A TENANT’S GUIDE TO RENTING
Thomas Morris Property Management specialises in letting residential properties and prides itself on a personal service to both landlord and tenant.
This document is designed to outline our terms and conditions and tries to answer most of the questions that normally arise when a tenant is considering renting a property.
Should you have any further queries, we would be pleased to assist.
1. LOOKING FOR A SUITABLE PROPERTY
When you start looking for rental accommodation, you should allow a minimum of two weeks to find a suitable property, however in certain instances we can organise a tenancy within a shorter timescale. Your first step is to consider your requirements and priorities. The following are examples of the variables to be considered:
- The maximum rent you wish to pay (see below)
- How long you want to rent for
- Commuting time to your workplace
- Your need for local facilities, i.e. schools, shops, parks, restaurants
- Type of property you would like, i.e. house/flat; modern/period
- The areas in which you would like to live
- Whether furnished or unfurnished
- Public transport options
It is important to recognise that your absolutely ideal property, in all respects, may not exist and you may have to compromise on one or more of the above. The more flexible you are, the more likely it will be that you can be settled without any undue delay.
All tenants are subject to a referencing process which includes an affordability calculation. Your annual earnings (as an individual or as a couple) must be equal to or more than 2.5 times the annual rent. We have attached a separate sheet (page 9) which shows how much you need to earn to be accepted for properties at various monthly rent levels.
If you fall short of these figures, your application may be acceptable if you can provide a guarantor. Your Thomas Morris representative can advise you further on this issue.
3. VIEWING PROPERTIES
When viewing, you must consider the property carefully and ensure that you check exactly what is and is not included in the furnishings and fixtures.
Any discussions or correspondence with the owner, or our staff, are expressly deemed to be subject to application, reference and contract. A current tenant cannot speak on behalf of the landlord or ourselves.
4. APPLICATION AND CREDIT REFERENCING
Once you have selected a property, we simply require you to complete a simple on-line application form and to pay a tenancy application administration fee together with a per person credit reference fee. We use a credit search agency to undertake the referencing process and this normally takes between 5 and 7 working days. They provide us with information on the following: -
- Voters roll registration at current or previous addresses
- Details of any previous bankruptcy in the last 5 years
- Details of other searches and financial transactions
- Full score information on tenant (pass or fail)
- Full employers reference, commencement date and salary
- Previous/current Letting Agent or landlord report (where applicable)
- Compilations and assessment of all available information
- Recommendation on applicants suitability for the tenancy
Please note that the information supplied will be used to trace tenants who vacate leaving property damage or in rent arrears.
We will contact you once all references and checks have been carried out to discuss potential move-in dates, however, should you require an update after 5 working days (not including weekends or bank holidays) please call our Property Management Administration Centre on 01480 213171.
Important: If you have a specific date or time table to move-in, this must be advised at the application stage. However, no guarantees can be given as to a move-in date until all references and checks have been satisfied.
NB: We cannot under any circumstances, divulge to you any information obtained from the credit reference other than to say that it was satisfactory or not satisfactory.
5. ALL FEES
The following fees are payable at various stages prior to and during the tenancy period
£116.67 plus VAT (total £140.00) administration fee per application for a new tenancy
£50.00 plus VAT (total £60.00) per person credit reference fee
The above are to be paid in cash to your local Thomas Morris branch prior to the application process. Please note that these fees are non-refundable if you as the proposed tenant fail the credit reference or decide not to take occupancy of the rental property.
A deposit equivalent to one and half month's rent is required (see paragraph no.12) This to be transferred into our nominated bank account at least 3 days prior to the tenancy start date.
£30.00 plus VAT (total £36.00) lease renewal fee. This becomes payable into your local Thomas Morris branch if an extension to the current tenancy agreement is required.
6. PROOF OF IDENTITY
Before we can process your application, you will need to provide us with proof of your identity for us to comply with the Money Laundering Regulations. Suitable documents would be a current passport, a UK driving licence and a utility bill showing your current address.
