There are lots of things to think about when you decide it’s time to move, and the process takes a lot of planning. We’re put together this hand 10-step guide to help talk you through the process of renting through Alexander & Co.
1. Finding a property
When you start the search for your ideal home you will need to consider your requirements and list down your must haves and nice to haves and think about the location, budget, how long you want to live there and when you want to move in by. We recommend starting your search around 8 weeks before you want to move.
The majority of searches will start on line but we recommend speaking to your local Alexander & Co office to discuss your requirements, the team will know of properties coming onto the market before they make it on to the property websites.
Once you have found the properties you want to view the agent will be able to arrange viewings and accompany these with you
2. Viewings and securing a property
When you are out viewing properties you should look at things that are important to you but not necessarily obvious at first, for example broadband, mobile phone reception and cable/satellite TV. Check out the space inside cupboards and wardrobes for storage space, what furniture and kitchen appliances are included within the rental, as well as parking arrangements and any outdoor space with the property. The property will have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) which gives a guide on the energy efficiency of the property which will affect your energy bills.
The rental market moves much faster than the sales market, so if you see the perfect property, you may have to act quickly to secure it. We recommend always being prepared with the relevant documents, such as a form of identification and confirmation of your address.
Once you have found the right flat or house to call home, you will need to pay a holding deposit of one week’s rent to state your intention, as well as providing more information to the agent about when you want to move.
You will need to provide proof of your "Right to Rent" under the immigration act.
3. References & credit checks
You will be asked to give references to your prospective landlord and letting agent to confirm that you have rented in the past without any major problems. This is commonly completed online using a specialist reference company. As part of this process you will be asked to provide:
- Three years' address history and Landlord details for any property rented in the last three years
- Confirmation of employer and annual income (the reference companies will need to see that your annual salary is at least equal to the monthly rental multiplied by 30)
- No adverse credit in the form of a county court judgment (CCJ), bankruptcy order or similar
- If you're self-employed, either an accounts reference or evidence of tax returns for the last 3 years
4. The deposit
You will be required to pay the equivalent of five weeks’ rent as a security deposit, unless you are taking out a Zero Deposit Guarantee (ZDG), in which case the premium payable is the equivalent of one week’s rent and an annual admin fee.
The deposit or Zero Deposit Guarantee is held as the landlord's cover for any excessive damages that need to be repaired at the end of the tenancy, and the deposit must be logged with one of the government approved schemes. This will be reflected and confirmed within your tenancy agreement.
5. Tenancy Agreement
A tenancy agreement is a legally binding document that sets out the terms of the tenancy and is drawn up to ensure the rights and obligations of both the tenant and the landlord are adhered to. All parties will be asked to sign this document, which agrees the responsibilities of the landlord and tenant. You will need to retain a copy of this agreement, as you may need to refer to it during the tenancy.
6. Safety regulations
There are a number of safety regulations and legislation that a landlord must meet prior to a tenant moving into a property, which cover gas & electricity safety inspections, Legionella Risk Assessment (LRA) and fire safety. If you choose a licensed lettings agency, such as Alexander & Co, it is our duty to keep up to date with the latest industry legislation.
7. Moving in day
Moving in day is the day that you will be given the keys to the property and can move into your new home.
Ahead of moving into the property. you will need to have passed references, signed the tenancy agreement and paid all monies due, which will include the first month’s rent and security deposit. These monies will always be required in cleared funds a minimum of three days before the tenancy starts.
There will be an inventory completed on the property, which is a detailed report on the condition and contents at the property and your guide to how the property will need to be left at the end of the tenancy. The inventory clerk will take meter readings, but it is always advisable to double-check these yourself when you move in. This is the day that you will be given the keys to the property and can move into your new home.
Prior to move-in, our concierge service, Just Move In, will contact you to talk through your options for energy suppliers, broadband and media suppliers. They will deal with all the initial move-in notifications with the local council, utility companies and water company for your new tenancy.
8. Maintenance issues
Once you have moved into your new home, you will need to report any maintenance issues or requirements as soon as they happen and you are aware of them. This will either be directly to the landlord, or the property management company if the landlord has employed one. The landlord or property manager will then arrange for any work required to be completed. As the tenant, you will be required to allow access to the property for any works to be completed.
9. Rent payments
Your rent will need to be paid monthly, in advance, by bank standing order; the full details of where and when the rent is to be paid will be listed within your tenancy agreement. The rent will be due on the monthly anniversary of your move in date, so if your tenancy started on the 5th of the month, your rent will be due on the 5th of each subsequent month.
10. Property inspections
Throughout the tenancy, your landlord or property manager will need to inspect the property to make sure that everything is in order and there are no maintenance issues that you may have missed. The property is a huge investment for your landlord, and they will want to make sure it is being looked after and that any work required is completed quickly for you.