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Tenants Guide

Tenants Guide | Paul Lee & Company

A guide to renting a property through us.

How do I find property to rent?

If you would like information on suitable properties or would like to discuss your requirements please contact us, by telephone or email.

Register your requirements with Paul Lee and Company

You can register by either giving us your contact details and requirements, which we will match to our current property list and our multi listing database. We have close relationships with all the major letting agents in the area, and can access the majority of properties on the market at any one time. By pressing the  "Property To Let" tab, viewing our list of properties and registering your interest in particular properties. It is important that you tell us as much as possible about your budget and the type of property required - this avoids wasting your valuable time viewing unsuitable properties.

You will be able to view our flats and houses we have to let in detail with multiple photographs, floor plans and maps showing locations. You can also get details of local area facilities including local schools.

Viewings

We have seen all the properties we are marketing. We only list quality properties, we will not take instructions on properties which are sub-standard! All viewings are always accompanied, we can meet you at our office or at the property to suit your needs

Viewings can be arranged for any weekday (9.00 am - 6.00 pm Monday to Friday) and can also be arranged on Saturdays (between 10.00 am - 1.00 pm). We can accommodate viewings outside of our normal office hours if a daytime viewing is not possible. All viewings are subject to any restrictions from current tenants or landlords. We like to give current tenants 24 hours prior notice and please bear in mind that properties can be viewed much more successfully in daylight hours.

Offers

Once you have found a property that you would like rent we will put forward the terms of your offer to the Landlord. All offers following agreement of the terms, remain Subject to Contract and Satisfactory References , until the signing and dating of the tenancy agreement by both Landlord and Tenant, and the receipt of satisfactory references.

YOUR HOLDING DEPOSIT EXPLAINED

The tenancy application - for Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs)

and for non Housing Act tenancies please refer to the heading below - For existing Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST’s) signed before 1 June 2019 (up to 31 May 2020) and all/any Contractual - Common Law non Housing Act Tenancies

Before your application can be fully considered, you will need to pay to us a holding deposit equivalent to one weeks’ rent for the property you are interested in. This guide explains what happens to that holding deposit and the circumstances in which the holding deposit will / will not be refunded. It is important that you know your legal rights and accordingly you should feel free to seek independent legal advice before signing this or indeed any other document which we might put before you.

Once we have your holding deposit, current legislation The Tenant Fees Act 2019 stipulates that the necessary paperwork should be completed within 15 days or such longer period as might be as mutually agreed writing. In most cases we will confirm that the relevant period will be extended to the number of days as shown on our holding deposit receipt form that we will send you when we receive your holding deposit. You will be required to sign a copy of the holding deposit receipt form to confirm that you act for all prospective Tenants jointly and severally and confirm acceptance of the terms and payment of the holding deposit.

If at any time during that extended period you decide not to proceed with the tenancy, then your holding deposit will be retained by Paul Lee & Company. By the same token, if during that period you unreasonably delay in responding to any reasonable request made by our firm, and if it turns out that you have provided us with false or misleading information as part of your tenancy application or if you fail any of the checks which the Landlord is required to undertake under the Immigration Act 2014, then again your holding deposit will not be returned. It will be retained by Paul Lee & Company.

However, if the Landlord decides not to offer you a tenancy for reasons unconnected with the above then your deposit will be refunded within 7 days.

Should you be offered and you accept a tenancy with our Landlord, then your holding deposit will be credited to the first months’ rent due under that tenancy.

Where, for whatever reason, your holding deposit is neither refunded nor credited against any rental liability, you will be provided with written reasons for your holding deposit not being repaid within 7 days.

You will not be asked to pay any fees or charges in connection with your application for a tenancy. However, if your application is successful under our standard assured shorthold tenancy agreement, you will be required to pay certain fees for any breach of that tenancy agreement in line with the Tenant Fees Act 2019. In consideration of us processing your Tenant application, you agree to pay those fees to us on request.

