Before you start looking for your new home work out your budget (list all your incomes and expenses to see what you can afford to pay) You will need to save a deposit and a month's rent in advance.
After viewing a letting property with Cooper Adams and you wish to take the let please inform us as soon as possible. We will check you are suitable with the landlord: Some properties have restrictions eg. Employed/Non smokers/Pets/Children. Please check this with us before you incur any costs.
You will also need to meet our referencing criteria.
To take a property off the market
Cooper Adams will require tenant's application forms completed together with our holding payment. (Every individual over the age of 18 who will be residing in the property will need to be referenced). We will need your bank details, previous addresses (last three years), salary & payroll details, your latest three months personal & business bank statements, details of all income and pensions, previous three years employers and recent utility bills for ID. You will also need to let Cooper Adams take their own photocopy of every page of your UK passport which contains the document expiry date, nationality, date of birth, signature, leave expiry date, biometric details and photograph, if you do not have one you need to provide ID from the 'Right to Rent' list, further information is here www.cooper-adams.com/right-to-rent
We can email you application forms (one for each adult). Just get the fully completed forms back to us with copies of your last three months' bank statements and a utility bill with your payment for us to proceed.
Until Cooper Adams receives all this information with the completed forms and holding fee we will continue to market the property.
Affordability: The rough yardstick is 32 times the rent. So if the rent is £1000pcm a tenant (or joint tenants between them) should earn (1000×32) £32,000 pa. If the tenant's single or joint income is less than 32x the rent a guarantor will be needed and their income needs to be 32x the rent. The guarantor could be just for the lowest paid tenant.
The only costs are:
- Holding fee - One weeks rent - so If £1000 pcm this will be £230.77
- One month's rent in advance.
- Security Deposit five weeks rent.
- Referencing costs - NO FEES.
- Checking in, tenancy agreement, inventory and deposit holding scheme – NO FEES.
- Tenant's Renewal of Tenancy (periodic) – NO FEES.
- Tenant's Check out charge – NO FEES.
We instruct and pay a referencing company to verify all this information and thoroughly check a tenant's suitability for payments. Amongst the referencing procedures are checking your credit status, current and previous employer, current or past landlords, income checks with recent bank statements proof of addresses as well as electoral roll, and taking into account any other information to help assess the affordability of your tenancy application. If inaccurate information is supplied or information withheld which results in an adverse report being received from our referencing agents the application will be rejected. Once the referencing process starts we cannot refund any fees if a tenant and or guarantor fails the referencing and an alternative guarantor cannot be provided. We always check suitability as much as we can before we process your application.
Home address checks
We like to reassure our landlords as much as possible that you will be a good tenant. To assist in this we like to do a home address check (whenever possible) before we start the referencing process and before your referencing fees are spent. We merely pop round to meet you where you live it just takes two minutes, we can then recommend you to the landlord. We would always ask your permission, that you are 100% happy with this and arrange a convenient time to call and meet with you.
Bad Credit, CCJ's, IVA's or Bankruptcy
The most common failures for tenants are excessive poor credit history – for example unpaid debts leading to CCJ's, unpaid council tax bills, etc, and insufficient income. If you have an IVA and all the payments are completely up to date and can be verified that should be OK. Basically a landlord would not want to rent to a high risk tenant with a history of non payments. If you fail you will need a Guarantor.
In some instances a Guarantor may be required. If this is the case the Guarantor will be referenced and subject to a credit search in the same manner as the applicant and must be able to show sufficient income or savings to cover the rental payments in the event that the tenant defaults for whatever reason. A guarantor needs to fully understand what's involved. A guarantor is a third party, who agrees to pay the rent if the tenant doesn't pay it. A landlord can ultimately take legal action to recover any unpaid rent from your guarantor. There is a legal requirement for a guarantee agreement to be in writing. The agreement sets out the guarantor's legal obligations. In many cases, a guarantee agreement also extends to other conditions under the tenancy, for example, any damage caused to the property.
