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A guide to renting

The following guide will give you an overview of how to house-hunt with Comfort Lettings and then run through the process of securing and moving into your next home.

Step 1

1. Your property search

When looking for your next home, it is worth considering some key requirements:

  • Think about where you would like to live.  What are the important things that you need to be near; schools, shops, transport etc.
  • Consider your ‘must haves’ when refining your search.  This should help you separate the important things from the essentials.
  • Think about your budget.  Would you pay more if the property included additional features?
  • Consider when you want to move.  From that date, work backwards and start your search 6 to 8 weeks before your expected move in date.
Step 2

2. Book in viewings

Once you have found some properties to view, contact Comfort Lettings to arrange a viewing.  This can be done on the property tabs within the website, or by contacting the office and speaking to a member of staff.  Ensure you discuss your requirements with the staff member who will know the property – if your query cannot be answered the Portfolio Manager of the property will be able to provide further advice and information at this stage.

An Accompanied Viewer will then show you your selected properties at a time that suits you.  Comfort Lettings are now open more evenings and weekends in order accommodate your busy schedules. 

At the viewing appointment, be sure to make notes and ask the Accompanied Viewer as many questions as you like. 

Comfort Lettings Top viewing tips:

  • Look at the storage space within the property, for example built in cupboards and wardrobes.  Just remember if the property has a tenant in be sure to respect personal property and avoid touching any personal items.
  • Look at the central heating system.  Is it one that is familiar or works in a way that suits your lifestyle.  
  • An emotional attachment to the property is important, but remember not to overlook the fundamental aspects that will affect your day-to-day living.
  • Think about the services connected at the property.  Is there a TV aerial, broadband services, Sky dish?
Step 3

3. Securing a property

Assuming you have taken the above steps, you should be ready to secure a property when the right one comes up.  The rental market moves more quickly that the sales market, so it is important that when you find the perfect house, you are able to take the steps to secure it quickly.  

We recommend that you are always prepared with relevant documents, such as a form of ID and proof of your address as we'll need to certify the originals to check your 'Right to Rent'.  You must show us in person, by law, either your:

  • Passport 
  • Driving Licence with Birth Certificate
  • Also, for non-EU nationals, we'll need to see your Visa. 

You will need to pay a non-refundable reservation fee to state your intention of proceeding with a property. 

In addition, you will need to complete the digital signing of our ‘Tenant Terms of Business’ which clearly sets out any fees that may be applicable.

“Josh and Hannah helped us secure our ideal home, and have been great at keeping us updated with the letting process and with any questions we had about the property. Always easy to get in touch with, and made the moving process run smoothly and easily!”

Comfort Tenant - Bex

Step 4

4. Credit Checks and References

A dedicated Portfolio Manager will oversee your application for a property and you will be required to provide evidence that you have rented in the past without major problems. 

Referencing Criteria

  • Three years’ previous address history.
  • Landlords details for any property rented in the last 3 years.
  • Confirmation of earnings per annum that are equal to the per calendar month rent multiplied by 30.
  • If you're retired, then your (joint) pension per annum will also need to equal 30 times the per calendar month rent.
  • No adverse credit in the form of a county court judgment, bankruptcy order or similar.
  • If you're self-employed, either an accountant's certificate or to provide evidence of the last three years' tax returns.
Step 5

5. Deposit

Once the deposit is paid in full, the property is secured. This deposit is held to cover any excessive damages that need to be repaired at the end of the tenancy.

If Comfort Lettings are managing your property, the deposit will likely be held in the Deposit Protection Service (DPS) custodial scheme.  You will be issued with a deposit ID number and certificate of registration from the DPS which you will need to keep safe for the return process at the end of your tenancy.

Step 6

6. Tenancy Agreement

A Tenancy Agreement is a legally binding document that sets out the terms of the tenancy and is drawn up to ensure the rights and obligations of both the tenant and the landlord are clear. All relevant parties will be asked to sign this document - we may sign this on the Landlord's behalf. This will include such responsibilities as; value of the rental payments and the date it becomes due, as well as who is responsible for repairs within the property.

Step 7

7. Inventory and Schedule of Condition

The inventory is a detailed list of contents alongside the condition of the property and its contents before you move in.  It can be prepared by an independent inventory clerk and it allows the landlord and tenant an opportunity to agree the condition of the property at the start of the tenancy.  In doing so, the risk of any dispute at the end of the tenancy is greatly diminished.  We recommend you thoroughly check the inventory before you sign it.

“Unusually good [letting] agent. Very helpful, polite and dedicated. I'd recommend them to anyone.”

Comfort Tenant - Gary W

Step 8

8. Moving Day

You will be required to pay your first month’s rent and deposit in advance of moving in – details will be provided to you by your dedicated Portfolio Manager. 

Future rent payments will be made monthly and taken by direct debit in advance - we'll give you all the forms to complete.   

Your keys will be available to collect either at our local branch or at your check-in appointment from either the landlord or inventory clerk - depending on the management service level your landlord has selected.  Your Portfolio Manager will confirm these details with you.

Step 9

9. Property Inspections

As part of our obligations to the Landlord, we will carry out routine property inspections throughout the course of the tenancy to check that everything is in order, usually only a couple of times a year.  Both you and your landlord will receive copies of the report, so that everyone is aware of the property's current condition and disputes can either be avoided or easily resolved.

Maintenance issues

Of course, if anything breaks down or requires looking at, we will arrange to visit the property to ensure everything is maintained in good condition for you.

If your property is professionally managed by us, you'll receive a call within 48 hours of reporting an issue from your designated Portfolio Manager, who will be your main point of contact during the course of your tenancy.  They will advise you on any maintenance issues and if action is needed either by yourself or the landlord.

Step 10

10.  The next Step

Once nearing the end of your tenancy agreement, you will need to decide whether to stay on in your property, or whether you wish to leave, remembering to provide the relevant notice in writing.

a. Staying put

If you do want to renew your tenancy agreement, then we will be in touch with you regarding this and will send you a new tenancy agreement to sign - with no tenancy renewals fees unlike most other agents.  If your circumstances have changed since you first rented the property, some new checks may need to be undertaken, however you will be advised of this at the time.

b. Moving out

If we manage the property, we will arrange a check out report to be conducted on or after the last day of your tenancy to ensure that the property is left in the same condition it was given to you.  At this point, you will need to ensure that the keys are returned to us.  If the landlord manages the property, you will need to liaise directly with them to arrange a suitable time and date to meet there and to hand the keys back.

Deposit

After serving your notice you'll need to ensure that the property is left in good condition in order for you to be entitled to your full deposit back.  If there are no deductions or disputes and all the necessary forms are filled out correctly by you and by the landlord, your deposit should be returned ten days after the deposit release agreements have been received.

Assuming normal wear-and-tear, if the property is in the same condition as when you moved in, getting your deposit back should not be a problem.

Here's what to do next:

  • Give the property a thorough clean, including carpets, windows, walls, skirting and furniture (if necessary hire a professional cleaner).
  • If it's your responsibility, tidy up the garden and clear away any rubbish.
  • Return all of the keys.
  • Remove all of your personal belongings.

If you need any help either before after your tenancy call us and we'll be happy to help.  Your portfolio Manager will also send you a detailed checklist to run through before the end of your tenancy.  

A Guide to Renting

Download this guide as a pdf.

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