Becoming a Tenant with us - The Steps
FINDING A PROPERTY
At Somerset West Letting Agency we are dedicated in assisting prospective tenants find the right property for them. As properties become available, our first action is to contact waiting tenants on our database whose requirements match the property. Typically, properties to rent become available about two months before the availability date, so where possible it is advisable to start looking early. To look at our available properties click here.
Having identified a potentially suitable property, we will arrange a viewing.
OFFER / APPLICATION
Having decided on a property, you will need to complete a written application form. At this time any details or requirements can be provisionally agreed, such as occupancy date, duration of the letting, etc.
On application, a holding fee may be required. Assuming the rental proceeds, this will be deducted from the fees due before occupation. If we or the landlord decline your application it will be refunded. It will however not be refunded if you decide not to proceed for any reason, or if the tenancy fails to proceed due to incomplete or inaccurate information provided in the tenancy application
CREDIT AND REFERENCING
We will always carry out credit and referencing checks as part of the application progress. This is run through a company called 'Rent 4 Sure'. Rent 4 Sure will request conformation of income whether this be through employment, benefit or a combination of both, as well as a reference from your most recent or current landlord. Part of this process is a credit check with will determine whether you have any debt, including county court judgement (CCJs). These checks will also check the electoral roll for your identity and address history. This will be at a cost of £25 for unemployed applicants or £45 for a working applicant.
Rents are normally quoted on a calendar month basis. In addition, the tenant is usually responsible for council tax, water rates, gas, electricity and telephone costs, unless it is specified that these charges are included within the rent.
Rents are payable by standing order, this is not negotiable therefore you must have a bank account. The standing order should be set up to pay into our company bank account, monthly in advance, with the first month’s rent due before taking occupation of the premises.
We do deal with housing benefit and Universal Credit claimants as long as the landlord agrees.
A deposit (or ‘bond’) is required prior to occupation. This is normally equal to one month’s rent, but may be more. Where we are managing the property, this will be sent to and held by the Deposit Protection Service in Bristol. Details about this will be given to you at the point you sign the tenancy agreement. Where we are not managing the property it will be passed over to the landlord whose responsibility it is for him/her to protect. The same law applies to landlords as it does for letting agents – the deposit must be protected and details of how this is done should be given to you within 14 days of you signing the tenancy. It is against the law for a letting agent or landlord to hold your deposit without protecting it with one of the government backed schemes.
The deposit is held to cover any breakages, damage, or other tenant liabilities such as rent. Where we are managing, at the end of the tenancy we will check the property in the presence of the tenant and assess any damages and deductions due.
Please note that the deposit cannot be used by the tenant to cover any rent due at the end of a tenancy.
ADMINISTRATION / AGENCY FEES
For a tenant who is unemployed we charge £25 for credit and referencing checks. For a tenant who is in employments we charge £45. No other fees will be requested. The only monies that will be requested are the deposit for the property and the rent in advance.