Renting a property

Your guide to renting a property

Renting a property in London is one of the most flexible ways of taking residency in the capital. Being a tenant is clearly different to owning a property and Hanover employs dedicated lettings specialists and has membership to ARLA Propertymark, for your peace of mind.

We will guide you through every aspect of renting a property, from registering your requirements and explaining the referencing process to setting out your responsibilities and making clear tenant payments.

 Hanover places great emphasis on professional standards. We follow ARLA’s strict code of conduct and operate in a transparent manner so both the tenant and landlord have confidence during the tenancy agreement.

 

Our rental property guide
is a good introduction to becoming a responsible tenant

Tenants - What you need to know

Renting a property is a binding contract between a tenant and landlord, where the tenant pays for the privilege of living in the landlord’s property. Tenants have the right to know who their landlord is, and be protected against unfair eviction and unfair rent charges. There are also rules governing access to the rental property to preserve a tenant’s peace and privacy.

Unlike living in a hotel, there is a duty of care resting with the tenant. A tenant is responsible for taking care of the property, letting the landlord know of any issues as soon as they arise, paying the agreed rent at the agreed time and repairing any damage - accidental or malicious - caused by the tenant or their visitors. A tenant is expected to change fuses and light bulbs, unblock sinks and replace batteries in smoke alarms as part of ‘running repairs’ and general DIY.

 

Landlords - Quality and safety guaranteed

The rental property should be provided in a safe and satisfactory state of repair. A landlord must ensure there are working smoke alarms, gas safety certificates proving all gas appliances have been serviced and professionally installed, and proof of electrical testing before a tenant moves in. There are other requirements pertaining to fire regulations and furnishings, which Hanover is happy to explain. A landlord must give a tenant 24 hours’ notice before entering the property, unless there is an emergency.

 

Tenant Payments

With the introduction of the Tenant Fees Act 2019, letting agents and landlords cannot require a tenant to make certain payments in connection with a tenancy. For example, tenants are no longer required to cover the cost of referencing, check-in, inventory or admin fees.

The only payments a tenant can be charged in connection with a tenancy are:

a) the rent

b) a refundable holding deposit (to reserve a property) capped at no more than one week’s rent

c) a refundable security deposit capped at no more than five weeks’ rent where the annual rent is less than £50,000, or six weeks’ rent where the total annual rent is £50,000 or above

d) payments to change the tenancy (when requested by the tenant), capped at £50, or reasonable costs incurred if higher

e) payments associated with early termination of the tenancy (when requested by the tenant)

f) payments in respect of utilities, communication services, TV licence and council tax; and

g) A default fee for late payment of rent, when rent payments have been outstanding for 14 days or more (capped at 3% above the Bank of England’s base rate) and replacement of a lost key/security fob.

The 3 R’s - Registration, References and Rent

Finding the right tenant for London’s rental properties is a skill that we have perfected at Hanover. We will register a tenant’s property requirements, noting the budget, location, style and size of property required and once an offer has been accepted, carry out the necessary referencing checks (normally via a specialist tenant referencing company). Dialogue is opened with previous landlords and current employers as well as requesting photographic ID and a council tax or utility bill valid within the last three months. Once these documents have been verified and the references have been satisfactorily returned and approved, the tenancy agreement is then drawn up, ready for signing.

 

Securing your deposit

Your deposit will be placed in a Government-approved deposit protection scheme, which protects your deposit, should any disputes arise at the end of the tenancy. For your full deposit to be returned, the tenancy must have run without issue and the property returned to the landlord in a like-for-like condition.

Only the best will do

Your dream property might already be on our books as we represent some of London’s finest rental homes. If we don’t have anything suitable, you’ll be informed as soon as anything meeting your requirements comes to the market. One of the Hanover team will accompany you on any viewings, ready to answer any questions about the property, the tenancy details and the local area.

 

Reserving your London rental property

Tenants must make an offer to the landlord by way of the representing agent. Once the offer is accepted, a tenancy agreement or contract will be created. Tenants should familiarise themselves with this document as it will set out the rights, responsibilities and rules pertaining to the property and those involved.

A tenancy agreement is a legal document that must be signed in person, usually in the letting agents’ office, by both the tenant and the landlord. The representing agent will commission an independent inventory report, detailing the contents and condition of the property - a vital document that will be called upon during any disputes. The tenant must understand the role of an inventory and agree it fairly represents the property they are renting. The final step of reserving a rental property is paying the necessary deposits and the first period’s rental.

 

The end of a tenancy

Once the tenancy tenure is up, the tenant can either renegotiate to extend their stay or vacate the property. If moving on, there will be a check out procedure where the property’s condition is checked and compared to the inventory. Any discrepancies and damage may forfeit some or all of the security deposit.