Starting up a new lease can be daunting. There is much to remember in relation to the legal documents and checks that take place in order for your tenancy to begin. To help you get organised and ready for property searching, Just Landlords has put together a list of important documents you may be required to present at the start of your tenancy.
It can vary from landlord to landlord, but everything they could possibly require, you should have easy access to, and having them readily available will make the whole process run smoother.
Have the relevant identification ready, as landlords will need to check you have the right to rent in the UK. The following are examples of documents that are acceptable forms of ID:
- UK passport
- UK residence cards, such as a European Economic Area (EEA) card or Swiss national passport
- Biometric Residence Permit with unlimited leave
- Passport or travel document endorsed with unlimited leave
- UK immigration status document endorsed with unlimited leave
There are other forms of identification you can provide in combination if the above are unavailable to you. For more information and a full list, check out the Right to Rent guide provided on the gov.uk website:
A guarantor may not always be required, but, if you are a student or renting for the first time, you may be asked to provide the details for one. If you are looking to share a property with others, they may require one per person. This is a guarantee for landlords that if you fail to pay the rent or cover damage costs, then they have a backup to receive the money owed to them.
A rent guarantor can be anyone between the age of 18-75. They must be a UK resident and must not have a poor credit history. As an example, this could be a parent, relative or friend. However, you can’t put forward someone who will also be living in the same property. It’s worth bearing in mind, whoever you put down must be in a position to pay your rent if any issues were to arise.
Providing a good reference will increase the likelihood of your request for tenancy being accepted. A positive reference confirming your strength of character will essentially tell a landlord that you are trustworthy and an acceptable choice of tenant.
An ideal choice for a referee could be an employer, either current or past, as they can give a professional account. You could also use a former landlord, as they would have first-hand experience with you as a tenant. If these are not an option, you could consider a supervisor from any volunteer work you have done or someone holding a senior position within the educational establishment you last attended. You will want to think carefully about whom you choose, because, if you don’t pass their checks, then you face rejection and you may not get a refund on any fees that have already been paid.
A landlord may ask for proof of your current work situation, such as job title, salary and name of employer. If you decide to use an employer as your reference, then such information would be easily verified.
Proof of Earnings
This is vital information for your prospective landlord, as they will want to know that you are financially stable. Renting to a tenant otherwise could result in frustrations later on, if they do transpire to not have a high enough income to cover all finances. Despite your belief that you can manage your money and afford to keep up with the bills, some landlords may want to determine this for themselves. They may have set standards and require you to have a minimum income depending on the cost of the property you are hoping to rent.
This proof would ideally be recent bank statements or even work payslips. The landlord will specify which they would prefer, but, more than likely, they will want them to be dated within the last three months. If you are receiving benefits, be clear and honest, and provide proof. You are only causing unnecessary problems for yourself and your landlord otherwise.
A cash deposit and two months’ rent in advance will most likely be requested, however, the number of months’ rent may vary. Be aware that, since April 2007, landlords have been legally required to place your deposit in a tenancy deposit protection scheme if you are looking at an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST).
We also advise that, when making any payments upfront, you ensure you know the terms and conditions. For example, if you were to change your mind about the property or you are rejected, how much of your money, if any, can you have refunded?
Have your account details ready. This will include the name of your bank, your account number and sort code.
This is, unfortunately, not something you can prepare for, as you either have a good credit rating or the damage is already done, but we are mentioning this one to raise awareness. Expect landlords to run a credit check. This will give them the most accurate idea of how you’ve handled your finances in the past and might ultimately be the difference between being accepted or rejected.
Having all of this information ready can only help your chances of being accepted for the rental of your dream home. Being prepared will present you as organised and genuine - two boxes that all landlords would love to have ticked when looking at prospective tenants. And one more tip for if you do go into a tenancy with a landlord: ensure you have correct contact details for them at all times. It can provide peace of mind to know that if there is an issue with the property, you can inform them immediately and get things sorted.
We are living in the age of Airbnb, the age of simple and hassle free letting, it’s had its criticisms and its issues since launching in 2008 and experienced slow growth in the beginning but now it’s here and used and loved by many. However, now, we’re seeing it opening up grey areas in private rental, grey areas that can be cleared up with the introduction of a certain new platform, Letproof.com.
It’s fairly common for individuals to buy up housing in certain areas with the sole intention of renting them out on Airbnb, of course, this was not the initial purpose of Airbnb and this is not to the liking of many of the residents in those areas. So, in Greater London, there has been, as of 2017, a 90-day limit introduced to stop households being let out on Airbnb as their sole purpose, all year round. Scotland is now calling for this to be introduced there too.
