How to rent a home: A step-by-step guide
We ask for a property reservation payment of one weeks rent before we put forward any offer to the landlord as confirmation of your intent to proceed with the proposed tenancy. This will ensure that no further applicant of Red Bear Property Management will be shown the property (although it is worth noting that landlords sometimes instruct other agents, over whom we of course have no control). Should the landlord decide not to proceed with the tenancy, the property reservation payment will be refunded IN FULL unless the landlord’s decision is as a result of you failing the referencing procedure or by you attempting to alter the initial terms of the proposed contract. The payment will only be withheld if any relevant person (including any guarantor(s)) withdraw from the tenancy, fail a Right-to-Rent check, provide materially significant false or misleading information, or fail to sign their tenancy agreement (and / or Deed of Guarantee) within 15 calendar days (or other Deadline for Agreement as mutually agreed in writing).
Once this is done we will then ask you for the following information and references, which can take up to two weeks to complete.
From all applicants we need the following:
- A reference (status enquiry) from your bank or an ‘Equifax’ credit search.
- 6 months bank statements so we can check your income and that rent has been paid fully and on time
- Reference from a previous landlord (or if you have not rented previously recently, we will usually ask you for a guarantor or higher deposit).
- Passport or UK driving licence.
- Copy of visa where applicable.
- A reference from your employer if you are working.
- If you are in new employment, we may also ask for a guarantor or previous employment references.
- If you are self-employed we will ask to see your most recent business accounts or request an accountant’s reference. We may request a guarantor where there is no accounts history.
If you are a student we will need:
- A letter from your College or University to confirm you are a student there.
- A guarantor who guarantees the rent will be paid.
Occasionally we vary these stipulations – either at our discretion, or at the request of the landlord – to ensure that a proper, but fair, check is made to verify the suitability of applicants for our landlords’ properties.
A security deposit equal to 5 weeks rent minus the £225 property reservation payment where rent is under £50,000 per year. A security deposit equal to 6 weeks rent minus the £225 property reservation payment where rent is £50,000 or more per year. This covers damages or defaults on the part of the tenant during the tenancy and is due 7 days prior to move-in, or 3 days if the move-in is within in a week of the initial offer.
We typically charge a one off tenancy administration fee of £350 inclusive of vat on a ‘per property’ basis at the tenancy start, not ‘per tenant’ as some agents charge. This fee covers the cost of drawing up a legally binding contract for the tenancy as well as the costs associated with referencing each applicant inclusive of checking credit status, current employer, current or past landlords, conducting Right to Rent checks, and taking into account any other information to help assess the affordability of a tenancy application. It also covers the cost of conducting a check-in at tenancy start and only applies to non-AST tenancy agreements.
Presuming all the checks have been made satisfactorily, we’ll ask you to come to the office usually a week before the tenancy starts, (or three days if you see it less than a week before move-in) to settle the balance of move-in monies by card payment and sign the tenancy agreement. This is to ensure that the banks have enough time to clear funds before move-in day.
Once this is complete, you will meet the inventory clerk at the property who will conduct a check in. You will need to look over and sign a summary form, to say that you agree with its findings, so that any discrepancy over their condition at the end of the tenancy can be settled easily. You will then get a full report within 72 hours of move-in, and you’ll have a further seven days after receipt to make any additions or amendments, before signing to show your agreement.
We ask that you pay the first month’s rent prior to the start of the tenancy, by debit card or bank transfer (we don’t accept cheque, credit card or cash). This must have cleared before we can let you have access to the property.
Subsequent monthly rent should be paid by standing order or direct debit either to your landlord or to us, and you will be given details of both options at the start of the tenancy.
Standing Order dates must be set up a minimum of three days before the rent due date stated in the tenancy agreement. This will allow time for the monies to be first transferred into the Red Bear client account and then into the landlords’ account.
The landlord is usually responsible for:
- Insuring the property against flood, fire etc.
- Repairs and maintenance to the hot water and heating system, electricity and pipes.
- Repair of any appliances that were included with the property.
- If it’s a flat, any service charges for maintenance to the structure of the building (roof, exterior walls, windows etc), cleaning and electricity in the communal areas.
The tenant is usually responsible for:
- All bills for electricity and gas (if present), water and council tax.
- Bills for telephone, broadband or cable TV if you want these (although you may require the landlord’s permission to install them if not already installed).
- Insuring your own possessions in the property.
- Repair of any appliances that you have provided.
- Keeping the property clean and in good condition.
- Informing the landlord or us about any defects.
The landlord is usually responsible for the following:
- Hot water, heating system, pipes and electricity.
- Structure of the building, ie walls, roof.
- Any appliances that were included with the property.
If the problem is with one of these items, then either report it to Red Bear or your landlord – depending on which of our services your landlord has opted for, this will have been made clear at the beginning of the tenancy. If the problem is with something else, it will normally be up to you to resolve the issue, although if it is causing damage or sufferance to the property you should again report it to us or your landlord.
All deposits must be registered with one of the Tenancy Deposit Schemes licensed by the government, which provides an independent means of resolving any dispute that may arise between tenant and landlord. It means that landlords cannot unfairly hold on to tenants’ deposits and gives all parties confidence that deposits are protected by a licensed organisation, which safeguards tenancy deposits against rogue landlords, tenants, and agents.
