Things to consider when looking for property
Before you start your property search, there are a number of things to consider. Below we have outlined some questions you should be asking yourself at the start of your search to get the most out of the experience.
What do I need my new home to give me?
When you start to think about making a move, you need to consider what your new home will need to provide to make it suitable for you and your situation. Everyone is different so having an idea in your head before you register for a property is essential. Properties come in many different forms and below we have thought of some questions that you should be asking yourself to get the most out of the process:
Do you need a furnished, part furnished or unfurnished property? When you are looking for your next home, it will be offered to one of these levels or even listed as ‘landlord flexible’. You need to look at your lifestyle and situation and decide if you need the landlord to provide some of all of your furnishings and if this is something that is negotiable for you.
Do you need outside space? This can come in many different forms from a balcony of a flat to a garden and lots of options in between. At the start of this process, you need to decide if outside space is a must have for your new home or not and make it clear to the agent.
Do you have any pets? A very important question to ask yourself as some landlords will allow pets and some do not. This can restrict your search so ask the questions up front
Do you smoke? The vast majority of landlords do not allow smoking in their properties so it is paramount to check which properties might be suitible.
Do you need parking? With more and more cars and motorbikes on the road, it is a common question about what the availability for parking is, you should be asking your agent questions like; is there a driveway, do you require a permit or is there allocated parking close to the property? The majority of houses in and around Kingston do not have allocated parking and a permit would be required however if you are looking at flats then the likelihood is that there will be an allocated space that comes with the flat but always check with us as this can vary.
What do I need my new area to provide?
Whether you are familiar with the area you are looking in or it would be your first time moving to a new area, there are a number of things to consider when looking for a property.
Some things to take into consideration are as follows:
Transport links – Where is the closest bus stop, train station or motorway and how important are these in your search requirements?
Dental and medical practices and hospitals – Although something that you won’t need on a regular basis, it is never the less important to know where your local hospital, surgery and local dental practice is for those all-important check-ups.
Parks – With Richmond Park within a short walk of most of the properties we offer, we should have you covered but it is always worth asking the question if fresh air and outside space is important to you.
Gyms – There are a number of great gyms within the local area.
Supermarkets and shops –The local area has an abundance of amazing shops to cater for everyone. Along with lots of supermarkets, both large and small depending on your wants and needs.
Schools – With a number of outstanding Ofsted rated schools, Kingston is a fantastic location to be for schooling. The Tiffin Boys or Girls school, Latchmere School or Grey Court school, should all be schools to consider when moving to the area.
Restaurants and bars – With more than 50 restaurants and bars in Kingston to choose from, there is always something that will satisfy your taste buds.
Now you have found your new home, what documentation and information do you need before making an offer?
Before you make an offer, you need to ensure that you have all of the correct documentation in order to proceed with a property. We will always ask for these documents once your offer has been accepted so it is best practice to make sure you have everything ready beforehand. Below is a list of acceptable documents to prove your identification and anyone over the age of 18 who will be residing in the property:
- Valid passport (And Visa if required)
- Valid full UK photo driving licence
- National identity card
- EU shotgun license
- Birth certificate
- Marriage or civil partnership certificate
Proof of Address
When you make an offer not only do we require proof of identification but also proof of current address. It is important to note that any proof of address you provide must be dated within the last three months and must match your current address and the address supplied on the reference application. Below is a list of acceptable documents that can be used to prove your address:
- Credit card statement
- Recent bank or building society statements
- Council tax bill
- Utility bill
- Mortgage statement
- Current tenancy agreement (signed within the last six months)
- Letter from employer confirming address (signed, dated and printed on headed paper)
Putting forward an offer
After you have found the right property and are ready to put forward an offer, there are a number of questions that both the agent and landlord will want to know to make an informed decision about accepting you as a tenant. Below is a list of some of the questions you will be expected to answer when putting forward an offer.
- Proposed start date of the tenancy
- Term of tenancy
- Rental amount (per calendar month)
- Full Names (including middle names) of all applicants over 18 who will be living in the property. If you have any children under the age of 18 please provide their names and ages.
- Correspondence address for all applicants
- The contact telephone number for all applicants
- The email address for all applicants
- Employment details of all applicants
- Employment status
- Name of employer
- Position within the company
- Time with employer
- Approximate annual salary
After your offer has been accepted
When your offer has been accepted by the landlord, you will need to make your first payment which is a combination of a reference fee and a holding fee which is equal to half of the first month’s rent which goes towards the total money due prior to moving in. After the money has been paid you will then be referenced to ensure there is nothing controversial which the landlord would want to know.
