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.
Approaching your bathrooms and begin a mini or a complete makeover throughout #DecoratingMonth!!
Our bathrooms are a vital part of our homes and lives, and are arguably the most important room in the house, so having this space the way we like it is desirable at least! Who wants to take a bath in a cluttered room - not relaxing, or start their day by battling their way into the shower - instant mood crusher.
The issue being for many of us, the bathrooms in our homes aren’t huge or as big as we’d like them to be and in a rental property, you definitely can’t go knocking walls down to change this. This is where we need to embrace creative thinking and take on some ideas that can save space, and increase our organisational prowess in the bathroom department, giving, instead, a more calm and flowing environment.
Contain the mess
Invest in some containers that are going to be water resistant, vital because of all that condensation and the occasional splashing. Baskets and boxes can easily store your daily products and items neatly, giving your bathroom a clutter free makeover.
Mirrors work miracles when trying to achieve certain looks. For gaining space, they’re an amazing trick to try. This space creating illusion can help to gain a flowing and relaxing environment, and the bigger the better! Try placing one opposite your window if you can, to reflect as much light as possible into the room. Or if relaxation is your aim, try a mirrored surface for your scented candles.
Pick your positioning of shelving and cupboards carefully. Keeping features clustered together so as not to cover all of your wall and, or floor space, again aids the illusion of space. For example having your shelving above your toilet, keeping it as visually, a continuation upwards from the toilet; or having your washing bin and bin tucked under, in line with your sink - keep it neat.
Adding a pop of colour is a great way to draw the eye towards the main focuses of the bathroom and let the eye wash over those in between. Plus in a bathroom, things like towels are a perfectly easy way to do this.
Organise the back of your bathroom door. This is the common place we keep dressing gowns, towels and PJ’s ‘out of the way’, however, when the door is closed and you’re on the inside, it’s a little messy. To keep this organised and aesthetically pleasing, try a few horizontal rails, towel rails. This is a neater way of hanging things on the back of your door and enables you to hang and store more.
Take on the spirit of #DecoratingMonth and play around with the space that you have, you could surprise yourself!
It’s no secret and definitely no surprise to tenants, rents have been steadily rising over last few years, only to be enhanced by this year’s rise in stamp duty on second homes and investment properties. Could these constant hikes, however, be finally coming to an end?
The London Evening Standard’s Homes and Property have recently recognised that perhaps rental hikes are about to effectively hit a wall. With average monthly rental costs in central London equaling £2,475, have tenants eventually been pushed to their limits?
No longer being able to afford the desirable ‘spare room’, adding on average £845 to Londoners rent, although this is less in more northern areas, Homes and Property report that the number of renters with a spare room has halved over the past 6 years, with only a quarter of tenants able to afford this.
Although these sacrifices have helped tenants keep their cost of living down, they may now have been stretched as far as they can be, which is likely to put a cap on rent increases.
The UK is currently seeing the lowest level of rental hikes this year, at only 24% (Guardian). This comes with a higher supply of unlet properties on the rental market, due to an influx of buy-to-let investors buying pre-stamp duty increase. This, in turn, means less scope for Landlords to bump up rent prices.
These points all indicate a positive rental market for tenants, however, buy-to-let investors are also still more than keen even post-Brexit. The current renters market it a positive one and Letproof only looks to make this an even more positive experience for tenants and landlords alike.
With the aim of offering a less competitive letting process and to give tenants more choice, freedom and flexibility when finding their property, Letproof.com offers a social media style platform which matches tenants with landlords directly, cutting out tenant fees!
‘It’s better to be safe than sorry’; a widely used proverb, but one that could not be truer when it comes to protecting yourself and your home. There is nothing more important than the safety of you, your partner or your family and belongings. To make sure that you are doing all you can to protect these things, ensure that you are aware of everything that is available to you and all of the things that you could be doing, to keep them safe.
Whether you are an experienced renter or a fresh-faced first timer, there are hopefully some new and useful tips and pieces of information that you can take away from this piece (and if not, then well done!).
Firstly, you do not own the property, your landlord does, so there are some things that you are not responsible for. Ensure that you are clear on the particulars that are not down to you to fix, repair or replace. In the same vein, ensure that you are just as clear on everything that is your responsibility.
Let's start at the beginning; when you’re actually looking for your new property, are there certain things that you should take into consideration? When viewing a property, take note of the locks that are in place on both windows and doors, are they reliable, are there any broken or ‘dodgy’ locks. These are the things that can be rectified before you move in and will make a difference to the safety of your home. Will you require off street parking, perhaps? Again these are things to think about in your first stages of viewing.
Additionally, think about outbuildings, do these have equally secure locks on them for any cars, bikes or valued tools or lawn mowers etc. If your property has a garage that is a huge advantage to keeping your motor safe, however, if it doesn’t lock securely, you’ve taken a step back again.
Check Out Your Area
This can also be helpful in the early stages, checking what the area you are looking at is like can help you get to know the safety stats of the area. There are sites that can help you do this; so have a little look and get your information straight.
