Becoming a Tenant

Finding a new home to rent can be a daunting task but here at Etheridge Estates we’re very different.  We want to take the stress and headache out of the letting process for you.  Our aim is to offer a hassle free and affordable experience.

Below you will find details of all our fees and what you need in order to be able to move in to one of our properties.  We aim to offer low fixed fees and renting one of our properties is a very simple, straight forward process.

We advertise the property, if you like the look of it, call us to arrange a viewing & we will meet you there to discuss your needs, answer any questions and complete some simple vetting forms. We then carry out all vetting checks as soon as possible and if all is well, you are offered a tenancy without hassle. It really is that simple!

All we require from you to move in to one of our properties is:

· No previous rent arrears, council tax arrears, criminal convictions or similar,

· Two forms of I.D. per tenant (one is to include a photograph),

· Details of your previous five years housing history,

· Employers details if applicable,

· 1 months’ rent to be paid on the day that you move in (unless you are claiming Housing Benefit), and

· 1 months’ rent equivalent to be paid as a deposit on the day you move in, or for someone to agree to stand as your Guarantor (usually a homeowner or someone with a permanent job).

We believe that all tenants, whether in receipt of housing benefit or working professionals are equally important. Your satisfaction is our aim so we strive to offer the best level of service available. We provide a fully staffed office during working hours to deal with any queries or repair issues that you may have. We have a tenant 24 hour emergency contact number and our in-house, fully skilled and qualified maintenance team to deal with any repair issues which may arise, as soon as possible.

At the end of the fixed term of the tenancy:

• You need to decide whether or not you are happy to continue living at the property. If so, you may wish to extend your tenancy after the initial fixed period but there are some issues to consider first.

• If you don’t sign up for a new fixed term, after the initial period has ended, then you will be on a ‘rolling periodic tenancy’. This means that you carry on as before but with no fixed term. You can therefore leave at any time by giving one month’s written notice to your Landlord/Agent. Or, your Landlord/Agent can end the contract by giving two months’ notice to you (unless you are in rent arrears).

• Your Landlord/Agent may want to increase the rent. Your Landlord/Agent can increase the rent by agreement or as set out in your tenancy agreement or by following a procedure as set out in Law. See Shelter’s website for advice

If you or the Landlord/Agent want to end the Tenancy:

There are things both the Landlord/Agent and Tenant must do at the end of a tenancy.

• Giving Notice. It is a legal requirement for Landlords/Agents to give a tenant(s) proper notice if they want you to leave. Normally, the Landlord/Agent must allow any fixed period of the tenancy to have expired and they must have given at least two month’s written notice.

• Your tenancy agreement will specify how much notice you need to give the Landlord/Agent if you want to leave the property-one month’s notice is typical.

• Return of the deposit. Try to be present when the property is inspected to check whether any of the tenancy deposit should be deducted to cover damage or cleaning costs. If you do not agree with any proposed deductions, contact the relevant deposit protection scheme.

• Rent. Make sure that your rent payments are up to date. Do not keep back rent because you think that it will be taken out of the deposit. If you fail to make rent payments, this may also affect your Landlord/Agent’s ability to give you a good reference when you come to find another property.

• Bills. Do not leave bills unpaid as this may have a negative impact on your credit rating. If you fail to pay bills, this may also affect your Landlord/Agent’s ability to give you a good reference when you come to find another property.

• Clear up. Remove all your possessions, clean the house, take meter readings, advise Council Tax, Housing Benefits, return all keys and give a forwarding address. The Landlord/Agent is entitled to dispose of possessions left within the property, typically after 14 days. The landlord/Agent can also deduct any cleaning or possession disposal costs from your deposit.

• In the unlikely event that things go wrong there are often legal protections in place for the most common problems that you may experience during a tenancy. Here we explain what they are and where to look for help:

• If you are having financial problems or are falling in to rent arrears, speak to your Landlord/Agent as soon as possible, they are likely to be more sympathetic to your situation if you talk to them early on and are honest. At Etheridge Estates, if this happens, we always try our best to help our Tenant’s through such difficult times but we need to be kept fully informed in order to be able to help.

There is also help available from your local Authority, Citizens Advice or Shelter.

• If the property is in an unsafe condition, you have reported the issue to your Landlord/Agent and they won’t repair it, contact your Local Authority. They have powers to make Landlords deal with serious health and safety hazards. Don’t withhold your rent as this could put you at risk of eviction.

• Unannounced visits and harassment from your Landlord/Agent can be reported to your Local Authority or if it is more urgent dial 999.

• If you believe that you’re are being forced out of your property illegally then contact the Police. If your Landlord/Agent wants you to leave the property, they must notify you in writing with the right amount of notice.

• If you are ever concerned about finding another place to live, then contact the Housing Department at your Local Authority. Dependent upon your circumstances, they may have a legal duty to

help you find accommodation. If not, then they can offer advice. They should not wait until you are evicted before taking action to help

Above all, remember to enjoy your new rental property, the responsibility that having your own place brings and treat it as if it were your own home.