TENANT EXPENSES FOR A TENANCY (new Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) signed on or after 1 June 2019)

The Tenant Fees Act 2019 comes into force on 1 June 2019, the fee ban applies to Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs). From that date it is illegal for letting agents to charge fees to Tenants apart from a small number of exemptions that are referred to as ‘permitted payments’. Permitted payments are:
• Rent
• Utilities and council tax
• Tenancy/Security deposits
• Holding deposits
• Default fees
• Fees for changing a Tenant or ending a tenancy early

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.

LOST KEY(S) OR OTHER SECURITY DEVICE(S) Tenants are liable to the actual cost of replacing any lost key(s) or other security device(s). If the loss results in locks needing to be changed, the actual costs of a locksmith, new lock and replacement keys for the Tenant, Landlord any other persons requiring keys will be charged to the Tenant. If extra costs are incurred there will be a charge of £15 per hour (inc. VAT) for the time taken replacing lost key(s) or other security device(s).

VARIATION OF CONTRACT (TENANT’S REQUEST) £50 (inc. VAT) per agreed variation. To cover the costs associated with taking Landlord’s instructions as well as the preparation and execution of new legal documents.

CHANGE OF SHARER (TENANT’S REQUEST) £50 (inc. VAT) per replacement Tenant or any reasonable costs incurred if higher. To cover the costs associated with taking Landlord’s instructions, new Tenant referencing and Right-to-Rent checks, deposit registration as well as the preparation and execution of new legal documents.

EARLY TERMINATION (TENANT’S REQUEST) Should the Tenant wish to leave their contract early, they shall be liable to the Landlord’s costs in re-letting the property as well as all rent due under the tenancy until the start date of the replacement tenancy. These costs will be no more than the maximum amount of rent outstanding on the tenancy.

INITIAL MONIES DUE

After negotiations have been completed and the terms of the tenancy are agreed the following payments to the Agent will be required:

Holding Deposit (per tenancy)

One week’s rent. This is to reserve a property. Please Note: This will 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).

Rent

An initial rent payment in advance either calendar monthly or quarterly (based on the calculation of the agreed weekly rent multiplied by 52 weeks and divided by 12 months to equal the calendar monthly rent. The monthly rent if applicable is then multiplied by 3 to equal the quarterly rent).

A tenancy deposit, also known as a security deposit.

(PER TENANCY. RENT UNDER £50,000 PER YEAR) equal to Five weeks’ rent. This covers damages or defaults on the part of the Tenant during the tenancy.

(PER TENANCY. RENT OVER £50,000 PER YEAR) equal to Six weeks’ rent. This covers damages or defaults on the part of the Tenant during the tenancy

For tenancies that fall outside of the Housing Act a tenancy deposit can be agreed at an amount greater than six weeks rent if required.

For existing Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST’s) signed before 1 June 2019 (up to 31 May 2020) and all/any Contractual - Common Law non Housing Act Tenancies

If your offer is accepted you will be asked to pay a Holding Deposit which is the equivalent to one weeks rent and the Tenancy Set up Fee. The Holding Deposit will be refunded to you at the commencement of the tenancy but not including the Tenancy Set up Fee (by means of deduction from the monies due as stated on the tenant statement) or in the event that the Landlord decides for any reason not to proceed. Should you change your mind about moving into the property, or the tenancy cannot proceed because your references are not forthcoming or prove unsatisfactory, this sum will be retained by Paul Lee & Company. After negotiations have been completed and the terms of the tenancy are agreed the following payments will be required:

An initial rent payment in advance either calendar monthly or quarterly (based on the calculation of the agreed weekly rent multiplied by 52 weeks and divided by 12 months to equal the calendar monthly rent. The monthly rent if applicable is then multiplied by 3 to equal the quarterly rent).

A tenancy deposit equal to six weeks rent if no pets or equal to eight weeks rent with pets of the agreed rent, i.e. £400.00 per week multiplied by 6 equals £2,400.00.

A Tenancy Set up Fee of £85.00, inclusive of VAT charged per Tenant, as a one-time cost for the entire term of the tenancy to include any tenancy renewals. The Tenancy Set up Fee includes the cost of referencing (identity, immigration and visa confirmation, financial credit checks, obtaining references from current or previous employers / Landlords and any other relevant information to assess affordability) as well as contract negotiation (amending and agreeing terms), arranging the tenancy, the provision of the tenancy agreement, associated tenancy documents and the protection of the tenancy deposit with the TDS (please refer to the Deposit heading in our Tenants Guide). Please note, the tenancy deposit does not form part of the agent's fees.

