Tenant FAQs, frequently asked questions

Tenant FAQs: Welcome to frequently asked questions (FAQs) for tenants – Answers to possible queries while searching properties to rent in the West Midlands.

Tenant FAQs

What is tenant referencing and why do I need to be referenced?

To apply for a property to rent, a full referencing which includes a credit check for CCJs, Bankruptcies, right to rent in the UK, landlord reference and employer references is required. You must provide proof of identity, income, and current and previous addresses when you apply. More details on tenant referencing.

The checks and references are to ensure the landlord that the tenant won’t have any problems paying the rent on a monthly basis and that the tenant will take good care of the property.

What is a tenancy deposit?

The tenancy deposit is money intended to be held by the landlord as security for the performance of any obligations of the tenant or the discharge of any landlord’s liability arising in connection with the tenancy. The deposit is held to ensure that any damages except for fair wear and tear can be deducted from it at the end of the tenancy.

As of April 2012, landlords have to place the deposit in a tenancy deposit scheme until the tenant vacates the property.

When is my desposit returned?

Deposits are returned after the satisfactory completion of an exit inventory. The deposit will be released to your preferred bank account within 5 days of you vacating your property.

To ensure you receive the full deposit at the end of your term, highlight any maintenance issues for your landlord to repair during the tenancy, fix any tenant faults, clean the property including kitchen items, bathroom fixtures, windows, cut and clear gardens.

The aim is to return the property in a near condition as you received it.

What is a tenancy agreement?

Citizens Advice explains,

The tenancy agreement is a contract between you and your landlord. It may be written or oral.The tenancy agreement gives certain rights to both you and your landlord, for example, your right to occupy the accommodation and the landlord’s right to receive rent for letting the accommodation.

Tenants should always read their tenancy agreement to know the terms being agreed.

Can tenants decorate the property?

A tenant can redecorate the property only on permission of the landlord. If you would like to paint, for example, you would be asked for the colour you intend to use (send a picture if you have one). Permission is required as landlords tend to have neutral colours in their property.

Once you have vacated, it could be difficult to find tenants who like the colour or pattern you have chosen. This would leave the landord with an unnecessary expense.

You should only redecorate with written permission. Some landlords will allow your preference in decorating on the written agreement that you will set the decor back to neutral before vacating.

Is there a move in inventory?

Move in inventories are completed at the start of the tenancy. On the day you move in, you will be asked to look critically at the property, fixtures and fittings to point out anything you would like noted on the inventory.

We will note the condition of the property, fixtures and fittings  and compile a written inventory. You will be given a copy for you to check the accuracy and report any discrepancy at this time. Please read, sign and return with any comments you find important to note.

The move in inventory will be revisited at your exit inventory.

Who updates the utility suppliers?

The tenant is responsible for updating the utility suppilers for gas, electric, water and council tax. As part of our service we contact utility suppliers to confirm whether your details have been updated after your move in. Tenants are responsible for all utilities from the date moved in.

You can contact telephone, broadband and other services for connection if required.

How is rent paid?

Rent is paid via standing order. The payment should be set up to leave your account on the same date as the start date of your tenancy each month. You should contact your bank to cancel the standing order once the payment for the last month’s rent has been paid.

What is the tenancy term?

The first tenancy agreement is usually for six months and then renewed for a further six months or more following a satisfactory first tenancy if both tenant and landlord wants to renew.

What are my responsibilities during the tenancy?

Your responsibilities are set out in the tenancy agreement. Always read the full tenancy agreement before signing.

How do I renew my tenancy?

If your landlord manages the property, you need to contact the landlord at least one month before your tenancy expires and make enquiries for a renewal tenancy.  For properties we manage, tenancy renewals follow a satisfactory property inspection and an up to date rent account. If the tenancy was satisfactory, the tenancy will be renewed for a further term.

Can I leave the property before the end of the tenancy?

The minimum contract term is 6 months. Before applying and signing a tenancy agreement, you need to ensure you need a property for at least 6 months. A tenancy agreement is a legally binding contract and you will be liable for the payment of rent up to the end of the tenancy.

When is rent due?

Rent is due on the start date of your tenancy. For example, if your tenancy start date was on the 5th of the month, your rent will be due on the 5th of each month. In this instance, your rent period is from the 5th of one month to the 4th of the next.

What if I can’t pay my rent?

If you have change in circumstance, for example, illness or unemployment, you are still liable for your rent. Try to speak to your landlord or managing agent to see if you can change your rent payment schedule.

How and when can I serve notice to vacate?

Notice for fixed term tenancies should be given in writing at least one month before the end of your tenancy agreement. Notice must be received no later than the first day of the last month you intend to occupy the property. Your month should be in line with your rent period.

If you are on a periodic tenancy, no fixed term (monhly), you are required to give at least 1 month’s written notice. This notice must be given in line with your rent period.

For example, if you pay rent on the 10th of each month, the notice must be given no later than the 10th start date of the last month and the last rent due date. As such, your notice is from the 10th of one month to the 9th of the next. The 9th being the last day of your tenancy.

How to return the property at the end of the tenancy?

If your landlord manages your property, you need to make arrangements with your landlord for the property to be inspected and the keys to be returned.

Do not assume that the landlord has a copy of the keys so you can lock the doors and have the landlord use their key for access. You want to be present at the inspection so that any faults identified are discussed and any liability is agreed.

For properties we manage, we will make an appointment to meet you at the property to complete the exit inventory. The condition of the property, fixtures and fittings will be checked against your move inventory.

All cleaning and gardening must be completed and your personal belongings removed before the exit inventory as the keys will need to be collected at this time. You are liable for rent until the keys are returned.

Landlords who want to attend the exit inventory can do so by informing us in advance so that we can attempt to arrange a convenient time for both tenant and landlord.

This ends our tenant FAQs. If there are any queries not addressed above, please contact us at 01215255930