Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ: A Guide for Tenants
The following information is designed to give tenants an idea of the process that they will need to go through; from applying for a property through to moving in and vacating. It is not a comprehensive manual, rather an initial guide. Should you have any queries about how your application or tenancy will be handled, then please contact us.
What references will be done?
We employ a thorough referencing procedure for all prospective tenants (including anyone aged over the age of 18yrs old who will be living in the property, irrespective of whether they will be named on the tenancy agreement) and where required guarantors. The following list is not exhaustive but is likely to include:
- Photo ID and address proof
- Proof of income
- Credit check from a reputable credit referencing agency
- Landlords reference
- Employer reference
A fee is payable for this check, please see ‘what fees are payable’ for more information. Please note that we do not reference (and take fees) from multiple applicants for the same property. We may ask you to complete and application form so that we are able to make an informed decision about which applicants to reference. Should we decide that you are not suitable following reference checks we will refund £40 of the £85 application fee.[ Back To Top ]
What fees are payable?
Clarity Lettings aims to keep fees to tenants fair and reasonable. We charge just one fee which is payable on applying for a property which is £85 per person (this is payable by anyone aged over the age of 18yrs old who will be living in the property, irrespective of whether they will be named on the tenancy agreement, and where required guarantors). Predominantly, this fee covers the costs involved with obtaining references and producing a comprehensive inventory of the property which benefits the tenant as well as the landlord.
This fee is non-refundable should you decide at a later date that you do not want the property. However, if you pay this fee but are declined following the outcome of the references, we will refund £40. If in the unlikely instance that the property is withdrawn from the market, you will receive a full refund.
There are no further mandatory fees payable throughout the duration of your tenancy. Should you request a replacement fixed term contract, a £30 fee is payable, however this will not be forced upon you and is your choice.[ Back To Top ]
How can I be sure that the property will be reserved for me whilst the references are done?
If you wish to reserve the property whilst we process your application a holding fee must be paid. By paying a holding deposit we will cease further viewings. The amount of the holding fee that we will request may vary, depending on how long you need us to hold the property for you. However, any amount paid goes towards the security deposit which is payable on moving in. This is non-refundable should you decide at a later date that you do not want the property.[ Back To Top ]
Will I have to pay a security deposit?
A security deposit is payable prior to commencement of the tenancy and will be held for the duration – currently, we are members of the Deposit Protection Service and unless we advise otherwise, this is where your deposit will be held. If we are working on behalf of the landlord on a 'finders' only basis, then your deposit will be passed to your landlord and they will be responsible for protecting it with their chosen scheme.
Typically the amount of the security deposit is equivalent to one month's rent. However, we reserve the right to increase this (for example, where permission has been granted to have a pet at the property or where a tenant has an impaired credit score). The security deposit is used to protect the landlord against any losses incurred due to a breach of the tenancy terms. You can find more information about the circumstances in which all or part of your deposit may be withheld and timescales regarding the protection and release of your deposit within the sample terms and conditions of the tenancy here.[ Back To Top ]
What do I need to pay when I sign the tenancy?
On the day you are due to move in we will meet you at the property at a mutually convenient time. One month's rent in advance is payable at commencement of the tenancy; in order for us to be able to check you in and hand over the keys you must ensure that all outstanding rent in advance, security deposit and other fees are paid in full. Please note, we do not, under any circumstances accept cheques. We can in some circumstances accept bank transfer provided that the money is with us in our account prior to the moving in date.
We provide one copy of keys to the property. Should you require further copies, please advise us in advance of your moving in date. We will provide you with cut copies at your expense.
Will an Inventory be done?
We carry out an inventory on all properties prior to the moving in date both in writing and using a camcorder. At check in you will be invited to look over the written inventory and raise any amendments at the time. We will then provide you with a copy of this written inventory.[ Back To Top ]
Will I be able to arrange my own utilities?
It is the tenant's responsibility to arrange for utility supplies to the property using the provider of their choice. We request that you let us know out of courtesy in writing prior to the end of your tenancy, which providers are supplying the property.