• If the Landlord pays for and supplies you with a professional inventory report at the commencement of the tenancy, the Tenant agrees to then pay for the inventory check out at the end of the tenancy. The current cost for check outs, charged by the inventory clerk that we use range between £138.00 inclusive of VAT for a one bedroom property, £150.00 inclusive of VAT for a two bedroom property, £162.00 inclusive of VAT for a three bedroom property, £228.00 inclusive of VAT for a four bedroom property and £276.00 inclusive of VAT for a five bedroom property. Please note, we do not request an additional agent handling fee on top of this charge.

• Please note, if the property we have found you is through another Letting Agent then they will confirm to you their Tenancy Set up Fee and charges.

The initial monies paid to the Agent must be in cleared funds, the first payment is payable by bank transfer BACS or CHAPS to the Agents Clients Account and thereafter payments of rent should be made by bank standing order. You will be advised in writing if the future rental payments are made to the Agent or the Landlord.

References

If the tenancy is going to be in your name then we will require the following references, which must be addressed to us, and we must be in receipt of the originals prior to you taking possession of the property:

  • For each Tenant references and credit check provided by Diligent Services a specialist tenant referencing service we will supply the applications forms for you to complete
  • An employer's reference, Bank reference for which your bank will charge their own fee to you as their customer
  • Previous Landlord or managing agent, Solicitor and/or Accountant
  • Or a character reference from a professional person (not a relative).

All references will be sent to the Landlord for approval prior to the commencement of the tenancy. Please contact your referees to let them know the need for an immediate response.

Right to Rent Checks, under Section 22 of The Immigration Act 2014 the law introduces from 1st February 2016, a requirement for all Landlords of private rental accommodation in England to determine whether occupiers have the right to live in the UK legally by carrying out Right to Rent checks before a new tenancy agreement is granted. This applies to All adult occupants aged 18 and over with tenancy agreements starting on or after 1st February 2016, that they intend to occupy as their only or main home.

For proof of your identity, you will asked to visit our office for us to take copies for our records of your current passport, visa documents, National ID card or photo card driving licence as applicable,  together with a current proof of address (utility/council tax bill or bank statement) if you are resident in the UK.

Acceptable documents (some examples), for a Landlord to check include:

  • A UK passport showing the holder is a British citizen.
  • A passport or national identity card showing the holder is a national of the EEA (European Economic Area), or Switzerland.
  • A registration certificate or document to certify or indicate permanent residence issued by the Home Office to a national of a European Union, European Economic Area country or Switzerland.
  • A permanent residence card, indefinite leave to remain, indefinite leave to enter or no time limit card issued by the Home Office to a non-EEA national who is a family member of an EEA or Swiss national.
  • A current immigration status document containing a photograph issued by the Home Office with an endorsement indicating that the named person is permitted to stay indefinitely in the UK.
  • A certificate of registration or naturalisation as a British citizen.

Additional documents may be required; a full list and more information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/check-tenant-right-to-rent-documents

Guarantor

In some cases where a guarantor required reply is received or the above references are unobtainable, the Landlord may be willing to accept a Guarantor. The Guarantor will have to sign the tenancy agreement and will be acting as security. The Guarantor also will be liable for all the terms contained therein. It will be necessary to take up references on the Guarantor.

Company Lettings

  • In the event that your employer is undertaking the tenancy on your behalf, we will require references from the following:
  • References and credit check provided by Diligent Services a specialist tenant referencing service we will supply the applications forms for both you and your employer to complete
  • The company bankers, Solicitors, Accountants and Trade references.
  • A copy of the Annual Report may need to be supplied and/or a company search may be carried out.

Written confirmation from an authorised representative of the company will be required to confirm that you are the proposed occupants and the status of your employment.

Tenancy Agreements

The tenancy agreement forms a legally binding contract between the Landlord and the Tenant and both parties have to abide by the terms and conditions of the tenancy agreement. Please read the tenancy agreement carefully and make sure you understand the clauses contained therein. Whilst we will be happy to explain the tenancy agreement to you, if you have any queries you should consult a solicitor.

