Becoming a tenant

 

More people are tenants than ever before, with a flood of students joined by people in their 30s and 40s becoming a tenant can be somewhat of a challenge.  You will be pleased to know we don't work on a first come, first served basis.  We accept applications from tenants to discuss with our client.  It is ultimately the landlords decisions whether or not your application will be successful.

Home Lettings Scotland will provide you with as much information on the property as possible. Our property listing ads are packed with local information and links to websites which you may find useful and we are available  seven days per week to answer your questions.

Our preference is for you to view your chosen property. To book a viewing of a property please contact us by clicking on “Arrange a Viewing” within the property details page or call us on 0131 258 2708

We do understand that in some instances it may not be possible for you to attend a viewing therefore we would recommend you send a nominated representative in your absence.

Please note that landlords are not obliged to inform their agent or prospective tenants of any matters concerning the property. It is for the prospective tenant to ask questions to ensure that have all the information they need to make an informed decision as to the properties suitability for meeting your personal requirements.

Any discussions or correspondence with the Landlord or our staff; and any offer or acceptance of an offer by the Landlord are expressly deemed to be Subject to Application, Reference and Contract. Please note that an occupier of the property cannot speak on behalf of the Landlord or us.

You should make your own enquiries and searches of the numerous websites that provide information about properties, locations, services to properties as well as to locations, transport links, schooling and environmental issues that would include noise, flooding, pollution and congestion.

Having selected a property with Home Lettings Scotland you (the tenant) must formally apply for the Tenancy by completing a Tenancy Application Form which will be emailed to you from Lettingref along with the Tenant Declaration Form (insert link).

Home Lettings Scotland will take up full references for all prospective tenants in order to satisfy Landlords that their property is likely to be well looked after and that the rent will be paid on time. The reference will provide us with the details that we need to submit to our clients, the Landlord, for their consideration.

In order for us to process your application please supply the following documents for each tenant:

  •  A photocopy of your passport / photo driving license.
  • If you are not a student or on any benefits please provide a copy of a recent pay slip confirming employment or job offer letter.
  • If a student, please provide evidence of attendance.
  • If your main income is via State Benefit assistance please provide evidence.
  • Proof of current address for each tenant (two items from the list below).
    (a) Driving license showing current address.
    (b) Utility bill (no older than three months and not a mobile phone bill).
    (c) Council tax bill (we’ll only accept bills dated until the end of June that year).
    (d) Home service provider bill such as broadband or digital TV (no older than three months).
    (e) Current TV license.
    (f) Homeowner’s current home insurance policy schedule.
    (g) Current mortgage statement (correspondence address and address the mortgage applies to must be the same).
    (h) Tenancy Agreement signed and dated within the last six months (the applicant being referenced must be a named tenant on the Tenancy Agreement). It must be accompanied by the signed and dated certificate of registration.
    (i) Letter from your employer on headed paper, signed and dated.

Please either scan and email these or fax them to our office. If this is not possible please post them to our postal address bearing in mind that using the postal service could slow down the application: These documents must be sent to us as soon as possible.

Your references will provide us with the details that we need to submit to our clients, the Landlord, for their consideration. If our clients,  instruct us to proceed, we provide you with the necessary legal paper work.

Home Lettings Scotland will take up full references for all prospective tenants in order to satisfy Landlords that their Property is likely to be well looked after and that the Rent will be paid on time. These will/may include a

  • credit check or Bank Reference
  • references from an employer/an accountant/a solicitor/previous Landlord.
  • For company lets we will review the company’s trading position.

If insufficient information has been obtained it may be necessary to nominate a Guarantor who will act as security for the term of the Tenancy Agreement and will therefore be required to sign your lease Your Guarantor must be a UK based Property owner and will be referenced in the same way as the proposed Tenant. Each prospective Guarantor is liable to pay a documentation charge of £150.00.

Normally the Guarantor would be the applicant’s parent, other relative or possibly an employer. The Guarantor will be responsible for paying for any monies outstanding as a result of the Tenancy. Therefore it is very important for the tenant not to over stretch himself or herself when looking for a property to avoid any liabilities on the Guarantor.

