When helping landlords with their rental properties, a question that we always get asked is “What happens after I’ve found my tenant?” Most landlords have a broad understanding of the lettings process, but many – especially first-time landlords – are keen to know the ins-and-outs.
I’ve found my tenant
So, you’ve got your house on the market, you’ve showed a few people around and you’ve got a tenant in mind – but there’s still a lot to cover before you hand over the keys.
Beginning the referencing process
Firstly, we’ll ask you (the landlord) to submit an online referencing request. This is the easy bit. As soon as we receive your request, your tenant will get an automated email asking them to fill out a prescreening form.
This is their chance to be open about anything that could negatively affect their reference check – such as County Court Judgments (CCJs) or ongoing debts. At this point, we can help any tenants that disclose any potential concerns by providing them with some expert advice and discussing their options. We’ll then brief you on your tenant’s situation so you can make a reasonable decision as to whether you’d like to go ahead.
A common concern
During this step, a common worry that tenants often admit is that their salary does not meet the property’s income requirements. To rent a property, a tenant must have an income of 30 times the monthly rent. For example, if the rent is £1,000, the tenant/s must earn a combined income of over £30,000 (30 x £1,000 = £30,000). If this isn’t the case, we’ll ask the tenant to provide a UK based rent guarantor who (if for whatever reason the tenant is unable to) will agree to pay the rent on their behalf. Once the tenant has got a guarantor lined up, we’ll explain the situation to the landlord and check that they’re happy to carry on.
The holding deposit
Once you give the go-ahead, its time for us to collect a holding deposit. The holding deposit consists of one week’s rent and essentially act as the tenant’s financial commitment to rent your home. We ask for the holding deposit at this point because if the tenant has provided false information in their prescreening, they will fail the next stage of referencing: wasting our time and yours.
If we discover that the tenant has purposely given false or inaccurate details that will reasonably affect the landlord’s decision to go ahead with the tenancy, we will retain the holding deposit. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen very often. In most cases, everything runs smoothly and the tenant’s holding deposit is taken off their first month’s rent.
Carrying out reference checks
Following this, the tenant’s details are checked by our referencing team. Many tenants worry that they’ll have to chase their old landlord or track down their previous employer for a reference, but this isn’t the case. Using the information that the tenant provides, our referencing team are able to conduct a complete reference check, including:
- An employment reference
- A previous landlord reference
- A 6-year credit check
- An electoral role check
Once the reference check is completed, it’s sent back over to us. If the reference is declined, we inform the landlord and ask the tenant to provide a UK-based guarantor. If its accepted, we will let the tenant know that they’ve passed and ask them for ID.
I’ve found my tenant – where’s their ID?
We always make sure to verify every landlord’s identity before we advertise their home. When it comes to tenants, the process is no different. We will be paying the landlord on the tenant’s behalf, so its vitally important that we maintain a vigilant level of financial compliance. By providing us with a form of photo ID, tenants help us to uphold our customer due diligence and protect against fraud.
I’ve found my tenant, but is my property prepped?
Before we go ahead and draft the tenancy agreement, we ensure that all our landlords are fully prepared for their new tenancy. There a few things that you must have in place in order to fulfil your landlord responsibilities and comply by the law. We’ll always check that you:
- Have conducted a full inventory – without a formal inventory and schedule of condition, you may struggle to make a successful deposit dispute
- Have a valid Gas Safety Certificate – a Gas Safety Inspection must be carried out by a Gas Safe engineer every year to keep your tenant safe
- Have a valid Energy Performance Certificate – all rental properties must have a minimum EPC rating of E
- Have PAT tested all appliances – to keep your home and your tenant safe, all portable electric appliances must be tested and maintained every 5 years
- Have building and contents insurance – with no insurance, you and your property will be vulnerable to damages and costs
Having these things will help you uphold your legal duties as a landlord and protect your property (and your tenant) from potential dangers, disagreements and disputes.
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Time for the contract
Next up is the tenancy agreement. We’ll draft a contract – adding any additional clauses that you’d like in there, such as a pet policy or a break clause – and send it over to you. Our contracts are digitally sent and signed, meaning there’s no physical paperwork, no postage time and no delay in getting the tenant’s signature.
Rent, deposit and moving in
Whilst the contract is being sorted, we also let the tenant know what funds they owe and what date they expected to send them over by. We’ll total up their first month’s rent and their deposit, take away the holding fee and usually ask for this to be sent over a couple of days before move-in.
Once this is done and dusted, the tenant and landlord can organise the hand over of keys and arrange a move-in date.
We've got it covered
So there you have it: an end-to-end explanation of what happens after you find your tenant. There’s definitely a lot to remember, but whilst it’s great for our landlords to understand the lettings process, they can rest easy knowing they don’t need to know it all – because we do!
If you’d like us to take care of your paperwork, contact us today to discuss our comprehensive Rent on Time plan. We’ll find you a tenant, guarantee your rent and sort the legal stuff for just £89 (inc VAT). Speak with a member of our friendly team today on 0333 577 888 or visit our website for more information.