In the main there are two forms of tenancy:

Assured Shorthold Tenancy for a Private Tenant – Housing Act tenancy
If the tenancy is to be in your own name or names, the type of agreement you are likely to enter into is a Housing Act tenancy called an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (known as an AST). The property must be your only or principal home. Normally the term is for a year with or without a break clause that is effective after the first six months of the term by serving two months notice to quit (so a minimum of 8 months).

Common Law Tenancy – non Housing Act tenancies
If the rent exceeds £1,923.08 per week - £100,000 per annum the tenancy agreement cannot be an AST as it will fall outside the Housing Act. This tenancy is as a Common Law tenancy - non Housing Act tenancy this is also the case if the Landlord is a resident Landlord, the Tenant has another main or principal home, or the letting is to a company as a Company Let. If your employer is undertaking the tenancy on your behalf, an agreement is drawn up that identifies the company as the Tenant and you as the occupant. The agreement must be signed by an authorised signatory of the company, which cannot be the occupant. We will request a letter of intent from the company.

 

Stamp Duty Land Tax

As from 1st December 2003, the liability for paying any Duty due, and for completing and submitting the relevant declaration form (SDLT1 and SDLT4) to the HM Revenue & Customs will be the Tenants - as that is the person to whom the tenancy/lease is granted. (This is the equivalent to the purchaser being liable to pay stamp duty when they buy a property).

Neither a Landlord nor an Agent has a liability for SDLT, or for submitting the declaration forms.

To find out how much Stamp Duty you would be required to pay, please contact Paul Lee & Company, who will advise you of the amount. The figure is based on a computation known as Net Present Value (NPV) which includes a discount percentage (the Temporal Discount Rate) set out in the Finance Act. If the NPV computation provides a figure in excess of £125,000 then SDLT is due to be paid based upon 1% of the difference between £125,000 and the NPV amount. Where the NPV amount is less than £125,000 then no SDLT is due. ( There are different arrangements for "Premium Leases" and the calculation of SDLT on these can be explained if required ).

Rent

Rental payments are usually due calendar monthly or quarterly in advance in accordance with your tenancy agreement. These payments should be by bank standing order. It is imperative that the payments are issued by the Tenant whose name is on the agreement and cleared funds are received by the due date.

TENANCY / SECURITY DEPOSIT

A tenancy deposit is money held by the Landlord (or agent acting on the Landlord’s behalf) as security during the period of the tenancy and reserved for any damages or defaults on the part of the Tenant.

This is held for the duration of the tenancy and is equal to either five or six weeks rent please refer to above heading INITIAL MONIES DUE - A tenancy deposit, also known as a security deposit. It is used to offset any costs, which may be incurred as a result of damages or defaults on the part of the Tenant during the tenancy. Normally as the Agent acting on Landlord’s behalf we hold the deposit and it is held as Stakeholder in the Paul Lee & Company Clients Account. Depending on the type of tenancy agreement and current Housing Act legislation a Landlord or his Solicitor can also hold the deposit. For tenancies that fall outside of the Housing Act a tenancy deposit can be agreed at an amount greater than six weeks rent if required.

From the 6th April 2007 the Tenancy Deposit Scheme legislation (TDS) came in to effect in England & Wales. The TDS will provide protection to both Tenants and Landlords entering in to an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) Agreement (Housing Act Tenancy) by offering an independent means of dispute resolution. All AST’s that commence on or after 6th April 2007 or all AST’s that commenced before the 6th April 2007 and are renewed/extended for a further fixed term are affected by the legislation. Our tenancy agreement includes the necessary clauses that are required by the TDS.

Paul Lee & Company as existing ARLA Propertymark members joined the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) which is an insured scheme run by The Dispute Service for Letting Agents www.tenancydepositscheme.com. They are one of the three scheme administrators appointed by the Government. The other two schemes offer both insured and custodial schemes My Deposits https://www.mydeposits.co.uk and DPS https://www.depositprotection.com.

