Information For Tenants



Applying for a property


Tenancy agreement

Prior to taking occupation of the property you will be required to sign a legally binding tenancy agreement with your landlord. When you enter into a tenancy agreement it will state how long this period is for. During this time neither you nor the landlord can end the tenancy unless there have been breaches of the terms. A fixed term lease give you security to occupy a property for a set period of time and you will be responsible for paying the rent for this sent period of time which was agreed at the commencement of the tenancy. If your circumstances should change for any reason during your tenancy, we will approach the landlord on your behalf and discuss the possible solutions but you should always assume at the outset that you will be committed for the duration of the agreement.

Please keep the tenancy agreement document in a safe place. Further copies will be charged for.

Term

The tenancy is for an initial fixed and is usually for a minimum period of six months.


References and credit checks

Simply Lettings carry out a credit search and obtain references to check all applicants. We will approach your current landlord or agent (if you are renting) as well as obtain a written reference from your employer. If you are self-employed we will ask for your accountant’s details and/or recent accounts. If you have a bad credit history you may still be able to apply for the property, as long as you tell us beforehand. If you mislead us about your credit history then your application will be rejected. If you think your situation is unusual, just speak to us before you apply.

Guarantors

If we feel your income is lower than that required for the rent in question, or if you are returning to study for example, we could ask for a guarantor to support your tenancy. This is a serious commitment, as the guarantor will be as responsible as the tenant for all monies due and obligations agreed for the tenancy. Guarantors need to be earning sufficiently to cover both their own financial commitments as well as your rent and we will reference them in the same way as the actual tenant.

Proof of identity

We require proof of residency and proof of identity. For residency we accept a recent (within the last 3 months) utility/ council tax/ mobile phone bill or a current tenancy agreement. For identity we require a photo style driving licence or passport. If you are not a UK Citizen of the European Economic Union then you will need to provide evidence of official permission to live in the UK for the term of the proposed tenancy. In some circumstances additional ID will be requested by the credit referencing agency.

Inventory

Upon taking occupation you will be provided with an Inventory & Schedule of Condition including digital photo images. The purpose of the Inventory & Schedule of Condition is to accurately record the state and condition of the property and its contents when you took responsibility for the tenancy.

Utility bills and Council Tax

As a tenant you will be responsible for all utility bills including water rates and council tax. It is your responsibility to set up accounts with your chosen suppliers upon moving in, and to close those accounts at the end of the tenancy.

Television Licence

As a tenant you will be responsible for ensuring that you have an appropriate Television Licence if a television (or other device capable of obtaining television programming) is being used in the property.

Taking out your own insurance

It is strongly recommended that you have insurance to provide cover for all your own personal possessions and any accidental damage you may cause to the property, furniture, fixtures or fittings. You should also be aware that in the case of a fire or flood for example your possessions would not be covered by the landlord's insurance. We can provide you with information on contents' insurance or you may choose your own insurance provider.

Pets

Most landlords do not allow pets but if you wish to ask for permission at the outset we can approach your prospective landlord on your behalf. Some landlords may accept pets if you agree to pay a higher security deposit. You would not be allowed to keep pets unless permission is given in writing.

Smoking

Most properties nowadays are classified as ‘smoke-free’ and smoking is not permitted inside the property. This will be a standard term of your tenancy agreement unless permission is given in writing




Rental payments & deposits


How much money do I need to pay before I move into a property?

Before your tenancy begins we require the first month's rent, deposit and fees in cleared funds. You can pay by bank transfer, banker's draft/building society cheque or cash. Personal cheques can only be used if they are paid ten days in advance, in order to clear. You will be given details in writing before taking up the tenancy.

Rental payments

Once you have paid your first month’s rent in cleared funds and your tenancy has commenced, future rent payments are payable monthly in advance by Standing Order and are required three days prior to your rent due date to allow for clearance. At the commencement of your tenancy you will be asked to complete a Standing Order Mandate Form which we will forward on to your bank on your behalf. Please note you will need to arrange to cancel your Standing Order at the end of your tenancy.

Deposit

If you have been given permission in writing to keep a pet, there may be an additional deposit to pay.

Where Simply Lettings manage the property, the deposit is held with the Government approved Deposit Protection Service scheme. This means that it is protected both during and after your tenancy. At the end of the tenancy you will be checked-out of the property and an assessment of damage / dilapidations will be made. Your tenancy agreement will state what can be claimed from the deposit. If any of these items are identified, then we will contact you to discuss the proposed deductions. We would prefer to be able to agree to refund the full deposit to you on your vacation, but it will be your responsibility to ensure that you have fulfilled the terms of the tenancy, left the property in accordance with the inventory and schedule of condition, followed the check-out guidance notes and ensured that you rent is fully paid up-to-date.

