We know that trying to find the right property to rent is not always easy, but at William Theakston we want you to have peace of mind that we will make that journey as smooth and stress free as possible. We know you are going to ask lots of questions so hopefully our answers below will be what you are looking for?
How do we register with you and what happens when we register?
The best thing to do is give us a call, of course we are happy to call you back to save your bill and this is not a two minute process. This is probably one of the most important conversation we will have with you!
To register we will need to know the following information:
- Your contact details, phone, email, address and those of any other people involved in the tenancy including guarantors
- What type of property you wish to rent (eg. flat, house, bungalow)
- How many bedrooms, bathrooms, living rooms you require, whether you need outside space, car parking
- Where you need to be located, town, countryside, close to transport links, station, bus routes
- What is your budget and is it flexible
- When you need to move by
- How long you have been living in your current property, why you are moving and at what stage is your current tenancy (if you are currently renting)
- What your occupation is and also the occupations of any other parties involved in the tenancy whether full-time, part-time, self-employed etc
- Your annual income and again the same for any other parties involved
- Whether you have children, pets or anyone smokes
- How long you wish to stay in the new property and what sort of terms you are thinking of
- Any other questions that may be relevant to passing the referencing procedure
We do take this very seriously and understand not everyone’s situation is that simple so we will spend as long on that phone call to you as you need to make sure we can help you in any way that we can.
We can answer any questions you may have for us on that call?
Once you are fully registered we can then introduce you to all the properties we have available and we can then organise your viewings to find exactly what you are looking for?
If however, we don’t have anything suitable for you, we will put you onto our database so we can let you know straight away once the right property becomes available.
Please let us know the best way to contact you, we want to let you know as soon as possible and make sure you are the first to view that perfect property!
We won’t bombard you with loads of calls, because we know what you are looking for and will make sure that call is the right one to encourage you to view the right property. We don’t want you to miss out on your new dream home!
We always try and accommodate the viewing times you require, however, please try to make these within our office hours wherever possible.
Mon – Thurs 9am – 6.45pm
Fri – 9am – 6pm
Sat – 9am – 5pm
Out of hours viewings may be available, subject to advanced notice.
We understand that sometimes you may be delayed or unable to attend a booked appointment but please let us know as soon as possible if you are delayed or need to cancel or re-arrange.
What do we need to do before organising any viewings?
Make sure if you are currently renting that you have done what is required to terminate your tenancy to ensure there are no last minute hiccups for you.
Check the referencing criteria to ensure you will pass or if you are unsure you can contact us to run through your situation.
We know that some tenants do have more complicated situations and we are more than happy to see if we can advise and assist.
What should we bring with us to the viewing?
If you believe the property looks at all suitable you will be able to make an offer in most cases there and then.
Therefore it is really important that all parties that will be living at the property are present for the viewing – in order for us to relay to the landlord who will be involved in the tenancy and what their situation is clearly, meeting all the prospective tenants means the landlord will also be able to make a decision quickly from our advice.
Also any original ID required (on the Tenants Fees and Referencing Guide) will also assist in processing the tenancy forward more swiftly.
What happens if we want to make an offer? AND How do we secure the property?
Once you have found a property you like:
Fully read and understand the costs involved in taking a tenancy:
- Costs prior to move in
- Costs which may apply during the tenancy
- Telephone us or pop into the office to notify which property you are interested in taking a tenancy on.
- Complete and return the application pages at the end of this document to William Theakston by hand, by post or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Make sure that you list any items or requirements to be included in your offer (these should be put in writing for avoidance of doubt or misinterpretation on the application form)
- State your preferred moving-in date and the length of tenancy you require, we will try to work to these as closely as possible but cannot guarantee they will be exactly as you wish.
- Let us know who is going to be living in the property, names, ages, current address details, employment details and salary.
- If any of your requirements are absolute necessities and you cannot proceed without them, please highlight them to a member of staff over the phone or in person.
Once your offer is accepted by the Landlord, we will ask you to pay an initial sum to cover the cost of the tenancy agreement and the referencing costs in order to secure the property for you for 7 days, whilst referencing and contract administration is taking place. This is a holding fee of £400.
