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Guide for Tenants

Step 1: Decide on the basics

The more you know about what you want, the easier your search will be. Before you even start looking, make a list of what’s important to you. Consider whether you want a house or flat and what areas appeal to you.

Of course, you’ll sometimes have to trade off one good thing against another. It’s a good idea to divide your wish list into “essential” and “nice to have”, to make these decisions easier.

Area

Probably the most important question. Do you want to live near your work? Take some time at a weekend to walk around and get a feel for the areas you’re considering. We have houses and flats throughout the area. See something you like? Talk to one of our local lettings agents and they will advise on rental value.

Transport links

For some people, this is even more important than the area itself. Do you want to walk to work, or will anywhere that’s near a railway station on the right line do? If you drive to London a lot, do you need easy access to the motorway?

Size and type

A few things to consider:

  • House or flat?
  • How many bedrooms? Do you need a spare room?
  • Do you want outside space like a balcony or garden?

Budget

Ah! The big question. Set yourself a price range, and work it out by week and by month (Remember there are more than 4 weeks in a calendar month – about 4.3, in fact).

Step 2: Start looking

Once you know what you’re after, it’s time to start looking for houses or flats in the area that measure up. Bear in mind that most landlords are looking for tenants who can move in within 2-4 weeks. If you won’t be ready to move by then, it might be worth waiting.

Use our online search on this site. We’ll email you details of homes that match what you’re looking for, and you can change your criteria at any time.

Our database is updated every few hours, so you’ll always see the latest houses or flats that are available.

If you'd rather talk to one of our letting agents contact us by phone or by email. We’ll get you registered and start looking for your place straight away.

Step 3: Look around the places you like

Once you’ve found a house or flat that you like the look of, we can make a viewing appointment so you can get a real feel for the place.

Although it’s best to look around a home in daylight, we’re until 6pm during the week and Saturdays until 5 and Sundays by appointment.

Step 4: Agree to rent

Once you’ve decided on a particular home, we move into the letting agreed stage. You tell us you want to go ahead, and we’ll tell the landlord the good news.

This is when we check your references – there’s a reference fee to pay at this stage. Assuming there’s no problem, you then pay the deposit and advance rent, and you’re on the home straight.

Step 5: Sign the tenancy agreement

We’ll handle the paperwork and provide a tenancy agreement for you and your landlord to sign. It’s legally binding, so make sure you read it carefully. We’re happy to answer any questions you have.

Among other things, it will tell you:

  • The duration of tenancy – the minimum length of time you agree to rent for
  • How much rent you will pay, and how often
  • Your responsibilities regarding bills and maintenance
  • Your rights as a tenant
  • Your landlord’s responsibilities

Step 6: Move in!

When the paperwork’s done and your deposit, first month’s rent and check in fee are paid, the only thing left is to move into your London flat or house.

We’ll arrange for you to pick up the keys. You’ll usually get them from the inventory clerk, who’ll do the inspection at the same time.

The inventory lists every item in each room of the property, so it can be checked for losses or damage when you move out.

Where possible we use an independent inventory company at the beginning and end of all our tenancies, to make sure that the inventory is accurate and fair.

Welcome to your new home!

When tenancies come to an end there is usually no disagreement about the return of the deposit. However, sometimes there is, which can cause hardship, delay and inconvenience to all parties concerned.

The Housing Act 2004 makes provision for both the protection and return of tenancy deposits and the resolution of disputes over their return; all deposits taken for Assured Shorthold Tenancies must be covered by a tenancy deposit protection scheme, of which there are three.

We have chosen to join The Tenancy Deposit Scheme which is an insured option and every tenancy where we hold the deposit, regardless of whether it is an Assured Shorthold, will have the deposit protected by the scheme.

Tenancy Deposit Scheme

How the tenancy deposit scheme works

In the event of a dispute that cannot be resolved between the landlord and tenant, either party (or Knights Lettings) can instigate adjudication with the ICE (Independent Case Examiner). This must be done within 28 working days of the tenancy ending and the ICE must be sent the following:

  • The signed tenancy agreement
  • Inventory and schedule of condition for both check in and check out procedures
  • Evidence that the claimant has tried to negotiate a settlement
  • Tenancy registration number and details (Assured Shortholds only)

We must send the deposit (less any amount agreed by the parties and paid over to them) to the ICE within ten working days of the dispute being registered.

Once the ICE receives the documentation and deposit, the dispute will be adjudicated with 28 days. Once the adjudication has taken place the deposit monies will be distributed within ten days.

Where the amount of the deposit in dispute is £5,000 or more, the ICE does not generally adjudicate these cases, although he may do so at his own discretion and with the consent of the parties. Alternatively the parties must agree to submit to formal arbitration through the engagement of an arbitrator appointed by the ICE, the cost of which will be borne equally between the landlord and the tenant.

In all probability you will not need to call on the ICE. However, if you do, it is important that before the tenancy commences we organise a professionally prepared inventory and schedule of condition for the landlord. The schedule of condition must be signed personally by the tenant at check in and check out.

What the tenancy deposit scheme costs

There is no cost to the tenant.

Benefits

  • The deposit is fully protected and insured
  • The deposit is returned promptly if there is no dispute
  • In the event of a dispute it is quicker and less stressful than going to court
  • The property can be re let whilst adjudication is taking place
  • There is a guaranteed reimbursement of loss if the dispute is found in the landlord’s favour
  • There is a guaranteed reimbursement of loss if the dispute is found in the tenant’s favour

More Information

Should you wish to find out more about The Dispute Service, please visit www.thedisputeservice.co.uk
or call 0845 226 7837.

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