To help you at the start of your tenancy and during your time at the property we have put together the following FAQ’s which may answer queries that you have? If your question doesn’t feature, just drop us a line and we’ll help as best we can.
We’ve broken the question down into Pre-Tenancy. During Tenancy, and Giving Notice and Vacating the Property.
What is the Administration Fee for? The administration fee we charge covers the administration and direct cost of credit checks, referencing, and preparation of documents for your new home.
When I pay fees am I guaranteed to get the property? The fee you pay reserves the property for one week whilst we complete your references. When you pay your fees we cannot provide guarantees that you will be accepted by the landlord of the property as we do not know what the references will say when they are returned. Rejected applications are very rare (if we think there is a reason you won’t pass, we won’t take your fees!) but most rejections are due to adverse credit history. If you are unsure of your credit history we recommend a pre-application credit check that only costs £25.
Is the Administration Fee non-refundable if I fail referencing? If you're application is rejected by us or the landlord for whatever reason we will refund half the fees you have paid.(pre-application fees will not be refunded) If however you have passed our references and you subsequently choose to pull-out of the application, the administration & holding fees you will have paid when you paid the deposit, will not be refunded. We do everything we can prior to taking fees to try to ascertain whether a tenant will pass referencing. We always fully explain that fees are only partially refundable before payment is taken, so please do bear this in mind before you apply. We will ask you for a verbal signature when we take admin fees to ensure that you have been advised of this point.
Why do you need more information than my last agent? Our properties are priced fairly and maintained to a high standard. This can only be maintained if we have good tenants that pay their rent promptly. Our level of referencing reflects this requirement.
Why do you want to contact my previous employer and landlord? We need to complete as comprehensive a picture as possible. If you have recently changed jobs, or have only been at your current address for 6 months we will need to speak to your previous employer or landlord to obtain a reference from them as well as your current ones.
How do I set-up my utilities? We work with a company called Tenant Shop who will set up all of your utilities on your behalf. We ask you to complete a document alongside your tenancy agreement which will give authority to Tenant Shop to transfer utilities into your name and to a cheaper provider if possible. Tenant Shop transfer gas, electricity, water and council tax, and they can also assist with TV & Broadband.
If you wish to set up your own utilities, we will still require you to complete a Tenant Shop form but this will be shredded once you have provided us with proof that you have set-up the utility supplies directly.
Why does it say that I have to pay for check-out at the end of tenancy? We charge £50 for the administration of the check-out at the end of your tenancy. If the property is returned to us without requiring any repair work or cleaning the administration charge is normally waived.
When do we sign contracts for the property? Once your referencing has been signed off, an appointment will be made for you to come into our office to sign your Tenancy Agreements, standing order mandate, and utility transfer form.
Do I meet you at the property when I move-in? Your check-in will take place at our office. You will have a pre-arranged 30 minute appointment where we will go through our check-in pack, discuss any questions that you have, and handover keys to your new home.
I have a poor credit history, what can I do to secure the property? Initially it would be advisable to carry out a pre-application credit check. The check is £25 per person, which is non-refundable, but this cost would then be deducted from your overall fees. The result of your credit check will give us the opportunity to better advise what your options are without you having to commit to the full application costs.
During your tenancy
I don’t agree with the condition of some things on my inventory. What should I do? If there is anything in your inventory that you don't agree with, or if there is something that you feel was missed, you should advise us within 7 days of collecting keys. To do this, please email us noting what the discrepancy is, note down the time stamp, and preferably include a photograph. We will then respond to confirm receipt. Please make sure that you have an acknowledgment of receipt as we cannot accept amendments after the 7 day period and your inventory will be used when you come to check-out of the property. Should we disagree with your amendments we will call you to discuss.
Can I pay my rent with cash, or by debit card rather than Standing Order? It is a condition of your tenancy that payment is made by standing order. If you wish to pay by another method e.g by debit card, there is a charge of £10 to cover the extra administration involved on each occasion.
How many pictures can I put up? You can put up a reasonable amount of pictures in your rental property. A reasonable amount would be considered to be 1 or 2 picture in each room. These must be hung using proper picture hooks and any damaged caused to the wall must be rectified at the end of your tenancy.
Can I decorate? We would not encourage you to decorate the property but if you wish to we can ask for permission from your landlord. If you are given permission then we would insist the painting be done to a professional standard, i.e. paint should not mark skirting, door frames, ceilings or carpets. You would normally only be allowed to use neutral colours.