The property will remain on the market so at that point the property has no more viewings but still remains showing as ‘To Let’ but we will only be taking details of any other prospective interested parties just in case there are any problems that occur along the way – let’s be truthful, we know people change their mind and circumstances change for all sorts of reasons so it is really important for us to make sure all parties are protected.
This holding fee is held against our expenses in processing your application and if your application is successful will be deducted from your confirmed initial monies detailed in your Tenancy Application form. This payment does not oblige our client to let the property concerned or any other property to you and it does not commit our landlord to granting a tenancy or constitute a tenancy.
Please note that if your application is unsuccessful because you or any proposed joint tenant(s) change your mind or withdraw or because we or the landlord deem your references unsatisfactory, or the commencement date is delayed by you, then no money will be refunded to you. However if the landlord decided not to proceed for any other reason we will return the money in full.
Please therefore, BE SURE before you place your deposit and be certain you can pass the referencing criteria.
What happens during the referencing process?
References are essential to the letting process and these checks are carried out on your behalf by a third party company called ? in order to show your prospective Landlord that you are going to be a reliable tenant. You are always liable for the cost of this process, whether you eventually commence the tenancy or not. In some cases, the Landlord may require further information from you and please note that every tenant appearing on the tenancy MUST provide a reference for the Landlord’s perusal & acceptance. You will be required to complete a referencing form giving details of the following:
If you are not listed on the electoral role you will be asked to provide proof of residency, showing your current address, in the form of a recent (within 3 months) utility bill, telephone bill (including mobile phone bill) or driver’s licence.
Including those abroad, to cover the past 3 years.
An original copy of your passport or photo identification such as a valid driving licence and current proof of residency in the form of a recent utility bill, will be required for file records, at the outset of the tenancy.
Notification of any County Court Judgments (CCJs), Bankruptcy Orders or bad credit listed against you. If you do not declare bad credit history, your application will be declined and you will lose your initial deposit money.
You must be legally allowed to work in the UK and checks will be made accordingly. Please provide your passport details upon request.
Between all joint tenants, you require an income of 2.5 times the annual rental sum. If you are unable to provide proof of income, and wish to self-certify your earnings, you will need to provide us with 6 month’s bank statements or proof of independent means to cover 2.5? times the annual rental amount.
You will need to confirm that you are in permanent employment or have a firm job offer in place commencing prior to the start of the tenancy.
If you are self employed you will need to provide proof of 1 years accounts. If your current employment details are not acceptable to the referencing company you may be asked to provide a guarantor to cover your obligations in the tenancy agreement.
A guarantor, or joint guarantors, must earn 3 times the annual rental amount for the property and will need to pass the referencing process. Guarantor/s will be liable for the full tenancy as tenants are jointly and severally liable for the contractual obligations.
If you are about to vacate another rental property we need to know how you have conducted that tenancy and whether you have been a reliable tenant.
Change of Information
If your circumstances alter during the term of the Tenancy Agreement you are obliged to notify your Landlord or Agent with these changes. You may be required to provide new references which will incur the appropriate charges as listed in this document
These references will be emailed to you for you to fill out and it is really important this is done as quickly as possible. Remember once these are back and satisfied this is when the landlord can make the final decision to go with you so the sooner this is done the sooner you know you will be moving.
We, at William Theakston, will be there to help you but you also need to chase your employers and/or current landlords for their responses to ensure this is done as quickly as possible.
We will keep you informed along the way with what is going on and what you can do to help us help you!
Tell Me About The Tenancy Agreement?
The Tenancy Agreement is a legally binding contract between a Landlord and a Tenant, which sets out the contractual responsibilities of both parties.
All persons over the age of 18 must be named on the Tenancy Agreement up to a maximum of 4 people. Together these people listed on the agreement form ‘the Tenant’ on a joint and several basis (all for one and one for all).
Prior to the commencement of the Tenancy the agreement must be signed by all of the parties and, when everyone is happy to proceed, the contract will be dated, by hand, to make it valid.
