FAQs for Tenants

What type of tenancy agreement do I have?

Your tenancy agreement for a private house or flat will be an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, also sometimes known as an AST. In the very rare occasion that a different type of tenancy has been granted this will have been discussed with you during your application process.

When does my tenancy end?

Your tenancy will usually specify an initial fixed term (most commonly six or twelve months), after which it may be brought to an end, a new agreement may be negotiated or it may become a statutory periodic tenancy (sometimes known as a ‘rolling tenancy’).

You may leave at the end of the fixed term without giving notice unless there is a clause in your tenancy agreement requiring a set period of notice. Separate rules will apply to a periodic tenancy and you should contact Fenland Estates for advice as early as possible if you are thinking of leaving.

If you leave before the end of the fixed term your landlord has the right to charge you rent until the end of the fixed term. If you feel you may need to leave early, you should contact Fenland Estates to see if we are able to negotiate an agreement with the landlord.

When can my landlord ask me to leave?

Your landlord can not ask for you to leave before the end of a fixed term unless you are in breach of the terms of your tenancy, in which case he would need to obtain a court order for possession.

Your landlord can give you notice in writing at least two months before the end of the initial fixed term or at any time afterwards that they want possession of the property. They can serve notices during the tenancy to coincide with the agreed termination date. If you do not vacate the property at this time your landlord can start legal action against you.

Who can live with me?

Your tenancy agreement will name those adults allowed to live at the property. Should you allow anyone else to live there you will be in breach of your tenancy agreement.

Where the tenancy agreement names more than one tenant then each tenant has exactly the same rights and responsibilities. Legally this is known as being jointly and severally liable. This means all tenants are equally responsible for paying the rent (not just ‘their share’) and keeping to the terms of the tenancy agreement.

Gas safety

If your property has a gas supply, your landlord must arrange for an annual gas safety check to be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer. You should receive a copy of the certificate showing this has been done. If you are unsure whether you have this you must contact Fenland Estates immediately.

If you suspect that your gas installations or pipe work are defective, you must contact Fenland Estates immediately.

If you suspect a leak, leave the property immediately and call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999 for advice.

Electrical safety

Your landlord has a responsibility to ensure that the electrical system and any devices they supply are safe. Whilst Fenland Estates recommends to landlords that they have a registered electrician carry out testing at suitable intervals, there is no legal annual requirement for certification as there is with gas.

If you suspect your electrical system or supplied electrical devices may be unsafe you must contact Fenland Estates immediately.

Energy efficiency

The property details initially given to you by Fenland Estates will include an energy rating and you have been given a full Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) on the property. It is a requirement of your tenancy that you keep the property sufficiently heated and you are liable for any damage caused to the property through insufficient heating. Please make sure you have taken heating bills into account when taking on a tenancy.

Council tax

Council tax is a tax on residency, not on property ownership. You, as the resident(s) at the property are liable for arranging payment to the local authority.

Utility bills

Unless specifically agreed in writing before the commencement of your tenancy, you will be responsible for payment of all utility bills. This includes, where applicable, gas, electric, oil, water and sewage rates (including emptying of septic tanks). It also includes TV licensing. Most landlords are happy for you to change energy provider to obtain the best tariffs, we will have advised you if this is not the case.

Contact details

It is a legal requirement that you are given contact details for your landlord. Your tenancy agreement will show the name of your landlord. As Fenland Estates have been appointed managing agents by your landlord, you should contact Fenland Estates with any queries. Should you need to serve any form of notice on your landlord, for example advising that you wish to leave, you should use the address given on the front page of your tenancy agreement.

Respecting your privacy

As tenants you have a legal right to ‘quiet enjoyment’ of the property. Neither your landlord nor their agents are entitled to turn up at the property without notice and demand entry. Should Fenland Estates need to visit the property for routine inspections or maintenance, we will always arrange an appointment with you first except in the case of a genuine emergency. To help us keep intrusion to a minimum and to allow the smooth running of your tenancy, we would ask that you respond straight away to any requests for access.

Maintenance

Your landlord has a responsibility to ensure the property is safe and habitable. The heating, lighting and plumbing should be in working order. If, for example, the boiler breaks down your landlord should get it fixed. He is not responsible for redecorating or for minor ongoing maintenance such as changing light bulbs, clearing sinks or changing tap washers. If you have a maintenance issue and are not sure who is responsible, please call Fenland Estates for advice.

