Guide to first time renting property in London and Surrey
When you’re looking for somewhere to rent for the first time, it might seem a little bit daunting. At Kaybridge our staff are friendly and experienced and able to offer you advice and help to find a suitable property that you can eventually call home.
Our guide will help you get started.
How much do I need to earn to rent a property?
It’s common that landlords will want your monthly earnings to be at least 2.5-3 times the monthly rent (or your share of the rent).
What is referencing?
This is usually carried out by a referencing agency and organised by the landlord/estate agent and gives the landlord information about your current circumstances and credit history. It includes:
- Address history
- Proof of employment
- Reference letters from previous landlords and employers
- Three months’ worth of bank statements
- Tax return (if you’re self-employed)
- Letter from accountants (if you’re self-employed)
- Details of guarantor if required
What are credit checks?
Credit checks help landlords decide whether or not to let to you. They look over your behaviour financially, without disclosing how much you actually earn. These checks include:
- How long you’ve lived at your previous addresses
- Public records e.g. if you’re on the electoral register
- Your credit/debt ratio
- If you’ve missed any payments
- If you’ve had any county court judgments (CCJs)
How long does a credit check take to come back?
Usually, 2 to 10 working days.
What documents do I need to rent a house/flat?
- Character and employment references
- Documents to prove you’re employed and to show your income – if you’re self-employed you can usually use bank statements from the past three months
- Documents to prove your identity and right to rent e.g. passport, driving license, utility bill, visa (if coming from abroad)
- Credit references
Who pays for tenant referencing?
What fees should I expect to pay when renting in England?
New rules have limited what landlords can ask tenants to pay for. You can expect to pay for the following:
- Agreed monthly rent
- Utility bills
- Contract renewal/modification fees (< £50)
- Security deposit (< five weeks’ rent) or> £50,000 per year you would be required to pay 6 week’s deposit
- Refundable holding deposit (< one week’s rent) This will be refundable unless: the applicant withdraws from the tenancy, fails a Right-to-Rent check, provides materially false or misleading information, or fails to sign their tenancy agreement within 15 calendar days (or other deadline as mutually agreed in writing).
- Default fees e.g. a new key if you lose the first
What fees should I not expect to pay?
In the past, tenants were asked to pay a number of fees which have since been banned. You should not pay for:
- Referencing fees
- Check in fees
- Check out fees
- Admin fees
- Inventory fees
- Cleaning fees
What can a landlord deduct from the security deposit?
You will pay a security deposit at the beginning of your tenancy and, when you leave, the landlord can claim all or part of this for various reasons including:
- Unpaid rent
- Unpaid utility bills
- Cleaning costs
- Removal of items you leave without written agreement
- Theft of items
- Unauthorised changes to the property
- Poor maintenance of the property and/or garden
What is fair wear and tear?
It is natural that a property will show signs of use and the landlord should not withhold your security deposit (or part of it) for fair wear and tear if you’ve provided reasonable care and maintenance. This includes things such as:
- Faded curtains
- Furniture indentations on carpets
- Scuffed wooden floors
- Loose hinges/door handles
- Cracks in walls due to natural movement
- Worn paint near light switches
What are the landlord’s responsibilities?
By law, you landlord must:
- Give you a copy of the ‘How to Rent’ checklist at the beginning of the tenancy
- Provide an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate)
- Keep the property safe and free from health hazards
- Ensure gas and electrical equipment is safely installed and maintained
- Keep your deposit in a government approved scheme i.e. not their own bank account
- Check you have the right to rent (England)
What are the tenant’s responsibilities?
As the tenant you must:
- Pay your rent on time
- Late Payment - Interest at 3% above the Bank of England Base Rate for late payment of rent (i.e. more than 14 days overdue) from the due date until paid.
- Look after the property by reporting any issues/repairs needed to the landlord
- Keep the property ventilated
- Carry out minor maintenance e.g. change light bulbs and check smoke alarms
- Dispose of rubbish correctly
- Allow access for inspections and repairs (the landlord must give you at least 24 hours’ notice and carry out inspections/repairs at a reasonable hour)
- Ask for permission to make changes to the property, take in a lodger
- Change of contract tenants request - To cover the costs of taking landlord’s instructions and preparation of new contract capped at £50.00 or reasonable costs if higher.
- Early termination - Following the request of an early termination to the tenancy the tenant shall be liable to the landlord’s/agent’s reasonable costs in re-letting the property (including the rent due) until the start date of the replacement tenancy.
How much can a landlord charge for cleaning?
The landlord cannot charge a fee for cleaning. However, when the tenancy ends they can withhold all/some of the security deposit in order to return the property to the condition it was in when the tenancy began.
Where can I ask more questions?
Hopefully these FAQs have answered many of your questions about renting. You can find more information in our handy Step by Step Guide to Renting a Property. If you have any more questions or need help, we will be happy to help.
To ensure you always receive up-to-date information and an unbeatable professional service from us, Kaybridge Residential is a recognised member of the following organisations:
Maintenance Tips For TenantsIf you are renting a property then big issues will be dealt with by your landlord. But there are a number of things you can be responsible for yourself.
When it's really cold and the temperature is likely to drop to freezing, it's a good idea to leave your thermostat on about 15 degrees and leave the heating on all of the time. Many radiators have individual thermostats so you can leave them set in each room. Check your boiler works properly before the end of the summer months so you know it is in full working order for the winter.
You can bleed the radiator if the top part of it is cold and the bottom is warm - air is trapped in the system and bleeding the radiator will release the air to let hot water fill it. If a number of the radiators are cold then you might need to get your property manager to arrange for a heating engineer to check the whole system.
Burst or leaking pipes
Pull away any carpet and use a towel or newspaper to absorb the water and put a dish under the leak to catch any more water. If it is a small leak then let your property manager know. If it is a burst pipe then turn the water off at the main stopcock. Turn on all the taps and this will empty the water from the system. Call your property manager.
- If your oven has stopped working - check the clock and reset the timer.
- If your washing machine has stopped or won't drain, check the pump filter, drain the machine and check to see if something has got stuck.
- If your electricity trips, check to see if one appliance is the problem.
Get in touch
Call us on 0208 0040474 or send us a message...