Advice For Tenants

Looking to Rent a Property in Brentford, Chiswick, Ealing, Isleworth or Acton?

From choosing the right rental property to knowing your responsibilities as a tenant, there is often a lot to consider when renting a property. That’s why having the help of a good letting agent can help make the process much smoother and easier to understand. At Thorgills, our letting agents have years of experience within the local rental market and can help you find the perfect rental property whilst ensuring you have the best tenancy experience. If you are looking to rent a property in Brentford, Chiswick, Ealing, Isleworth or Acton take a look at our ‘Advice for Tenants’ guide below.

Arrange your Finances

Before you can find a rental property to live in you will have to organise your finances to ensure you can afford to rent as the costs can quickly add up. Here’s what you will have to take into account:

  • Deposit: For yearly rents less than £50,000 the maximum tenancy deposit required is now set at the equivalent of 5 weeks rent. If you are moving from an existing rental property you will be able to use that to make up some of the payment. The landlord will also require one month’s rent in advance in addition to the deposit.
  • Budget: Consider how much rent you can afford each month. Most agents use the ‘2.3x rule’ which means you will only be considered if you earn 2.3 times the amount of the annual rent. For example, to rent a £12,000 a year property, you should be earning £27,600 a year. This is to ensure you are not financially stretched due to rental costs. Also, factor in regular bill payments like council tax, gas, electric, TV licence, broadband, as well as food and travel.
  • Home insurance: The landlord should have building insurance in place that covers the structure, fixtures and fittings etc. The tenancy agreement may ask you to have contents insurance to provide cover for your personal belongings in the event of a fire, flood, theft or damage.

If your monthly salary is not enough to satisfy the agent regarding your ability to afford the rent each month, you may still be able to secure the tenancy by using a guarantor. This can apply to people who are in employment, or students looking for accommodation during their time away from home.

Any guarantor you use must be living in the UK. Landlords will want to run an affordability check without any issues and have the option to take legal action should it ever be required. If the guarantor isn’t in the UK, one option may be to pay a year’s rent in advance.

Find the Right Property

With your finances in order it’s time to start looking for the property you’d like to rent. There is a lot to cover here, so take note of the following to ensure you get the best possible deal:

  • Deposit: Find out exactly how much is required, including the first month’s rent.
  • Tenancy length: Will the agreement be for a year minimum, or do you require a shorter-term?
  • Bill payments: Are utility bills/council tax included in the rental payments or separate?
  • General info: Can pets or children live in the property, will you be allowed to smoke inside?

Once you have seen a property you like it makes sense to go and visit it to get a closer look. When you have booked a viewing be sure to cover:

  • Quality check: Take a close look for any damp, mould, cracks/holes and drafts from windows. Check fixtures and fittings are in order and furniture is in good condition. Also check the locks on doors and windows are in good condition.
  • Property safety: Ensure wired smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are installed on every floor. All furniture must meet fire safety standards.
  • Energy efficiency: If you move into a property, an energy efficiency rating certificate of at least E must be provided.
  • Utility check: Gas safety checks must be carried out and certificates provided to verify a qualified engineer has overseen the inspection.

Choose the Right Letting Agent

What can really make a difference to your experience as a tenant is finding the right letting agent to work with. Of course, you always have the option not to go through an agent but doing so lessens your protection and can mean you do not get the best possible value for your monthly spend.

Take a look at letting agents in the area you want to move to and do some background research. If you know anyone renting in the area, ask who they used and if they are happy with the service.

Do some background checks on the agency to see what sort of reviews they get from tenants. Check they are members of the Property Ombudsman and the UKALA bodies, which ensures they will provide a good quality level of service.

When you find a good letting agent you should sign up for regular property updates so you don’t miss out on any good opportunities. Let them know exactly what you are looking for so they can get to work on your behalf. They are experts in the local property market and will be able to source properties that may not be advertised openly on the market.

In many cases agencies are fussy about the type of landlord they work with. They only want to work with trustworthy and reliable landlords who have good quality rental properties as they want to ensure the tenant gets the best possible deal.

At Thorgills, our letting agents are experts within the local rental market and are always on hand to help you find your ideal property. If you would like to keep up-to-date with the latest properties to rent in Brentford, Chiswick, Ealing, Isleworth or Acton, register today.

Prepare for Referencing Checks

This is an extremely important stage that every tenant must go through. It is designed to ensure you are able to pay the rent and are a suitable tenant. This will usually involve the following:

  • The agent/landlord may want to know where you have lived for the past 3-5 years and ask for references from previous landlords.
  • A credit check will be run to see what sort of history you have paying bills, including rent.
  • You will have to provide your bank account details for direct debit payment of rent.
  • Provide current employment details and history, as the agent/landlord will require a reference to verify your salary.

If any of these checks fail, you may not be successful in claiming the tenancy. Alternatively, you may be asked to provide a guarantor as financial protection.

Deposit Scheme and Tenancy Agreement

With all of the checks cleared and out the way, you will have to put down a deposit to take the property off the rental market. As we mentioned at the start, this is capped at 5 times the weekly rent (for properties under £50,000 a year) and will be held for the duration of the tenancy.

The deposit is used for financial protection by the landlord in the event of any damage caused to the property while you are staying there. When the property is checked at the end of the tenancy, it will be determined whether any deductions need to be made to account for damages.

For your protection, landlords are required to deposit your money into a Government-backed tenancy deposit scheme. It will have to be deposited there within 30 days of being received and full details of the scheme provided to you, including contact details.

You should also be supplied a tenancy agreement before you move in. This will lay out the full details of the tenancy and the responsibilities of both parties. This includes things such as the property address, names of the parties involved, start/end date of the tenancy, rental costs, method of payment and deposit details.

Check all Paperwork Before Moving In

Once you are given the relevant paperwork relating to your property, it is your responsibility to check it in detail to ensure everything is in order.

If you are not satisfied with the details or have questions about any part of the process or upcoming tenancy, now is the time to ask. Agents are more than happy to answer your queries and understand that signing up to a tenancy is a big financial commitment.

Also remember to check who will be managing the property once the tenancy begins, so you know who to contact should there be any issues after you have moved in.

Know your Responsibilities as a Tenant

While the landlord has to meet certain legal standards, there is also an onus on tenants to keep to their responsibilities once they have moved into the property. This includes things like:

  • Paying rent: Signing the tenancy agreement means you have agreed to pay the full rent in advance and on time every week/month. Failure to do so could lead to you being evicted.
  • Benefit assistance: Some landlords accept housing benefits to cover the rent or subsidise part of it. On your part you must remain up-to-date with your claim, so it does not fall into arrears. This also applies to using Universal Credit to pay your rent. In either case the landlord must agree to these being used as a method of payment.
  • Take care of the property: While living in the property, as a tenant it is your responsibility to not purposely cause any damage to the interior or structure. If anything needs repair or maintenance, contact the landlord as soon as possible as it is their responsibility to fix it.
  • Follow the rules: Do not smoke, allow others to stay in the property, raise a pet or anything else that is prohibited by the tenancy agreement and not agreed to by the landlord.

How to End your Tenancy

When it comes to ending your tenancy, you must follow the proper procedure to avoid being charged rent even if you are no longer living there.

The tenancy agreement will lay out the full terms of how to end the tenancy, which will vary depending on the type of contract you have in place.

You may be able to leave the property with immediate effect, but this will have to be agreed by the landlord and you should always get confirmation of their acceptance in writing first.

If you are looking for properties to rent in Brentford, Chiswick, Ealing, Isleworth or Acton, get in touch with our expert letting agents who will be happy to help.


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