Safety

Your landlord is responsible for ensuring gas, electrical and fire safety of the property. It is important that you do not attempt any repairs which may compromise this. If you have any concerns with regard safety, please contact Fenland Estates immediately

Deposit protection

Your landlord must register any relevant deposit with an approved tenancy deposit scheme. In most cases this will have been arranged by Fenland Estates who will have provided you with full details of the scheme used. Your tenancy agreement will state which scheme has been used but if you have any questions regarding your deposit please contact Fenland Estates.

Paying rent

It is essential that you pay your rent on time. Failure to do so can lead to extra charges, your landlord is unlikely to renew your contract at the end of the current term, you will find it harder to rent again without good references and you may even lose your home through court action by the landlord. If there is a genuine and unavoidable reason why you might not pay your rent on time it is essential that you contact Fenland Estates straight away. We will do all we can to help and will talk to the landlord on your behalf. Do not hide from the problem and hope it will go away, contact the office straight away.

Reporting damage

Fenland Estates want you to enjoy living in your home and a big part of our job is to keep landlords advised as to the current condition of the property. Small repair issues can rapidly become much bigger if not acted upon and we ask all our tenants to help us help you by informing us of any maintenance requirements. You should also be aware that it is a condition of your tenancy that you report such matters and failure to do so could see you being held responsible for any subsequent further damage and costs.

Ongoing maintenance

While your landlord has a responsibility to maintain the safety of the property it is your responsibility to maintain your home on a day to day basis. The legal term used is that you should act in ‘a tenant like manner’. The legal precedent states: ‘the tenant must take proper care of the premises. He must, if he is going away for the winter, turn off the water and empty the boiler; he must clean the chimneys when necessary and also the windows; he must mend the electric light when it fuses; he must unstop the sink when it is blocked by his waste. In short, he must do the little jobs around the place which a reasonable tenant would do...’

Allowing access

The landlord has a duty to respect your privacy (see section 3). You should also allow your landlord (or his agent) access to the property to inspect it or carry out repairs after giving you reasonable notice. Failure to do so is a breach of your tenancy agreement and makes it more difficult for the landlord to ensure your homes remains a pleasant and safe place to live.

Complying with the tenancy agreement

Please ensure you read your tenancy agreement thoroughly to ensure you understand the terms and conditions. The agreement is a legal document and failure to comply with its terms could lead to unnecessary cost or potentially even the loss of your home. It has been designed to be fair to all parties and if you have any questions about the agreement please call Fenland Estates for advice. You may also, of course, seek independant legal advice if you have any concerns.

Before you move in:

Set up fee (tenant’s share)
Processing the application, negotiating between tenant and landlord, setting up tenancy agreement and associated administration

£150

Referencing fee (per tenant)
Tenant referencing including, where appropriate, identity, visa and immigration confirmation, financial credit checks, obtaining references from current or previous employers / landlords and any other relevant information to assess affordability

£90

Guarantor fee (only if a guarantor is required)
Covering referencing and preparing a Deed of Guarantee as part of the tenancy agreement

£120

Pet fee (if applicable)
Where permission is granted for pets at the property, to cover the cost of flea treatment at the end of the tenancy.

£48

Deposit protection fee
To cover the administrative and costs of deposit protection in an approved scheme.

£48

During your tenancy:

Amendment fee
Contract negotiation, amending terms and updating your tenancy agreement during your tenancy.

£90

Renewal fee (tenant’s share)
Contract negotiation, amending and updating terms and arranging a further tenancy and agreement or extension.

£90

Late payment fee
To cover the extra administrative costs involved for chasing payment. Fee is per event f late payment. This is in addition to any interest which may be payable under the terms of your tenancy agreement.

£30

Missed appointment fee
Where an appointment has been agreed with the tenant(s) for Fenland Estates, or an appointed contractor, to visit you at the property and you fail to attend.

£48

Ending your tenancy:

Check out Fee
Attending the property to undertake a review of any inventory and schedule of condition, to take utility meter readings and to negotiate the repayment of any security deposit)

£66

All fees include VAT at current rate

Important note

This guide has been produced by Fenland Estates as a guide to help tenants understand how their tenancy works. It is not intended to be a definitive guide and as such will not cover all legal aspects of residential letting. Fenland Estates acts as agent for our landlord clients and while we will always endeavour to offer fair advice you are encouraged to seek independent professional advice if you have any concerns regarding your tenancy.

Fenland Estates are licensed members of The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) who can offer advice via their website www.arla.co.uk

Fenland Estates are members of The Property Ombudsman.

 

Rob
If you have any questions about your tenancy, please contact Kerry on 01406 363006