Tenant Guide

The renting process is relatively quick and simple in comparison to buying. However, there are still legal processes and general information you will need to know. If you require any further information, or to arrange a viewing, please contact the lettings team on 020 8505 8141, or register with us and we will contact you at your convenience.

This step-by-step guide is intended as a general overview to assist you when renting a property.

Energy Performance Certificates

As of May 2010, anyone renting a property must, by law, receive an Energy Performance Certificate. Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) give information on the energy efficiency and carbon dioxide emissions of a property. It also makes recommendations on how to reduce these.

You can view a sample Energy Efficiency Report here.

You are not obliged to act on the recommendations in the recommendation report.

Making an Offer

Once we have found your suitable property, you will be in a position to make an offer to the Landlord. Please note that any acceptance of offers is subject to satisfactory completion of our reference criteria.

At this point, you will be requested to provide a holding deposit which holds the property for you whilst your references are being checked. However, if your references prove unsatisfactory, the holding deposit would be non-refundable and the property would be remarketed.

Offer Accepted

As soon as your offer has been accepted by the Landlord, we will apply for references and draw up the relevant documentation which will form the basis of the agreement between you and the Landlord.

You will be expected to provide ID and proof of residency. Only the following forms of identification are accepted:

  • Full driving license
  • Passport

Plus one of the following:

  • Utility bill (less than 3 months old)
  • Council tax bill (less than 3 months old)
  • Mobile phone bill (less than 3 months old)


We will also contact your employer and your landlord (if you are in rented accommodation already). Your previous employer will also be contacted if you have recently changed jobs. If you are self employed we will need to contact your accountant. A credit check will also be conducted.

To assist us in collating the necessary references, it would be advantageous for you to warn the above individuals in advance that references are required as these can be returned to us within a matter of a few days, barring any delays.

Occasionally, a guarantor will be required if, for example the tenant has not been continuously employed for the past eighteen months; has been working abroad in the previous six months; the tenants’ income falls short of our criteria or the tenants’ employment is considered changeable.

Please note that the same criteria applies to the guarantor and, furthermore, the guarantor must earn the equivalent of three times the yearly sum of the rent, be in full time employment or be able to prove by bank statements that they have “independent means”. All tenants should be able to provide a guarantor and should the tenant be unable to provide one, we will decide that the tenant has withdrawn their application. The tenant will therefore forfeit their deposit.

The guarantor must be aware that they will stand as guarantor for the whole rent, for the entire occupancy of the property, not just for the period of the initial tenancy term; unless new satisfactory references are obtained and new contracts drawn.

Tenancy Agreement

An appointment will be arranged with you to sign the tenancy agreement when all references have been received. This will normally take place at the property on the agreed move in date; this allows the tenant a final inspection of the property before signing the tenancy agreement. This is the most important document in the renting process. The Landlord will also be asked to sign their copy of the document or, as their agent upon instruction, we will sign on their behalf.

Rent and Deposit

You will be required to provide the agreed sum of rent and deposit before taking possession of the property.

The deposit is required for the full tenancy against loss, damage or charges payable at the termination of the tenancy.

It is returnable in full at the end of the tenancy subject to final inspection of the property and it should be noted that deductions will also be made for cleaning should the property (and garden areas if applicable) not have been left in a satisfactory condition.

New legislation was introduced to the Housing Act 2004 in April 2007 to help protect all parties with regard to the return of deposits.

Our funds are secured with UK Government-approved banks, as Access All Areas is a member of the Deposit Protection Service. For further information on their services, please write to:

The Deposit Protection Service
The Pavilions
Bridgewater Road
BS99 6AA

Or call their helpline on 0844 4727 000.

All deposits held by Ernest and James are done so under the terms of the Deposit Protection Service.

Rent is to be paid monthly in advance commencing the first day of the tenancy and then on the same day each month thereafter. The preferred method is by bank standing order.

Please note that all monies need to be paid on the signing of the tenancy agreement prior to occupation and should be paid by; bankers draft, bank transfer or cash. We apologise we do not accept credit or debit card transactions at this time.

Inventory Report / Check-in and Condition Report

Prior to occupancy, a convenient appointment will be made with the Inventory Clerk to carry out a full Inventory or Check-in report to coincide with your move in day.

This is the second most important document in the renting process and can often be key in deciding how much of your deposit you get back at the end of your agreement. You should therefore be extremely thorough and give it your full attention; any discrepancies need to be reported within 7 days receipt of the report or they will be disregarded.

During the Tenancy

  1. The Tenant will be responsible for insuring their own possessions.
  2. The Tenant will take over all utilities such as Gas, Electricity, Water/Sewage charges, Council Tax and Telephone upon moving into the property and will be responsible for contacting the relevant suppliers accordingly prior to commencement of the tenancy.
  3. The Landlord is responsible for any repair/maintenance problems to appliances etc. but the Tenant is responsible for any breakages which should be reported immediately.
  4. Decoration or alteration of the property must only be done with your Landlord’s permission.
  5. No pets are allowed unless the Landlord has given written consent.
  6. Reasonable notice should be given in the event that the Letting Agent or Landlord wishes to inspect the property outside pre-agreed times. It is usual for the Agent to inspect the property at least twice during the term of your Tenancy and the Tenancy Agreement should cover this eventuality.
  7. Most Tenancies are for 12 months, although some Landlords may consider shorter terms of 6 months.
  8. Should you wish to terminate your Tenancy earlier than the agreed term, you will be liable for all rent until the end of the agreed Tenancy. However, in certain cases the landlord may accept the tenant covering the cost of the remaining let fee (this is a small percentage of the remaining rent due, normally less than 10%). This is subject to the individual landlord’s discretion. Therefore it may be worth considering requesting a BREAK CLAUSE when placing a deposit on a property.
  9. The most common type of Tenancy Agreement is the assured shorthold used for 6-12 month lets and usually takes the form of a standard contract between both parties. However, should any “extras” be agreed such as certain furnishings to be provided by the Landlord, you should ask that an extra clause be added to the agreement to this effect. It should be noted that the landlord is not obliged to carry out promises so it is important that your requests are documented.
  10. Ernest and James will deal with the property viewings, references, agreements and getting you moved in. If the agent has been instructed to manage the property then you will normally report any repairs or queries to them. If not, then you will deal directly with the Landlord.
  11. Ernest and James, whilst acting for the Landlord, operates within accepted guidelines in the industry to ensure that you are able to rely on a professional letting agent taking your concerns seriously and advising the Landlord if they are being unreasonable. In this regard, you should be assured that the property conforms to all safety regulations and is fairly priced.

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