Category Archives: Tenants

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About Fareham

Posted on February 16, 2017 in Tenants by whiteslettings

Fareham has a population of some 105,000 inhabitants and covers almost 30 square miles of southern Hampshire roughly midway between Portsmouth and Southampton.

The Borough is situated at the edge of the Hampshire countryside and lies at the foot of the beautiful Meon Valley. Today Fareham is a mixture of rural countryside and urban developments which cover the following wards:

  • Fareham
  • Portchester
  • Stubbington
  • Hill Head
  • Locks Heath
  • Titchfield
  • Warsash
  • Sarisbury

Information on the local area can be found on the Fareham Borough Council Website:

Fareham Borough Council

Fareham is easily accessible by public transport with a railway station and a bus station in the town. The area is also highly accessible by car due to the proximity of the A27 and M27. A cycle network is also being developed as part of the Borough Cycling Strategy.

MultipMap map of Fareham

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Rent, Fees & References

Posted on February 16, 2017 in Tenants by whiteslettings

Rents

Rents are normally quoted calendar monthly, and payable monthly in advance. The tenant is usually also responsible for Council Tax, Water Rates, Gas, Electricity and Telephone costs as well as TV licenses. All rents are payable by bank standing order to our company bank account.

RELEVANT LETTING FEES & TENANT PROTECTION INFORMATION

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

Permitted payments

Before the tenancy starts payable to Whites Independent Lettings Ltd

  1. Holding Deposit: 1 week’s rent
  2. Security Deposit: maximum of five (5) weeks’ rent

Acceptable methods of payment

  • Bank transfer – for rents, deposits and tenant default charges

PLEASE NOTE:  THE PAYMENT OF RENT AND SECURITY DEPOSITS BY CREDIT OR DEBIT CARDS IS NOT ACCEPTED

During the tenancy, the following may also be payable to Whites Independent Lettings Ltd

a. Payment of £50 (inclusive of vat) if you want to change the tenancy agreement

b. Payment of interest for the late payment of rent at a rate of 3% above the Bank of England base rate per annum

c. Payment of any unpaid rent or other reasonable re-let costs associated with your early termination of the tenancy

During the tenancy the tenant is liable for the payment of (where applicable):

Utilities – gas, electricity, water
Communications – telephone and broadband
Installation of cable/satellite and subscriptions to supplier
Television licence
Council Tax
Other permitted payments

Any other permitted payments, not included above, under the relevant legislation including contractual damages.

Tenant protection

Whites Independent Lettings is a member of Client Money Protect Ltd of Premiere House, 1st Floor, Elstree Way, Borehamwood WD6 1JH, which is a client money protection scheme (membership number: CMP005206).

Whites also has Professional Indemnity (PI) insurance through Lonsdale Insurance Brokers, London.

Whites are also a member of The Property Ombudsman (www.tpos.co.uk) which is a redress scheme. You can find out more details on the agent’s website or by contacting Whites directly.

Deposit

A deposit will be paid by the tenant to to cover damage, breakages, and any other liabilities under the terms of your tenancy agreement. Please note that under no circumstances can the deposit be used by the tenant to cover rent. Deposits held under a Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement are held by The Deposit Protection Service in a custodial scheme and covered under the Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme in accordance with the Housing Act 2004.

What is the Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme?

References

As a minimum we will require satisfactory references from your employer (or college), and a previous or current landlord. We may also require a personal reference, and sometimes a guarantor. In addition a credit check will be undertaken. We may use the services of an independent referencing company to obtain and evaluate these references.

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Tenancy Deposit Protection

Posted on February 16, 2017 in Landlords, Tenants by whiteslettings

The Housing Act 2004 introduced new legislation that has had a major impact in the private rented sector. Initially the Act drew attention with the introduction of Home Information Packs, ‘Sellers Packs’ as the media called them. Then it was the turn of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, now called Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) and will apply to all new assured shorthold tenancies (AST’s) where a deposit is taken. It will not apply to assured or contractual tenancies (eg Company Lets).

Following pressure from the public and consumer groups, who were mainly concerned about tenants who had difficulty in recovering their deposits at the end of a tenancy, measures were introduced in to the Housing Act to prevent deposits being unfairly withheld by the landlord.