The Deposit Protection Service scheme also provides an alternative dispute resolution process whereby an independent adjudicator will make a final decision on the disbursement of the deposit money.

If you have a non Housing Act contract or company tenancy your landlord will probably be holding the deposit himself or Simply Lettings will be holding the deposit as agent for landlord. This means that the landlord can withhold reasonable amounts of the deposit for items which are stipulated in the tenancy agreement without your consent.

Fees to be paid by tenants

Please click here to see our fees.






Further Information


May I decorate the property?

This will be stated in the Tenancy Agreement, but in most cases you cannot decorate without the landlord’s consent.

May I physically alter the property, garden, outbuildings or fixtures and fittings?

You cannot make any physical changes or undertake DIY on any aspect of the property, garden, outbuildings or fixtures and fittings without the landlord’s consent.

Property inspections

Simply Lettings will visit the property within two months of your move-in, and on a regular basis thereafter to ensure that all is in order and the property is being looked after. This also provides an opportunity for tenants to discuss any issues they are having.

We will give you advance notice of when we intend to visit. If you are absent from the property during the day then we can arrange with you a date and time when we will enter using our management keys for access.

Landlord gas safety checks

Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994 all gas appliances in the property must be checked on an annual basis to ensure they comply with the current safety regulations. When the next annual inspection is due you will be contacted by our Gas Safe Engineer to arrange access.

Landlord access to the property

This is usually stated in the tenancy agreement. In most cases a landlord cannot enter the property without giving the tenant reasonable notice beforehand, usually no less than 24 hours. However, in the event of an emergency which may affect the safety of the occupants or the property, it may be necessary to gain access without this notice.

Does it matter if the property is "fully managed" or "let only" ?

If you rent a property which is fully managed by us we will be your first point of contact for all maintenance and repair issues, and we will act on behalf of the landlord. Let Only means that we find tenants for the property and arrange the paperwork, then the landlord takes over the management.




Tenancy renewal / extension


We will contact your landlord and then yourself approximately one month prior to the end of your tenancy to discuss your intentions. There are various options available to you and the landlord at the end of the fixed term tenancy :
•   Your landlord may require possession of the property. The landlord is required to issue you with two months' notice and this will be done by serving a Section 21 notice
•   The landlord may decide to offer you a further fixed term tenancy agreement. This will offer you security for a fixed period of time at the property.
•   The landlord may decide to allow you to remain at the property at the end of the fixed term on a periodic tenancy basis. Under this option there will be no need to sign another tenancy agreement as the terms of the original agreement allow for a periodic tenancy to run automatically at the end of the initial fixed term. You can remain at the property on a month-by-month basis and the landlord has to provide you with two months notice. You must provide a minimum of one month’s notice in writing which must expire the day before a rent due date.
•   At the end of the fixed period if the landlord decides to offer you a further fixed term you have the choice to either sign a new agreement or stay on a periodic tenancy basis. If you choose to stay on a periodic tenancy your landlord may decide to look for a new tenant who is prepared to offer security for a fixed period and may decide to serve the required two months notice.







Moving out


In order to ensure that your checkout process from the property you are occupying is conducted in an efficient manner, please read carefully the points listed below. It is in your best interests to make sure that the property is vacated in a clean and tidy condition. Failure to do so may result in charges being levied against you. Please note that this is only a general guide and not necessarily a full check list.
•   All items and furniture should be placed in their original position as stated on the inventory
•   Particular attention should be paid to the kitchen & bathroom(s), inside cupboards, extractor hood, cooker, oven and fridge
•   Carpets to be cleaned as required as well as vacuumed. Curtain should be cleaned if required.
•   Windows must be cleaned on the inside and interior window frames and ledges must be wiped clean throughout the property
•   Ceiling and walls should be cobweb free and any washable walls should be washed down and left, dust, dirt and stain free. Skirting boards should be washed over and dust free.
•   All rubbish/food must be removed from the property/garden and placed in the dustbin provided for collection.
•   The garage and any cellar, if applicable, should be swept out.
•   The garden, if applicable, should be left in a neat and tidy condition with borders recently dug and lawns cut. Shrubs should be pruned as appropriate. Also when pets have been allowed in the property, any animal excrement must be removed.
•   All keys must be returned at the time and date of the booked checkout or the vacation date.
•   You should advise the utility companies of your date of departure, and arrange for the meters to be read. The utility companies will require an address to which they can send your final account. It is ESSENTIAL that you give us the supplier details for any service where the supplier has been changed during the tenancy.
•   We advise all tenants to arrange to have their post redirected to the Post Office.
•   We will require a forwarding address in order to contact you and you will need to provide us with the details of your bank account to where the deposit is to be sent. Payments will be made by BACS directly into your bank account. If you have a shared tenancy we will release the deposit to the first named person on the tenancy agreement, unless we receive your written request to do otherwise.