When we are providing a full management service of your property we will contact the council to advise them of a change in tenants. This is however, out of courtesy to our landlords and is no guarantee to tenants that you will be billed accordingly. We recommend that you make contact with the council immediately to avoid delays in your bills.
Some properties may have phone lines/cable/internet. It is your responsibility to arrange connection of these services should you require them.
How long will the tenancy be for?
A tenancy agreement will be drawn up initially for a fixed period; usually 6 or 12 months. After this period, if all has gone well with your tenancy we may enter in to a further fixed term agreement with you; there may be a renewal fee payable which will be confirmed with you at the time. Alternatively we may allow the tenancy to go 'periodic' and roll on a month to month basis.
A tenancy agreement is a legally binding contract; you are committing to pay the rent for the fixed period agreed. For that reason, you can only bring your tenancy to an end on expiry of a fixed term and will be liable for rent for the full fixed term plus any costs incurred by us to re-let the property in the event that you choose to leave early.
How/when should I make payment for the rent?
A tenancy agreement is a legally binding contract and you are obliged to ensure your rent reaches us (by standing order, bank transfer or cash) on or before your rent payment date. This date is specified in your tenancy agreement. If you would like to make payment on a different day of the month from that which you commenced the tenancy, then please bring this to our attention prior to moving in. Failure to pay your rent is a breach of your tenancy agreement and may result in court action.[ Back To Top ]
Do I need contents insurance?
We strongly advise that you arrange contents insurance to protect your belongings in the event of fire/ flood/ theft etc. It is neither Clarity Lettings, nor the landlord's responsibility to insure your personal contents and we will not be held liable should you suffer a loss. Clarity Lettings can arrange for a free, no obligation quote for any tenants wishing to purchase contents insurance.[ Back To Top ]
What happens if I experience any repair problems with the property?
Should you experience any problems with the structure, fixtures or fittings of the property, or any contents provided by the landlord, please report this to us during office hours. We will then make arrangements for the problem to be assessed/repaired by an approved tradesman. Access may be required and we respectfully ask that you work with us to ensure the problem is remedied. Please do not instruct a contractor yourself and send us the invoice, as this will not be paid by us or your landlord unless we have previously agreed to do this.
If we are instructed by our contractors that the reported problem has been caused by misuse or lack of care by yourself or anyone visiting your property, then you will be liable for the cost of the repair.
By law your landlord must comply with the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 which means that a gas safety check must be conducted annually by a gas safe registered engineer on your property (if a gas supply is present). We will contact you to advise you when the renewal date is and request that you cooperate with our tradesmen on this issue.
Are there any extra precautions I can take during winter to prevent damaged pipes?
With recent cold winters causing, in some cases, severe damage to properties due to burst pipes we expect all of our tenants to follow these simple instructions from October through to March:
- Keep central heating systems set to a minimum of 10 degrees at all times. In sub-zero temperatures a system can freeze overnight if the heating is left off.
- If you are staying away from the property for one night or longer then in addition to the above, please ensure that the stop tap to your property is turned off. This will minimise any damage caused by flood should a pipe burst.
Should you fail to comply with the above instructions and a flood occurs at the property then you will be held liable for any repair work.[ Back To Top ]
Am I expected to do any repairs myself?
Tenants are required to behave in a 'tenant like manner' which in short means that they are expected to carry out some maintenance of the property. It has been established to include such things as changing light bulbs, bleeding radiators, unblocking sinks, drains and gutters, cutting lawns, maintaining gardens and keeping the property free from pests such as fleas, ants, wasps etc.[ Back To Top ]
What happens at the end of the tenancy?
At the end of your tenancy we will conduct a check out report on or after the day that you vacate. You will be invited to attend at a mutually convenient time. At this stage we will check over the property in reference to the inventory and will discuss with you deductions (if any) that need to be made from the security deposit. As your deposit will be protected within a government scheme it is open for both parties to use their adjudication service should an agreement not be reached.
All keys (and copies) to the property must be handed back at this time.