These measures commenced on 6 April 2007 and all landlords and agents are required to join a statutory deposit scheme if they take deposits. This means that the deposits will be safeguarded and tenants will get all or part of their deposit back, if they have kept the property in good condition and are entitled to get the deposit back. TDP offers alternative ways of resolving disputes which aims to be faster and cheaper.

How does TDP work?

There are two types of schemes. Two insurance based schemes, each supported by Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service and one custodial scheme with ADR.

Insurance based schemes basically work in the following way:

  • The tenant pays the deposit to the landlord or agent.
  • The landlord or agent retains the deposit and pays a premium to the insurer.
  • Within 30 days of receipt of the deposit, the landlord or agent must give the tenant prescribed information about which scheme is being used and how it works.
  • At the end of the tenancy, if the landlord and tenant agree how the deposit should be dealt with, the landlord or agent deals with the deposit as agreed.
  • If there is a dispute, the landlord or agent must hand over the disputed amount of the deposit into the scheme for safekeeping until the dispute is resolved.
  • If for any reason, the landlord fails to comply, the insured arrangements will ensure the return of the deposit to which the tenant is entitled.

The Custodial scheme basically works in the following way:

  • The tenant pays the deposit to the landlord or agent.
  • The landlord or agent pays the deposit into the scheme within 30 days.
  • Within 30 days of receipt of the deposit, the landlord or agent must give the tenant prescribed information about which scheme is being used and how it works.
  • At the end of the tenancy, if the landlord and tenant agree how the deposit should be dealt with, the landlord and tenant write to the scheme who will send back the deposit according to the agreement.
  • If there is a dispute, the scheme will hold the amount in dispute until the dispute resolution service or courts decide what is fair.

The interest accrued by deposits in the scheme will be used to pay for the running of the scheme and any surplus will be used to offer interest to the tenant or landlord, based on the amount of the deposit that is refunded to each party.

What is ADR?

A key part of the Act and the Government’s objective is to provide both landlords and tenants with an independent and impartial solution to move out disputes. Currently, the only option for the parties is litigation which is time consuming and expensive and is not really an option for, say, a tenant who has a dispute on part of a deposit. In these cases, the court fees alone can be greater than the actual amount in dispute. Consumer groups have for a long time lobbied Government for this change on the basis that the current system is ‘unfair’.

When a dispute occurs, and if the landlord and tenant agree to use ADR, they will also agree to be bound by its decision. This means that disputes will only go to court when ADR is not used.

ADR is evidenced based and this has significant implications for the landlord. It is to be a free service and any cost incurred by the landlord or tenant in presenting a case is not recoverable. Similarly, the maximum monetary sum that can be recovered will not exceed the value of the deposit. However, in the insured schemes the tenant’s claim against the landlord does not have a monetary limit.

ADR is an ex-party service (unlike court, no one attends the hearing or dispute) and there will be no inspection. Since it is evidence based, it is clear that a party who cannot produce evidence has a poor chance of winning an argument. The minimum information will be the tenancy agreement, move in procedures, the Inventory and Schedule of Condition, move out procedures including move out Inventory and Schedule of Condition, photographs/video (where available) and any relevant correspondence/information, including appropriate mid-term visit reports, estimates/invoices for remedial work. Frankly, a landlord who cannot provide this documentation has little chance of succeeding.

What happens if there is non-compliance by a landlord?

It has always been possible to end a fixed term AST on two months’ notice effective at or after the expiration of the fixed term. If such a tenancy becomes periodic, it is also possible for a landlord to bring the tenancy to an end under notice (two months’ where it is a monthly periodic tenancy).

Under the new regulations, a landlord is unable to regain possession of the property under a Section 21 notice if the deposit has not been safeguarded, or the prescribed information has not been given to the tenant within 30 days of the landlord receiving the deposit, in accordance with the regulations.

In short, this means that if a tenant refuses to vacate and the landlord has not complied with the regulations as to holding the deposit or providing the prescribed information in the required timescale, the court would not grant an order for possession under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.

