Advice for Tenants:
Before viewing a property
- Decide what you're looking for - flat, house etc and decide where you want to live, whether you require the property to be furnished or unfurnished, garden, parking etc.
- Decide on a budget of what you want to pay per month. Take into account rent, council tax, bills etc
- Do your homework. Find out what's out there, how much it costs on average, how quickly the market is moving - you may have to make a quick decision after viewing.
- Start looking at the right time. You may need to give notice at your current address. Landlords usually start advertising 4-6 weeks before a property becomes available.
Viewing a property
- Arrive on time! If you can't make it, or you're going to be late, let the landlord/agency know.
- Make a list of questions of things that are important to you. Don't be afraid to ask questions, e.g.
- Is there a deposit to pay?
- What is the council tax band?
- What scale of utility bills can I expect?
- Is there a telephone connection?
- Is the property furnished - what exactly comes with the property?
- Has the property ever been broken into?
- Where are the closest transport links?
- Are there shops nearby?
- Are there schools nearby?
- Look at the property carefully. Take your time. Don't be rushed.
- Find out when you would be able to move in.
- If you are interested in the flat, you will need to fill in an application form and pay an application fee of £86 inc VAT. This application gives us information about you. We will ask for references from your previous landlords and your employers, so bring these contact details with you.
- Referees usually include the following:
- Previous landlords - you will normally need to disclose the last 5 properties you have lived at
- Your bank - bank name, address, your account number, sort code, account name
- Current employer and previous employers - your title, salary, payroll number, a contact at work, and name of any previous employer
- Credit Checking agency (usually commissioned by letting agency)
Getting the lease signed and moving In
On the day you sign the lease, there are certain things you need to bring with you:
- The deposit, in cash. The deposit is a sum paid on the day you move in. It is usually slightly more than one month's rent. The deposit is returnable at the end of the tenancy, assuming that the property is returned in the same state of repair as it was at the beginning of the tenancy (wear and tear excepted) and that all the bills are paid up to date. There is no interest payable on the deposit.
- The first month's rent, in cash
- Your bank details. You will need to fill in a bank mandate for collecting subsequent rent.
- Photo ID, e.g. drivers license, passport, student ID card etc.
- Witness: Someone to act as a witness of the signing of the lease, if possible. This could be a friend or relative, but someone who isn't named on the lease.
- Guarantor: If the landlord or letting agent considers you to be a 'risky' prospective tenant, (for example if you are self-employed with an irregular income), you may be asked to provide a Guarantor - someone willing to accept the financial and legal risk of you defaulting on your obligations whilst living in rented accommodation. A guarantor covers the monthly rental if you fail to pay, and agrees to pay damages, costs and expenses to the landlord if you don't observe your obligations to keep the property in good order.
There is a lot of paperwork to go through when signing the lease. You should get a copy of it all when it is complete:
- our tenant guide giving our contact details and office hours
- AT5 - this explains what a short assured tenancy is
- Lease - a short assured tenancy which is for at least six months
- Special conditions - explains the law about regaining possession of the property by the landlord
- Repairing standard letter - explains the minimum standards of repairs you should expect as a tenant, and what to do if these aren't met
- Keys mandate - gives your permission for the landlord/agency to keep a copy of the keys to the property, to be used only in certain situations
- Inventory - a complete list of everything in the property and the condition
- Check list, which includes meter readings, contact phone numbers etc
- Bank mandate - instructions to your bank to set up a standing order for paying rent. Rent is paid monthly.
- Housing benefit mandate - gives your permission to the benefits agency to give information about your housing benefit claim to the landlord/agency. This can help speed things up if there is a problem with your housing benefit.
During the tenancy
Hopefully everything will go smoothly while you are living in one of our properties, and you won't have to contact us, or hear from us very often.
- If you have a problem with the property, then you need to contact us, preferably during office hours, and we will do everything we can to sort out the problem. We will organize a workman who will contact you to gain access to fix the problem.
- If you have a problem with the neighbours, it is up to you to resolve it as best you can. We can offer advice about contacting the ASBO team (anti-social behaviour team) if necessary.
- If we receive a complaint about a tenant causing antisocial behaviour, we have to get involved and you will hear from us.
- We will carry out a walk-through inspection every six months to check that the flat is in a good state of repair. We will always inform you before we come.
- If there are any changes to our procedures, we will write to you to let you know.
You will receive a receipt every month when we have received your rent.
At the end of the tenancy
When it becomes time to move out of the flat, you must give at least one month's notice to the agency. If only your landlord wants to end the tenancy they must serve you with a valid notice to quit and an AT6 form. If they are ending a short assured tenancy just because it has ended and they want their property back they should also issue with a section 33 notice. These notices must be served either by Sheriff Officers or by Recorded Delivery. Neither party can terminate the lease during the first six months. On receiving your letter telling us of your leaving date, we will do several things:
- Start to advertise the property. This means that we may need access to the property to show potential tenants. We expect the property to be tidy when we visit.
- On the day you leave, we will meet you at the property to:
- Carry out an inspection with you. It is important that the property is clean and that all the furniture is back where you found it. Make sure there are no marks on the carpets or walls and that all your own possessions have been removed. The garden should also be left tidy.
- Take meter readings
- Receive the keys back
- Get a forwarding address from you
- We aim to return your deposit within 14 days of you leaving, we will return your deposit along with a letter detailing any money we have held back for repairs or unpaid bills.
Musselburgh: 60 High Street,
Musselburgh, EH21 7BX
Tel: +44 (0) 131 653 6981
Dundee and Fife: 38 Whitehall Crescent, Dundee, DD1 4AY
Tel: +44 (0) 1382 226 611
Edinburgh: 270 Gorgie Road,
Edinburgh, EH11 2PP
Tel / Fax: +44 (0) 131 337 9111