Estate Agents Leigh-On-Sea and Thorpe Bay | homeofleigh.com – Tenants guide

Procedures & Information Pack for Applicants & Tenants.

Should you have any other queries that are not outlined on this document, our lettings department are on hand to answer any questions that you may have, so please feel free to contact us. We are committed to providing a high level of service to all our clients to ensure that your new home and tenancy term runs as smoothly as possible. This information is designed to aid your move into a property and answer any questions you may have. We aim to provide exceptional service and we work very closely with all our tenants and landlords to foster a positive relationship from when the Let is agreed to the day of vacation. Please note that these procedures apply to all company branches and where ID is mentioned, originals need to be provided (with the exception of where notarised documents are supplied).

To view the applicant and tenant fee schedule click here.

1. Viewing the property and putting in an offer

Once you have viewed a property and are interested in proceeding with it, we will ask you to submit your best “offer to proceed”. This will include confirmation on information such as; the amount you are prepared to pay per calendar month, the amount of the deposit, are there smokers, pets or children, if you have any County Court Judgements (CCJ’s) or adverse credit, the date you would like to move in, the length of the tenancy and any other information that is relevant to you proceeding with the property. If you already have a reference to submit for the landlord’s consideration then we will need to be advised of this when putting forward your offer to proceed (however the landlord may agree to take out third party references at their own costs). Should you need to obtain references yourself, it is with regret Home Estate Agents cannot recommend any third party company to you, nor arrange for a reference to be conducted on your behalf (however we would be able to arrange this on the landlord behalf should they be paying the costs associated). You should also let us know of any problems that may arise with your application, adverse credit issues, and issues with the previous landlord reference or employment reference.

For a copy of the proceeding with a property form click here.

2. Acceptance of an offer to proceed

Once the landlord has accepted to proceed with you (based upon the “offer to proceed” and subject to any checks required), we will arrange for you to visit our office with your ID (passport) and proof of address (bank statement or utility bill dated within the last month). If you do not have a passport we will require your driving licence and birth certificate as your ID as well as your proof of address. Any applicant proceeding with a rental property after 01st June 2019, will not been charged for referencing (instead the referencing will be conducted by the landlords chosen third party company at the landlords cost, if agreed with the landlord). It is important to note all applicants aged 18 or over, will need to undergo referencing, will need to undergo right to rent checks and will be named in the tenancy agreement. If a guarantor is required then we will also require the Guarantor’s ID (passport), proof of address (bank statement or utility bill) and undergo referencing (the referencing will be conducted by the landlords chosen third party company at the landlords cost, if agreed with the landlord). Please note that all references will be supplied to the landlord for their consideration.

3. Holding Deposits

You may be required to pay a holding deposit to reserve your chosen property on rental market. This will be the equivalent to one week of the monthly rental amount. This is calculated at monthly rental amount, multiplied by 12 (number of months in the year), divided by 52 (number of weeks in the year). Should references and right to rent checks be acceptable, the holding deposit is put towards the first month’s rent in advance (for your chosen property). Should the tenant have provided misleading information, right to rent checks are unacceptable, the tenancy has not been conducted within 14 days (where an extension has not been agreed) or the tenant withdraws from letting the property the holding deposit is non-refundable to the tenant. If a holding deposit is paid then the property will be removed from the online market. Please note that not all rental properties will require a holding deposit, if no holding deposit is taken then the property will remain marketed and viewings may be conducted up until the required funds have been paid and the tenancy commences. Please note that we cannot accept cash payments in our office.

4. “Right to rent” checks

We will need to conduct “right to rent” checks on all applicants aged 18 or over. All applicants will need to visit our office with their ID (passport) and proof of address (bank statement or utility bill dated within the last month) unless these documents have already been supplied. If any applicant does not have a passport, we will require the applicant’s driving licence and birth certificate as ID alongside the proof of address. Please note that the passport must be valid, if any applicant has a visa or other permits to live in the country these must also be supplied. At this stage the “right to rent checks” are submitted, the property will be marked as “let agreed” and the tenancy agreement will need to be conducted within 14 days (unless otherwise agreed). When the “right to rent” checks have been returned to Home Estate Agents, a copy will be supplied to the landlord for consideration.