Credit Check
The credit check depends on the type of rental. In some circumstances your credit just needs to be okay. Your credit doesn’t have to be perfect but it can’t be all bad either. In other circumstances your credit may need to be better. Once again this does not mean perfect, but you must have a decent credit score to qualify.

Rental History

  • How often did you pay late?
  • Did you leave owing money?
  • How did you maintain the premises?
  • Did you fulfill the terms of your lease?
  • Were there any complaints against you or your guests?

An Eviction is okay if you paid the landlord in full afterwards. If you still owe a landlord money for any reason, your application will be automatically rejected.

Please note: Family, friends and/or room-mates are not acceptable rental references and you must provide the landlord’s registration number.

Some of our owners are more flexible than others. For example, you might have paid a few times late but your previous landlord thought you were a good tenant. This should be fine.

It is important that the Tenant reads their Tenancy Agreement carefully and ensures they understand all the clauses in it. Anything the Tenant does not understand can be explained by us or, should the Tenant wish to take independent advice, a Solicitor.

  • What kind of contract will I sign?

Your will be asked to sign a Private Residential Tenancy

Once you have entered into a Tenancy Agreement you are legally bound to the contract until either you or the landlord ends the Tenancy Agreement.

The tenancy agreement can be signed electronically by all parties. The document must be signed, before the Start Date, to enable us to execute the Tenancy Agreement. Only when we advise the Tenant that we have “exchanged” the Tenancy Agreement does a binding contract exist between the Tenant and the Landlord.

When the Tenancy Agreements have been exchanged we will send the Tenant’s signed Agreement to the Landlord and we will send the Landlord’s signed Agreement to the Tenant.

Under the terms and conditions of the landlord’s agreement, Home Lettings Scotland has permission from the landlord to sign a tenancy agreement on the landlords behalf. However Tenancy Agreement is a contract between the Tenant and the Landlord and not Home Lettings Scotland. It must be understood that Home Lettings Scotland has no responsibility for either party meeting their obligations to the other party.

  • Joint Tenancy or a Shared Tenancy

When considering applying to take a Tenancy with other sharers it is important to understand the obligations the Tenant and their fellow occupants will be entering into. Noted below are some of the issues that will need to be considered:

  • The Tenancy Agreement will make each sharer jointly and individually responsible for all of the Tenants’ conditions set out in the Tenancy Agreement.
  • All parties to the Tenancy Agreement will have these responsibilities even if they leave the property before the end of the Tenancy term.
  • Rent must be paid under one banker’s standing order unless otherwise agreed. Any Rent not paid is the responsibility of all sharers.
  • At the end of the Tenancy the Inventory will be checked and all of the Tenants will be responsible for any dilapidations even if they as individuals did not cause the dilapidations.
  • Only when all Rent for the full term and any properly agreed compensation for any dilapidations has been accounted for will any of the deposit monies held be disbursed.
  • The Tenant must supply information about the relationships between each occupant to enable the Landlord to assess whether the Tenancy being created will result in a House in Multiple Occupation
    (HMO)

Can the tenant leave during the tenancy?
The conditions laid out in your tenancy agreement are legally binding and enforceable by law. If for any reason you wish to terminate your tenancy before the expiry of the contract, you have two following options:

  • Continue to pay the rent until the end of the tenancy
  • Continue to pay the rent until a suitable tenant is found to release you from the contract, subject to the Landlord’s permission.
  • A fee of £250.00 to help you to find someone to take over the property will be due. You will still be liable for the rent until either a new tenant is found or until the end of your contract.

In the majority of cases, Home Lettings Scotland’s landlords are protected through rental and legal insurance. Failing to meet your obligations under the lease can have expensive repercussions. It is always advisable to discuss any problems with Home Lettings Scotland before a small problem becomes a major issue.

What will I have to pay when signing the lease?
Rents are quoted on a calendar month basis (i.e. £ 180.00 per week x 52 * weeks a year / 12 months = £ 780.00 pcm) and are paid on the 1st day of every month. When signing the lease agreement you will have to provide one month’s rent in advance along with pro rata rent plus the balance of the deposit. You will not be able to move into the property without cleared funds. Subsequent rent can be either paid by standing order or by direct debit.

