Who's who in the renting process?

You are the renter, otherwise known as the tenant.

The landlord is the owner of the property you move into.

The landlord may manage the property themselves, or use an estate agency for day to day upkeep.

An estate agency is a business which sells, rents and manages properties on behalf of landlords.

How do I work out what my budget is?

As a rule of thumb, you should map out all of your living costs, including your estimated household bills and then deduct them from your income to see how much flexibility you have with rent.

Make sure you also factor in these one-off costs when moving into a new place:

Security deposit– usually 4-6 weeks rent.
Holding Deposit – around 1-2 weeks rent, which is usually deductible from your first rental payment.
Agency fees & referencing – depends on the agency but can be £100-£400.
Council tax
Inventory Check

How do I convert my rent from monthly to weekly and vice versa?

This will help you manage your budget from every angle.

Monthly to weekly:
Multiply your monthly rent by 12 to calculate the annual rent, and divide it by 52 which is the number of weeks per year to find your weekly rent.

Weekly to monthly:
Multiply your weekly rent by 52 to calculate the annual rent, and divide it by 12 which is the number of months per year to find your monthly rent.

N.B. You can do exactly the same thing with your budget!

What is a tenancy? Can I leave early or extend it if I want to?

A tenancy is how long you rent the property for.

Most landlords/estate agents require you to stay for a minimum of 6 months, unless otherwise stated in the tenancy contract.

If you want to leave early, or extend your tenancy the best thing you can do is notify whoever is managing your property as early as possible. If you are hoping to leave early, see if you can find a suitable candidate to take your place as this may help to persuade the agent or landlord to let you go early.

What is a Break Clause?

A break clause is a section written in the tenancy contract that allows the tenant or landlord, or both, to end the contract before the end of the fixed tenancy. Either parties must give 2 months’ notice (or otherwise if stated in the contact) if they wish to break the contact early.

What is a Tenancy Contract?

When you move in, you will need to sign a tenancy contract. This is the written agreement between yourself and the landlord that outlines what your landlord is expected to provide and what your responsibilities are in return. By signing this, both of you are agreeing to hold up your side of the agreement.

What is a guarantor, and do I need one?

Estate agency rules dictate that unless you are earning 2–3 times your annual rent, you may be required to pay 6 months rent upfront or have a UK based guarantor.

A guarantor is someone who nominates themselves to cover you should you not be able to pay your rent. This is usually a parent or long time friend aged 24 or over, who must have have a good credit history and regular income.

What is an offer, and at what point do I make one?

Once you’ve chosen the property that you’d like to move in to, you put forward an offer of how much rent you are willing to pay to live there. This includes any conditions of the offer, such as removing a piece of furniture, or giving the place a professional clean. All offers are then passed on to the landlord for consideration and an agreement is made. Once accepted, the renter must pay a holding deposit to take the property off the market, and hey presto, the place is yours!

What are the Letting, Agency and Referencing Fees?

Agency fees, otherwise known as Letting fees are charged by the estate agency in exchange for drafting your tenancy contract. This cost usually includes both referencing fees and inventory check. The good news is that on the 2nd June 2017 there will be a parliamentary discussion on the proposed ban of Agency fees, so ask your Homie for an update when you speak to them, as you may no longer have to pay!

What is an Inventory Check?

This is a ‘check-in’ report including a detailed description of the property, which protects both the tenant and landlord in the case of damage to the property. These are arranged by the estate agent and carried out by a third party company before you move in. We always recommend being present when the check is carried out, keeping a copy of the report and taking photos. This will simplify matters should a dispute arise when you move out.

What is a Holding Deposit?

A holding deposit is a sum of money (usually two weeks of the agreed rent) that is paid to the estate agent to reserve a rental property before the signing of a tenancy agreement. This is later deducted from your first months rent, but it must be paid to ensure the property is taken off the market.

Remember, this cost is usually non-refundable so only pay the deposit on a home you are sure about!

What is a Security Deposit?

This is a sum of money (4-6 weeks rent) that is taken at the beginning of your tenancy by the estate agent or landlord. There are various types of security deposit, but we recommend using a government approved scheme to make sure your interests are protected. Your deposit should be returned at the end of your tenancy, but reasonable deductions from your deposit can be taken if you cause damage or don’t pay the rent.

How can I ensure I get my security deposit back?

It is important to take care of your new home and make sure that it is very clean before it’s final inspection. If you have damaged anything that you cannot fix yourself, it might be best to contact your landlord to organise repairs before the end of the tenancy.

What is council tax and how do I pay it?

Council tax is charged by area, and unless you are a student you will have to pay.
Step 1: Find out your council tax band here – Council Tax band checker
Step 2: Go to your local council website listed below to find out how much you will need to pay using your band.

* Kensington and Chelsea
* Hammersmith and Fulham
* City of Westminster
* Camden
* City of London
* Islington
* Wandsworth
* Tower Hamlets
* Hackney
* Southwark

Step 3: Look for the ‘How to pay’ section on your borough’s website and follow the payment options. We suggest setting up online payment or direct debit to ensure you never miss a monthly payment.
Please Note: Full time students do not pay council tax. Follow this link to see other exceptions https://www.gov.uk/council-tax/who-has-to-pay.

Who covers the cleaning costs?

As a part of our service, we organise for your home to be professionally cleaned in the conditions before you arrive to start your tenancy. Once you move in however, keeping it spick and span will be up to you- unless your contract mentions a cleaner.

I've found 'the one'! What information might the Estate Agent need now?

The Estate Agent will request a copy of your passport and visa if you require one. As well as these, proof of occupation such as an employment contract or payslips may be needed to show your income and a copy of an old utility bill or bank statement as proof of address. Some agents require a reference from your previous landlord, too.

If you are a student, you will need proof of your student status with an acceptance letter or similar.

I've found 'the one'! What costs should I expect?

Yay, you’ve found your dream home, now there are some costs to contend with, so it’s very important you factor these in when deciding your budget.

A holding deposit will be required by the estate agent to secure your home, this is usually equal to 2 weeks’ rent and will be deducted from your first month’s rent. You will also need to pay your security deposit when you sign your contract. In some cases, you may also be required to pay 6 months rent upfront – this is usually the case if you do not earn 2-3 times the annual rent or you do not have a UK based guarantor.

I have more questions, what should I do?!

Get in touch. We are always happy to help out, and there’s no such thing as a stupid question when it comes to something as important as finding the right home.

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