Before you take on a tenancy always negotiate on paper
A Tenancy Agreement can be altered before it is signed, if both the Tenant and Landlord agree to the proposed changes. Ensure you have read it thoroughly and fully understand all of the clauses contained therein. It is therefore suggested that you seek legal advice and negotiate any clauses as quickly as possible to avoid delay. A final copy of the signed Tenancy Agreement should be held by both parties.
If in doubt, seek professional help
It is worth remembering that, in England and Wales, it isn’t a legal requirement for Tenants to have a written Tenancy Agreement. Despite this, you should always ask for one to be provided by the letting agent or Landlord. If there are any terms in the agreement you aren’t familiar with seek legal advice to clarify any concerns you might have. Any agreement is required by law to be written in plain English, but it always pays to be completely sure you fully understand what you are signing.
Protect your cash
It is a legal requirement for tenancy deposits to be protected by an approved deposit scheme, and this should be explicitly referenced in the Tenancy Agreement.
Your right to quiet enjoyment
When you rent from a private Landlord, or through their agent, you have a legal right to use the property in a reasonable fashion without being disturbed by either party. If the Landlord or letting agent would like to access the property, they should give at least 24 hours notice to comply with this requirement. It should be noted, however, that a Tenant has a legal obligation to provide access for repairs, assuming sufficient notice is given by the Landlord.
Until strife do us part…
If you are sharing a rental property with others you may see a clause in the Tenancy Agreement referring to joint and several liability. In effect this means that if one or more Tenants stop paying rent for any reason or cause any damage, for example, the remaining sharers will be liable for the associated costs. If this clause is present in a contract, always be sure to assess how well you know your prospective housemates. In some cases a guarantor form will have to be signed by a parent or guardian, which gives the Landlord additional protection if a Tenant should fail to pay the rent. If this is the case, the joint and several liability will be passed on to them.
Who pays the bills?
The Tenancy Agreement should clearly outline what utility and household bills you will be responsible for, and if there is any uncertainty, be sure to clarify this with the Landlord or agent. To get an idea of how much energy bills will cost, always ask to see a property’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) before you sign up. The closer to ‘A’, the more likely it is to hold in heat and register lower utility bills.
Who you gonna call?
The Tenancy Agreement should outline which party is responsible for maintaining the property. This could be the Landlord, or the Agent. In either case, make sure you have contact details before the keys are handed over.
Signing the Tenancy
When the tenancy agreement commences, your initial payment will form part of the security deposit payable against the property and, under the Housing Act 2004 & the Localism Act 2011 regulations will take effect. At this point the landlord or William Theakston (if instructed by the Landlord) has 30 days in order to register the deposit in a Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme. If you have not receive notification of the chosen scheme, had receipt of the relevant ‘prescribed’ information regarding the scheme, and been given a Tenancy Deposit Certificate within 30 days, please notify William Theakston immediately.
If the rent paid under a tenancy exceeds £125,000, as a cumulative sum from the outset of the tenancy and including any renewal tenancies stamp duty will become due by the tenant. The amount due can be calculated by visiting the Inland Revenue website or speaking to the leases department: Stamp Office Helpline (Leases Department) which is open Mon-Fri 8.0am – 5pm on 0845 603 0135 or visit www.inlandrevenue.gv.uk/so
Eg: If you pay £1000 pcm rent to your Landlord you will need to remain renting the property for approx. 10 years before you are liable to pay stamp duty.
Change of Personal Information
If your circumstances alter during the term of the Tenancy Agreement you are obliged to notify your Landlord or William Theakston with these changes. You may be required to provide new references and will incur the appropriate charges.
What happens with the security deposit?
This is taken at the outset of the Tenancy and is normally equal to 6 week’s rent. It is held for the duration of your tenancy and returned to you after you vacate the property.
Exceptions to the Security Deposit legislation are Non- Housing Act Tenancies, which are:
- Where the annual rents over £100,000
- Company tenancies
- Tenancies at properties with a resident Landlord
- Tenancies where the tenant has a main home elsewhere in the UK
It is a legal requirement under the Housing Act 2004 for any security deposit to be held in a secure scheme so it must either be placed, by the Landlord, into his nominated deposit scheme (of which you will be notified) or it will be held, as Stakeholder, by us, whereby it will be insured for the duration of the tenancy. Further information is available from www.gov.uk/tenancy-deposit-protection/overview.