What is pro-rata rent?
Your rent collection date is the 1st of every month. If your lease starts on the 20th of the month then you will need to pay 10 days rent plus one months rent. Your next payment will be due on the 1st of the following month. To calculate pro-rata rent using the scenario previously mentioned; weekly rent divided by 7 days times by no of days to the 1st. (ie, £180.00 per week / 7 days = £25.71 x 10 days = £257.10

If you have any questions regarding the lease agreement please talk to us, we are here to help you.

Home Lettings Scotland are members of the Safe Deposit Scotland.  safe-deposits-scotland

Safe Deposits Scotland is an independent tenancy deposit scheme approved by the Scottish Government. They are Scotland’s leading tenancy deposit scheme – with a unique position as the only scheme which is not for profit and based in Scotland. They currently hold 60% of the deposits safely protected by tenancy deposit schemes in Scotland.

 

SafeDeposits Scotland holds the deposit during the tenancy in order to keep it safe and to make sure it is available to be returned to the tenant at the end of the tenancy, if they have met the terms of their tenancy agreement. The deposit will be held in a ring-fenced account, separate from SafeDeposits Scotland’s own funds.

You can find out more about SafeDeposits Scotland and how they operate in their Welcome pack and Scheme Rules.

What is a tenancy deposit?

A tenancy deposit is a sum of money which a landlord requires a tenant to pay at the start of the tenancy, and which will normally be returned to the tenant at the end of the tenancy. The money is security against the tenant not meeting their obligations in connection with a tenancy or occupancy arrangement.

In certain circumstances a landlord may want to use some or all of the deposit at the end of the tenancy, for example to: pay to repair damage a tenant may have caused to the property pay cleaning bills if the property has been left in poor condition pay bills that are left unpaid, for example fuel or telephone bills, where the landlord can demonstrate a loss, subject to any contractual relationship with the tenant and supplier cover any unpaid rent.

A written guarantee, is often used by rent deposit guarantee schemes, is not a sum of money and as such is not covered by the Regulations. However, if the tenant is required to pay a deposit to the landlord at any point under the guarantee, whether in full or by instalments, the landlord is required to transfer the amount received to a tenancy deposit scheme. Landlords are not obligated to take a deposit. But if they do, the deposit needs to be dealt with in accordance with the Regulations. Each Tenancy Deposit Scheme has produced its own rules. Those for SafeDeposits are set out in the SafeDeposits Scheme Rules. These are available on our website, and paper copies can be provided on request.

How are the deposits held and protected?

A tenant will pay their deposit to the landlord or agent, and the landlord must make sure that the deposit is transferred to SafeDeposits, or one of the other approved tenancy deposit protection schemes, within 30 working days of the tenancy start date. The scheme will hold the deposit in a designated account until it is due to be repaid at the end of the tenancy. This means the deposit will be safe, even if a landlord or letting agent goes out of business.  Once a deposit is protected by SafeDeposits, they write to the tenant, landlord and agent to confirm this. The tenant, landlord or agent can also contact SafeDeposits directly to confirm that the deposit is protected. Where a dispute is raised over a deposit deduction claimed by a landlord at the end of the tenancy, that part of the deposit cannot be paid out until: the dispute is resolved; the tenant and landlord otherwise reach agreement; or they agree to abandon the adjudication process. Any part of the deposit that is not in dispute will be returned as soon as possible.

Does a holding deposit (that is, a deposit taken before the tenant and landlord have entered into a tenancy agreement) have to be protected by a scheme?

No. A deposit for the purposes of the tenancy deposit regulations is a sum of money held as security against the tenant not meeting their obligations in connection with a tenancy or occupancy arrangement. This is not the case with a holding deposit. However if the landlord receives a holding deposit for someone who then becomes their tenant, and the holding deposit becomes the tenancy deposit, the landlord must pay the deposit into an approved scheme.

How is the deposit returned at the end of a tenancy?

