The rental market moves at a very fast pace, with the best properties often being taken very quickly.
If you are renting with a group ensure you are all are in a position to make a decision promptly. To secure the property there will usually be reference checks, credit checks, a tenancy agreement, administration fees and finally a deposit payment.
Some things to note:
- When exchanging money with landlords and estate agents it is usually beneficial to get a receipt.
- Use this jargon-busting website for help with terminology in tenancy agreements.
- International students and staff may have some difficulty with references, guarantors and credit checks. Printing out bank statements, and using a Crick sponsorship letter can help to reassure landlords.
- It is important to note that all documents used must be dated in the last three months. It can be useful to have past payslips, copies of bank statements, reference letters and utility bills to convince landlords of reliability.
In the UK prospective tenants have their identities checked; landlords do not automatically assume that tenants are responsible. Reference checks will be charged as administration fees by the estate agent and are non-refundable.
Additionally, the Crick will provide a headed letter confirming employment or study to further reassure landlords.
Proof of identity will normally be required when making an offer.
Reference checks are carried out on prospective tenants to confirm that they have rented without any major issues in the past, and are currently employed or studying.
Credit checks are carried out to ensure that tenants can afford the monthly rent and have no problematic credit history.
A guarantor is someone who guarantees financial payments on behalf of a tenant. A guarantor will be liable for any rent owed to the landlord and can be a substitute for credit checks.
Once these references have been checked there will be a tenancy agreement to sign. When signing any contract it is important to read it thoroughly before signing, and keep a copy.
A tenancy agreement provides detailed information about the rights and responsibilities of the tenant and the landlord.
The final step to securing the property is paying the deposit and the first month's rent. Most landlords and estate agents require a deposit to be paid by tenants to ensure that, upon the end of the tenancy, the property will be returned in the same condition it was rented out in.
The amount can vary but it is usually equal to four to six weeks' rent. The deposit must be held in a government-backed Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme, and the details of this deposit scheme must be given to the tenant.
Deductions can be made if there is damage to the property beyond 'reasonable wear and tear', but any deductions must be agreed by the tenants and the landlord before they can be taken. This protects the interests of tenants and landlords.
Remember, after paying the deposit the tenant will be bound by the terms and conditions within the contract, and the landlord may have a right to keep any money that has been paid.