5. Drafting the Tenancy Agreement

Once all checks are conducted for all applicants and a date has been agreed between both parties (this date would be within 14 days of the property being made “let agreed” unless an extension has been confirmed). A tenancy agreement (as well as a guarantor agreement if applicable) will be drafted and sent to all parties along with confirmation of any outstanding funds required. Any changes should be noted as soon as possible as fees may apply to change the agreement. Once the tenancy agreement has been approved by all parties (or no alterations made within 3 working days), you will need to arrange a “move in” appointment with a member of staff.

6. Final preparations before move in

Certain documents may need to be prepared or provided to Home Estate Agents by the landlord or their appointed contractors prior to your “move in” appointment in the office. We recommend that the landlords conduct an Inventory/Schedule of Condition and this will usually have been prepared before move in. A gas safety certificate and an energy performance certificate are legal requirements for all properties (except where there is no gas) and copies will be provided to you on your “move in” appointment.

7. Funds required prior to tenancy commencement

If you have paid a holding deposit for the property you will be required to pay the remainder of the first month’s rent in advance, any other advanced rental payment agreed and the tenancy deposit prior to keys being collected and the tenancy commencing. The tenancy deposit is the equivalent of five weeks rent (subject to the monthly rental amount) and will be calculated at the monthly rental amount, multiplied by 12 (number of months in the year), divided by 52 (number of weeks in the year), multiplied by 5.

If you have not paid a holding deposit, then you will be required to pay the first month’s rent in advance, any other advanced rental payment agreed and the tenancy deposit prior to keys being collected and the tenancy commencing. The tenancy deposit is the equivalent of five weeks rent (subject to the monthly rental amount) and will be calculated at the monthly rental amount, multiplied by 12 (number of months in the year), divided by 52 (number of weeks in the year), multiplied by 5.

Please note that we cannot accept cash payments in our office. Remaining funds should not be paid in full any earlier than 28 days prior to the commencement of the tenancy agreement.

Payments can be made to Home Estate Agents via card where made three days or more before the “move in” appointment. This can be done over the telephone or in our office. Alternatively our preferred method of payment is bank transfer to the following bank details prior to or on the day of the “move in”;

Home Estate Agents Ltd, Barclays

Account number: 83132773

Sort code: 20-79-73

8. The “Move in” appointment

On your “move in” appointment, all applicants and guarantors will have needed to have visited our office to sign the tenancy agreement and guarantor agreement (if applicable). Therefore if any applicants or guarantors have not already completed the relevant paperwork (including signing the tenancy agreement) then they will need to be present on this appointment. Failure to comply with this may mean that the tenancy agreement is void and collection of keys delayed. The tenancy agreement must be signed prior to the release of keys. At this time it is usual for other documents to be signed, such as the prescribed information forms relating to the deposit, move in declaration confirming the documents provided and a photo copy of the keys provided. Once all documentation has been signed and any remaining funds have been received, keys will be released and you will be able to move into your new home. If you have been provided with an inventory on your “move in” appointment, you will need to check, sign and return within 3 working days of receiving it. If the inventory is not returned it is taken as accepted. You will be informed whether your property is managed by Home Estate Agents or by the landlord. If your property is managed by the landlord you will be given their contact information to reach them after “move in”. If the property is managed by Home Estate Agents then please see below for further information on page 5 -10.

9. During the tenancy

Once your tenancy has commenced, if it is managed by Home Estate Agents, we will be your first port of call for all queries. Our offices are located on the Leigh and Thorpe Bay Broadway, in our Leigh Branch we have a dedicated lettings team that are on hand to help with any issues should they arise throughout your tenancy. This information is provided to give a guideline of our services after your “move in” appointment, however this is not a comprehensive list and should any other issues arise we are on hand to help where possible. We aim to provide excellent service to landlords and tenants and work extensively to maintain these relationships.

