A TENANT'S GUIDE TO RENTING
Thomas Morris Sales and Lettings alongside Thomas Morris Property Management specialise in letting and managing residential properties. We pride ourselves on providing a high-quality 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 you can contact any one of our branches for advice. We will only be too 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 occupy 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. At the end of this text is a calculator which shows how much you need to earn to be accepted for properties at varying monthly rents.
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 Thomas Morris Property Management.
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 fee which includes credit referencing charges. 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.
Single occupant application fee to include credit reference - £240.00
Joint occupancy application fee to include credit reference - £360.00
Each additional occupant over 18 years of age to include credit reference - £100.00
Guarantor Fee - £100.00
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 is to be transferred into our nominated bank account at least 3 days prior to the tenancy start date together with your first month's rent.
Pet deposit - £200.00 (no VAT payable)
Lease renewal fee - £50.00. This becomes payable into your local Thomas Morris branch if an extension to the current tenancy agreement is agreed.
Check out/Inventory fee - £48.00
Landlord reference for existing tenant - £36.00
All the figures quoted above are inclusive of VAT at the current rate unless otherwise stated.
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 UK driving licence or a utility bill showing your current address.
All prospective tenants will also be required to go through a “Right to Rent” check as per the Immigration Act 2014.
All applicants must provide a valid passport or equivalent and a valid visa where applicable. Please provide accurate and up to date information as failure to do so will affect your application.
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 term but is usually for an initial period 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 vacate after the fourth month of a fixed six month contract. 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 any additional costs, legal expenses and court fees.
The tenant is responsible for all outgoings i.e. water, gas, electricity and council tax. You should also consider contents insurance for personal items within the property should the property be unfurnished. Insurance is also advisable for accidental damage to the landlord's fixtures and fittings such as carpets etc.
11. ELECTRICITY AND GAS SUPPLIES, COUNCIL TAX AND WATER RATES
These are the tenant’s responsibility. At the start of the lease gas and electricity will be provided, or will be in the process of being provided by Spark Energy Supply Limited (“Spark Energy”). However this will not prevent the Tenant from changing to a different energy provider if desired.
The tenant agrees that the letting agent may pass the Tenant’s name and contract details to Spark Energy for the purposes of:
- providing gas and electricity to the Tenant and administering the Tenant’s account with Spark Energy.
- registering the Tenant with the relevant local authority for the payment of council tax
- registering the Tenant with the incumbent water supplier to the property. The water supplier may contact the Tenant in order to provide further information about its services and products and conclude an agreement with the Tenant for those services and products.
Spark Energy will use the Tenant’s details only for the purposes set out above and not in any other way. Spark Energy will comply with its obligations as a data controller in the Data Protection Act 1998 and will handle Tenant’s data in the manner set out in Spark Energy’s standard terms and conditions and/or privacy notice. If the you have any questions regarding details of use of the Tenant’s data held by Spark Energy, you may contact Spark Energy at Ettrick Riverside, Dunsdale Road, Selkirk, TD7 5EB or email@example.com or 0345 034 7474.
12. INVENTORY AND SCHEDULE OF CONDITION
A comprehensive 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 document and return it to the Property Administration Centre 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. If the inventory is not returned signed, it will be deemed that the condition of the property and its contents was agreed as described.
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 and any dilapidations have been agreed. Deposits will normally be returned within 30 days after the property has been vacated and keys returned to the Property Administration Centre. No interest is paid on deposits held.
For tenants with pets, landlords will 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.
14. GAS SAFETY REGULATIONS 1994 – ANNUAL GAS SAFE INSPECTIONS
Gas heating systems should be checked regularly. By law, a Gas Safe approved engineer 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.
Tenants are responsible for any connection or re-connection charge and should contact the relevant company to have the telephone changed to their name.
16. 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 can provide information on tenant's contents insurance if required.
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. If areas are described a "professionally cleaned" then this is the condition in which they must be returned. Invoices for this work must be presented. The garden should also be left in neat order according to the season of the year and to the condition as described in the inventory. The tenant will be liable to deductions from their deposit to cover cleaning and gardening costs if the property has not been returned in an acceptable condition. 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 regular 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 visits will include investigation of defects which come to our notice or are clearly and adequately brought to our attention by the tenant. We will write to inform you when these inspections are to take place.
20. 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 or maintenance, please visit our website www.thomasmorris.co.uk and navigate to the tenants section. You can describe any issue using the schematic, easy to use reporting system. In the case of emergencies, please call our Administration Centre on 01480 213171 immediately. We use the services of a number of local tradesmen to attend to any repairs, subject to the landlord's approval. In the case of extensive works, it is normal practice for the landlord to obtain more than one quotation.
22. NOTICE TO QUIT
The lease will bind the tenant for an initial agreed term. 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 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. The onus will be on you to inspect the property regularly to ensure it is safe and sound.
24. 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. Your deposit to be returned, minus any dilapidations checked against the original inventory.
a) Payment of a charge for the release from the contract to cover the administration expenses of our costs to the landlord for the remainder of the tenancy term and the setting up of a new tenancy, total £114.00 to include VAT at the current rate.
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 dilapidations against 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.
25. 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.