On the last day of your tenancy an appointment will probably have been made for the inventory clerk or the landlord to re-visit the property and check the inventory (the check-out). Once the check-out has been completed you will not be able to remain in the property. A report will be prepared from the notes made during the check-out. Should any items on the inventory require attention this will inevitably lead to a delay in deposit monies being returned to you. The deposit return will be administered through the Deposit Protection Service scheme.

Fair wear and tear
Fair wear and tear is the normal deterioration of an item in normal use, however it is a landlord's decision on what is reasonable wear and tear and what is excessive dilapidation. Fair wear and tear is based on the length of the tenancy, the number and ages of the tenants, the condition and ages of the items and the expected lifespan of these items. Simply Lettings ensure that the condition of the property is noted down in the inventory prior to the tenancy beginning for reference of the original condition of items in question.







Emergency repairs


An emergency is defined as any repair which is necessary to avoid a danger to tenant’s health and well being or to avoid serious damage to the building or the tenant’s belongings. To report emergency issues during normal office hours (9.00am – 5.00pm Mon to Fri) please phone 07845 297246.

Gas leak

•   Vacate the property immediately
•   Ring the National Grid Emergency number on 0800 111 999 immediately
•   Call the Simply Lettings out-of-hours number on 07845 297246

No heating or hot water

•   Be familiar with the instructions of your boiler and heating system
•   Call the out of hours number on 07845 297246
•   If replacement parts are needed this could take a few days.

    PLEASE BE AWARE THAT YOU MAY BE CHARGED IF A CALLOUT IS DEEMED AS CUSTOMER ERROR

No running water

•   Ring Yorkshire Water 0845 1242424 to check it is not a fault with the mains water supply
•   If the problem is not due to the main supply call the Simply Lettings out-of-hours number on 07845 297246

Water leaks

•   Turn off the stop cock
•   Take measures to prevent further damage
•   Call the Simply Lettings out-of-hours number on 07845 297246

No electricity

•   Check your fuse box
•   Ring your electricity supplier to establish if there has been a power cut
•   If the problem is not due to the main supply call the Simply Lettings out-of-hours number on 07845 297246

Other electricity problems

•   If you encounter sparks, burning smells, fires then call the Simply Lettings out-of-hours number on 07845 297246

Burglary or criminal damage

•   Phone the Police immediately for a Crime Reference Number
•   Call the Simply Lettings out-of-hours number on 07845 297246
•   If locks on doors have been damaged, or ground floor windows are broken we will arrange a temporary repair as soon as possible
•   For a burglar alarm malfunction please refer to the user manual




General maintenance & repairs


Should your issue not fall within one of the emergency repair categories (above) then please contact us during normal office hours (9.00am – 5.00pm Mon to Fri) on 07845 297 246 or email julie@simplylettings.info. Please be aware that if a contractor is called out to a repair that is due to your negligence then you will be liable for the cost.

Keeping the property clean and tidy

You have an obligation to keep the property clean and tidy at all times. This also applies to the outside of the property.

General Tenant Responsibilities

Please be aware that you will be responsible for the following minor repairs for the duration of your tenancy:
•   Light bulb replacement
•   Replacement of plug fuses
•   Broken windows (other than those caused maliciously/burglary)
•   Blocked sinks, toilets and wastes
•   Dealing with pest infestation
•   General day-to-day home maintenance

Garden areas

You are responsible for the garden and outside areas during the course of your tenancy. This means you should cut the grass from time to time and prevent foliage from becoming overgrown and obstructive. Failure to keep the garden to an adequate standard may mean a gardener will be employed to carry out the necessary work at your expense. We will provide you with 7 days notice should we intend to do this.

