Guide for tenants
Here's our guide to finding and renting a property in Exeter, Exmouth, Budleigh Salterton and the surrounding areas of Devon.
Finding a property to rent in Exeter and east Devon
If you are looking to rent a flat or house in Exeter or East Devon, the quickest way is often to first shortlist the areas that interest you. Think about what you’d want close at hand, like a station, bars or access to the local parks and green spaces.
Once you see a property you like the look of, take a good look at the property’s details and the map. If you’re not familiar with the area, please ask us or better still take a trip there to get to know it first.
You also need to think about who will be living there with you, and what you will all need. If you are sharing, having things like enough bathrooms to cope with the morning shower-rush might be important.
If the property is of interest, contact us to arrange a viewing. (Don’t take too long to get round to this because the most popular properties can go quite quickly.) At this stage we will ask you some basic questions about what you are looking for and perhaps suggest some alternatives that might be suitable too, so you have comparables
Viewing a property
On the viewing, it is worth turning up a few minutes beforehand to get the feel for what’s going on in the immediate area. Once inside the property, think about who’s going to go where, whether there is enough storage (or space for cupboards). Check out exactly what’s included and what isn’t – which appliances, furniture and so on.
Once you’ve chosen the property you would like to rent and if all is agreed, you will need to complete a tenancy application form which we can thendiscuss with the landlord before taking up formal referencing
Your moving-in date is usually around two to four weeks later.
The information we need before a tenancy
We will ask you for various items of information and references, which can take up to two weeks to complete. Please ensure that application forms are clearly completed in full toavoid delay.
From all applicants we ask for:
- I.D. for Right to rent checks, prefereably a passport or driving licence & birth certificate
- details of employer, previous landlord or other potential referee
- if you have not rented previously, are starting a new job or are short on income multiples for the rent payable we may ask for a guarantor.
- addresses for 3 years and your signed authority to complete a credit search.
If you are working, we will ask for:
- a reference from your employer
If you are in new employment, we may also ask for:
- a guarantor or previous employment references
If you are self-employed we will:
- ask to see your most recent business accounts or request an accountants reference
- we may request a guarantor where there is no accounts history
If you are a student we will need:
- a letter from your college or uni to confirm you are a student there
- a guarantor who guarantees the rent will be paid
This is only a general guide. Occasionally we vary these stipulations – either at our discretion, or at the request of the landlord or applicant – A proper, but fair, check is made to verify the suitability of all applicants for our landlords’ properties.
Before moving in
We will send you a statement showing the monies you owe before moving in. PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL MONIES OWED MUST BE CLEARED INTO OUR CLIENT ACCOUNT ON OR BEFORE THE MOVING-IN DAY. Keys cannot be handed over without cleared funds.
You must also have signed the tenancy agreement before moving-in day, which will be forwarded tothe landlord to sign.
When you move in, we will give you a comprehensive moving-in pack, which contains all the information you may need in connection with your new tenancy including legislative documentation.
What is the inventory?
When you first move into a property, we arrange for an Inventory/Schedule of Condition, which is a record of the ontents and condition of the property.
This minimises any disagreements between the landlord and the tenants over the condition that the property has been left in, and helps prevent any disputes that could arise at a later date.
Paying your rent
Before the tenancy begins, we will tell you whether you should pay your rent to us, or directly to your landlord, and we will give you full instructions for this.
What are the landlord and tenant each responsible for?
Again this varies slightly on some properties, but generally speaking…
The landlord is usually responsible for:
- insuring the property
- repairs and maintenance to the hot water and heating system, electricity and pipes
- repair of any appliances that were included with the property
- if it’s a flat, any service charges (for maintenance to the structure of the building (roof, exterior walls, windows etc), cleaning and electricity in the communal areas.
The tenant is usually responsible for:
- all bills for electricity and gas (if present), water, and council tax.
- bills for telephone, broadband or cable TV if you want these
- insuring your own possessions in the property
- repair of any appliances that the tenant has had installed
- keeping the property clean and in good condition
- informing the landlord or us about any defects.
Repairs and maintenance to the property
The landlord is usually responsible for:
- the hot water, heating system, pipes, electricity
- the structure of the building, ie walls, roof
- any appliances that were included with the property
If the problem is with one of these items, then either call us or your landlord – depending on which of our services your landlord has opted for, which you will have been told at the beginning of the tenancy. Please contact us if you are not sure.
If the problem is with something else, it will normally be up to you to sort it out, although if it is causing damage or sufferance to the property you should again call us or your landlord.
All deposits must be protected by one of the Government backed Tenancy Deposit Schemes which
- provides an independent means of resolving any dispute that may arise between tenant and landlord
- means that landlords cannot unfairly hold on to tenants’ deposits
- gives all parties confidence that deposits are protected by a licensed organisation, which safeguards tenancy deposits against rogue landlords, tenants, and agents.
At the start of the tenancy, the landlord and the tenant are given details of the scheme. Should there be any breakages or damage to the property, both parties have an independent means of agreeing how the cost should be apportioned and if they cannot agree the amount in dispute, it is sent to the scheme to arbitrate.
When you come to leave the property, an inventory clerk will come to do the ‘check out’, comparing the condition of the property and any contents to the inventory made at the start of the tenancy,allowing for a fair degree of wear and tear for the length of the tenancy
If there are no dilapidations, your deposit will be returned within 10 working days of the tenancy ending.
If the inventory identifies that dilapidations have occurred during your tenancy, your landlord may choose to withhold some of your deposit to cover the costs. In most cases, the amount to be withheld will be agreed between the tenant and the landlord, assisted by Whitton & Laing where necessary, and the balance will be returned to you. If this cannot be mutually agreed the amount in dispute is sent toTDS to arbitrate.
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme will copy the details of the dispute to the other parties, giving everyone the opportunity to present their evidence. TDS will aim to issue adjudication within 28 days of receiving all the necessary paperwork, and the disputed amount will be paid out in accordance with the adjudication.
We hope this gives you a guide to how the rental process works at Whitton & Laing, but if you have any remaining questions please get in touch with one of our experts.
Note: We have Client Money Protection (CMP) through our membership of RICS
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