10. Payment of rent

The first month’s rent must be paid in cleared funds prior to the keys being released. After this you will need to set up a standing order to pay the rent each month. This would have been provided to you at the time of the “move in” appointment and you should check all details are correct if you have any concerns please let us know. It is the responsibility of the tenant ensure that this has been set up correctly with their bank prior to the rent due date, as any rent arrears may be chargeable (please see our “Fee schedule for tenants” for more information). At the end of the tenancy it is the tenant’s responsibility to cancel the standing order payment with their bank.

11. Late rent payment

If the rental payment has not been received within 7 days of the rent due date, then you may be issued with a rent demand. Though we do our best to send a reminder to ensure there is not a problem with making the payment, this is not always possible. Common reasons for late payments are that the bank may has overlook your payment, you may have failed to set up the standing order correctly or there may have been an administration error with the payment. If you are aware of an issue with your rental payment being made, you should ensure that Home Estate Agents are notified immediately so that we can liaise with the landlord. It is imperative that your rent is paid on time and should the rent continuously be late, you should speak with a member of staff to discuss changing your rent due date as the landlord may otherwise look to take appropriate measures. Home Estate Agents reserve the right to charge for rent arrears for the period that rent is due, until the arrears have been settled. The charge applicable to tenants would be enforced after 14 days and this will be charged at 3% above bank of England base rate at the time that the rent falls due.

12. Ventilating / Heating the property

Responsibility for ventilating and heating the property rests with the tenant throughout the tenancy and any problems should be reported immediately. During the colder months of the year, the tenant must take all necessary steps to prevent the water and heating systems from freezing. Properties should be well ventilated with the use of windows, extractor fans and trickle vents (if provided) to reduce condensation in the property. Condensation will most likely arise should ventilation not be utilised. If any condensation marks appear in the property a light bleach solution or mould remover can be used to clean these marks off. Please advise Home Estate Agents should these marks appear more frequently or in new places.

13. Utilities

The tenant is responsible for the payment of council tax, telephone or internet use, water, gas and electricity accounts at the property during the tenancy. It is the tenant’s responsibility to notify the relevant companies and the local authority of the commencement date and vacation date to ensure no unnecessary costs are incurred. The tenant is also responsible for ensuring that a valid television licence is in place for the duration. Council tax and insurance are payable by the tenant unless otherwise stated. Please ensure these accounts are set up correctly and with the appropriate companies. Should you wish to change energy suppliers you will need the landlords consent and Home Estate Agents must be advised.

14. Property visits

Throughout the tenancy it is important that property visits are undertaken at regular intervals and our standard practice is to have these conducted every six months. These visits are arranged with tenants for a suitable time and tenants do not have to present. We reserve the right to provide your contact details to a clerk appointed to conduct these visits. A report shall be subsequently written and sent across to the landlord. The report should include photographs of the property to document the schedule of condition. At this appointment if there are any problems you should make the clerk aware so that they can be noted. Property visits are crucial and therefore should be regularly carried out.

15. Burglary

Should the property be burgled during tenancy please contact the Police immediately for a crime reference number and inform Home Estate Agents as soon as possible. Burglar alarms and chubb locks (if available) should be utilised at all times to ensure maximum security. The property should be secured at all times, especially if the property will be vacant for a while. We recommend you let somebody you trust know if the property will be empty for a prolonged period of time so that regular visits can be carried out to ensure the property is secure.

16. Keys

At the beginning of the tenancy a set of keys will be provided. As good practice we try to release two sets however sometimes this is not possible if we have only been provided with one. You are allowed to copy these keys however it is imperative that all sets (including any copies made or new keys) are returned at the end of the tenancy to Home Estate Agents. Please refer to the “Fee Schedule for tenants” should keys or security devices be lost.

17. Keeping the property clean and tidy

The tenant is obligated to keep the property clean and in good order. If the property is not kept to these standards other subsidiary problems can arise such as mice or insect infestations which can be costly to make good. On the property visits the condition of the property will be noted including the general standard of the property. If the property is not in a suitable state at the end of the tenancy the cost of repair to damages or cleaning costs could be taken out of the deposit.

18. Garden / Outside areas

It is important that the garden is maintained to the same standard as at the time of move in. If the garden is not in a suitable state at the end of the tenancy this could be taken out of the deposit.

