Tenant Guide

Tenant Guide



Below is our guide to help you understand the process involved with renting your home.  If you'd like to discuss your search for a rental property with us, please contact your local Boydens branch here

When considering renting, here are some points to consider:

HOW LONG DO YOU WANT THE TENANCY FOR?

Most tenancy agreements are for between 6 and 12 months, however a maximum fixed term can be for 3 years if agreeable with the landlord.

HOW MUCH RENT CAN I AFFORD?

To pass referencing you must earn (before tax) 2.5 times the annual rent, for example if your rent was £750pcm you would need to earn £22,500 before tax (£750 x 12, x 2.5 = 22,500). Decide which area you would like to live in and how you are going to look for a rented home. The larger the area where you are prepared to look, the better the chance we have of finding the right home for you. 

HAVE YOUR DOCUMENTS READY

Landlords and Boydens will want to confirm your identity, immigration status, credit history and employment status, to ensure that they meet current legislation requirements.

DO YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO RENT PROPERTY IN THE UK?

Landlords/agents are obliged to check that all people aged over 18 living in their property as their only or main home have the right to rent. We will need to make copies of your documents and return your original documents to you. 

WILL YOU NEED A GUARANTOR? 

Some landlords might ask someone to guarantee your rent. 

WHAT IS A TENANCY AGREEMENT?

A tenancy agreement is a legally binding contract between a landlord and tenant that sets out both the legal and contractual responsibilities and obligations of the two parties. It should be written in plain and intelligible language (no unnecessary jargon!) and its terms and clauses should be fair and balanced, taking account of the respective positions of the parties and should not mislead about legal rights and responsibilities. Landlord and tenant should take care to individually negotiate any particular terms or conditions that are important to them or especially relevant to the particular let or property.

‘JOINT’ AND ‘SEVERAL’ - WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

Mostly, where there is to be more than one (adult) person living in the property, the tenancy will say they are "jointly and severally" responsible. This expression means that, jointly, the tenants are liable for the payment of all rents and all liabilities falling upon the tenants during the tenancy, as well as any breach of the Agreement. Individually each tenant is responsible for payment of all rent and all liabilities falling upon the tenant, as well as any breach of the Agreement until all payments have been made in full.

WHAT ABOUT THE TENANCY DEPOSIT?

Your landlord must put your deposit in a government backed tenancy deposit scheme if you rent your home on an assured shorthold tenancy that started after 6 April 2007. It is quite common for a deposit of an amount equivalent to between four to six weeks rent to be required to be held during the tenancy against the satisfactory performance by the tenant of all the various obligations under the tenancy agreement - but mainly, those relating to the cleanliness and condition of the property. The relevant clauses in the tenancy agreement should set out who is to hold the deposit (e.g. agent or landlord), whether interest is to be paid or not, what the deposit can be allocated for and the end of tenancy procedures and timescales for its refund. Boydens is a member of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) which means that in the event of an unresolved dispute or stalemate over the allocation of the deposit, it can be referred to the scheme for a prompt, independent, third party adjudication - so providing a resolution which is fair to both landlord and tenant.

WHAT IS A 'BREAK CLAUSE'?

This is a clause sometimes inserted in a fixed term tenancy, typically if the initial fixed term is for a year or more. A break clause will usually be worded in such a way as to allow either landlord or tenant to give two months written notice at any stage after a particular date or period of the tenancy, thus terminating the tenancy earlier than the end of the original fixed term.

WHAT HAPPENS IF EITHER PARTY (LANDLORD OR TENANT) UNEXPECTEDLY WANT TO END AN EXISTING TENANCY EARLY?

There are only limited ways in which this can happen; the landlord cannot make the tenants move out, nor can the tenants lawfully walk away from their obligations to fulfil the contract. Either party might request of the other that a formal "surrender" of the tenancy be allowed. It would then be up to the parties to agree the terms and conditions of such a surrender. This will often include some financial compensation for inconvenience or costs incurred.

HOW OFTEN CAN THE RENT BE INCREASED?

In general terms, rent of an existing tenancy can only be increased once every twelve months. Where an assured shorthold tenancy holds over as a statutory periodic tenancy, a specific prescribed form (a section 13 notice) must be used to notify tenants of a proposed increase in the rent. It is usual, if creating a longer fixed term tenancy at the outset (or one with a binding option to renew), to include a clause that allows for an increase of the rent on an annual basis, typically linked to, or as a multiple of, something like the Retail Price Index (RPIX) or similar.

WHAT ABOUT RIGHTS OF ACCESS TO THE PROPERTY, WHAT ARE THE RULES?

A landlord, or his agent, or someone authorised to act on their behalf has a right to view the property to assess its condition and to carry out necessary repairs or maintenance at reasonable times of the day. The law says that a landlord or agent must give a tenant at least 24 hours prior notice in writing (except in an emergency) of such a visit. Naturally, if the tenant agrees, on specific or odd occasions to allow access without the 24 hours prior written notice, that is acceptable. If the tenant refuses access, the landlord or agent has no right to enter the property without a court order. Entering the property against the wishes of the tenant may be considered harassment.

ARE TENANTS ENTITLED TO KNOW THE NAME AND ADDRESS OF THEIR LANDLORD?

Yes, there are two or three areas of law covering this and it is a criminal offence for an agent (or whoever is collecting the rent) to fail to provide, without reasonable excuse, this information within 21 days of formal written request by the tenants.

WHAT ABOUT RENEWALS AND EXTENSIONS OF A TENANCY?

Boydens will normally contact the tenant and landlord two to three months before the end of the tenancy to negotiate between the parties and prepare the necessary formal documentation for a replacement tenancy or fixed term extension. If no further fixed term is created to follow on from the end-date of original term, and assuming notice to end the tenancy has not been served, the tenancy can simply hold over as a "periodic tenancy" e.g. rolling on with basically the same terms and conditions and in line with how the rent is due to be paid. 

HOW IS A TENANCY TERMINATED?

The law around ending a tenancy is relatively straightforward as long as the right timescales and procedures are followed, along with the use of the correct format of notice. The timescales, procedures and format will vary dependent upon the type, and the status of the tenancy at the time you wish to end the tenancy. 

WHAT HAPPENS TO MY UTILITIES AND BROADBAND?

Boydens have partnered with Tenant Shop to offer our tenants the option of over 21 gas and electricity providers, and media services from either Sky, Virgin or BT.  There are many special offers and deals offered by Tenant Shop from these providers and we are very pleased that we are now able to pass these offers on to all of our tenants.  Tenant Shop will call you once you have passed referencing to talk to you about your media services and, once you have moved in, arrange your utilities.  If you have any questions regarding this please refer to your local lettings team.