What is Landlord insurance? And what does this cover? Landlord insurance will include both buildings and contents insurance as well as possibly protecting them against loss of rent and more. Buildings insurance covers all of the components that make up the actual structure of your property, such as the windows and doors, walls and the roof, against accidental damage from things such as floods or fires.
Contents cover can be optional for landlords, this may depend on whether you are renting a furnished or unfurnished property. Your landlord will understandably have taken steps to cover their contents of the house or flat. This will, however, more than likely only cover their contents and you as the tenant will need to take out contents insurance for your own belongings.
By taking out contents cover of your own, ‘tenant contents cover’, you ensure that all of your belongings are covered, it also gives you peace of mind that you know who you’re insured by. Your contents cover is likely to include furniture and electrical items, but go ahead and quiz your landlord about what is covered by their insurance so that you know what yours does and does not need to include.
Within your property, what precautions have been taken to further ensure safety in the home?
Every rented home should have ‘at least one smoke alarm on each floor’ (Gov.uk), this will be your Landlord's responsibility; for more information on fire safety regulations visit www.gov.uk/firekills. However there things that you can do too! It is advised that all smoke alarms are checked monthly which is not necessarily down to your Landlord, making those in the property 4 times safer with working smoke alarms.
By keeping additional small things in order in and around your home can also increase your home security, such as fencing or walls surrounding your property, are there loose panels that can be fixed to increase your safety. Do not be afraid to speak to your landlord about either getting things like this fixed or being able to fix them yourself.
Outside lighting can act as a great deterrent for potential crime and theft and may be either in place already or you could speak to your landlord about having some put up, as long as you do remember to check first!
Immobilise is a site where you are able to sign your property up and list belongings on your account; as Immobilise works with the Police, this can be a sure way to get belongings back should the worst happen. They also have some great safety gadgets, definitely worth a look when considering home safety.
For other tips and ideas on keeping your property safe do have a look at the Police page on crime prevention.
One of the most exciting things for a lot of people when moving house or flat is getting the opportunity to redecorate, recreate their space. It can be an excuse for a change and an opportunity to buy something (or things) new. It can often be the case that one of your new rooms will present you with a smaller space to work with, be this the living area, bedroom or the spare room, a small space can still be well worked into something usable and enjoyable. Don’t be disheartened and do not fear it; if you bare these few points in mind, small space living can be perfectly pleasing.
Get permission: The first point to make is be sure to speak to your landlord and get the OK for any changes you plan to make. Think neutral and modest when it comes to the big things like walls and carpets. Your personality, creativity and individual style can be added with accessories, textiles and movable furnishings.
As it’s very easy for small rooms to look cluttered, the first point we will, perhaps quite obviously, make is to use light colours. A light colour pallet can work wonders in a small space; opting for whites and light greys or even a magnolia can be very flattering for a small space.
Plain colours are not for everyone, so (if you’re allowed!) and would like to introduce a splash of colour here and there, don’t shy away from it. In this case, do try working with a brighter colour or colours as too much of anything dark or heavy will bring the room back in on itself, undoing your good work.
2) Furniture and Storage
Storage space can be difficult at the best of times; we all have more belongings than we think we do, (and we all realise during a move) so finding suitable and satisfactory storage can be a challenge, even more so for small space living. The best solution, if it can be achieved, is to get inventive, double up. Do you have a bed or chair that can also become storage, a desk that can easily fold back against the wall perhaps? Additionally, really use all of the space that you have, maybe you could have storage up a height, so as not to intrude on your living space. And, make the most of shelving, this can be much less intrusive than storage on ground level and can be made into decorative features too; corner shelving is a great space saver!
3) Keep it Clean
This is something we all know of any space, not just small spaces! Keeping your small rooms clean and tidy instantly helps. Clutter and chaos shrink even the largest of rooms, so ensure that the storage you have picked will hold everything you need it to.
Your small space may be one of your main rooms but, if it is going to be your ‘spare room’ try not to think of it like this or it will so easily become cluttered. Do not make it the home of the extra chair and the boxes that never got unpacked, you should aim for a fully functioning, tidy room.
Lighting is an important tip, not so much a decorating tip as something to keep in mind. If your room is open to good natural light then this is perfect, natural light really opens up a small space. However, if you do not have any, many, or have small windows then producing plenty of artificial light can work very well too; perhaps lamps to brighten every corner of the room or various different sources of light can illuminate a room effectively.
As a sub point of ‘light’, mirrors can work well to maximise the appearance of space too. Not any old mirror propped anywhere, but placed correctly, and reflecting the clean, light space that you have created can maximise and really show off your efforts.
The main thing to keep in mind when coming into a new space or viewing a potential new home, which will require a little small space living, is to be able to look forward to how the space could look! Some very small alterations can change so much about a room, so do not be put off by a small space; it’s not all about the size!!
Moving house is always at least a little complicated, no matter how laid back you are. If you’re planning on renting a new place there’s a lot to think about, so to make sure you’ve got everything covered, we’ve created a checklist of questions to ask your landlord.
