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Renting with Woodward: A Complete Guide

Renting with Woodward: A Complete Guide

There are several questions prospective tenants ask about the property rental process. To make renting easy for you, we have prepared this guide. If you have specific questions, please let us know; we’ll be delighted to assist whenever possible.


For Landlord and Tenant protection

For Landlord and Tenant protection
  • Members of Propertymark; the Association of Residential Letting Agents number 0020104
  • Members of Propertymark Client Money Protection Scheme number C0008235
  • Members of The Property Ombudsman number N00837
  • Members of Tenancy Deposit Scheme number G02207

What are the tenant’s financial responsibilities?

As well as paying the rent, you may also be required to make the following payments:

  • Before the tenancy starts (payable to Woodward Estate Agents; the Agent):
    • Holding Deposit: Equivalent of 1 week’s rent (to then be deducted from your first month’s rent on commencement)
    • Deposit: Equivalent of 5 weeks’ rent
  • During the tenancy (payable to the Agent):
    • If you want to change the tenancy agreement and the Landlord agrees, a payment of up to £50, or any reasonable costs incurred if these are higher than £50.
    • For late payment of rent interest at a rate of 3% above the Bank of England base interest for each day that the payment has been outstanding.
    • For loss of keys or security devices, payment of the reasonably incurred costs
    • For early termination of the tenancy if the Landlord agrees payment of any unpaid rent or other reasonable costs associated with early termination of the tenancy.
  • During the tenancy (payable to the provider) if applicable:
    • Utilities; gas, electricity, water
    • Communications; telephone and broadband
    • Installation and subscription of cable/satellite
    • Television licence
    • Council Tax
  • Other permitted payments:
    • Any other permitted payments, not included above, under the relevant legislation including contractual damages.
  • Tenant protection:
    • Stephen J Woodward Limited t/a Woodward Estate Agents is a member of Propertymark Client Money Protection Scheme number C0008235, which is a client money protection scheme, and also a member of The Property Ombudsman N00837 which is a redress scheme.
    • You can find out more details by contacting the LETTING TEAM directly on 020 8001 9553.
  • Dilapidation:
    • Obviously a tenant is responsible for a landlord’s costs for any breach of the tenancy agreement by a tenant.
    • When applicable, this may include charges we make to the landlord for arrangements on the landlord’s behalf, for things such as post tenancy cleaning, decorating, repairs, replacements, etc.
    • We charge £72 plus £72 per hour after the first hour, for our time in specifying, obtaining estimate, appointing a contractor, provide access, oversee work and settle the contractors invoice.
    • Other obligations between the landlord and tenant are included in the Tenancy Agreement.

What length of tenancy is usual?

Generally speaking this is by agreements between landlords and tenants however we do not arrange lettings of less than six month duration.  Most tenancy agreements are for a fixed term from six months to three years.

During this period there is no right for either party to bring the tenancy to an end [except for breach of the contract terms] unless specifically agreed to the contrary.  A “break clause” as they are known, can be useful in that it gives a tenant more flexibility.  Alternatively, it may also keep landlords options open and offers a tenant less security.

Our “standard agreement” it is for 12 months, with a break clause to end the tenancy after  six months, subject to 60 days notice.

How is the rent paid?

Rent is usually paid “per calendar month”, i.e. the same amount each month regardless of how many days there are in a month.

Occasionally, other agents or landlords may advertise rents “weekly”. If you see this, you must remember that there are four and third weeks in a calendar month [52 weeks divided by 12 = 4.33].

Each month the rent is paid in advanced so, the rent you pay on the 5th September is to the 4th October inclusive.

The rent is usually paid by standing order [other than the first month – see below] direct from your account to landlord or us.  This avoids some cheques being lost in the post, missing payments by mistake when on holiday, etc.

The date the rent is due each month is the same as the date you commenced the tenancy ie. if your contract starts on the 5th September your rent is due on the 5th of each month thereafter.

How much deposit is required?

The usual deposit is an amount equal to five weeks rent.  This must have cleared into our account when you sign the tenancy agreement.

Where we hold a deposit it is done under the rules of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme operated by The Dispute Service under a Government contract and as Stakeholders.  Otherwise the deposit is passed to the Landlord who is responsible for holding it in accordance with the Housing Act 2004 and you have a right to check this with your Landlord.