Airbnb has blurred the lines between entrepreneurial homeowners and landlords, the key thing, for us, that has been highlighted by the rise of the Airbnb-er is that there is a defined need out there for direct letting between landlords or ‘hosts’ and their tenants.
Some landlords have taken to using Airbnb to let out their properties for short term holiday lets. A report by the RLA showed that for 34% of landlords asked, the changes to section 24 mortgage interest relief were the reason for them making this decision, the need and desire to reduce their costs. However savvy this choice may seem, it’s important that landlords are aware of their mortgage restrictions and that they are not in anyway violating their terms. A landlord may have a buy-to-let mortgage but this usually states that the property has AST (assured shorthold tenancy) arrangements, which is usually 6 months plus at any one time, longer than your average holiday let.
Equally, those renting out their homes via Airbnb, when on holiday themselves etc, may too be violating the terms of their mortgage. A residential mortgage may not allow for the property to be used for short-term letting at all.
The Airbnb model means less cost for landlords, no paying letting agents for compliance checks, no tenancy renewal fees to be paid, just a do it yourself, simple to use platform where landlords can find holidayers, or short-term tenants themselves.
This really highlights the need for this kind of platform, this simple to use, landlords and tenants only, Airbnb style platform, but not only for holiday lets, for longer-term tenancies too; for landlords not wishing to violate their AST agreement mortgage. True they may not then be avoiding section 24 tax relief changes, but they will be avoiding the letting agent fees and they will be benefiting from the satisfaction and freedom of arranging the tenancy themselves, as they would through Airbnb. This flexibility can be found, and the place to do it? Leptroof.com!
Letproof.com is offering exactly that, the functionality and the flexibility; a cost-effective platform for landlords and tenants wanting more than just a holiday rental, but a short, or long term rental without any agents or middlemen.
Try it, test it and spread the word.
If you’d like to get your property on to the site over the next month and avoid the sign up free, you can contact them here at info@Letproof.com!
What Makes a Really Great Startup?
The journey of a startup can be a long one, from the initial idea to the blossoming of the whole venture. There are so many steps from start to finish and many routes to get there, so where do you begin and where can you go wrong?
We’re a growing startup so we know how difficult this journey can be. However, with the fundamental qualities in place, the journey can be made that much smoother. We’re into the New Year, so as a way of taking stock ourselves and helping any other eager startups out there, we’re taking a look at the important points that can help a startup reach the point of success.
So, what must a successful startup comprise of to reach the desired success status?
A focused and passionate founder
The driving force behind a startup is the founder, this person can set the tone for the whole startup, journey and employees. A passionate driving force such as Andrew Seymour, founder of Letproof.com, will ensure all doors are opened and all avenues are explored in the effort to find success for their startup. So founders, keep the passion alive and keep focused!
The power to disrupt their market
Does the concept have the power to disrupt the market? Is it something different enough to instil change in the market? This isn’t essential of course, but if a startup has the possibility to make a real change to the way that that market works and the passion behind it to create new norms, that can be a powerful quality, especially when looking for investment.
Building an engaging community organically
Having the support of a community, shows that you have the trust of this community, and is a great way for your startup to grow from the very beginning; with a tight-knit community gradually building and engaging with your startup, you can learn from their needs and can change as you grow in the early stages.
Encourage and Respond to feedback
Leading smoothly on from the above point, encouraging feedback from all around can be scary but is such a positive experience overall. Whether this be via social media, via your website, in person, from peers or industry experts, all feedback should be welcomed and most importantly responded to. This way, with outside views, your startup can grow and develop the way your customers and the industry requires it to
An interest in social change
Is the startup going to benefit, bring about or support social change in any way? Showing an interest in making a difference, for obvious reasons is an excellent idea. This may attract customers who would not have noticed you otherwise and speaks well for your brand as a whole. An interest in aiding something bigger than yourselves is an attractive quality to show to customers, peers and investors.
Filling a gap in the market
Finally, possibly one of the most important, does the startup fill a gap in the market? Letproof.com for example fills the gap that has appeared as landlords and tenants have become tired, frustrated and complain about the lengthy process and high costs of letting agents. This is likely how you began your startup, by identifying this gap, but keep this clear and constantly in mind as you grow.
Repairing our Housing Crisis in the UK
The housing crisis in the UK isn’t going anywhere. And who’s affected? Most of us, by rising house prices and rising rents; renters are unable to afford rising rents and letting agent fees, which are yet to be banned, and homelessness is rising at an alarming rate, with one in every 200 people homeless. (Shelter)
We have a broken housing system, we can agree; what we don’t seem to be able to do is find a solution that really works. Migration and fewer bodies per household are huge contributing factors to this, household size has almost halved over the past century (Financial Times)
This Autumn the Government has put forward £25 million to invest in the building of ‘needed’ housing in the UK, for trades to be learned and buildings to be developed; but how far will this go and does more need to be done?
