This part of the process is carried out in conjunction with tenant administration and referencing as discussed in stage two. In order to secure a property and for it to be withdrawn from the market a holding deposit is required. This deposit will be deducted from the first months rent due and is non-refundable should the tenant withdraw from the proposed letting. In the event that the landlord or Fortis Properties is/are in breach of the proposed letting, the holding deposit will be returned to the tenant in full.
The holding deposit demonstrates that the prospective tenant is serious and fully committed to the property. This statement of intent instils confidence for all parties involved and allows the next stage of the process to take place.
Tenant Administration and Referencing
The administration and referencing process involves preparation of the tenancy documentation, contacting the tenants employer to confirm income and employment status, contacting the tenants’ current or previous landlord to request feedback and carrying out full credit checks.
Tenants must be completely transparent and disclose all relevant information that may negatively affect the outcome of the tenancy application. Providing true and factual information from the outset of the administration and referencing process will avoid the tenant losing the property and being disappointed.
As previously stated, a tenancy agreement is usually setup for a twelve month period and is to be agreed and signed by both the Landlord and tenant(s) prior to the tenancy commencing. The tenancy agreement acts as a legally binding contract between the tenant and Landlord and outlines all obligations that must be fulfilled by both parties throughout the tenancy.
Prior to the tenancy ending, the tenant will be given the opportunity to discuss extension or renewal of the tenancy. If the tenant requests an extension or renewal the Landlord will be informed and a decision made. Fortis Properties acts on behalf of the Landlord; the agency must at all times receive authorisation from the Landlord prior to any agreement(s) being made with the tenant.
The tenant will receive a draft agreement for review prior to the tenancy being agreed and signed by all parties; careful attention should be given to the draft agreement by the tenant. Should the tenant require assistance when reviewing the draft agreement we advise that the tenant seeks legal advise from a qualified person.
Once the tenancy agreement has been signed by all parties post satisfactory completion of tenant referencing, payment will have to be made in full by the tenant less the holding deposit which will have previously been paid. Initial payments consist of the following;
- A deposit normally equal to one months rent plus £100.
- The first months rent in advance.
In order for the tenancy to commence, cleared funds for the initial payment need to be received within Fortis Properties’ dedicated client account. To avoid delays it is advised to make electronic payment via bank transfer; if this method of payment isn’t possible, payment can be made via cheque, debit/credit card or cash.
On the day of the tenancy commencing, subject to the Landlord’s consent, an inventory will be produced on check-in. An inventory protects both the tenant and Landlord as it provides a detailed description of the external and internal condition of the property as well as listing all contents which are to remain at the property throughout the tenancy.
On check-out, a full inspection of the property will take place with reference to the inventory and any damages caused by the tenant as well as fair wear and tear will be recorded. The tenant can be assured knowing that the inventory was produced by an independent third party service provider on check-in. Having an independent party produce the inventory not only allows an objective process to take place on check-out but also is viewed favourably in a court of law due to the initial report not having potential to be biased in nature. Fortis Properties does not produce inventories, the agency instructs a third party service provider on behalf of the landlord in order to remain objective should there be a dispute on tenancy completion.
Should any damage be found to the property or contents on check-out which do not constitute fair wear and tear, the findings will be discussed with the Landlord and tenant. Once all findings have been reviewed, funds will then be lawfully retained from funds held within the Deposit Protection Scheme. Should the tenant wish to challenge the claim made for damages a dispute can be lodged with the Deposit Protection Service.
If a property is to be managed by the Landlord, the tenant will be informed of this arrangement from the outset prior to the tenancy being agreed. Fortis Properties will carryout out all administrative and referencing duties on behalf of the Landlord as well as putting the tenancy agreement in place. Fortis Properties will take payment for the initial fees explained within this guide and register the security deposit. However, on commencement of the tenancy, the tenant will make rental payments direct to the Landlord and liaise with the Landlord for all maintenance issues.
If the property is to be managed by Fortis Properties on behalf the Landlord, the tenant will be advised of this arrangement prior to the tenancy commencing. On commencement of the tenancy, the tenant will be provided with login credentials to Fortis Properties’ PropertyFile maintenance portal as well as telephone numbers to use in the event of emergency situations. The tenant is to report all maintenance issues directly to Fortis Properties via PropertyFile. Should the tenant wish to discuss non-maintenance related issues this information can be provided and discussed in person and via e-mail or telephone.
Tenants must ensure that all maintenance issues and faults with appliances are reported immediately as failure to do so could result in a breach of contract or even worse, could represent a safety risk. Issues identified will be actioned promptly by Fortis Properties with the tenant kept informed at all times.
Rent is to be paid into Fortis Properties’ Client account on a monthly basis via standing order for Managed properties. For non-managed properties, the tenant is to make payment directly to the Landlords nominated bank account; details of which will be provided prior to the tenancy commencing.
Throughout the duration of the tenancy, the tenant is fully responsible for the property in terms of ensuring the property is secure at all times, routine cleaning takes place both to the interior and exterior and the central heating system is cycled throughout winter months to avoid freezing of the water within the system.
The tenant must ensure adequate contents insurance is in place for the entire duration of the tenancy. The Landlord and Fortis Properties accepts no responsibility and cannot be held responsible for any damage or loss to tenants possessions.
With regard to utility bills such as water, gas and electricity, the tenant must pay these bills in full throughout the duration of the tenancy. The Landlord or Fortis Properties will inform the utility providers of the new tenant(s) residing at the property but it is the responsibility of the tenant to setup a means of payment for bills. Council tax is also payable by the tenant unless the tenant(s) is a student; exemption may be granted by local councils for student tenants.
Should the property be managed by Fortis Properties, the tenant will be informed, advised and assisted with regard to payment of utility bills and council tax.
Fortis Properties will undertake quarterly inspections if the property is being managed on behalf the Landlord. During each inspection, the general condition of the property will be assessed with close attention paid to cleanliness, general upkeep and any specific requirements defined within the tenancy agreement. The tenant will be given the opportunity to highlight and discuss any concerns he or she may have with the property.
The tenant will be informed in advance of an inspection taken place and the appointment scheduled for a mutually convenient time.
Termination of the Tenancy
The tenant is required to provide at least one months notice, subject to term, to request termination of the tenancy. The termination request will be reviewed by Fortis Properties with reference to the terms specified within the tenancy agreement.
On completion of the tenancy, the tenants deposit will be returned subject to the property being found in a satisfactory condition with reference to the condition it was in on commencement of the tenancy. Should any damage be found and the tenant deemed at fault, an agreed sum will be retained from the deposit in order for repairs to be carried out. Further details regarding the deposit can be seen within this guide under ‘Inventory’.