Can I take furniture out of the property? If there are items of furniture you do not require in your rental property you should highlight this before your tenancy commences and we can try to arrange removal with your landlords permission. Should you need something removing once you have moved into the property we will always do our best to arrange this, however, in most cases the landlord will ask that you store the item in a secure place and then return it in its original condition to its original location at the end of your tenancy.
Can I get a pet? The majority of our properties have a NO PETS policy, however, some of our landlords will relax this rule with a few adjustments to the terms of your tenancy. You should ask us BEFORE you buy a pet to check that your landlord will allow you to keep a pet in the property. Please be aware that you will normally be asked for an increased damages deposit.
Why do I need a Gas Safety Check every year? It is a requirement by law that the landlord ensures that all gas appliances within the rental property are safe. A qualified gas engineer carries out the necessary checks and produces a certificate; this certificate is valid for 12 months. Our gas engineer would normally collect keys from our office to carry the inspection out, alternatively, you can be present if you wish. If we are unsuccessful in obtaining access to your property to carry out the safety check before the certificate expires we may have to send an engineer to disconnect the supply.
Who do I contact if something breaks, and who pays for it? If the property is managed by Granger & Oaks you should call us if something is broken. If the landlord manages the property themselves you should contact them directly. For items in the communal areas, you would need to contact the management company. The landlord would normally cover the cost of repairs in your property unless it is considered that the item has been broken due to misuse or neglect. Items such as changing light bulbs, replacing shower curtains, smoke alarm batteries, topping up boilers and bleeding radiators, tightening door handles & hinges are considered to be tenant responsibilities.
Why do you come to do inspections of my home? We take a pro-active stance on property maintenance. For instance, a loose door hinge can cause damage to the floor-covering, an unventilated house will suffer from black mould, and a frosted freezer could result in cracked and broken trays. We inspect the property to ensure there are no immediate & forthcoming maintenance requirements. These inspections have to be carried out during normal office hours, normally take around 15 minutes, and you do not have to be present.
My boiler has stopped working - what do I do? There are a number of things to check before picking up the phone to report a fault. You should firstly check that it has not been accidentally switched off, secondly check the pressure gauge to see if the pressure has dropped below 1.5 bars and if so take measures to top it up, thirdly check the pilot light is lit and if not re light. If the boiler still won’t work then call either us or your landlord, (depending on who looks after your property), and report the problem. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obZK53tnaF4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUsBw1ZpiKY
One of my radiators isn’t heating up – what do I do? If only one radiator is not heating it is likely that there is an air block within it and it just needs bleeding to release the air. Bleeding a radiator is quite simple, you should follow these steps:
Firstly switch off your boiler so the pump is no longer running. Use a radiator key, (can be purchased from a hardware store), to open the valve which are normally located at the top of the radiator at either end. Hold a rag or tissue under the valve because as soon as the air has escaped water will come out. This water is usually black from being in the system so you must take care of carpets below; you need to ensure you screw the valve back up quickly and tightly.
Can I move my partner, or a friend in? In most cases it is ok for you to move a partner or friend in but you MUST inform us before they do as they'll need to pass our referencing to ensure they are a suitable tenant BEFORE they move into the property. You will then be issued with a new tenancy agreement with the new details on. There is also a cost related to this of £50 for referencing & £48 for a new tenancy agreement to be drawn up.
I can’t afford to pay my rent – what do I do? The sooner you inform us that you cannot pay rent the better. In most cases if you have a valid reason for not being able to meet a payment landlords will be willing to negotiate a repayment plan. Any plan that is agreed to must be kept to, failure to inform us or keep to any arrangements will result in a late payment fee being applied to your account and could ultimately result in you losing your home.
What do I do if we split up but I want to stay in the house? Unfortunately, we deal with tenant break-ups quite frequently. The good news is that in most instances the party that wishes to stay in the property does remain. You can only end a fixed-term joint tenancy if your landlord and the other joint tenant agrees. Presuming that this is the case, the tenant that remains would need to satisfy our tenancy criteria and a revised tenancy agreement can be drawn up. In some instances, you may perhaps require a guarantor? We would also need to ensure that it is agreed that the deposit can be transferred?
In the unlikely event that the tenant that wishes to remain is not in a position to take up the tenancy on their own, the joint tenancy will remain in place and you may both need to give notice so that we can find tenants to replace you. You should remember that the landlords remarketing fees will apply if you are within a fixed term tenancy.
Please do call us if you need clarification and help - we appreciate that these are difficult circumstances.