19. Landlord gas safety certificates

Gas safety certificates are a legal requirement for all landlords and must be carried out annually (where there is a gas supply in the property). At the time when the gas safety certificate needs renewing you will be contacted to book in a suitable appointment for a gas safe engineer to attend the property and carry out the check. This will be booked at mutually beneficial time for tenant and contractor. We can release keys should you not be able to be present. As this is a legal requirement it is imperative this is carried out at the earliest convenience.

20. Maintenance

Throughout your tenancy you may encounter some maintenance issues. These can range from small works such as decoration to larger issues such as burst water pipes etc. Whatever the problem, it should be reported to Home Estate Agents as soon as possible to ensure that subsidiary issues do not occur. The lettings department is very experienced in dealing with maintenance problems and usually the earlier it is reported the easier it is to repair. We work closely with a range of contractors who are fully qualified in their skilled areas. When you notice an issue you must report it at the earliest opportunity. The lettings department will then prioritise the reported issue. Please see below for our classifications of maintenance issues broken down into emergency, urgent and non-urgent repairs. Please note these lists are not comprehensive but give examples of each classification.

Emergency repairs

Gas leak, water leak, no heating or hot water, the property is not secured following burglary etc. These will be treated with the upmost urgency and shall be dealt with as soon as possible. Contractors will be called out within 24 hours to assess the situation and make the property safe (where issues have been reported on a working day prior to 5pm). If resolving the issue is dependent on the fitting/delivery of parts we will endeavour to have the fault repaired as soon as possible.

Emergency repairs

Gas leak, water leak, no heating or hot water, the property is not secured following burglary etc. These will be treated with the upmost urgency and shall be dealt with as soon as possible. Contractors will be called out within 24 hours to assess the situation and make the property safe (where issues have been reported on a working day prior to 5pm). If resolving the issue is dependent on the fitting/delivery of parts we will endeavour to have the fault repaired as soon as possible.

Urgent repairs

No cooking facilities, blocked drains causing an upsurge, broken appliances etc. These will be dealt with within a reasonable time frame and a contractor shall be booked at the next available time slot. Resolving these issue may be dependent on the fitting/delivery of parts however we will endeavour to have the fault repaired as soon as possible.

Non-urgent repairs

Minor maintenance issues, damaged or broken fixtures etc. These issues will be dealt with within 28 days (subject to the landlord’s instructions and parts required).

Access

In order to repair the reported fault contractors will require access to the property. Tenants do not have to be present for these visits and we will use keys should the tenant not be able to allow access. Appointments shall be made at the next available slot with the contractor. Contractors will be passed your contact number to arrange access directly with yourself.

Maintenance costs

Before calling the office to report an issue please make sure that it is not something that can be easily remedied such as a plug not turned on etc. As it is essential to note that should a contractor be called out to a repair which is found to be as a result of tenant negligence then you will be liable for the full cost. All repair work and costs must be agreed by the landlord before giving the go ahead and should you give the contractor permission to carry out work without consent from Home Estate Agents you will be liable for the cost. These costs may be deducted from your deposit.

21. End of the fixed term tenancy

Your tenancy will be agreed on a fixed term period, for example 12 months or 6 months. At the end of this fixed period your contract automatically extends onto a rolling periodic tenancy. When the fixed term contract comes to an end, there are numerous options available. Firstly, you can do nothing and the contract will continue on a rolling periodic tenancy and the standard tenant and landlord obligations remain the same as noted in the original tenancy agreement. Secondly, if you would like to renew the contract this can be done to give more security and a second fixed term tenancy, you must inform us prior to the end of the tenancy that this is your intention. Lastly, you may wish to vacate the property. Please see the below points for more information on handing in your notice, renewal of the tenancy agreement or continuing on a periodic contract.

Continuing on a rolling periodic tenancy

If we do not receive a request to renew your tenancy agreement or notice is not given by either party, then the contract will be extended onto a periodic tenancy agreement. This means that there is not a fixed term agreed for the tenancy but instead it rolls on a monthly basis. The same tenant and landlord obligations stand as noted in the tenancy agreement.