7. TENANCY AGREEMENT
You will be asked to sign a tenancy agreement. You should read this document very carefully and keep a copy. If in doubt do not sign the agreement. The most frequently used tenancy agreement in the letting of residential properties is called an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement. An assured shorthold tenancy can be for any agreed initial term but is usually for an initial term of six months. This type of tenancy protects the landlord so that possession can always be obtained once notice is served but must allow the tenant to live in the property for not less than the initial term. The landlord has to provide two months notice to quit on the fourth month, effective after the first six months. The tenant can also terminate the tenancy after the initial period giving one months notice in writing prior to the agreement end date.
Thomas Morris Property Management reserves the right not to proceed with a proposed tenancy.
8. RENT DAY
The Standing order must be set up for four days in advance of the rent due date to ensure cleared funds are received by that date.
9. NON-PAYMENT OF RENT
Should this occur then a ‘late rent’ letter will be sent to you requesting immediate payment of the overdue rent and should this not be heeded, action will be taken to recover the amount due. If the matter has to go to court you will not only owe the rent but also our additional costs, legal expenses and court fees.
The tenant is responsible for all outgoings i.e. water, gas, electricity, council tax and contents insurance for personal items within the property should the property be unfurnished. As occupation is taken up, the necessary authorities should be informed of the date you take up occupation and your ongoing responsibility for their accounts.
11. INVENTORY AND SCHEDULE OF CONDITION
A detailed inventory of the property will be given to you. It is essential that the inventory is accurate as you will be asked to sign the inventory and return it to the office within 7 days of taking up occupation. It is normally accepted that corrections can be made by the tenant to the inventory, but once signed the tenant will thereafter be held liable to return the property in the same condition as detailed on the inventory.
We require tenants to provide one and a half month's rent to be held by us as a deposit during the tenancy. The deposit will be protected by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme and will be refunded at the end of the tenancy once we have checked the condition of the property. Deposits will normally be returned within 30 days after the property has been vacated and keys returned to this office. No interest is paid on deposits held.
For tenants with pets, landlords may require an additional deposit of £200.00 to cover any potential damage to the property and gardens. Unfortunately, pets can leave behind unwanted guests which do not immediately become apparent so at the end of the tenancy, all carpets need to be professionally cleaned and treated with insecticide. An invoice detailing the work carried out will need to be provided in case of further infestation.
13. ELECTRICITY AND GAS SUPPLIES
These are the tenant’s responsibility. At the commencement of a tenancy, you should contact the relevant companies notifying them of your occupation.
14. GAS SAFETY REGULATIONS 1994 – ANNUAL GAS SAFE INSPECTIONS
Gas heating systems should be checked regularly. By law, a Gas Safe approved contractor must inspect each gas appliance in a property every 12 months; the cost of the inspection is the responsibility of the landlord. Thomas Morris Property Management will hold a Certificate of Gas Safety and a copy will be provided for the tenants.
Our standard lease provides that the tenant is responsible for the payment of water rates. Some properties are on a water meter. You will need to contact the relevant authority to arrange for connection.
Tenants are responsible for any connection or re-connection charge and should contact the relevant company to have the telephone changed to their name.
17. HOUSE AND CONTENTS INSURANCE
The landlord will insure the property and landlord's contents. Tenant’s contents are not covered by the landlord's insurance. Thomas Morris Property Management are able to arrange for tenants contents insurance at very reasonable rates.
18. COUNCIL TAX
This is the responsibility of the tenant. You need to advise the Council Tax Office of the date you move in. Our experience shows that they are now very efficient and will track tenants from property to property for recovery of tax. As Letting Agents, Thomas Morris Property Management are obliged by law to tell the council of your occupation, previous address and your forwarding address.
19. MAINTENANCE AND GROUND RENT (LEASEHOLD PROPERTIES ONLY)
The landlord is normally responsible for both the maintenance and ground rent charges.
The tenant should leave the house in a clean and tidy condition at the end of the tenancy. The garden should also be left in neat order according to the season of the year. If this is not the case, then the tenant is liable to deductions from their deposit to cover cleaning and gardening costs. All dilapidations and associated costs will be agreed at the end of the tenancy.
Our standard lease precludes pets of any kind except upon written consent. See paragraph 12 for further information.