There are different rules for company lets –
There is no Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement but a Company letting Agreement. This is similar in its content but it does not come under the Housing Act and the main differences are: 1) There is no minimum term 2) Notice is usually only one month on either side but this is a contract at heart so you can write in whatever is reasonable and is agreed on both sides. 3) The landlord would not serve a Section 21 or Section 8 : you would serve a notice to quit. 4) The Company would be the Tenant and the people living there would be the approved occupiers only. The Company must agree to carry out right to rent checks on anyone who will be living in the Property – this will be stated in the tenancy agreement also. The reason for this is that once they have rented the property they may wish to change who actually lives there and you are unlikely to meet any occupiers although the company must give you the names.
The referencing carried out on a company let differs to the referencing carried out on a standard let, as the company is letting it and paying for it. Our referencing department would investigate the company via: 1. Companies House. 2. The company accountant – They will look into how long they have been trading (ideally over three years) their profits and total income, this will need to reflect in any future rent liabilities. 3. Any landlords/letting agents if they have previously rented. Looking into whether the rent has been paid on time & how the tenancy was conducted.
Once all satisfactory references have been obtained and a moving date agreed a legally binding Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement will be drawn up ready for signing by the tenant (and if required the Guarantor) as well as the landlord or their agent. Under no circumstances will the tenancy commence until the Agreement has been signed by all parties.
The Security Deposit will be held and protected under the Housing Act 1996 & 2004 (Tenants Deposits Protection Order) by The Deposit Protection Service (The DPS) in accordance with their Terms and Conditions and at the end of the tenancy, if a dispute arises between the landlord and tenant with regard to the apportionment of any deductions from the deposit, e.g. for costs or compensation for damage, or for breaches of, or failure to comply with the tenant's obligations and mutual agreement cannot be reached the amount in dispute will not be paid over to either party and the matter shall be referred to The Deposit Protection Service (The DPS) for arbitration. The deposit will equal five weeks' rent i.e. rent is £1,000pcm – Security Deposit will be £1,153.85
Payment of First Month's Rent & Security Deposit
The first month's rent, Security Deposit must be paid on or before the commencement of the tenancy. Payment must be by cleared funds i.e. Bankers Draft, Building Society Cheque, Cash, Bank Transfer, credit or debit card. Personal or company cheques will only be accepted if paid at least ten working days before the agreed tenancy commencement date.
Sorry we do not have facilities to accept cash. We only take debit cards not isued by any Overseas Bank and/or (ii) where the card is registered at an address outside of the UK.
Payment of Rent
Rent is paid monthly in advance, this will need to reach our account on or before the rent day, due to weekends and bank holidays this can take up to seven days from leaving your account. All rental payments (after the deposit and initial month's rent have been paid) must be paid by Standing Order. A Standing Order Mandate will be prepared for you to sign at the same time as signing the tenancy agreement. You have to send the payment to us by standing order, we do not collect or take the rent from you, if the rent stays in your account speak to your bank we cannot take it.
The acceptance of pets in any property is at the discretion of the landlord. If pets are allowed the rent may be higher. In all cases without exception, the tenant must undertake to have the carpets professionally cleaned and treated against infestation at the end of the tenancy. Cooper Adams will arrange for this to be carried out and deducted from the Security Deposit. If the tenant makes their own arrangements to have the work carried out a receipt must be provided. When renting a property with your pets there are a number of things you can do to make it easier: Get a reference for your pet – By providing a reference from your previous landlord, you can show that your pet is well behaved and has caused no problems at your previous property. Maybe introduce your pet to your landlord – Meeting your pet in advance may put the landlord's mind at ease.
Out of Hours Emergency
An emergency is something that would immediately endanger life or property if not treated promptly. If an emergency occurs out of normal office hours, during holiday periods or otherwise. In the case of an emergency that occurs outside of our normal office hours:
You should instruct a suitably qualified emergency contractor to make the property safe for an emergency repair. Full and proper repairs should be undertaken during normal working hours.