Reference checks are carried out on every prospective tenant to confirm that they not only can afford the rent but also to confirm that there have not been any issues with their previous rental property.
The referencing charges are non-refundable once the referencing process has begun. You will not be refunded if you fail the referencing process, so it is important to have all the relevant information required before undergoing the check. You can ask the letting agent what criteria need to be met, and if you are concerned that you might fail the checks. The landlord may agree to you having a guarantor.
Below is a short list of what the referencing may include:
- Financial background checks
- Address history check
- List of CCJ and any other adverse credit history
- Bank details check (account and sort code verification)
- Income verification/employer’s reference
- Full time and permanent job
- Earnings – can you afford the rental amount, which is usually x2.5 the annual rent or x30 the monthly rent?
- A current landlord or managing agent reference
There may be times when a guarantor is required in order to proceed with a tenancy. When this happens you should carefully consider who you ask to be your guarantor as they will be taking on a lot of responsibility should anything happen. The guarantor would be responsible for making sure the rent is paid along with upholding any of the other conditions of the tenancy agreement. Landlords like having a guarantor as it is similar to having an insurance policy against the risk of a bad tenant. Guarantors would need to go through the same referencing process as tenants such as credit checks and affordability references.
Post reference completion
Once all of the referencing has been completed, contracts will be drawn up and issued, usually in the form of an assured shorthold tenancy agreement in line with the details in your offer. This will then be sent out shortly after for both parties to sign. Once you have signed your tenancy agreement you will be expected to pay the outstanding balance of money due which is typically as follows:
- The other half of the first month’s rent
- The deposit (equal to 5 weeks rent)
- Tenancy agreement fee
- Check-in Charge
Once the tenancy agreement has been signed by both parties and all of the money has been paid, the check-in will be booked at which time you will collect keys from the inventory check-in clerk and you are free to move into your new home.
The deposit is an amount of money, held by the agent or the landlord as an assurance that when the tenant moves out of the property, they will return it in the same condition as noted in their check-in report. If the property is not left in the same state as at the time of check-in (minus fair wear and tear) then the agent or landlord may deduct money from your deposit to make good the damage caused. The deposit will be held in a government-backed deposit protection scheme, typically with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) but there are a number of other schemes that might be used. All deposits held by Gibson Lane under an assured shorthold tenancy are protected by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
If you choose to rent a property through Gibson Lane we will require the following:
Before the start of the tenancy a holding deposit of 1 weeks rent equivalent is required to secure a property and proceed with reference checks. A security deposit equivalent to 5 weeks rent, in addition to the first month’s rent in advance must be paid. This is subject to contract and referencing.
1 Weeks rent equivalent (Rent X 12 divided by 52)
Rental & Utility Bills:
Payable as outlined in the tenancy agreement.
5 weeks rent equivalent (calculated by dividing the annual rent by 52 and multiplying by 5)
Default Fees & Damages
Late Rental Payment:
For late rental payments where the rent payment has been outstanding for 14 days or more from the date set out in the tenancy agreement, Gibson Lane will charge a default fee of 3% above the Bank of England’s base rate for each day that the payment has been outstanding.
Lost key or security device giving access to the property/premises:
Gibson Lane will charge the tenant the actual cost of replacement for a lost key or equivalent security device/s.
Changes to a Tenancy:
Contract variation, notation, amendment or change of occupant at the tenant’s request within an existing tenancy- £50.00
Please note the following points outline a holding fee being retained by Gibson Lane:
- Providing false or misleading information which you can reasonably consider when deciding to let a property – this can include a tenant’s behaviour in providing false or misleading information.
- Failing a right to rent check.
- Withdrawing from a property (unless a landlord or agent imposed a requirement that breached the ban or acted in such a way to the tenant or relevant person that it would be unreasonable to expect a tenant to enter into a tenancy agreement with them).
- Failing to take all reasonable steps to enter into a tenancy agreement and the landlord or agent takes all reasonable steps to do so (unless a landlord or agent imposes a requirement that breaches the ban or acts in such a way to the tenant or relevant person that it would be unreasonable to expect a tenant to enter into a tenancy agreement with them).