Ventilation, condensation & mould

It is a tenant’s responsibility to take reasonable steps to deal with condensation and ensure that the property is being heated and ventilated throughout. Condensation will not usually occur in areas that are both well ventilated and warm. In cold weather, people are understandably reluctant to open windows and let heat escape but some level of effective ventilation must be maintained. The property must also be heated in order to help keep condensation levels at a minimum. Wipe and remove any condensation regularly, especially around windows to avoid a mould build up. Other helpful guidance would be to:
•   Always use extractor fans and open any windows in bathrooms and kitchens whilst carrying out any cooking, washing or drying activities. Leave fans on and windows open until any visible steam has left the air
•   Always place lids on saucepans during cooking and turn the heat own as required
•   If you are unable to dry washing outside or in a properly ventilated dryer, choose a room that can be heated and ventilated safely
•   Never dry clothes over doors or on radiators
•   Keep furniture away from walls where possible
•   Keep any room vents open
•   Ensure the heating system is left on timer, especially over winter, and especially if the property is unoccupied.

Frost precaution

It is essential that every precaution is taken to avoid frost damage and burst pipes during cold weather. If you leave a property vacant and/or have rooms or buildings which are cold/exposed and they contain water services, pipes or plumbing then you are advised to drain all water systems and central heating radiators or leave the central heating system on at an adequate level to maintain a proper room temperature. Do not underestimate the onset of a severe cold spell. We must stress that if repair costs arise from damage or default on the part of the occupant to take proper precautions, then the landlord will not be expected to pay for reinstatement and repairs – nor possibly will his insurers. If a hot water system is drained down – particularly where an electric immersion heater is installed please ensure that the heater is switched off and the water reinstated prior to switching on again. Please contact us for advice should you need to.

Leaving a property empty

If you intend to leave the property unoccupied for more than 21 days at any one time, please let us know in writing. This may affect the landlord’s insurance policy and we may need to take additional steps to protect the property. During winter months (Nov – Mar) your heating should be left on low or on a timer setting to avoid burst pipes.

Keys

You will be provided with one full set of keys at the commencement of your tenancy. Should you lose your keys during the tenancy we reserve the right to carry out a lock change at your expense. If you lock yourself out of the property you may borrow our management set of keys during working hours, however £20.00 must be left as a deposit.

Maintenance the landlord is required to do

Your landlord has statutory obligations to maintain and repair certain areas and items in your property. Your landlord must ensure that:
•   The gas appliances and pipework at the property are safe and is obliged by law to have a qualified engineer to test these on an annual basis. You will be provided with a copy of this certificate which should indicate that all of the appliances and pipework are safe.
•   The structure of the building is maintained to include walls, drainpipes, guttering, roof and windows.
•   The hot water and heating are operational. If they should malfunction, then your landlord is responsible for ensuring that it is fixed.

Your landlord is not responsible for repairing any damage that you have caused at the property - this is your responsibility.




Caring for appliances


Under the terms and conditions of your tenancy agreement you will be under an obligation to look after the landlord's contents. Special care is needed where domestic appliances are concerned, and below are a few basic instructions to help prolong the life of some appliances and assist in a trouble free tenancy:

Washing machine

Ensure that all items are removed from pockets of clothes before putting into the machine, as failure to do so can result in blockage being caused and the machine refusing to empty.

Tumble dryer

Ensure that all items are removed from pockets of clothes. Ensure the filter is kept free from fluff and fibres. Using a tumble dryer when the filter is clogged can result in burnt clothes and seizure of the motor.

Dishwasher

The machine will need regular filling up with special dishwasher salt, which can be obtained from any local supermarket. You will also need to regularly fill the machine with ‘rinse’ fluid. Again this can be obtained from any local supermarket. Ensure that the filter is cleaned regularly.

Waste disposal unit

The operation of the waste disposal unit varies with different appliances. Nearly all of them however will require running water during use. Before using do ensure that the unit is free from any item other than food. Paper, cutlery or anything plastic or metal will jam (and possibly break) the appliance.

Radiators

You are advised not to place damp or wet items of clothing over the radiators as this causes the radiators to rust. If the wall behind the radiator is papered it can also cause the wall paper to lift.

Instruction booklets

Whilst every effort is taken to ensure these are available for tenant use, it is occasionally not possible. Please check the following websites should you have trouble operating an appliance:
www.instructionmanuals.co.uk
www.instructionsheets.com
www.gotoplumbing.co.uk




Useful contacts


Bradford Council Tax Office 01274 437 866 / email: council.tax@bradford.gov.uk
Yorkshire Water 0845 124 2420
British Telecom 0800 800 150
TV Licence 0844 800 6790
British Gas 0845 609 1122
Npower 0800 023 045
EDF 0800 048 0202
Powergen 0800 015 1670
Please phone 0845 601 3268 to find out who supplies the electricity at the property if not known.