Information for Tenants
Prior to Moving In
Moving home, for whatever reason, can be a stressful experience. At GSC Grays we try to make the whole process as smooth and stress-free as possible. Below we outline the process from start to finish.
After you register with us we will keep in close contact with you, keeping you up to date as and when suitable new properties are available. We recommend that viewings take place in daylight hours, so you get a really good look at the property and the neighbourhood. Once you have found a property you wish to apply for you will be asked to complete an application form and pay a referencing fee.
On occasions we may receive more than one application on a property. Our commitment is that we will only ever process one application at a time on a property so if multiple applications are made a decision will be made with the landlord, as to which application we will progress. The unsuccessful parties at this point will be informed at the earliest opportunity and receive a full refund of any amounts paid.
We use an independent referencing company. They will ask for details of your employment and living arrangements for the last three years. If you are self-employed they will require details of your accountant etc. This stage will take a minimum of three working days but if additional information is required the processing time will extend further. We cannot be more specific with regards to the time scales as it varies depending on how long your referees take to respond. To assist in collating the necessary references, it would be advantageous for you to warn the individuals in advance that references are required from them.
Your basic annual income needs to be at least 2.5 times the annual rent in order to comply with the referencing criteria. Any detrimental or false credit information may adversely affect your application and you will forfeit your reference fee as it is non-refundable should you be declined.
Occasionally, a guarantor will be required if, for example a prospective tenant has not been continuously employed for the past 18 months; has been working abroad in the previous 6 months; the tenants’ income falls short of our criteria or the tenants’ employment is considered as changeable. An additional charge may be payable. If you have any queries please ask our staff who will be pleased to advise you.
A guarantor must earn the equivalent of 3 times the yearly sum of the rent, own a property in the UK and be in full time employment or be able to prove by bank statements that they have “independent means”.
All tenants and guarantors must provide photo ID i.e. passport or driving licence and proof of address i.e. current utility bill, mobile phone statement, bank/credit card statement etc.
After we have received the satisfactory references and got the landlords formal approval, we will require you to pay the first months’ Rent, the Deposit as well as Tenancy Administration Fee.
Since 6th April 2007 there has been a requirement for Landlords that collect deposits for Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) to hold tenant’s deposits in an authorised tenancy deposit scheme, of which there are a variety available. The purpose of this was to improve the protection of the tenant by ensuring that if there was a dispute at the end of the tenancy, an independent third party can assess how much of the deposit should be returned to the tenant and how much is retained by the Landlord.
There are two types of deposit protection:
Custodial – The scheme itself holds the deposit during the tenancy.
Insurance Backed – The Landlord or Agent hold the deposit during the tenancy but still register the deposit with a scheme. If there is a dispute at the end of the tenancy the disputed funds will be passed to the scheme for assessment.
In summary deposit protection means:
The tenants deposit is protected in a government authorised scheme.
The tenant must be provided with the chosen schemes prescribed information and the deposit must be detailed with the tenancy agreement.
We ask you to pay a deposit to be held as security against any damage or breakages. The deposit money will be returned to you when the tenancy is ended, assuming there are no damages or breakages to pay out of it. The deposit money cannot be used for payment of rent. Where GSC Grays are managing a property the deposit is registered and protected with the Deposit Protection Service.
Where we only Let the property for the landlord, the landlord may choose to protect the deposit themselves within an approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
The Tenancy Agreement
We will draw up the Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreements, and provide you with copies of all documentation. The tenancy agreement we use is very comprehensive. An initial contract is usually prepared for no less than 6 months. All tenancies are now assured shorthold, unless stated otherwise. All people who are named on the Tenancy must be present to sign the Tenancy Agreement. Only after the Tenancy Agreement has been signed and all monies paid (cleared funds), will you then receive the keys to your new home.
To gain possession at the end of the tenancy term, the landlord should serve the tenant a minimum of two months’ notice, while the tenant is required to serve the landlord with a minimum of one months’ notice, both from the rent due date and in writing. Thereafter, most landlords and tenants require another fixed term such as 12 months although it is perfectly acceptable for the tenancy to run on a month to month basis, with termination as previously stated.
If we are managing the deposit, prior to the commencement of a tenancy, we will have visited the property and prepared an Inventory and Schedule of Condition. You will be required to sign to confirm you have received the Inventory and Schedule of Condition before, or upon taking occupation of the property, you will then have 5 days from receipt, to go through the inventory and request any amendments in writing, if necessary.
After Moving In
The tenant will assume the responsibility for all services charged at the property including: gas, electricity, water, sewerage, council tax etc. Where GSC Grays are managing agents we will take meter readings and notify the relevant companies of a change of Tenant. However it will be your responsibility to ensure that you are contacted by them within 4 weeks, if not you will then need to contact them directly. Changing of utility suppliers to a property must only be done with the Landlord’s permission.
Telecommunications companies will not accept instructions from third parties and therefore neither the Landlord nor the Agent can be responsible for ensuring there is a working active line available to you. If you are moving into a property without a telephone line connected or it has been vacant it will be your responsibility to pay the BT or any other provider’s connection fee.
You are responsible for the television licence regardless of whether or not a television is provided by the Landlord. Landlords cannot guarantee quality of signal or availability of signal at any let property.
The landlords insurance on the rented property will usually cover the building itself and the landlords contents, for example carpets, curtains fixtures and fittings. A tenants personal possessions will therefore not be covered under the landlords insurance. Tenants will be responsible for insuring their own contents and we strongly recommend that all tenants take out a home contents insurance policy
The rent must be paid a month in advance and received by the due date as cleared funds. This must be by standing order/bank transfer. The due date should be the same as the tenancy start date unless a prior agreement is reached.
During the tenancy a repair may be needed and it is the responsibility of the landlord to attend to all major repairs and maintenance problems to appliances etc. Tenants will be required to attend to minor jobs such as changing light bulbs and fuses and are responsible for any breakages which should be reported immediately. Tenants should allow reasonable access to GSC Grays/Landlords’ maintenance contractors to carry out necessary works at the property
Re-decoration of a property must only be done with the Landlord’s permission.
Smoking is strictly prohibited in all properties.
No pets are allowed unless the Landlord has given consent
Locks or alarm numbers should not be changed without the consent of GSC Grays or the Landlord.
Reasonable notice will be given in the event that GSC Grays and/or Landlord wishes to inspect the property. It is usual for an Agent to inspect the property at least twice per annum during the term of a Tenancy. The purpose of these is to check the condition of the property and that you are conducting your tenancy in accordance with the Tenancy Agreement.
You should be aware that responsibility for the property rests with the Tenant during any tenancy. It is particularly important that any gas or electrical problems are reported immediately and the property is fully secured when you leave it unattended at any time. During the winter months, necessary steps must be taken to prevent the freezing of the water and heating systems. In addition, you will be liable to maintain the interior décor of the property to include carpets, and any fixtures and fittings that are included, together with the gardens and outside areas.
For a downloadable pdf of this guide please click here.