APPLICANT/PROSPECTIVE TENANT ADVICE & CONFIRMATION
We hope that you will be successful in finding a property through John Hilton LTD and as part of our commitment to helping those seeking a new home please read the following useful and essential information.
If you are interested in reserving one of our properties you will receive:
- A sample Tenancy Agreement
- A copy of the government How to Rent Guide
- A copy of the Energy Performance Certificate of any property that you have chosen to view
- Van Mildert referencing requirements
You should not enter into a contract to take a property without fully understanding the obligations and implications. If you are unsure of any matters please seek independent advice through the Citizens Advice Bureau or a solicitor.
ADVICE AND INFORMATION
An explanation of terms and phrases and what they would mean to you
The Tenancy Agreement is the legal document that lays out the contract between you and the landlord for renting a property. It will detail the amount of the rent, the length of the fixed term and the duties and obligations of you and the landlord if you choose to enter into a tenancy.
This is the version of the document that you will be expected to sign in order to commit to the tenancy. The missing information will be added when agreement is entered between you and the landlord (this will be the property address, your name(s), the landlord’s contact details and the agreed rent and Tenancy Security deposit). There may also be additional clauses specifically agreed between you and the landlord.
When you sign the tenancy agreement you are committing yourself to a contract, the terms of which are binding. Please take time to carefully read the sample tenancy agreement and if you have questions on the contents, please feel free to ask us for clarification or take independent advice.
Please make sure you are able to commit to the terms.
Main and principle home
For an Assured and Shorthold Tenancy agreement to be drawn up you must confirm that this property will be your main and principal home, if this is not the case please contact the office.
One important term is the fixed term. This is the agreed minimum length of the tenancy and once you have committed there is no automatic right for you to serve notice and leave early. If you do need to leave early you must be aware that the landlord is under no obligation to release you. If the landlord agreed to do so he is, in law, entitled to charge the tenant reasonable costs he has incurred in doing so. This would include the rent if the property cannot be re-let before the end of the fixed term.
Joint and Several Liability
When you take a tenancy with another person or persons, in law both or all of you are ‘jointly and severally liable’ for the rent or any other costs relating to the obligations of the tenancy. This means that each individual tenant is responsible on their own or jointly for 100% of money owing. For example, if there are two tenants either as a couple or sharing and one of the tenants has a change of circumstances and they do not have the money to pay their ‘share’ of the rent – the other tenant will be required to pay the full amount.
If you take a tenancy for a period of a year or more, your landlord may want, or agree to, a break clause. This is negotiated between you and the landlord before the start of the tenancy and allows either of you to serve notice on the other to end the tenancy. The point at which notice can be served and the amount of notice required is negotiable. However the landlord cannot serve notice in the first four months of the tenancy under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) and the notice must then be at least two months.
Occupiers other than the tenants will not be permitted to reside in the premises without the express written consent of John Hilton LTD or the landlord.
If the Property is an HMO then it is licensed for a maximum number of occupants.
In the event that your references are likely to be, or are insufficient your potential landlord may agree to accept a guarantor on your behalf. The guarantor must pass references as they will be liable for any loss the landlord has suffered as a result of any breach of the terms of the Tenancy Agreement by you. We will ensure that the guarantor is given a copy of the Tenancy Agreement so they are aware of your obligations and we will allow them time to study all the documents and take advice, if necessary. Please note that a tenancy cannot go ahead until all the guarantor documents are in place and signed.
It may be possible to pay rent in advance if an applicant does not have a guarantor which meets the criteria and subject to the consent of the Landlord. In these circumstances for a 12 month tenancy you may be able to pay 6 months’ rent in advance with a co-signer guarantor who is not referenced and will not be required to meet the criteria with a 6 month break clause. 6 further months’ rent will be due after month 5 of the tenancy.
Please note that some landlord’s request that the whole rent is paid up front, i.e. 12 months. We also accept Housing Hand who can act as a guarantor, they are a separate company and you can contact them directly: www.housinghand.co.uk or call 0207 205 2625 for more information.
Subject to Contract
This means that all negotiations, obligations and rights will not be binding on either you or the landlord until the actual start of the tenancy. The acceptance of an application form or holding deposit does not constitute acceptance of you or anyone else as a tenant for a property.
The landlord is under no obligation to agree to the swapping of tenants during the tenancy. In the event that one sharer wishes to vacate the property please contact us first in order that we can contact your landlord to establish their wishes. (Please note if we do not manage the property you will need to contact the landlord directly).
If the landlord is in agreement it may be possible for us to formally end the existing tenancy and start a new tenancy with the new sharer. However this would be subject to your landlord’s consent, satisfactory references from the new sharer, remaining Tenants agreeing to the new sharer and will be subject to contract. Please note that the Tenant would be liable for the Landlord’s reasonable costs which would be incurred in the process of ending one tenancy and setting up a new tenancy.
One 'lead' tenant will act on behalf of all tenants and will be the main point of contact during the Tenancy. The security deposit will be returned to the lead tenant ONLY and only they can liaise with the deposit team regarding any deductions made to the deposit at the end of the tenancy.
ALL TENANTS MUST BE OVER 18 YEARS OLD
An explanation of what we will require from you if you decide to pursue an interest in a specific property and what you can expect if the landlord agrees to accept you as a tenant
Deadline for Agreement
When you wish to put an offer forward for a property we will agree with you a cut-off date for agreement to be reached – in other words the time line for references and other checks to be conducted as well as agreement to the terms of the tenancy. If an applicant is withholding information or not co-operating with the process the landlord can withdraw without penalty after this agreed date and unless there are extenuating circumstances the holding deposit (if taken) will not be repayable.