How do I renew my tenancy when it comes to the end of my fixed term? If you’re landlord wants to offer you an extension you will be contacted around 40 days before the tenancy expires. You will be given the option to give notice, extend on a periodic basis, or extend on a fixed term. A response is required within 14 days along with £48 renewal fee if you do wish to renew.
I paid 6 months in advance when I moved in, can I now pay monthly? If your circumstances have changed since you moved in, you may be able to pay rent monthly, subject to our normal tenancy criteria. In these circumstances, we would normally need to carry out fresh references and an up to date credit check. We charge £50 to re-reference current tenants, and you would also need to pay the renewal fee once the references are complete.
Giving Notice and Moving out of the property
How much notice do we need to give if we want to move-out? There is often confusion surrounding what notice is required. The confusion primarily relates to the ‘one month notice’ that tenants should give. One month should more properly be referred to as ‘one full rental period’ which you will need to consider when you are giving the notice. As a guide, say you want to move out in December and you normally pay rent on the 15th of the month. We should have received your notice in writing by the 14th November at the latest. If you are late handing in your notice and we don’t get it until the 18th November for instance, you would have missed the rental period so your tenancy wouldn’t then end until the 15th of January.
If you are in a fixed term tenancy you cannot give notice any earlier than one month, ie one rental period, before the end of your tenancy agreement. If you are unsure we recommend clarifying your likely tenancy end date before you make arrangements to move home!
What is a full rental period? This is the time period your rent payments cover. Rent is normally paid 1 month in advance and the full rental period normally runs from the 1st day of the tenancy, unless you have requested to change your rent payment dates. For example: if your tenancy started on the 7th of a month your rental period would be from the 7th of the current month to the 6th of the following month.
What if we want to move before the end of our tenancy? You will need agreement from the landlord if you wish to move out before the end of your tenancy agreement. Depending on how close you are to the end of your tenancy you may be required to pay the landlords remarketing costs to find suitable tenants to replace you. The remarketing costs need to be paid to us before the new tenants sign their tenancy agreement to replace you - it cannot be deducted from the deposit. The amount you will need to pay will depend on whether or not we manage the property. You should contact us for clarity. If we do need to find new tenants you would still be responsible for all rent and utilities up until the day that the new tenant moves-in. Please contact us for clarification should this situation occur.
Can you give me a reference for my future landlord? Once you have found somewhere new to live we will certainly be able to complete a landlord reference for you (providing we managed the property during your tenancy). You will need to ask your new agent or landlord to send over the reference request. Unfortunately, if your landlord managed the property himself, you will need to contact him to complete the reference for you.
Can I be home when you come to do viewings? You are obviously welcome to be present for viewings however we only conduct accompanied viewings so you do not need to be at the property. We will have a set of keys so will be able to arrange access without you being present.
We conduct viewings between 9:30am and 7:00pm Monday to Friday and Saturday mornings. We always give 24 hours notice of any viewings that are arranged
Can I be present at check-out? You cannot be present whilst the check-out is carried out by us, but, you can meet us at the property straight after check-out to discuss the findings. It is very important that the check-out is carried out as accurately as possible, so we can assess whether your landlord will need to instruct any repairs and potentially make any deductions from the deposit. We encourage tenants to attend post check-out walk-throughs wherever possible.
How do I get my deposit back? A check out inspection will be carried out to ascertain if there are any dilapidations to be made to the deposit. We will contact you to make you aware of proposed deductions. Once any dilapidations have been agreed, we will notify DPS of any deductions and they will then contact you for your agreement. Once agreement is reached by both parties DPS will return funds by bank transfer. If we cannot agree on deductions DPS will ask you to complete the deposit dispute paperwork and the case will be considered by one of their adjudicators. Find out more about DPS dispute resolution here.
How do I return my keys? On the day your tenancy expires you will need to bring your keys to our office (during office hours). If your tenancy expires on a Saturday or Sunday you can either bring your keys to our office on the Saturday, we are open between 9.30am and 1.30pm, or ifr you are moving out during the day, you can return the keys to us 1st thing on the following Monday. Please bear in mind that rent will be charged at a daily rate where keys are returned late.
What is fair wear & tear? The House of Lords defines fair wear and tear as “reasonable use of the premises by the tenant and the ordinary operation of natural forces”. ‘Reasonable’ depends on the type of property and who occupies it. For example, mid to low level minor scuffs to a busy magnolia painted hallway would constitute wear and tear. A burn or a stain on a carpet would not constitute wear and tear and would be considered damage.