FAQs for Tenants
Take a look at our FAQ’s below answering some of the most commonly asked questions from Tenants.
I want to rent a property. What are the first steps?
Before you start scouring the market for properties, make sure you know what your budget is. How much can you realistically afford to pay in rent, once you factor in all your current outgoings?
As soon as you’ve identified an amount you can afford in rent, you’ll be able to target your search more effectively. Bear in mind that you’ll also need to budget for an initial security and holding deposit.
How much tenancy deposit do I need to pay?
A typical deposit is usually 5 weeks worth of rent. If your rent is more than £50,000 per annum your deposit will be six weeks of rent.
What does referencing involve?
Before letting you move in, your landlord will want to carry out a few checks. This is called referencing, and it helps the landlord to determine how reliable you are, when it comes to paying the rent. You’ll be asked to provide details of your current employer, your salary, your previous address and previous Landlord details (if you have this), and your bank details. There may be other things required from you with these checks.
What happens if there are problems with my reference?
Firstly, don’t panic – these issues are seldom insurmountable. Common reference problems are:
- Lack of proof of income (for example, you’ve just come out of university, and have only just started your first job)
- No rental history (for example, you’ve just moved out of your parents’ house)
There are various ways to get around these issues. For example, the landlord might request that you pay a certain amount of the rent in advance, or that you use a guarantor.
What is a guarantor, and do I need one?
A guarantor is an individual (usually a parent or guardian) who agrees to ‘guarantee’ to pay your rent if you’re unable to. They’ll need to be a UK resident and a UK homeowner, and will need to be referenced too.
If you’re having trouble providing proof of income or a previous address, they can come in very useful.
What happens to my deposit?
Your landlord is legally required to hold your deposit in a government-approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme. They’ll provide you with details of the scheme, which should outline exactly where your money is held.
What is a Tenancy Agreement?
The tenancy agreement is the contract, signed by both yourself and the landlord. It includes all the terms and conditions of the tenancy, and by signing this document, you agree to abide by them.
What is a routine visit?
It’s standard practice for landlords or letting agents to carry out routine visits on the property. This is to check there are no problems that need addressing. They’ll also want to make sure that the property is being maintained to the appropriate standard.
As a tenant, what am I responsible for?
As a tenant, it’s your job to keep the property in good order. That includes external areas too, like driveways and gardens. If anything needs repairing, you should let your landlord or letting agent know as soon as possible. It’s also your responsibility to:
- Pay the agreed sum of rent each month
- Pay the bills / council tax
- Get rid of rubbish
- Ensure the property is secure
- Not make excessive noise (for the benefit of the neighbours)
- Keep the property well ventilated
Can I decorate the property?
Usually, you’ll only be allowed to decorate the property if you’ve got explicit permission to do so from your landlord.
Am I allowed to have pets in the property?
Some landlords permit pets, others don’t. It’s vital to check before you sign the contract.
What should I do if I accidently damage the property?
Accidents do happen – and this is something that your landlord will be aware of. If you do accidentally damage something, make sure you let them (or the letting agency) know as soon as possible.
It’s likely that you’ll be expected to pay for the repairs, but the repair work may be arranged by your landlord / letting agent on your behalf.
Can I make a complaint about my landlord?
If you believe that your landlord isn’t adhering to the terms of the contract, it’s your right to make a complaint. The first person to contact is your letting agent, who may be happy to act as a third-party mediator to resolve the problem. However, if you feel you need to take the complaint further, you can contact the TPO, an independent body who handle tenant issues.
How can I end my tenancy?
If you signed a fixed term tenancy agreement, then it’s your legal responsibility to pay the rent until the agreed term is complete. However, if you’re in a rolling contract, your contract will outline the length of notice you need to give your landlord.
What happens if I can’t pay my rent?
As a tenant, it’s your responsibility to ensure your rent is paid on time. However, sometimes things can go wrong. For example, you may lose your job or become unwell. If you experience this, it’s important to let your landlord and letting agent know as soon as possible. They may be able to offer a temporary solution, such as rescheduling your rental payments.
Remember that you can also take out insurance, which will cover your rent if the worst should happen.