We will need you to take up references on you. In order to do this we will need you to provide us with information regarding your circumstances in order that checks can be made. The results of the referencing (if credit checked) and/or copies of reference letters will be passed to your potential landlord in order for him to make an informed decision regarding the acceptance of your application.
Please note that we reserve the right not to proceed with taking references if we do not believe that your references will be acceptable. You have the right to appoint an independent and reputable referencing company to conduct checks on your behalf if you wish.
We will need to see various documents that will assist us/the landlord in deciding if you are likely to be a suitable tenant.
Some of these documents may need to be originals (not photocopies).
In general the documents we will need will cover the following topics:
We will need to verify who you are
Right to Rent
We are required by the Government to check on all prospective occupiers under the Immigration Act 2014 and the Immigration Act 2016. We will therefore require evidence that you have the right to reside in this country and, if that right is limited, how long it exists for. The exact documentation we require will be made clear to you before we ask you to pay a holding deposit. https://www.gov.uk/check-tenant-right-to-rent-documents/how-to-check
Financial Reference/employment History
We will require evidence that you have the ability to make the required rent payments. We will need evidence of your employment history and income from that employment (or if relevant from other sources).
Suitability as a tenant
We will need evidence of your current/previous address(es) which may include a reference from a current/previous landlord and/or letting agent.
In the event that you may not be able to afford to rent this property, it may still be possible to consider you for a tenancy if you have a guarantor to act for you. If this were the case we would also need similar information to the above, on themselves.
It is important to arrange for us to have the relevant information and paperwork promptly in order not to fail the agreement deadline date (see above section). Please make sure that you are able to provide us with all the necessary information within the time limit before you agree to that limit. If you believe that you cannot do this please inform us and we will be happy to discuss a more suitable deadline.
Please note that we will discuss the exact nature of the documents and evidence that we will need before we ask you to provide a holding deposit.
We will use our preferred tenant referencing company (Van Mildert) to make an assessment of your suitability as a tenant. In order for us to be able to do this we will need you to fill in a tenant referencing application form. There will be no charge for this.
If you feel that it would be easier for you to instruct a professional referencing company to provide a report on your behalf this would be entirely acceptable but you would need to make this instruction yourself (we can recommend companies if you wish).
For the avoidance of doubt, if you choose not to use a professional referencing company this will have no influence on our decision about your suitability as a tenant.
Right to Rent
We are currently required by law to check that ALL adult occupiers have the right to rent in the UK. To this end we need to see original approved documents whilst in your presence. Please co-operate with this process as we will be unable to allow occupancy in the event that we have not been able to capture this information.
All applicants must prove that they have a right to reside in the UK and we require that all UK and EU applicants bring their passports / national identification cards (EU) or permanent resident cards to the office in person for our records. Copies cannot be accepted. For applicants outside of the EU we will require your passport and valid visa / permanent resident’s card. More information can be found on our website
The property details that we produce are provided as a guide to the property that we are advertising. While every effort is made to ensure their accuracy it will be your responsibility to view any property that may interest you and check that it meets your requirements. We will of course be happy to answer any questions you may have about the property.
Unless otherwise agreed and stipulated in the tenancy agreement, the rent is payable monthly in advance by standing order and we will only accept one standing order mandate for the full amount of the rent and the payment will be set up a few days before the rent due date.
If the rent is advertised as weekly the rent is based on 52 weeks even if the contract is for 11 months. Please note that there are not 4 weeks in a month. To work out the weekly rent times the monthly rent by 12 months, divide by 52 weeks and divide by the number of tenants.
Please be aware that the landlord’s insurance will not cover tenant’s goods. You will need to make your own arrangements for adequate and appropriate insurance cover.
If you find a property that you wish to apply for we will request a holding deposit equivalent of one week’s rent (this is calculated by multiplying the monthly rent by twelve and dividing by fifty-two).
The purpose of this holding deposit is to show goodwill between the landlord and you and to show that both of you are committed to agreeing on a tenancy.
As part of this goodwill the landlord agrees that the property will be taken off the market while your application is being processed.
Refunding of the Holding Deposit
The holding deposit will always be refunded to you unless:
- The landlord accepts you as a tenant and you both agree that the money is to be used to put towards the first month’s rent or damage deposit
- You provide us with false or misleading information regarding your circumstances, including, but not limited to, the information we need for reference purposes
- You fail the Right to Rent check
- You fail to assist and co-operate in the process which results in the ‘deadline for agreement’ being missed
- You withdraw your offer to take the property
If the holding deposit is being refunded we will do so within seven days of the decision, unless the money is being used for the initial rent. If the deposit is not being refunded we will write to you setting out the reasons within seven days of the decision.
Prior to the start of the tenancy we will require a deposit (in cleared funds – see below) that will be held against any damages or other default of the tenancy agreement. The deposit amount may vary but will not be more than the equivalent of five weeks rent for tenancies with a rental level of up to £50,000 per annum or the equivalent of six weeks rent for tenancies with a higher rental level. A week’s rent is calculated by dividing the annual rent by fifty two.
If the tenancy is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) the law requires that the deposit is protected in a government approved scheme, and you will be provided with evidence of this. Details of the scheme we use are provided below.
First Month’s Rent
The first month’s rent must be paid to us in cleared funds before the start of the tenancy.
This means the money must be in our bank account and not subject to a confirmation that the funds could be transferred back or are not guaranteed. We will not be able to allow you to enter into a tenancy without all required rent and damage deposit having been received in full. If tenants are paying rent in advance this is due on or before the start date of the tenancy.
Please note that we will be unable to accept a credit card payment, cash, a cheque or bankers draft for the rent or for the tenancy deposit. This needs to be paid by debit card or bank transfer only.