You should inform Cooper Adams letting as soon as offices are open, to report the incident.
You should send invoices (should the repair be justified) to Cooper Adams letting for reimbursement.
If you smell gas contact the gas emergency service (National Grid) immediately on 0800 111 999
Please note – no reimbursement will apply if the repair is due to a tenant not looking after the property properly in any way. An emergency is something that could not have been foreseen, and which could cause serious damage to the property such as:
- Severe leaks
- Total loss of electrical power
- Blockage of your ONLY toilet (please note that if you have caused the blockage you will be liable for the bill)
- Total loss of heating or hot water, where there is no other form available (between 1 November and 31 March only) for those with special needs such as elderly, disabled, young baby etc
- Broken windows or doors following a break-in. A handy man should only be instructed to temporarily board up the window/make the property safe and should re-attend during working hours to replace glass/doors. You must also report any damage to the police and obtain a crime reference number.
Whilst the Landlord may be responsible for certain repairs at the property, and indeed has a legal liability for some items, responsibility may not be accepted for bills created as a result of tenants calling out the contractor. As a result you may be liable for the full amount of the contractor's bill when a repair is not justified.
Commencement of Tenancy
A date and time will be arranged for the tenant (and if applicable the guarantor) to come into the office and sign the Tenancy Agreement, collect the keys and make initial payment by cleared funds.
- Who do I speak to if I have problems with my tenancy?
Properties Managed by Cooper Adams – If your property is managed by Cooper Adams please call 01903 770055 or email your enquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Properties not Managed by Cooper Adams you will need to contact the landlord directly.
- What references do I need to get?
You will be asked for a previous landlord, bank, employee and/or character references, produce proof of address and either your passport, national ID card or driving licence.
- How quickly can I move in?
In theory it can be a few days (as long is every thing is in place and there are no delays or complications), this is of course dependant on our workload as well as the speed of the referencing. If a tenant provides us with every piece of paperwork needed and any queries are dealt with straight away urgent tenancies can be fast. You will need to speak to us about this straight after viewing a property.
- Who is responsible for contacting the utility companies after I move in?
You as the tenant are responsible for setting up accounts with the utility companies directly when you move into your property and also when you leave, taking care to provide meter readings at the beginning and end of the tenancy.
- How do I pay rent?
You will be asked to set up a monthly standing order with your bank. The rent should leave a tenant's account seven days before it is due (this takes into account bank times, weekends and bank holidays).
- When will the rent leave my account?
Generally rent is paid by a standing order mandate and will leave your account at least seven days prior to the rental due date (three bank days plus four days for weekends and bank holidays) in order to be in the recipients account on the due date (The due date is typically, although not always, the date on which you moved in).
- Can I decorate or make changes to the property?
A tenant can only decorate or make any changes if the landlord has given permission in writing, the tenant would need to write or email Cooper Adams detailing this and whether they would leave the changes upon vacation or put it back to before they moved in.
- What happens if my rent is paid late?
Any problems with rental payments, that may result in late payment, should be conveyed to Cooper Adams. Arrears letters (for which you will be charged £24 inc vat) will be issued if rent remains outstanding beyond 5 days after it was due. Interest will be charged until payment is made. Please keep Cooper Adams informed if there are any problems. The rent should leave a tenant's account seven days before it is due (this takes into account bank times, weekends and bank holidays).
- How do I serve notice to vacate my property?
Notice would need to be served in accordance with your particular lease agreement by recorded delivery or hand delivered to Cooper Adams. You have to provide a forwarding address. The notice needs to be a minimum of one month (one full tenancy period) and the leaving date would be at the end of a fixed term or the day before a rent day if on a “periodic tenancy” (month to month). Once a tenant gives a landlord notice to quit, either under a break clause or during a periodic tenancy, the notice is binding, even if it is defective, and cannot be withdrawn or rescinded, unless the landlord agrees to that. For new tenancies after 1 October 2015 fixed term or periodic can be ended on any day as long as two full months notice is given by the landlord or one by the tenant and subject to the minimum term (eg a six month tenancy).