At the start of the tenancy, you will have been told with which Tenancy Deposit Scheme has been used for your deposit, together with details of the processes involved. If we have registered the deposit on your landlord’s behalf, we will have done so with MyDeposits, although in rare cases you landlord will have chosen another Scheme.
At the end of the tenancy should there be any breakages or damage to the property or the fittings/furniture provided by the landlord, both parties have an independent means of agreeing how the cost should be apportioned. When you come to leave the property, an inventory clerk will come to do the ‘check out’, comparing the condition of the property and any contents to the inventory made at the start of the tenancy. If there are no dilapidations, your deposit will be returned within 10 working days of the tenancy expiring.
If the inventory identifies that dilapidations have occurred during your tenancy, your landlord may choose to withhold some of your deposit to cover the costs. In most cases, the amount to be withheld will be agreed between the tenant and the landlord, assisted by Red Bear where necessary and the balance will be returned to you.
In the rare likelihood that you, the tenant, wish to dispute a proposed withholding, you have 20 working days to tell us, and we as the agent have 10 working days to resolve it.
If it is not resolved in this time, the disputed amount is transferred to the Tenancy Deposit Scheme with whom your deposit was registered (MyDeposits if we have registered it on your landlord’s behalf), at which point they have control over it.
My Deposits will copy the details of the dispute to the other parties, giving them 10 working days to send in their side of the story. MyDeposits will aim to issue adjudication within 28 days of receiving all the necessary paperwork, and the disputed amount will be paid out in accordance with the adjudication within a further 10 working days.
Full details of the Terms and Conditions and of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules can be found on the website of mydeposits at this address: http://www.mydeposits.co.uk/tenants/how-it-works
There are various fees and charges associated with renting a property that you should be aware of when considering making an offer on a property available through us; some are mandatory and some are possible additional fees. They are as follows:
We ask for a property reservation payment of £225 before we put forward any offer to the landlord as confirmation of your intent to proceed with the proposed tenancy. This will ensure that no other applicant of Red Bear Agents will be shown the property (although bear in mind that landlords sometimes instruct other agents, over whom we of course have no control). Should the Landlord decide not to proceed with the tenancy, the payment will be refunded IN FULL unless the Landlords decision is as a result of you failing the referencing procedure (see reference & reference provision below) or by you attempting to alter the initial terms of the proposed contract. Payment of this sum does not constitute the granting of a tenancy
A security deposit equal to 5 weeks’ rent MINUS the £225 property reservation payment where Rent is under £50,000 per year.
A security deposit equal to 6 weeks’ rent MINUS the £225 property reservation payment where Rent is £50,000 or more per year.
This covers damages or defaults on the part of the tenant during the tenancy and is due 7 days prior to move-in, or 3 days if the move-in is within in a week of the initial offer.
Red Bear use an independent referencing agency to conduct reference checks. They will take up references based on the details that you supply to them. These will be submitted via online reference forms. Before the tenancy can proceed you must provide us with a photo proof of identification in the form of a Passport or EU Driving Licence, a proof of address and complete/submit the referencing form online within 24 hours of your offer been accepted. By failing to do so, you will forfeit your property reservation and the property will go back on the market. References may be passed to our client so that they can make a decision on granting a tenancy and/or exercise their legal rights to recover from you any unpaid sums or other losses at the end of the tenancy. You are responsible for any administration charges levied by your own bank in relation to obtaining a reference.
You will be contacted approximately 90 days in advance of the tenancy end date to ascertain if you wish to extend your tenancy or to confirm the date you will be vacating the property. If the tenancy is renewed, no fee is payable by the tenant to cover our administration for this.
Change of occupancy:
In the event that one or more tenant(s) wishes to be replaced during the tenancy, consent will need to be obtained by the landlord first. It is usual practice that the landlord will require a suitable replacement tenant to be found prior to allowing the tenant(s) to be released from the obligations of the tenancy. The replacement tenant will need to provide suitable references and take over the tenancy from a relevant date i.e. the rent due date. The exiting tenant will need to 'surrender' the tenancy and upon receipt of written landlord consent Red Bear will draw up a new tenancy agreement for signature by the new tenant along with all the remaining parties. The deposit and check-in for the original tenancy will apply to the new tenancy. An administration fee of £50 inclusive of VAT will be charged for this.
Upon receipt of written landlord consent Red Bear will draw up a new tenancy agreement for signature by all parties. An administration fee of £84 inclusive of VAT will be charged for this.
Arrears - Unpaid Rent:
Interest at 3% above the Bank of England Base Rate from Rent Due Date until paid in order to pursue non-payment of rent. Please Note: This will not be levied until the rent is more than 14 days in arrears. Should any fees or charges remain outstanding at the end of the tenancy, Red Bear will deduct the total amount due from the security deposit.
Debit/Credit Card Payments:
We do not accept payment via debit, credit or Non-EU debit card.
Stamp Duty Land Tax:
This tax is payable on tenancies where the rent exceeds £125,000. Please contact HMRC for further information.
Red Bear reserves the right to change the schedule of fees and these terms of business upon providing reasonable notice in writing.