In addition to the above, the tenant can also apply to the court for an order that the deposit is safeguarded or the prescribed information be given about the scheme in which the deposit is safeguarded. Where then court believes that the landlord has failed to comply with the requirements as to prescribed information or where the deposit is not held in a scheme, the court must either order the repayment of the deposit within 30 days, or order that the landlord pay the deposit in to the scheme administrator. The court must also order the landlord to pay to the tenant a ‘fine’ (but it is really compensation) of three times the deposit amount.

A tenant who vacates the property before discovering that their deposit has not been protected can make an application to the court at any time for a repayment order and the landlord would face the same sanctions as mentioned above.

So, which scheme does Whites Independent Lettings use?

Having carefully considered the options available and the consequences of each scheme, we use the Custodial scheme. This scheme is run by Computershare Investors Services PLC who has called the scheme The Deposit Protection Service (DPS) and is funded entirely by the interest earned from deposits held in the scheme.

The main advantages of using the DPS are:

  • The DPS is the only Government-authorised custodial scheme that is free to use
  • The DPS is open to all private landlords and letting agents, with no pre-conditions to meet or assessments to take
  • Landlords and letting agents can access online accounts 24/7 and submit deposits in minutes
  • All funds are ring fenced in accordance with client money regulations
  • An independent and free Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service will aim to resolve any disputes quickly and without the need for court action. Landlords, agents and tenants could also earn interest on any proportion of the deposit they are entitled to retain at the end of a tenancy
  • Tenants feel secure that their deposit is held separately by a third-party (the DPS) and not the agent or landlord

How can Whites help me?

Whites Independent Lettings will be more than happy to guide landlords through this process and register deposits taken in by the DPS even on Letting Only tenancies.

Please feel free to talk with us regarding your situation by telephone, email or even at our offices in West Street, Fareham.

Alternatively, view the DPS on their website:
www.depositprotection.com

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Finding a Property

Posted on February 16, 2017 in Tenants by whiteslettings

If you are looking for property to rent in Fareham and the surrounding areas, the first step is to register with us and provide brief details about yourself and about the accommodation you require. We then search our database for suitable properties for you to view. If your requirements are not urgent, we log your details so that we can contact you as suitable properties become available.

It is wise to start looking about a month before you wish to move, as the nicer properties are viewed and reserved quickly. Our tenancies are granted for a minimum term of six months.

http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-to-rent/find/Whites-Independent-Lettings-Ltd/Fareham.html?locationIdentifier=BRANCH^9456

Viewings

Viewings will be arranged at times to suit you, including evenings and weekends, and you will invariably be accompanied by a member of staff, who can give advice and answer any questions you may have.

Reserving the Property

Once you have decided on a property, you will need to reserve it by paying a ‘reservation fee’. Assuming that the tenancy goes ahead, this will be deducted from the monies due before you move in. If the landlord declines to grant the tenancy, it will be refunded. However the deposit will be forfeit if you decide not to proceed for any reason, or if you fail to provide complete and accurate information in your application.

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Right to Rent

Posted on February 5, 2017 in Landlords, Tenants by orange pixel

Right to Rent checks became a mandatory legal requirement in England from 1 February 2016.

The new law means that private landlords, including those who sub-let or take in lodgers, must check the right of prospective tenants to be in the country to avoid being hit with a penalty.

Under the new rules, landlords who fail to check a potential tenant’s ‘Right to Rent’ will face penalties of up to £3,000 per tenant.

‘Right to Rent’ was introduced in the Immigration Act 2014 as part of the government’s reforms to build a fairer and more effective immigration system.

The first phase was launched in parts of the West Midlands in 2014 and caused controversy from many industry players who saw it as a move by the government to ask landlords and letting agents to act, effectively, as border control.

The phased introduction of ‘Right to Rent’, starting in the West Midlands, was to allow time to assess how the measures work in practice and to carry out an evaluation which was published in October 2015.

A panel including the Equality and Human Rights Commission as well as representatives of landlords and letting agents, local authorities, and homelessness charity Crisis, has worked with government on the evaluation.

Under ‘Right to Rent’, landlords should check identity documents for all new tenants and take copies. This includes checking a UK passport, a European Economic Area passport or identity card, a permanent residence card or travel document showing indefinite leave to remain, a Home Office immigration status document or a certificate of registration or naturalisation as a British citizen.