In most cases the tenant and the landlord will decide between them, assisted by the agent if one has been involved, how the deposit should be allocated, before contacting SafeDeposits. The landlord must then submit a Proposal for Deposit Repayment to SafeDeposits, giving details about how much of the deposit should be repaid to the tenant. We will send this Proposal for Deposit Repayment to the tenant, asking them to confirm if they agree, or if they wish to dispute the amount. The tenant has 30 working days to respond to the proposal, as per the Regulations. If the tenant agrees with the landlord’s Proposal for Deposit Repayment, we will process the deposit repayment within 5 working days. The return of deposits will take longer where the amount is disputed, or either party cannot be contacted, or does not co-operate. Where no confirmation is received from the tenant at the end of the 30 working days, we will pay the landlord the amount claimed by them within a further 5 working days. 10 Any amount due to the tenant will be held by us in case it is applied for later. We will keep this money for six years, after which it may be treated as ownerless and fall to be consigned to the Queen’s and Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer (QLTR).

What if the landlord doesn’t apply for the return of the deposit?

The tenant may also submit a Proposal for Deposit Repayment, if the landlord has not yet entered one. We then send the tenant’s Proposal for Deposit Repayment to the landlord to ask for their response. If the landlord does not respond to the tenant’s Proposal for Deposit Repayment, and make an alternative application within 30 working days, we will pay the tenant the full deposit within 5 working days of the end of the 30 working day period.

Will interest be returned with the deposit?

Interest earned on the deposits held by SafeDeposits is used first and foremost to pay the running costs of the scheme. Any surpluses will be gift-aided to the SafeDeposits Scotland Trust – a grant-giving charity designed to promote education, training and best practice in Scotland’s private rented sector. While all tenancy deposit schemes use the interest generated to cover their running costs, SafeDeposits is the only scheme to operate this not-for-profit business model.

For more information and guidance regarding Safe Deposit Scotland, please visit www.safedepositsscotland.com

Joint Tenancy or a Shared Tenancy

When considering applying to take a Tenancy with other sharers it is important to understand the obligations the Tenant and their fellow occupants will be entering into. Noted below are some of the issues that will need to be considered:

Sharers. Individuals renting a property together (sharers) are all required to be named on the Tenancy Agreement as tenants.
Under the terms of the Tenancy Agreement sharer tenants have ‘joint and several liability which gives them all equal responsibility for adhering to the terms and conditions of the Tenancy Agreement. This makes each one of them responsible for the full amount of the rent. Should one of the sharers default in their rental payment, the other sharers are liable and responsible for the outstanding balance.

Also should one of the sharers leave the FULL rent remains payable.

At the end of the Tenancy the Inventory will be checked and all of the Tenants will be responsible for any dilapidations even if they as individuals did not cause the dilapidations. In the case of damage all sharers are held to be equally responsible when deductions are made from the security deposit. Any disputes between sharing tenants relating to the security deposit are the sole responsibility of the tenants to resolve and we will not act as mediators in such disputes.

The “joint and several liability” also applies to the termination of a tenancy, one sharer wishing to end a tenancy (provided there is provision to do so within the terms of the Tenancy Agreement) is considered to be doing so on behalf of all the tenants.

All parties to the Tenancy Agreement will have responsibilities even if they leave the property before the end of the Tenancy term.
Rent must be paid under one banker’s standing order unless otherwise agreed. Any Rent not paid is the responsibility of all sharers.
Only when all rent for the full term and any properly agreed compensation for any dilapidations has been accounted for we will agreed to the release of the deposit.

The Tenant must supply information about the relationships between each occupant to enable the Landlord to assess whether the Tenancy being created will result in a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

So, your application has been approved and you are one step closer to becoming our tenant –  What happens next? We will arrange to meet with you at the property and complete a “check-in”.

At the check-in meeting we will walk through the property which will help you become familiarised with the workings of the property. We will go through the following;

  • How to operate the cooker, washing machine, central heating, shower, hot water any other appliances.
  • Where the stop cock is.
  • Where the meters are.
  • What do to in an emergency.
  • How to request a repair.
  • Regulations – Landlord Gas Safety, Electrical Inspection, Condition Report, Fire Safety

What do I need to pay for before I can move in to the property?

You will be required to pay the full deposit and the first months rent before you move into the property.

Rent payment and the deposit must be received in cleared funds no later than our receipt of the signed Tenancy Agreement or one day before your check-in date.  If we do not receive cleared funds by the agreed date, we will not be able to hand the property over to you.


Ensure you’ve contents cover as soon as you move in.

As a tenant, your landlord is responsible for buildings insurance, so you should only be getting contents cover (essentially, it’s for stuff that’d fall if you turned your home upside down).