as flexible as possible but please be aware that 24 hours access notice is required for currently occupied properties unless otherwise authorised.
Sadly there are still many rogue landlord and agents out there. It is always advisable to use a reputable agent such as ourselves that has accreditation through a professional body and that they have the right protection for their clients’ money. As above, we are members of SAFEagent, The Property Ombudsman and the Deposit Protection Service (DPS)
Make sure your deposit will be protected
Since April 2007, all deposits (other than company lets) taken must be protected in a government approved deposit scheme. We are members of The Deposit Protection Service and register your deposit with them within 30 days of your tenancy start date. You will receive notification from DPS with a unique ID and a Repayment ID code – you will need to keep these in a safe place for the end of your tenancy.
Check the tenancy term
Minimum period of rental is six months fixed term but some landlords are happy to allow a twelve month initial fixed period. This depends on the level of security you wish to have but remember, whatever you sign for, you are committed to.
Applying for the property
We operate a first come first served policy as we believe this to be the fairest method. When you have decided to take the property, telephone our office and we will request an application fee from you. Once this has been received, we will send you a receipt and application forms (usually electronically), take the property off the market and cancel any future viewings. We will hold the property for 48 hours and during this time, we request that you complete the application forms and return to us along with requested identification documents.
Once referencing has begun, the application fee becomes non-refundable. Referencing usually takes between 3 – 5 days but is dependent on your current landlord and employer responding to us. We would advise you to contact your Line Manager / HR Department / Accountant telling them to expect a reference request from ourselves and ask them to respond quickly to it.
When do you want to move in?
Whilst the referencing process is being conducted, we would advise you to think about when you would like to move into the property. You will have already been advised of the earliest available date. Once you are through referencing, we will contact you to arrange a date and time to suit both yourself the Landlord and our diary schedule but we will be as flexible as possible.
Arrange your removal van
Don’t forget to arrange your removal van and have people to help you load and unload lined up.
We will write to you to confirm that your tenancy has been accepted in principle subject to the tenancy agreement being signed. Please check this document carefully for correct spelling of your name and tenancy term and so on. This letter also gives you further information regarding payment methods of the rent and deposit. We must receive cleared funds before releasing keys to the property.
Copy of tenancy agreement
The written tenancy agreement is a legal document and it is important that you read it carefully to understand your rights and responsibilities. A copy of this will be given to you prior to your move in date to enable you to seek legal advice before signing should you require it.
Who is to be at the move in?
All persons (18 years and over) occupying the property are required to sign the tenancy agreement on or before the move in date. Keys cannot be released unless all parties have signed including Guarantors where applicable.
Where do you meet?
We usually conduct the move in procedure at the property unless otherwise advised.
Signing of tenancy agreement
All persons occupying the property must have signed the tenancy agreement on or before the date of move in. This will then be countersigned by us as agent for the landlord.
If the property is managed by us, we will provide you with a comprehensive inventory and ask you to receipt it as unchecked. We allow seven days after your move in date for you to report any discrepancies otherwise the inventory is deemed as accepted by you. If the property is managed by the landlord directly and they do not supply an inventory, we advise you to conduct your own inventory and take photos on the day of your move in which will make things easier should there be a dispute regarding your deposit at the end of the tenancy.
Utilities (gas,electric,water) and Council Tax
On the day of your move in, we will take meter readings and notify the utility companies of your occupancy date and start meter readings. Please note that we only inform them of your occupancy, we do not apply for discounts if applicable or arrange a tariff for your gas and electric; this is your responsibility.
We do not arrange phone, broadband and TV subscriptions – these are your responsibility as a tenant.
Your deposit will be protected with a government approved scheme within 30 days of your occupancy. It is always advisable to check that your deposit is protected, that you keep all documentation received from the scheme administrator in a safe place throughout your tenancy, and that you understand the process in which to receive your deposit back at the end of your tenancy.
GSC, PAT, LRA and EPC
You will be provided with a copy of the gas safety certificate (GSC) on occupation if the property has gas. This is a legal requirement and the landlord should provide one each year.
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), Portable Appliance Test (PAT) and Legionella Risk Assessment (LRA) checks are undertaken prior to the property being let to you and documentation can be provided if required.
You will be given contact details for the landlord if your property is managed directly by them. If we manage your property CLICK HERE for contact details.