Your first month’s rent must also be paid to us and have cleared into our account when you sign the tenancy agreement.

Cleared funds means that we need a cheque 10 banking days before commencement, bank transfer as a week before. We do not accept cash or bankers drafts.

What references does the Landlord require?

It is very important for the landlord to know that he is renting to a responsible person with the ability and intention to pay the rent. To demonstrate this we will need to supply a landlord with successful Credit and Tenant Reference check, undertaken at our cost by our appointed referencing company. It is also common for landlords to have their agent photocopy your passport details.  This has been introduced to stop cases of fraud and to satisfy the government’s Right To Rent legislation.  If you are asked for this don’t worry, it will just be standard procedure.

Where you do not have a European Economic Area [EEA] passport, we are required by law to check your Biometric Residence Permit to establish residency rights.  Other documents may also be acceptable, so pleased ask first before you make your offer.

Who signs the contract?

All occupiers over the age of 16 must sign the contract and accompanying documents [different rules apply to a company let].  Remember that a tenancy agreement is a binding legal contract and is not to be entered into lightly, you should take independent legal advice on any aspects you do not understand.

Who pays “the bills”?

Usually the landlord is responsible for service and maintenance charges, ground rent, building insurance and the fire/flood insurance of his contents [but not yours].

Tenants must arrange to have connected in their own name the gas, electricity, water and council tax charges.  We will take meter readings where applicable and submit to the gas and electricity suppliers with your current or any forwarding address known to us.

You are also responsible for contacting the telephone, broadband, TV subscription and insuring your own contents.

Is an inventory necessary?

Yes, in order to protect the deposit and the landlord’s interest.  There all several ways in which inventories are carried out but two are most common:

An inventory is provided by the landlord for you to check on the day of your move in.  This you will be required to sign, make any notes on the condition of items listed if necessary, and return within 48 hours to the landlord or agent.

An inventory clerk will arrange through the landlord’s agent to meet you at the property and check through with you there and then items on the inventory and their description of condition.  The same arrangements will be made on your day of leaving the property.

Key things to note about the inventory:

  • Properly completed, they will protect your deposit and interests as well as the landlords.
  • They must clearly state the condition of all items as well as carpets, decorations, etc.
  • If an appointment with an inventory clerk is arranged, you must turn up on time.  Failure to do so may result in a claim by the landlord for damages depending on the terms of your tenancy agreement.

Can I move some of my belongings into the property before my tenancy starts?

Unfortunately, the answer to this is no.

You get access to the property only when the tenancy starts, not before.

What happens at the end of my tenancy?

Usually, an inventory shall be taken and compared with the condition at check in. It is important therefore that you return the property to the same clean state as at the commencement of your tenancy and check that all items are accounted for and in the same place you found them.

The Housing Act 2004 requires that if there is a dispute between a landlord and tenant as to how a deposit should be allocated, the matter and the disputed amount is referred to an Independent Complaints Examiner, who will make a binding decision.

On the last day of your tenancy you shall be required to hand over all keys to the property and may not re-enter, so be sure you have all your belongings out of the property and finished your cleaning etc. by the given time.  Also, don’t forget to cancel your milk, papers and re-direct your post, as the next occupier may not choose to do so for you.

Where funds are to be returned by ourselves as managing agent, this is by cheque or bankers transfer.

In the event you require the recommendation of a suitable professional cleaning and carpet cleaning company, please contact us in good time for this to be done before the end of your tenancy. Please note that where additional cleaning is required after the inventory checkout, the landlord will employ a professional company and a handling fee will be added. This charge is listed below.

Who is responsible for insurance?

In most circumstances the landlord will remain responsible for the insurance of the building and his own contents against normal risks covered by a household insurance policy. This however does not cover damage, accidental or otherwise, by a tenant.

The landlord can certainly not be responsible for insurance of a tenant’s belongings as he has no control over the value of items you possess, be they the Crown Jewels or personal effects of more modest value.

It is therefore important that you insure your own items against damage by fire, flood, theft etc. in the usual way.

We recommend special contents insurance exclusively for tenants which not only covers your items, but also the landlords against accidental damage. We think of it as ensuring your deposit against such accidents as spilling wine over the carpet.  If you would like to insure your deposit and belongings please ask for details.

Tenant Fees

Please see a list of fees applicable to tenants

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