- Do I need to take out my own insurance?
Yes you are responsible for insuring your own possessions, the cover should also include cover for the landlord's contents, buildings, furniture, fixtures and fittings. Please check this.
- What rights do my landlord or letting agent have on entering my property?
This maybe for a gas check, repairs or an inspection. They need to give at least 24 hours notice with your permission. (unless it's an emergency ie flood/fire etc.) If they try and contact you do not ignore the requests.
- Do I have to advise my letting agent or landlord I am going on holiday?
Yes it's a good idea to, especially if something goes wrong when you are away. If you're planning on going away for longer than 14 days, you should tell your agent or landlord. If you don't and anything happens whilst you're away, it may invalidate their insurance policy.
- What penalties will I incur should I break my lease agreement early?
The primary liability is for rent until the end of the contract or its break clause point.
If the landlord agrees to re-market the property and once a new tenant is found, then your liability will be reduced to covering the landlord's commission and any other expenses from when the property is re-let. Payments would be calculated on a pro-rata basis for the unexpired term of the contract minus the extra costs the landlord has incurred.
- How will my payments cease at the end of my tenancy?
You should contact your bank directly to cancel your standing order once the last payment has left your account. If the standing order is not cancelled a fee of £25 inc vat is charged to refund any overpayments.
- What should I do with the keys at the end of the tenancy?
Unless specific instructions are given by your landlord keys should be taken to Cooper Adams. Please ensure all sets are returned, a receipt is obtained and that this happens on or before the last day of your tenancy.
Please note that you will be liable for rent on a daily basis until the keys are returned.
- What expenditure should I expect at the end of the tenancy?
As an outgoing tenant typically your costs will be associated with professional cleaning and the inventory check out. Any discrepancies between the check in and check out may result in deductions from your deposit.
- Why do many private landlords not accept local council housing allowance and their bond scheme?
For tenants that depend on council help with rent payments they obviously have to follow council instructions as far as rent payments and occupation of the property. If a tenant has notice to leave or needs council assistance the council will advise the tenant not to leave until the bailiffs come. This is due to the council only having funds for homeless people. The trouble with this is – it leaves the landlord with high legal costs and the tenant not paying the rent. Would a landlord want to take this risk? Landlords want to help councils house good tenants but not with this high risk backfiring on a landlord. Many landlords have mortgage commitments that need paying and with recent legislation on higher taxes earn slimmer profit margins. The profit could turn into a loss with a risky tenant.
- What is the Tenant Deposit Protection Scheme?
Your deposit will be protected by the Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme.
In line with legislation introduced in April 2007 all deposits being paid by a tenant for an Assured Shorthold Tenancy must be registered with a recognised deposit protection scheme within 14 days. Where appropriate, Cooper Adams will register the deposit on your behalf. This is held by the government approved Deposit Protection Service.
- When is my deposit returned to me?
Once the check-out has been conducted, the property has been cleaned to a satisfactory standard and Cooper Adams has received instructions regarding the deposit from the landlord, the money will be returned to your account, less any agreed deductions. This typically takes 10 working days and generally no more than 28 days.
- How do I renew my contract ?
You should inform us 60 days prior to the end of your tenancy to allow enough time to arrange all the related administration.
- I need to send an electronic rent payment, who do I pay?
The account is Lloyds a/c number 01669681 Sort code 30-95-09 Ref: [Your property address] Please contact or email Cooper Adams to advise you have paid and the amount.
- Are Cooper Adams members of any accredited professional bodies ?
Cooper Adams are members of the National Association of Estate Agents and the Property Ombudsmen scheme, we are audited annually on our letting money handling and abide by all rules. The administration company we use became the first ever company to gain industry recognition as an Endorsed Service Provider of Client Accounting and Tenant Deposit Protection. We were the first letting agent in West Sussex to be approved by “The Tenants' Voice” – an organisation set up to make renting fair and transparent, happy tenants = happy landlords, TTV only accept letting agents who conform to their strict practices. We have all the relevant insurances including Professional Indemnity.
