Frequently Asked Questions About Renting in Chipping Sodbury

At Country Property, we aim to help clients looking to live in South Gloucestershire find their dream home, whether letting or purchasing. From a farmhouse with stables and acreage to a studio flat, our estate agents hand pick applicants for each property that we market. The estate agency industry can be quite complicated, and it will pay off greatly to have professional, qualified people at Country Property on your side through the process. Call in to our High Street offices for a short meeting with our in-house staff to help with your query.  Meanwhile we have included below some Frequently Asked Questions about the process and industry:

How much rent can I afford?

When looking for a new space to rent, you should create a budget based on current income and other factors to ensure you can afford the rent each month. Other spending habits need to include food & drink, access to the internet, entertainment, travel plans, and utility bills. Nowadays all monthly subscriptions such as magazines, gym memberships, streaming channels, prepared meals, and clothing will be taken into account for tenant reference or mortgage affordability check so you should take account of this in your initial budget. Stripping back on some less essential schemes may enable you to afford a better property, or a better area. Our estate agents can help answer any other questions about this process and help set it up for you to understand how they work fully.

How much deposit do I need to put down on a house?

Since 1st June 2019, a tenancy deposit is capped at 5 weeks’ worth of rent.  Country Property use the TDS custodial scheme to protect tenants’ deposits.  If you are accepted on a property, you will be asked for a holding deposit to retain the property.  This is equivalent to one week’s worth of rent and will go towards your security deposit that you will pay after referencing is complete.

How to rent a property?

So you have viewed the property, like it and think you can afford it. Make an offer to the landlord via the agent in person or on the phone. The next step is an anxious wait for the landlord to accept or reject your offer. If you are accepted we will commence tenant checks on you – once these are passed satisfactorily, 1) a holding deposit will be requested, and 2) a draft tenancy agreement will be produced.  Country Property try to help you understand the jargon from an early stage before signing the dotted line to avoid wasted time, money and effort later on. Or from you getting into a potentially harmful or stressful legal situation. Commercial rents can be more complicated because there are other elements to negotiate such as longer term, break clauses, or tenants shop/office fittings so a solicitor will usually be involved.

What checks are done when trying to rent?

Each tenant will need to supply proof of UK right to rent, identity documents and immigration status.  The lead tenant will be checked for credit history, employment status and affordability.  During the tenant referencing process you may be asked to submit previous addresses and employment references before the landlord can consider accepting your offer formally.

Are the houses furnished or unfurnished?

The majority of our landlords let unfurnished because it streamlines inventory and check-in. Unfurnished usually includes curtains, curtain poles or blinds, fitted kitchen and bathroom but not white goods, or crockery, TV, sofa, table or chairs, etc.  Any breakages or dilapidations of furnished property will be taken into account.

Can you rent a house if you have a pet?

Country Property understand that a pet is part of the family. Country Property staff are local people and many have dogs. We will not penalize or reject you as a tenant purely on these grounds – rather it is the choice of our landlord client and we take their instructions.  If they do consent to you keeping a pet at the property you will need to sign additional paperwork and you may be asked to pay an additional rent pcm.  This would be negotiated before you agree to proceed.

What does PCM mean when renting a property?

PCM stands for Per Calendar Month. Displayed after the advertised price of the property, it is the monthly expectation of the rent payable to the landlord.  The date the rent is due is commonly the date of commencement of the tenancy agreement.  The safest way to avoid administrative problems is to set up a standing order for this date every month, unless you have agreed to pay 6 months’ rent up front.

Can a landlord increase the rent of a property?

After the first 12 months of an agreement has passed, the rent may be increased with such increase to be in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI) as prescribed in your tenancy agreement.  If Country Property manage the property on behalf of your landlord, they will confirm in good time in writing that the landlord is about to increase the rent.

Who can be a guarantor for renting?

If any doubts are raised during the referencing process such as your job status or previous renting issues, we may ask you to provide a guarantor to continue with the application. Your guarantor will be liable for your rent payments if you cannot make them on time, therefore, they need to pass the same checks as you before you can be accepted. They too can face legal repercussions if they do not make the rent payment and are held to all the same responsibilities as the lead tenant.  Alternatively, you may be asked to pay 6 months’ up front.  A guarantor must provide evidence of an income 3 x the annual rent.

Does universal credit pay rent?

In order to help cover your housing costs, tenants can apply to the Universal Credit system to ensure timely payments are made to their landlord. If you need to take this route, inform us so we can inform your landlord of the situation because it can take up to five weeks before you receive your first payment. If you need help applying for this credit, you will need to seek guidance from Citizens Advice or your local council.

What is shared equity?

Shared equity is a great way to help low-income purchasers get on the property ladder. Typically you will purchase 50% or 60% plus, of the Market Value of the property, with the remainder being owned by a Housing Association (HA), an equity company that you will pay rent to every month, for their share of the equity of the property, in addition to your own mortgage.  Commonly therefore, the asking price appears to be very attractive because it doesn’t include the monthly rental payment, but you will still need to be checked for affordability by the HA before buying the property.  The Market Value is usually the asking price, and is defined by an RICS surveyors valuation report and agreed by the HA before the property is offered for sale.  Therefore you should not expect to pay any less, nor any more, than the asking price.  The agent will usually submit the one chosen buyer to the HA to begin their checks.  Once the property is owned, the act of ‘Staircasing’ relates to buying back equity from the HA to increase your percentage share of the property (and reduce the rent you pay) although in most cases you will never be able to purchase the entire equity of the property over time.

What is ground rent?

A common misnomer, ground rent is not specifically related to renting a property.  Ground rent refers to a Leasehold property where a small recurring charge is made of the owner of the property (by buying it, in legal terms you will be referred to as the leaseholder or lessee) to the company or individual who retains the freehold of the land.  The ground rent payment is commonly a relatively very small sum of money (as it is usually fixed for the term of the lease and not linked to inflation).  The freeholder could be a management company in the case of a block of flats, or it could be an individual, or the developer that built the property or his successors in title.  There have been reports of some owners of leasehold properties buying their freehold title outright, but it is also possible that property changes hands again, the new owners have received a demand for payment from the management company.

Call Country Property For More Info!

If you have further questions or need an expert opinion on any matter, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. Our in-house staff work from our high street offices so we are more than happy to arrange a short meeting to help with your query.

Our team has plenty of experience and knowledge and backed up with the professional qualification – to get you in housing or help rent your accommodation safely. Whether you are a landlord or a future tenant, you can rely on us to safeguard you from predators in the estate market.