What is a retainer?

A non-refundable retainer is paid when you wish to take a property. When you move into the property it becomes the deposit and will be protected through one of the government authorised deposit schemes.

Where is my deposit/ retainer protected?

Once the funds become a deposit, your landlord has 28 days in which to protect it with a government authorised scheme, and to provide you with those details.

What happens if we drop out?

Once you have signed the agreement you are bound to it for the full term. Therefore, if you don’t want to live in the property anymore, you will still have to pay rent until you find someone to take over your liabilities.

Will I get my deposit back?

At the end of your tenancy we ask you to leave the property clean and tidy and as close to the condition you found it in at the start of your tenancy. We’ll also ask you to provide us with proof that you’ve paid all of your utilities (gas, electricity, water) and that you’ve dealt with the council tax at the property; so make sure you hold onto all of your bills. Your tenancy agreement explains in detail why you may have charges deducted from your deposits, however, the main reasons tenants are charged are: not paying their rent on time (you can be charged £35 each time a rent payment is late by more than 4 days), using blue-tac or similar on your walls (if we have to re-paint a wall the charge is normally £40 per wall) and not cleaning the property well enough when moving out. We can help you to keep as much of your deposit as possible if you arrange a pre-inspection with our team, so that we can point out any issues you may be charged for. Deposits are normally returned within 28 days of the end of your tenancy provided all rent is paid, and you’ve provided us with proof that your utilities and council tax have been dealt with.

How do I collect my keys?

For a lot of our properties, you’ll be asked to collect your keys from our office. You can pick your keys up at any point after that date during our office hours. Remember, everyone in your house will need to have completed all of their paperwork first, paid their rent and you’ll need to bring your ID with you so that we know we’re giving the right keys to the right person. For some properties, your landlord will provide keys directly to you. We’ll email you a month before your move in date to confirm where you should collect your keys.

How do I pay my rent?

For properties we manage, we’ll ask you to set up direct debits to pay your rent, which will either be monthly in advance or quarterly. You’ll need to make sure that you’ve got enough money in your account each month for the direct debit to work. If there isn’t, you may be charged a late payment fee by us and your bank. For properties which aren’t managed by us, you’ll need to pay your rent directly to your landlord. The bank details you’ll need and your reference will be forwarded to you in advance.

What does it mean to pay rent quarterly?

Often landlords will ask that you pay your rent quarterly. This means you will pay 4 larger payments during the year rather than 12 monthly payments. If your contract starts on the 1st July your payment dates will be 1st July, 1st October, 1st January and 1st April. The payments due on each of these dates will be equivalent to 3 months’ rent.

What if something goes wrong in the house?

If we manage your property, you will need to let us know about any maintenance issues. We have a team of trusted tradesmen and contractors who will resolve any issues you may have.

What is a joint & several contract?

Most tenancy agreements (especially student ones) are joint and several, which basically means that you sign the agreement as a group and are all responsible jointly for the liabilities explained in the contract. For example, if there is damage to the property the landlord can hold you all liable; the landlord is also able to hold any one of you as being liable for the damage. It also means that if the landlord is required to give you notice of anything, they are only legally required to inform one of you.

What are my guarantors' liabilities?

Although your obligations are joint and several, your guarantors are not. This means that the landlord can only ask your guarantor for a particular share of any joint liability. For example, if it is a 4 bedroom house, your guarantor can only be asked for 1⁄4 of the total rent due if you haven’t paid, or 1⁄4 of any damage not covered by the deposit.

What is a HMO Licence?

If more than two unrelated people rent in the same house, the property is classified as a ‘house in multiple occupation’ (HMO). If the property has five or more bedrooms and is on three or more floors, it has to be licensed with the local council and meet certain safety requirements.

What about gas certificates?

Your landlord is responsible for making sure the gas appliances at your property are safe and is required to have them inspected by a ‘Gas Safe’ engineer every 12 months. We will make a copy available to you when you move in and again when it is renewed.

What happens if someone doesn't pay their rent?

You are all jointly liable for rent payments. Therefore, if someone doesn’t pay their rent, the landlord is able to pursue all of you for any rent due. It is normal practice, however, that a landlord would pursue the individual tenant first, and then their guarantor before approaching the other tenants.

When will we receive the inventory?

It is normal practice for your inventory to be supplied to you within the first 14 days of the tenancy agreement. You then usually have 7-14 days to return it signed with any amendments. If you don’t return the inventory then you agree to accept the property in the condition described in the inventory.

How does weekly rent convert into monthly?

There aren’t exactly 4 weeks in a month, so you have to multiply your weekly rent by 52 and divide by 12 to get a monthly figure. This will be done on your contract for you.

What’s an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)?

An EPC shows how energy efficient a house is and can help you work out how much your utilities will cost. We put them on our website for you to look at but if you can’t find one let us know.