The lease allows Thomas Morris Property Management to carry out inspections of the property to ensure that it is being kept in the manner laid down in the tenancy agreement. Our experience shows that some properties need to be inspected more frequently than others. Our management visits will include investigation of defects, which come to our notice or are clearly and adequately brought to our attention by the tenant. We would normally write informing you when these inspections are likely to take place.
23. FAIR WEAR AND TEAR
The tenancy agreement allows for the tenant to have free and unabated use of the property. The landlord accepts that there will be normal wear and tear to the property, fixtures and fittings. If something has been maliciously damaged the tenant will be held responsible.
If any item needs repair, please contact our Administration Centre on 01480 213171 immediately. We use the services of a number of local tradesmen who will respond quickly and attend to any minor repairs as quickly as possible subject to the landlord's approval. In the case of extensive repairs, it is normal practice for the landlord to obtain more than one quotation.
25. NOTICE TO QUIT
The lease will bind the tenant for an initial minimum period, either 6 months or a year. Should you wish to end the tenancy, you must give Thomas Morris Property Management notice in writing, one month prior to the tenancy end date, letting us know when you wish to vacate. Our address is:
Thomas Morris Property Management
2 Eaton Court Road
Colmworth Business Park
If the landlord should require possession, then notice must be provided by the landlord two months prior to the tenancy agreement end date.
On the day that you vacate the property you should:
- Ensure that the property and gardens are left in a clean and tidy condition
- All carpets are professionally cleaned
- All landlords contents are replaced in each room in accordance with the inventory
- Check that the inventory against the condition of the property.
- Read the meters and settle your accounts with the relevant companies and cancel your bank standing order
- Advise the post office of your forwarding address for post redirection
- Return all keys to your local Thomas Morris branch
Please note that your tenancy only ends when all the keys to the property keys have been returned.
Be warned. You are responsible for the property until the end of the tenancy even if you vacate early. If vacant, the property should be left secure and during the winter months, the heating must be left on at an appropriate level to prevent frost damage.
27. EARLY TERMINATION
If you wish to terminate a fixed term tenancy earlier than the end date of the agreement currently in operation, and if, at his option, the landlord agrees to an early release, the following terms will apply:
Full payment of the remaining rent in cleared funds, allowing you to vacate immediately and your deposit to be returned after you vacate, minus any possible dilapidations from the original inventory.
a) Payment of a charge for the breaking of the contract to cover the administration expenses of our contractual costs to the landlord for the remainder of the tenancy term and the setting up of a new tenancy, total £95.00 plus VAT (total £114.00)
b) Suitable tenants must be secured to take occupancy during the remainder of your term.
If requirements a) and b) are not fulfilled you will be liable for the total remaining rent. If all requirements are fulfilled you will be charged rent up to the day new tenants take occupancy and your deposit will be forwarded to you after that date, minus any possible dilapidations from the original inventory.
The landlord has the right to insist that the terms of the Tenancy Agreement are completed in full. Neither Thomas Morris Property Management, nor any associated estate agency has the right to agree either of the above options.
28. OUR MANAGEMENT SERVICE
If the property is fully managed on behalf of your landlord, it will be within the personal control of Sandra Watson, the Manager of our Property Management Administration Centre, supported by her capable staff, all of whom have had considerable experience working in Property Management. You can rest assured that when you choose to rent from Thomas Morris Property Management you are in safe, professional hands.
PLEASE FIND ON THE NEXT PAGE, A QUICK REFERENCE GUIDE ON THE NECESSARY SALARY YOU NEED TO EARN TO BE ACCEPTED FOR VARIOUS LEVELS OF MONTHLY RENT – IF YOU HAVE ANY QUERIES, CONTACT YOUR LOCAL THOMAS MORRIS BRANCH FOR GUIDANCE.
PLEASE NOTE THAT WHILE YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A PROPERTY TO RENT, YOUR SEARCH WILL BE HANDLED BY YOUR LOCAL THOMAS MORRIS BRANCH – CALL INTO THE OFFICE OR VISIT OUR WEBSITE
ONCE YOU HAVE FOUND A PROPERTY, YOUR POINT OF CONTACT FOR ANY QUERIES THAT YOU MAY HAVE, IS THE PROPERTY MANAGEMENT ADMINISTRATION CENTRE AT EATON SOCON ON 01480 213171.
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