Please Note: When completing this application form, you must fill-in the section marked ‘address for after the tenancy has ended’ and give at least ONE email address. The mailing address you give will be the address where your deposit cheque is returned to, so this must be an address where you can be contacted AFTER THIS TENANCY HAS ENDED. Please provide a work or relative’s address, and if, at any time throughout the tenancy, this address becomes invalid or changes, you have 30 days in which to provide us or your Landlord, with a new address.
Do we have to pay rent in advance?
Rent is always payable in advance and should be received in cleared funds before the Tenancy Agreement is signed and dated.
It is usual to pay one month’s rent in advance. If however, you have asked to move your payment date then one of our negotiators will calculate the additional rent you will need to pay in advance at the outset of the tenancy. Should you wish to alter your rent payment day mid tenancy you must notify us immediately and an administration fee may be charged for drawing up contract amendments.
It is usual for cheques or bankers drafts to take up to 10 days to clear into our account, so please ensure that you make your payment early enough or you could find yourself unable to take the keys to the property on the day you are expecting.
Where applicable debit and credit card payments are taken as ‘cleared’ the same day. Credit cards carry an administration fee of 2.5% the total amount, so try not to use a credit card if possible. We have a facility to take debit and credit card payments in our office .
Internet banking can be immediate but access to check our client account is not available on a Saturday, so ensure that you make payment during Monday to Friday as we will need to check the money has arrived before you can take the keys. If you wish to log onto your internet banking in our office please make a prior arrangement with a negotiator so that a computer or tablet is available for you.
If you are intending to pay with cash please ensure that you speak to a member of staff before you turn up at the office with a brown envelope! Certain amounts of cash cannot be taken and should be paid directly into our bank account but please be mindful of bank opening times. We have no facility to hold cash in our offices and would prefer you not to use this method.
Please Note: Rent paid in advance is transferred immediately to your Landlord and is non-refundable if you vacate early. If you are intending to make a large rent in advance payment, please be mindful that you will not have any money returned if you do not stay for the entire period for which you have paid.
Could you explain about inventory, check in and check out please?
Inventory and Check-in appointment
An inventory is a report at the beginning of the tenancy which details the condition of the property, the fixtures and fittings, and any notes regarding pre-tenancy cleaning or decorating which has been carried out. This report should be made by a professional inventory clerk and signed by both parties at the outset of the tenancy. It is important for you to attend any check-in arranged and pay full attention, as this report will be used to assess monies to be deducted from the security deposit at the end of the tenancy.
The cost of preparing the inventory is paid by the Landlord, however, the tenant is responsible for the cost of the check-out of the property and payment will usually be required at the commencement of the tenancy. You will be advised of the check-out arrangements approximately 2 months prior to the end of the tenancy and you are advised to attend the check-out with the clerk wherever possible. If your property is not ready for the inventory clerk to under-take the check-out at the allotted time appointed, you will be charged for rescheduling and you will remain liable for any costs incurred by your Landlord.
What happens once my referencing comes back as acceptable?
Well we are nearly there!
We will already have sent you a copy of your tenancy agreement for you to look through and let us know if there are any questions you may have?
At this point we send your prospective landlord the final result of your references and at that point confirm with them they are happy to proceed.
Assuming they do, we will then confirm the date and time for all parties to come to the office to sign your tenancy agreement and book the check-in for you to then go to the property to move in.
We do understand that sometimes not all parties are available on the day so it is possible to get the tenancy agreement signed in advance of the move in date if required.
At this point we will also ask you to forward the relevant funds to us in order for them to be cleared prior to move in.
What happens on move-in day?
On moving day, you will come to the office on the date and time agreed and then we will ask you to sign the tenancy agreement with all parties present, and of course, to collect the keys to your new home.
We will provide you with a Moving-In Booklet which will contain everything you need to know about your new home, such as who your landlord is and when you should contact them. In addition it will remind you of your maintenance obligations and explain who to call and when. Hopefully you will find the booklet helpful and you will have a great time living in your new rental home.
Finally, you will go and meet the inventory clerk to do your check-in at the property.