Interest

Any interest earned on monies that are held in the Paul Lee & Company Clients Account, will be retained by Paul Lee & Company.

Inventory

Prior to the commencement of a tenancy, the Landlord or an independent professional inventory clerk will have prepared a detailed report. The report is referred to as an "inventory" and will not only include the condition of the décor but also list every item down to the last knife and fork. At your costs you may wish for the inventory clerk to be present when you move into the property to check the inventory with you. It is in your interest to check the inventory thoroughly in order to ensure discrepancies do not arise at a later date. You will be expected to sign a declaration confirming the condition of the property and all the items listed have been seen.

Utilities

The terms of the tenancy require the Tenant to transfer into their names and pay for the electricity, gas, telephone charges and water. It is important that you contact the utility companies at least five working days prior to the commencement of tenancy to avoid the services being disconnected. You may be required to pay a deposit to the utility companies if you have not been a previous customer.

Council Tax

This is a local authority tax levied against the occupants of residential premises. It is a legal requirement for you to advise the local authority of your occupancy and to pay the sum demanded. Charges are assessed according to the status and number of occupants in each property.

Television Licence

It is the Tenants responsibility to register for a television licence and pay the licence fee for any television set in the property. Non-payment of this fee is an offence and carries a large fine.

Insurance

The Landlord is responsible under the terms of the tenancy agreement to provide buildings and contents insurance; he is not liable for your own possessions.

Pets

Animals are not normally allowed in rented accommodation mainly due to building lease restrictions. If you wish to keep a pet, you must advise us, as special permission must be sought, however this may be not granted. For Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) that fall within the Housing Act where The Tenant Fees Act 2019 applies it may be possible to agree to pay the Landlord a higher rent for the tenancy term. For tenancies that fall outside of the Housing Act a tenancy deposit can be agreed at an amount greater than six weeks rent if required, typically equal to eight weeks rent. Please refer to our Lets with Pets Dogs Trust Page www.paulleeco.com/lets-with-pets

Property Management

Paul Lee & Company may have found you your new home, but may not be managing the property during the term of the tenancy. You will be informed as to who will be managing the property at the commencement of the tenancy. When Paul Lee & Company act as managing agents any problems you have relating to the property must be reported to us immediately. This will ensure that the matter is dealt with in line with the Landlord's instructions.

Renewal & Termination of the Tenancy

Towards the end of your tenancy Paul Lee & Company will contact you to ascertain your future requirements. Should you wish to renew the tenancy we will contact the Landlord on your behalf and negotiate the renewal tenancy terms.

If you intend to vacate at the term end an inventory checkout will be arranged the cost of which is paid for by the Landlord for Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) that fall within the Housing Act where The Tenant Fees Act 2019 applies. If the tenancy is not an AST then the Tenant will liable to pay for the inventory check out (current charges listed below). You will be advised when the inventory clerk will do the checkout report and what is expected of you prior to their visit. The property and garden (if any) should be ready to hand over in the same state and condition at the start of the tenancy. We make this point as costs by way of deduction from the tenancy deposit can be incurred if it is necessary for the Landlord or the Agent to employ the services of professional cleaners and gardeners. All keys must be given to the inventory clerk at the time of the checkout and you will have no further access to the property. You must ensure that all utility accounts, council tax and television licence charges are paid up to date (the end of the tenancy date) and the accounts are closed in your name.

The current cost for check outs, charged by the inventory clerk that we use range between £138.00 inclusive of VAT for a one bedroom property, £150.00 inclusive of VAT for a two bedroom property, £162.00 inclusive of VAT for a three bedroom property, £228.00 inclusive of VAT for a four bedroom property and £276.00 inclusive of VAT for a five bedroom property. Please note, we do not request an additional agent handling fee on top of this charge.

It is hoped that all the above information will assist you in moving home, however should you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact us.

All information is provided in good faith. It does not replace the advice of a qualified legal advisor/Solicitor.

Paul Lee & Company is an ARLA Propertymark Member.

Client Money Protection (CMP) provided by: ARLA – Association of Residential Letting Agents.

Independent Redress provided by: TPO – The Property Ombudsman.

 

If you have any further questions, or want to register, please contact us here