Deciding to rent a new property is a very exciting time for any tenant, but you may not realise the process that has to be completed before the move-in date. Many landlords choose to work with a letting agent, such as Hancock and Partners in Chichester, who handle this process for them and plan every aspect of the rental process accordingly. If you would like to learn more about what this involves, and how we could help you if you are a landlord, please continue reading.

About Hancock and Partners  

As we have already discussed, we are letting agents in Chichester and we have worked with countless tenants and landlords throughout the years. We have streamlined our process after a landlord accepts an offer on a property, and this is handled by our Administration and Accounts department. Once the lettings team have obtained the approval for a tenant, they work closely with the landlord and tenant applicants to keep them updated throughout this period before the property keys are handed over at the start of the tenancy.

Right to Rent Checks

Since 2016, landlords must check that all tenants or permitted occupants over the age of 18 can legally rent their residential property in England and have the right to live in the UK. This includes all prospective tenants of the property even if they are not named on the tenancy agreement, and whether there is a tenancy agreement in place or not. Landlords can be prosecuted for failing to undertake these checks, so it is paramount that letting agents confirm a prospective tenant’s right to rent before proceeding with a tenancy application.

Hancock and Partners Lettings team ask all prospective tenants to provide documentation to prove they have the ‘Right to Rent’. A typical valid document is a British passport or a European country identity card. Where a British citizen does not hold a passport, a driving license may be used as a form of identification in conjunction with other documents such as a birth certificate.  If a prospective tenant is a citizen of a non-European country, they must provide evidence of a dated visa which will grant a time-limited right to rent.

Tenant referencing 

One of the most essential parts of the process after a tenant accepts an offer on a property is tenant referencing. From a landlord perspective, you will want to understand everything you can about the person who is going to be living in your property. We always try to find the best match of tenant for the landlord’s rental property through an initial verbal qualification process, where we provide details of the tenant’s circumstances. This important first step enables landlords to select the tenant(s) they would like to move into their property. Good quality referencing is the immediate next step to ensure your property is let to a suitable tenant.

At Hancock and Partners, we use a 3rd party dedicated referencing company to carry out the referencing process for any new prospective tenants on behalf of landlords. This provides you with a clear indication of whether or not your potential tenant has met our criteria, allowing you to let your property with confidence. Typically, these references will include a credit history check, identity checks, affordability calculations and residency checks. A tenant’s suitability can also be determined by speaking to current and previous employers, as well as past landlords.

Inventory 

The inventory report is another aspect we will take care of, which is essentially an in-depth report on the rental property including its contents and condition. Conducting an inventory will give both parties an accurate assessment and record of the current condition of the property. Even if the property you are renting is unfurnished, the inventory report notes the fixtures and fittings in every room, along with a description of their condition. Tenants are required to return any comments in writing within 7 working days of the tenancy start date and is a great way to provide both the landlord and tenant with peace of mind before move-in day.

Legislation checks

As a landlord, you have a duty of care for your tenants, so it is important to ensure that the property you are renting meets all legislative requirements. Here at Hancock and Partners, we will check that the property is compliant. For example, there are Domestic Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) Regulations which set a minimum energy efficiency level for domestic private rented properties, and landlords cannot let or begin to let properties with an EPC rating below E. Although your property will most likely meet this requirement, this is one of the aspects of the property we need to check before the tenant move-in date.

Safety checks

In addition to the MEES compliance above, your letting agent is responsible for ensuring that the property meets the latest electrical safety legislation, has an up to date Gas Certificate and that the landlord has installed smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. If you would like to read more about landlords’ legal obligations, please read our blog on the latest legislative changes for landlords.

What happens next? 

Once all the checks have been completed by the Hancock and Partners team, the relevant documents are emailed across to the tenant as a complete pack. Although many other letting agents may use paper documents, we have recently adopted a paper-free approach using DocuSign which is far more efficient than physically signing documents. In accordance with the current social distancing measures in place, this is a streamlined process which is environmentally friendly and requires no physical contact. Once the documents have been signed by the relevant parties, the tenants will meet at the office, or at the property, to hand over the keys.

Would you like to speak to the lettings team at Hancock and Partners?  

If you are interested in renting a new property, or you are looking to work with a lettings agent in Chichester, we are the local estate agent who can help you. You can call us on 01243 531111 and a friendly member of our team will be ready to offer advice based on years of experience in the local area. We look forward to hearing from you.