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  • Tenants guide and fees.

    Firstly, if you’re looking to rent in London and Surrey, you need to work with an excellent Letting Agent – that’s where we come in. Secondly you need a general understanding of the process and the issues involved – that’s where the guide below comes in.

    We reference our tenants and guarantors

    Before you start

    Once you find a suitable property there will be fees and costs involved in setting up the tenancy agreement and completing the relevant credit checks. There will also be a security deposit and a minimum of six weeks rent will be required up front, so to avoid delays later make sure these costs will not be a problem when they are presented.

    There are a number of documents that will also be required, such as immigration status, employment status, proof of I.D. and address in order to start the referencing process we will use a independent reference company to carry out.

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    Finding a suitable home

    You need to consider how your property will accommodate your lifestyle. For example, do you need space for car parking? Do you require a garden?

    Deciding whether to rent furnished or unfurnished often does not make a big difference to the price of the rent. However, if you are sharing with several other people, will you trust them with your furniture? In a furnished flat you may lose some of your deposit if there are any damages, even if you weren’t individually responsible. Contents cover can help with this, but it can be difficult to find a company to insure your possessions in shared accommodation, particularly if you don´t have a lock on your room.

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    Viewings

    When you have found a property you like it’s essential to book a viewing quickly. Eleven tenants chase every new property on the market in the capital so competition is high and good quality properties go very quickly as we market all of our properties on the biggest web portals.

    There are certain questions which you will want to ask.

    • Are utilities and council tax included in the rent? If they are not, what will the likely additional cost be? Is broadband set up or will you have to install it?
    • Which furnishings will be in the property when you move in?
    • How much is the deposit? Will your deposit be protected in a deposit protection scheme? Which scheme will they be using? (If you have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, the most common form of tenancy in England and Wales, your landlord is legally obliged to protect your deposit in a protection scheme.)

    Setting up the tenancy

    You are likely to be asked for at least your first month’s rent and a deposit in advance so have this ready.

    Students or first-time renters usually have to provide a guarantor. This is often a parent or guardian who will be responsible for the debt should the tenant not be able to pay. The Guarantor will also sign a deed of guarantee setting out the terms as a guarantor.

    Setting up the tenancy will involve several one-off payments. There will be a tenancy fee for compiling the relevant paperwork and conducting the necessary checks. You are also likely to be asked for at least your first month’s rent and a deposit in advance so have this ready.

    Students or first time renters usually have to provide a guarantor. This is often a parent or guardian who will be responsible for the debt should the tenant not be able to pay. The Guarantor will also sign a deed of guarantee setting out the terms as a guarantor.

    Paperwork

    When you receive your written tenancy agreement read it carefully. If you have any queries, ask us or get independent advice from elsewhere. Only sign it once you have checked and agree with it.

    Your landlord should provide you with the following documents:

    • A gas certificate – the landlord has a responsibility to arrange an annual gas safety check by a registered engineer and issue a copy to each tenant.
    • Details of the deposit protection scheme – the landlord is required to place the deposit in a government approved scheme and give the tenant the details to reclaim the deposit at the end of the tenancy.
    • An energy performance certificate – the landlord at least needs to have this available to produce when required, they cannot evict the tenant unless this has been shown.
    • Electrical inspections records – the electrical installations of the property are the landlord’s responsibility to maintain for the duration of the rental.
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    Moving day

    Before moving make sure you make arrangements for your post to be redirected to avoid losing anything important. Purchasing contents insurance is also advised as your furniture is unlikely to be protected under the landlord’s insurance policy.

    After settling in and adjusting to your new home it is advisable to set up a standing order to pay the rent so that it arrives in the relevant account on time.

    During the Tenancy

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    Responsibilities

    As a tenant you have several responsibilities while renting:

    • To pay the rent on time every month.
    • To look after the property (and furniture if furnished) and keep it clean and in good condition. You will need to leave the property as you found it or you risk losing your deposit.
    • To be considerate and respectful of the surrounding neighbours and community, repeated noise complaints or anti-social behavior can result in your eviction.
    • To report any problems or repairs. Don´t undertake any repairs or redecoration without your landlord´s written permission.
    • Notify your landlord if you are going away for more than 14 days.
    • Keep the property locked and secure.

    Landlord responsibilities

    A landlord has several responsibilities while you are renting their property:

    • To maintain the structural integrity of the property.
    • Insure the building in the event of a fire or flood.
    • Maintain the furnishings and appliances (if provided) in good working order and are fire safety compliant.
    • Deal with plumbing and electrical issues.
    • Arrange an annual gas safety check.

    Ending the Tenancy

    As the fixed tenancy draws to a close you will often have the option to extend the tenancy. Signing up to another fixed term usually incurs a fee so you will need to check this with your Landlord. It may also be possible to keep the tenancy on a rolling, month-by-month basis. This means that you have the same agreement but are able to terminate the agreement by simply giving one month’s notice, however once the fixed tenancy period expires the landlord is able to increase the rent by legal agreement.

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    Moving Out

    Once you have given your required notice and decided to end the tenancy, there are just a couple of things left to do. Make sure you have thoroughly cleaned the property and are returning it to the landlord in the condition you found it with all the furniture agreed on in the inventory. Take pictures to demonstrate you have completed this just in case there is any dispute about the condition in which you left the property (if you got the property professional cleaned keep the receipts).

    After the inventory and property have been checked and both parties are happy with the condition of property the deposit should be returned. If the full amount is not returned any deductions must be fully explained and if you have any queries about the validity of the deductions, it is imperative that you contact a representative of the deposit scheme your landlord or agent has used.

    Standard fees

    Admin fee

    This is a fixed-cost fee that covers a variety of works, depending on the individual circumstances of each tenancy. This includes but is not limited to conducting viewings, negotiating the tenancy, verifying references, undertaking Right to Rent checks and drawing up contracts.

    £400 (inc VAT) , £120 (inc VAT) for every additional tenant and £150 (inc VAT) for each guarantor

    Check-in fee

    This is a fee which varies depending on the type of property and the number of rooms in the property. It covers the cost for a third party inventory company to come into the property and make a check-in inventory report.

    Property Check-in fee
    Room £85
    Studio £125
    1 Bed £155
    2 Bed £205
    3 Bed £255
    4 Bed £305
    5 Bed £355

    Other fees

    Change of occupancy within an existing tenancy £300
    Letter sent by Lawson S Stone regarding late or non-payment of rent £65 for each letter sent
    Tenant reference request for other agent £35
    Tenancy renewal £175 + VAT for every tenancy renewal
    End of tenancy inventory check-out organised by Lawson S Stone depends on the size £100 – £300*

    Other fees

    ‘It is the tenant’s responsibility to pay their rent on time according to their tenancy, late payments will incur a late fee charge’.