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Tenant Guide

Looking for your ideal rental property?

Here at Castle Hill Properties, we help tenants like you find their perfect rental property every day. Our experienced and professional rental specialists want your tenant experience to be a happy and rewarding one, so we go to great lengths to make sure your next new home is just the right one.

Successful tenancies rely on good relationships and communication so we make that extra bit of effort to get to know you and your property needs. Getting it right helps create longer lasting tenancies, which in turn offer better value for money for tenants. We want you to be happy in your new home so we work hard to find your perfect match.

We are members of The Property Ombudsman redress scheme so you are always guaranteed a completely ethical and professional service. Plus our friendly and helpful team are always happy to help and advise on any of your rental questions.

Nobody wants a nasty financial sting once they’ve set their heart on a property so our fees are completely transparent and published on our website.

Although renting has become increasingly popular, we understand that for many, it may be your first experience as a tenant so we take lots of time to explain the process and make sure that you are completely happy to take on this new commitment. Do feel free to ask us any of your questions.

With rental property in high demand, don’t miss out, as properties are snapped up quickly. Why not register with us for new property alerts and let us start looking for your new home today?

You've decided to rent a property -now what?

There are many reasons why people choose to rent. It is a good way to find out more about an area you think you'd like to live in; it could be your only option in a mortgage market that demands substantial deposits; or you might have clear reasons for preferring it to buying your own place at the moment. The aim of this guide is to explain how the rental process works and to advise you of the things you need to know and be prepared for.

1. Finding a Property

First of all, think carefully about the type of property you'd like to rent and your criteria, i.e. how many bedrooms you require? Ground floor or 1st floor? Transport links? Do you want a furnished or unfurnished property, or would something that's just part-furnished be okay?

It’s important to think about your criteria for a property but keep an open mind about your search, don’t limit yourself. i.e. try looking in more than one location, this may provide a further pool of properties to choose from.

More importantly calculate your budget as this may determine where your search begins for a property. To determine this, check that your gross annual salary is at least 30 times the monthly rent. For example a rent of £1000pcm would require a minimum of £30,000 gross annual salary.

You may require a guarantor should your income fall short of the required figure.

Each guarantor will need to complete an application form and will need to be referenced before a tenancy can be considered.

2. Viewings

When you have decided on a property that you like, you need to arrange a viewing. Give us a call on 0208 998 1118 or send an e-mail to enquiries@castlehillproperties.co.uk quoting the reference number or address.

We will then contact you and arrange a time that is convenient and meet at the property or at our offices.

Remember when you call the office, you will be asked for your contact details and search criteria so it’s best to have this ready.

If the property is for tenants sharing a flat or house, then it would be advisable to attend a viewing together so that you can make a decision. Properties come and go very quickly, so don’t be beaten by those who are prepared with their documents and make a decision immediately.

3. Holding Deposit

If you decide you would like to take the property, you will be asked to pay a holding deposit. This guarantees that the property will be reserved for you. The amount will be a proportion of the rent. This deposit is non-refundable, unless the Landlord chooses not to go ahead with the tenancy.

Holding Deposit: Two weeks rent

If the property is being marketed by several estate agents, once you pay your holding deposit, the Landlord is obligated to let the other agents know to take it off the market.

4. Application Form

Once you have paid your holding deposit, you'll be asked to fill out our application form, which will ask for your contact details, bank details, next of kin, employment details (if self employed the accountant’s details) and current landlord details. You will also need to provide two forms of ID. The following documents will be required:

  • Proof of ID - Passport or driving licence
  • Proof of Address - a utility bill that is within the last 3 months
  • Most recent bank statements
  • Most recent payslips

5. Referencing

Your prospective Landlord will want to know that you are a suitable tenant and have the ability to pay your rent. Castle Hill Properties will conduct various background searches and take a referencing fee from you.

The reference checks cover;

  • Previous landlords – you will be required to give the details of where you have lived within the last 3 years and the previous landlord will be contacted for a reference.
  • A credit check – a soft search on your credit history is done to check your credit status. If you have a CCJ against you it is best to advise us upon completing the application form.
  • Employment – Castle Hill Properties will contact your current employer to confirm your employment, salary and length of employment.
  • If you are self employed, you can still rent a property, but the requirements are slightly different. You will need to provide Castle Hill Properties with the details of your certified chartered accountant and produce three years’ worth of filed accounts.
  • If you have been self-employed for under three years, you will need a guarantor in order to rent. The other option is to pay an agreed number of months of rent in advance.
  • Administration Fee: £300 inclusive per tenancy & Guarantor: £60 inclusive per tenant or guarantor.

Other fees may apply such as:

  • Tenancy renewal fee
  • Change of occupancy admin fee
  • End of tenancy check out report

For more details please contact us on 020 8998 1118. Fees are subject to change.

6. Deposit

The deposit is usually between one and two months’ rent and is held for the duration of the tenancy. The deposit is a safety net for the landlord to guard against the cost of replacing or repairing property damaged by the tenant during the term of the tenancy.

The deposit will be refunded, providing the property is in the same condition on check-out, as at check-in.

Castle Hill Properties use The Deposit Protection agency who are a government-authorised tenancy deposit protection scheme. Tenants will receive a unique deposit ID number allowing them to view their tenancy and deposit details.

7. Tenancy Agreement

The tenancy agreement is a contract between you and the landlord. It specifies certain rights to both you and the landlord, such as your right to live in the home for the agreed term and your landlord’s right to receive rent for letting the property.

Once referencing has been completed and approved then the signing of the tenancy agreement takes place. At this stage the remaining monies which include the deposit and rent in advance (minus holding deposit) must be paid. We will need to have cleared funds in our account before signing of the tenancy agreement.

Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement

Since the late 90’s, AST has been the most common form of tenancy agreement and sets out the duties of both tenant and landlord. The most important aspect of this agreement is that the landlord has the right to repossess the property at the end of the agreed term. Despite its name, the agreement does not have to be short and can continue as long as both parties are happy to do so. There is no minimum term specified either, although the tenant has the right to remain in the property for at least six months. The rights of both the Landlord and tenant should be outlined in the contract. Once the contract is signed by both parties, you will receive your keys to your new home.

8. Move in!

The property you rent may be managed by Castle Hill Properties or the Landlord.

We will advise you of this prior to your move in.

A detailed inventory of the property will be carried out before you move in. The inventory will list everything that your landlord has provided within the property you're renting, including furniture, carpets, curtains, appliances and kitchenware.

It will also record the condition everything is in, especially anything that was already damaged before you moved in.

The inventory will be carried out again at check-out and any issues that have been noted will be brought to your attention within 48 hours of the check out being carried out.

Meter readings will be taken at the beginning and end of your tenancy to ensure you pay utilities for the duration of your tenancy. Your utilities comprise of gas, electricity, water and council tax.