Renewal of tenancy

If you would like to renew your tenancy you will need to contact Home Estate Agents in advance to notify us. We will then contact the landlord to ensure they are in agreement with the renewal of the tenancy. Should they accept the renewal tenancy, new contracts will be drawn up and sent to all parties. These renewal tenancy agreements will need to be signed in the office and an appointment for this will need to be made. If you renew the tenancy at an increased rental amount then a new standing order may need to be set up.

Notice

If you wish to vacate the property you must ensure that notice is served in the correct way to make it effective. During your fixed period tenancy, tenants are required to give two months’ notice to vacate, however on a periodic term only one months’ notice is required. Whether on a fixed term or periodic term tenancy the landlord is required to give two months’ notice. It is important to note that notice should be given in correlation with the rent payment date. If early vacation is sought, this can be arranged if both tenant and landlord agree to it. Should the tenant terminate the tenancy agreement earlier than the permitted date (please refer to your tenancy agreement for clarification on this date), then the tenant could be liable for the landlords letting costs and also be charged for rent up until a new tenancy has commenced. If you have a break clause in the tenancy agreement two months’ notice can be given from this date prior to the end of the tenancy term. Notice must be served to Home Estate Agents on a working day (Monday-Friday before 4pm) and it must be provided in writing.

22. Making the property secure

The tenant should make sure the property is secured when left unattended for any period of time (please use all locks/ burglar alarms provided).

23. End of tenancy visits

An end of tenancy visit will usually be conducted by the landlord or a third party. This will note the condition of the property. After this visit has taken place and a copy has been received, we will forward this onto the landlord. We will then follow their instruction on the release of the deposit.

24. Return of the deposit

We will follow our landlord’s instruction on the release of the deposit and should any dispute arise tenants can use the DPS alternative dispute resolution service. Please note we will require the Landlord’s written consent to release or claim from the deposit prior to being able to respond to a DPS request. We understand that there is no legal time frame for the landlord to instruct the release of the deposit.

Office Contact Details

Home Estate Agents Leigh Office: 01702 480033

Home Estate Agents Thorpe Bay Office: 01702 588885

Hayley Campbell, Lettings Manager: 01702 480033 (Option 2)

hayley@homeofleigh.com

Kyran Clary, Assistant Manager: 01702 480033 (Option 2)

kyran@homeofleigh.com

Rental Admin Team

rentals@homeestates.info

Complaints Procedure

We aim to provide a high level of service to our clients at all times. However should you feel you have not had an acceptable experience, we aim to have the issues resolved effectively and efficiently. With regards to this you can come into the office and speak to the employee in question or email rentals@homeestates.info

Should you wish to speak to the owner of the company please address your enquiry to Sue Kelly on 01702 480033.

Please note:

We will where necessary provide your information to the third party companies that require your data. For more information please refer to our privacy policy on our website.

Home Estate Agents Procedures & Applicant/Tenant Information

Testimonials

We have many tenants and landlords comment on their positive experience with the lettings department therefore if you would like to send us your testimonial please send this to rentals@homeestates.info

Company Registration

Company Reg: 7806341

Home Estate Agents of Leigh Ltd

Registered in England and Wales

Address: Lakeview House, 4 Woodbrook Crescent, Billericay, Essex, CM12 0EQ

VAT number: 975932959

Useful Contact Numbers

Please see below a list of useful contacts you may need when in your rental property

Southend Borough Council

Southend Council, Emergency, out of hours, switchboard: 01702 215000

Southend Council, Council tax: 01702 215000

Energy Providers

British Gas: 0845 609 1122

NPOWER: 0800 023 045 / 0800 073 8000

BT: 0800 800 150

TV Licensing: 0844 800 6790

Anglian Water: 03457 91 9155

Essex and Suffolk Water: 0345 782 0111

Dial 0845 601 3268 to find out who supplies the electricity at the property if not known.

We are members of The Property Ombudsman Code of Practice. You agree that we may disclose information relating to the sale of your property to The Property Ombudsman, if you or the applicants have registered a complaint and The Property Ombudsman asks for it. You also agree that we may disclose your contact details to The Property Ombudsman if they ask for them, to assist in their monitoring of our compliance with the Code of Practice.

All client monies paid to Home Estate Agents Ltd will be held in a client account in accordance with Client Money Protection regulations.