- Vermin, (rodents or insects) who is responsible?
It is your landlord's legal responsibility to ensure that the property is fit for human habitation at the time it is let. During the tenancy it is a tenant's responsibility to instruct a professional to remove bees, ants, wasps, mice, rats, fleas, bats or squirrels. Please inform us you have this under control.
- Do Cooper Adams notify service companies of a new tenancy?
Yes if there is an adequate gap prior to moving in we or our appointed representative will notify the local council, water suppler(s) and energy provider(s) in line with your tenancy start date and secondly supply notifications to the local council, water supplier(s) and energy providers(s) from the date that you vacate the property. Our appointed representative will only use your information for the purpose of council and utility registration, closing of council and utility accounts and Energy/Media comparisons upon your arrival. Call centre comparisons are completely optional for you the tenant and can opt out at any time. Our appointed representative is fully compliant with the data protection act 1998 and a registered member of the Information Commissioners Office.
- What do other responsibilities I have as a tenant?
Many are common sense but here are a few… Pay the rent on time. Keep the property in excellent order throughout the tenancy. Turn the water off at the mains if you plan on going away during cold weather. Take good care of the property and maintain all internal and external decoration and appliances (including the garden as per the tenancy agreement and furniture if the property comes furnished). Change any faulty light bulbs. Communicate effectively with your letting agent (or landlord) and report any repairs that are needed. Regularly test and replace batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Clean the windows. Keep the garden neat and tidy (check your tenancy agreement). Make sure the property is well ventilated and heated adequately during winter months to prevent damp. Follow the instructions for heating systems.
- Maintenance issues or repairs
Most major items are the landlord's responsibility so if you are a fully managed tenant please contact Cooper Adams for a repair, please note if the fault is caused by yourself or an item you are liable for – you as the tenant will be liable to pay any repair bills. If a Cooper Adams member of staff has to visit and it is an item the tenant is responsible for the tenant may be liable to a charge of £30 inc vat. It is a tenants responsibility to keep windows clean, change bulbs, clear gutters, blocks wcs, chimney sweeping, replace lost keys, deal with condensation, replace smoke alarm batteries, rodent problems, maintaining the garden amongst items.Other repair responsibilities for a tenant are:
Baths – Waste pipe blockages. Residents must demonstrate that they have made all reasonable efforts to unblock waste pipes. This would include the use of a plunger or domestically available drain cleaning products
Chains and plugs – On basins, baths and sinks
Decoration internal – Making good to decoration after repairs are done is the responsibility of the resident
Domestic appliances – If they belong to you
Door furniture – External (Including bells, knockers, letter boxes, door number and door handles)
Door furniture – Including door handles, locks and latches
Drains – Tenants must demonstrate that they have made all reasonable efforts to unblock waste pipes. This would include the use of a plunger or domestically available drain cleaning products
Front door lock – Except communal locks All locks, including multipoint locking systems, must be repaired by the tenant, if necessary by appointing a private locksmith.
Fixtures and fittings – Such as coat hooks, curtains and curtain rails
Garden maintenance – If you have sole use or it is shared with no service charge for maintenance
Hand basins– Waste pipe blockages
Infestation– By pigeons, rats, insects, etc. Contact your local council (unless a separate service charge has been agreed)
Keys – If you ask us to change a lock, we will charge you
Laminate flooring – Except when the damage is caused by other repairs we have carried out (you must obtain our written permission before fitting laminate flooring)
Light bulbs – these are a tenant's responsibility
Locks – Except communal locks
Re-lighting pilot light on gas boiler – Includes re-setting any heating controls or programmers
Tap washers – Fitting and replacement
TV aerials and sockets – Unless communal
Washing lines – Unless communal
Waste blockages – Including basin, bath and kitchen sink. You will be recharged if the blockage is considered to be caused through neglect by the tenant, a member of the family or another person on the premises
- Problems with your boiler, hot water, central heating or radiators?