A change in the whole process, experience and approach needs to be implemented.
What is being demanded of the rental sector? Foremost, transparency, from tenants and landlords, the Government have even called for ‘more transparency’ in the rental sector themselves by announcing the tenant fees ban, Letproof.com strongly believe that transparency is an essential step to aiding the housing crisis.
What else is being done to make renting more accessible in the UK? Build to let properties are underway in many cities already. With a great number, around 4.3 million, now renting in the UK, these properties will play their part in the lack of affordable housing.
Longer Term Tenancies were obviously a welcome announcement for tenants, offering more security when renting, however, the Guardian reports that the Government WhitePaper is ‘limiting longer tenancies to new, purpose-built private rented homes’ and that unfortunately ‘the government has offered renters the bare minimum’ here.
We raise the question again, ‘is this enough or should there be more done for tenants?’. We’re moving in the right direction; no fees for tenants and more rental homes being provided with some, however, restricted, longer-term tenancies offered, signifies slightly better times ahead for tenants.
Theresa May is moving away from a focus on home ownership, in line with the rising numbers of those now, for many reasons, renting in the UK.
Overall, it's clear that more needs to be done to make renting an affordable and available option for those who cannot or do not want to get on the property ladder; renters need to be provided with an accessible route to their rental properties, knowing they won’t be exploited by their letting agents. Even post ban, tenants may still feel the repercussions of agent fees, passed on through their landlords, if their fees then increase as a result.
It is a change to the process of renting as a whole that Letproof.com are working towards - join us or learn more here.
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One of the big changes coming for the private rental sector in the imminent future is the banning of letting agent fees. Andrew Turner, chief executive at Commercial Trust Limited, examines some of the implications this might have for landlords.
In the Autumn Statement, in November 2016, the Government first suggested the concept of a ban on letting agent fees, in a bid to provide a fairer, more transparent process for tenants, which would make renting more affordable.
Bringing this issue into law has at the time of writing, become a long process, with many considerations, not least of which is the implications for the landlord.
At the Conservative Party Conference in October, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid reinvigorated the discussion, announcing a number of proposed lettings regulations and stating that the proposed lettings fees ban legislation was imminent.
A month later, the Government released its draft bill, which the Department for Communities and Local Government said will help “millions” of renters.
A number of issues were raised, which are set to be debated in Parliament before passing into law.
These will potentially have an impact on buy-to-let landlords.
The key points of the proposals are as follows:
- Holding deposits will be capped at a maximum of one week’s rent;
- Security deposits will be capped at a maximum of six week’s rent;
- A protocol is to be put in place for the return of the holding deposit to a tenant;
- It will become a civil offence for any agent OR landlord to break the ban, with first-time offenders liable to incur a fine of up to £5,000;
- Any agent or landlord breaking the ban twice within a five-year timeframe will be committing a criminal offence and will be liable for a fine of up to £30,000 or criminal prosecution;
- Letting agents will not be permitted to double charge tenants and landlords for providing the same services;
- Trading Standards are set to enforce the proposed ban.
But the proposed changes go further.
In October, the Government also indicated that it intended to make it mandatory for all buy-to-let landlords to register with a redress scheme, something that already applies to all letting and estate agents.
The details remain unclear at the time of writing, but the Government objective is to create a clearer, smoother process for tenants to voice complaints about poorly managed properties, whilst also establishing a housing court where grievances can be heard and judged.
In his speech, Javid indicated that the proposals would also be aimed at improving the process and time it takes for a landlord to regain possession of a property.
The proposed letting agent fees ban could result in agents increasing the cost of their services, which it is widely felt will be passed on to landlords.
Landlords may face a quandary: Do they take a more hands-on approach to managing their properties – taking into account the extra time and potential costs this would incur, do they put up rents, or, do they swallow the bitter pill of more expenses?
Each landlord will have their own opinion, based on their individual circumstances. For those deciding to dispense with the services of letting agents, there are many things to consider:
- Sourcing tenants can be time-consuming and involves a lot of administrative work. This includes credit checking, referencing and ensuring that a prospective tenant has the legal right to rent in the UK and provides the correct documentation to evidence this. Failure to comply with the latter point can land a landlord in serious trouble.
- Checking rental payments, renewing tenancies, visiting the property and dealing with any maintenance problems or issues that may arise directly with the tenant, can all take up an enormous amount of time.
- Staying up to date with changes in the law and how these affect landlord responsibilities may take up a lot of time but will be critical to keeping the right side of the law.
Commercial Trust Limited will be monitoring what happens with great interest over the coming weeks and months as the private rental market adjusts.