Before you meet
1. Be clear on the basics…
The landlord should know the property and the area, so if there’s anything you don’t know from the listing (or from what you can find on Google!) ask the landlord before meeting.
When is the property available from?
Moving dates can often be tight, and dependent on a number of other factors, so this is an important one.
If there’s anything you need to know about the property that’s going to be a deal breaker, ask as soon as you can. Perhaps you have mobility issues and need a downstairs loo, or no tricky steps up to the front door? The more information you have earlier, the better choice you can make with your viewings.
Do you have any location ‘must haves’ - that’s things you just can’t compromise on? Maybe you’re a TiChi master and need a tranquil park nearby to practice every day, or maybe you’re an Ebay super seller and need a post office just round the corner - that kind of thing!! Regardless of what it is, you might not have all this information to hand from the initial listing, so get these location specific questions out of the way first.
Are pets allowed?
If you already have a pet obviously this is a deal breaker. If you’re keen to get one, it makes sense to ask about this now. Sometimes there may be an extra fee or deposit for a resident pet.
2. It’s all in the money…
If you can’t afford the property there’s no point in wasting your time pursuing it further. Know your budgets and ask the landlord the right questions early on.
How much is my rent and what does it include?
If you don’t know this already, be clear on exactly what’s included in the rent; gas, electric, water, council tax, internet and phone, parking permits, etc. You might then also want to ask for a rough idea of how much those factors that aren’t included might cost per month. UK power offer some estimates and a calculator tool here.
How much is the deposit and where will it be protected?
By law, your deposit must be protected by a Government recognised scheme. So you need to know how much it is, and that you’re covered. Find out more on the Government website here.
During the viewing
3. The power three...
Can I see the gas certificate?
If the property has gas then there should be an annual gas safety check, conducted by a qualified engineer. By law, there should be a copy of the certificate for you to see.
Can I see the energy performance certificate?
This outlines the energy efficiency rating of a property. They are legally required and valid for 10 years.
What power and heating is available in the property and who are the suppliers?
Is there gas and electric? Is there central heating? You don’t have to use the same electricity suppliers, but you’ll need to have details of who currently supplies the house.
4. Safety first…
How secure is the property?
Is there a burglar alarm, are there locks on doors and windows, are there any weak spots?
What is the area like and has the property ever been broken into?
Even if you know the area well this is a sensible question to ask and gauge the landlord’s response.
Is there, or has there ever been, any damp?
Damp can cause health problems, as well as being miserable to live with, but it is common and sometimes inevitable. It’s identifying what kind of damp it is, how it occurs and therefore what you can do about it that’s important. Read more about damp on the Shelter website here.
Are there smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors?
There should be, and they should work! More details on what’s safe and legal can be found here.
5. Physical Attraction...
What’s included and will an inventory be drawn up?
Furnished, unfurnished or part furnished? Are the white goods included, are smaller electricals like the kettle included? What about pots and pans, or ironing boards? It’s in your landlord’s best interest to draw up an inventory, but it’s not required. If they don’t have one, perhaps you could arrange this together?
Are there any repairs or ongoing works scheduled?
If repairs are needed, you need to know, but you’ll also need to know when they’re happening and what effect they’ll have on you. Repairs to a few broken kitchen tiles will not be very disruptive, but the rewiring of the whole property’s electrics would be.
6. Taking it outside...
What’s the situation with the garden?
Is there one? Is it shared? Who has responsibility for looking after it?
What’s the situation with parking?
Do I need a permit? Is there an extra fee? Is there space for guest parking?
What are the neighbours like?
You might not get an answer to this (or a truthful one) but it’s worth asking! If you happen to pass them, why not say hello and ask a couple of questions?
7. Looking ahead…
Do you intend to sell?
If you’re thinking of staying in the property for some time, this could be a key question. If the buyer is interested in selling you may have to open your home up for viewings.
What changes am I able to make?
Get the answer in writing or in your agreement. If you have something specific in mind, it’s worth discussing it now to see how flexible the landlord will be.
How much interest have you had and what are you looking for in a tenant?
A good question to throw in there as you’re looking round the house. It will give you a feel for how quickly you may have to move, or indeed whether you’re the right tenant for the place!
8. When you’re pretty sure you want it...
Where are the meters and can you make a joint note of the readings?
You’ll need to know where the electricity and gas metres are and it’s sensible to both take a note of the readings before you move in.
When are the bins collected?
You can usually find this out on the local council website, but always good to ask.
Do you have any instruction manuals or warranties on electrical items?
Ideally, these should be kept for you, to make life easier and help if there are any issues.
Where's the main stopcock (to shut off the water)?
Hopefully, you won’t need to know, but if you do these little taps can be hidden in some strange places so you’ll need to know exactly where to go, straight away, if something happens!
What is the procedure if there is a maintenance problem?
Do you contact the landlord or a handyman? You’ll need to know emergency procedures for any leaks, bursts or blackouts!