Some of these can be easily solved before you ask us for a plumber – see this guide – https://cooper-adams.com/blog/top-tips-to-get-your-boiler-or-heating-restarted/5424 If you smell gas call National Grid on 0800 111 999 switch off all cooking, heating, open windows and doors.
- Problems with your electrics or fuses?
Some of these can be easily solved before you ask us for an electrician – see this guide – https://cooper-adams.com/blog/a-guide-on-how-to-fix-a-tripped-fuse/17634
- My oven is not working
Firstly check it is on manual not on automatic timer
- What happens on my inspections?
After the initial three months then approximately every six months of your tenancy we book an inspection with you. We book this in advance at a time that is convenient with you. It is a quick visit to reassure the landlord all is OK and also to make sure there aren't any issues you have. We are not comparing the property against the inventory as it's just a quick visit to make sure all is well. We may need to book a return visit if there is an issue. Please note if there are any issues at all between inspections please contact us.
- My property is damp! Or is it condensation?
Condensation is a problem affecting many homes, please see our full guide on this – www.cooper-adams.com/dealing-with-damp-and-condensation
- Check Out Procedure for Tenants. (Unfurnished property)
- You should leave all items in the original places and rooms as described in the inventory.
- All kitchen equipment should be left in a clean and in a usable condition.
- Please leave the property in the same clean and tidy condition as originally handed over. Any damage or scuffs should be repaired.
- We accept carpets wear, paint fades, hinges loosen these items are worn, not damaged. The landlord is responsible for worn out items.
- Please pay special attention to the following (where applicable).
Curtains/blinds and windows (inside and out) are cleaned.
Carpets are shampooed.
Ensure all light bulbs, smoke alarms and doorbells are working.
All garden areas are to be presented to a good seasonal standard at vacation. All lawns must be cut and border areas left tidy and weed free. Garden tools especially the mower should be cleaned.
Ensure all items listed on the original inventory are in place.
Ensure all kitchen appliances are cleaned inside and out (fridges, freezers, ovens, cookers, hobs, microwaves, washing machine and tumble dryers)
Ensure freezer is defrosted.
Extractor fans should be cleaned, ensuring vent cover is clear.
Extractor hoods should be cleaned and the filters replaced.
Please ensure all food contents are removed from cupboards, fridges, freezers and disposed of by the tenant.
All kitchen cupboards should be cleaned inside and out and worktops thoroughly washed.
Extractor fans should be cleaned, ensuring vent cover is clear.
Grouting should be cleaned and mould removed.
Shower screens/curtains should be washed down and free of lime scale.
You should leave all items in the original places and rooms as described in the inventory. Toilet/wash hand basin/bath should be thoroughly cleaned.
- Other items:
- We will read electricity/gas/water meters. However it is your responsibility to ensure that all utility and Council Tax bills are paid in full up to the date of the end of the tenancy. A forwarding address must be supplied to us for final accounting purposes.
- If there is a telephone supplied, please make arrangements with your service provider to end your responsibility as they will not accept instructions from us. Please do not have the line disconnected.
- Breakages/Damages/Losses. Where applicable, if items have been broken or lost it would be cheaper for you to replace them. It would avoid delays in accounting to you for your deposit.
- Please arrange to have all keys returned to us. (There will be a charge for incomplete or missing sets of keys).
- Deposit: If any cleaning, gardening or decorating is necessary, beyond normal wear and tear, then inevitably there will be a delay in the return of the balance of your deposit. You will need to contact the Deposit Protection Service (The DPS) to claim your deposit back. The deposit cannot be used for the last month's rent. Remember to cancel your standing order with your bank as a charge will be made to return any further rent payments received after the end of the tenancy.
- Mail – please arrange for redirection of mail with the post office before the end of the tenancy as it can take up to 10 days for the redirection to come in to operation.
- Please ensure all household refuse/recycling and garden waste is cleared from the property along with any furniture/household goods no longer required.
Here is a government guide for people looking for rental property: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-rent