Frequently asked Questions from Tenants
Here are some of the frequently asked questions from tenants. If you require further information, please do not hesitate to ask one of our Lettings team. Please note, the following information is for guidance only and a tenancy agreement will set out all the legal obligations of both Landlords and Tenants.
I have chosen a Property. What should I do now?
This is one of our most frequently asked questions from tenants, especially if they are new to renting.
Firstly, you should complete a Tenancy Application Form. This does not commit either the Landlord, or Prolet on behalf of the Landlord, to grant you a Tenancy but the Property will be taken off the market (subject to contract) and will be withdrawn from any advertising while your application is being processed.
Student Tenants also need to complete and return a Guarantor form >> and we allow up to 20 working days for return of signed Guarantor forms.
After that, we will make you an appointment for the Agreement to be signed and payment of half of the Deposit to be made, (this is different for Let Only properties). This Deposit will be registered with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, a government-approved provider of tenancy deposit protection. The Landlord or Prolet will countersign the Agreement.
What Charges Do I Have to Pay?
From the 1st June 2019, the payments a tenant will be charged during their tenancy are:
- The rent
- A refundable tenancy deposit >>
- A refundable holding deposit ( to reserve a property) of one week’s rent
- Payments in respect of utilities, communication services, TV licence and council tax where applicable
There may be additional charges made in specific circumstances. These are:
- A payment (of £60) to change the tenancy if requested by the tenant
- A payment (of £120) associated with early termination of the tenancy, when requested by the tenant. This cost is for advertising and referencing associated with finding new tenants
- A default payment for late payment of rent. This would be a daily charge of 3% (+ the Bank of England Base rate) of rent
- A replacement cost (of £24) for lost keys or security devices
- Where a tenant makes an emergency service call-out and the repair is due to do either negligence or misuse on the part of the tenant, or the repair is not considered to be an emergency
- Where additional cleaning is required at the end of a Tenancy, the outgoing tenant(s) will bear the cost of any cleaning required
These are the only charges a tenant will be asked to make.
How much Deposit is required?
Unless we advise you to the contrary the Deposit will amount to the advertised sum. The Deposit relates to the Property; although for convenience to the applicants – where sharers are involved – we are happy to accept the deposit in the form of more than one payment. Please note, however, that we will return any deposit due as a single sum to the nominated Head Tenant.
The Deposit with an Assured Shorthold Tenancy is safeguarded by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, which is administered by The Dispute Service Ltd – for further information please visit www.thedisputeservice.co.uk. On student properties where Agreements are signed many months in advance the Deposit will be payable one month before the Tenancy commences. This will then be registered within 30 days of the payment being taken.
What References are required?
Residential tenants will require a reference check. Due to current legislation changes, information regarding referencing is being updated and will be available here soon. In the meantime please call the office on 01603 763363 for more information.
Student Tenants will require a Guarantor. The Guarantor will be required to financially support your application and is normally a parent, relative or guardian. Your Guarantor must be a property-owning EU resident. If you are a post graduate and have a funded place, your proof of funding letter can be provided in place of a deed of guarantee. We require proof of identity in the form of your passport, ID card, student card or a utility bill (in your name) from your current address.
Do I receive an Inventory?
At the beginning of your Tenancy, you will be given two copies of a detailed Inventory and Schedule of Condition. This should be checked thoroughly and returned to us, signed and dated, with any necessary amendments within one week of the commencement of the Term of your Tenancy.
A duplicate copy should be retained by you for your records. A separate list should be emailed to Prolet for maintenance requiring immediate attention.
If we do not receive a signed copy of the inventory it will be deemed that you accept the inventory as a true statement of the condition of the Property. It is in your best interests to keep a copy safe for reference at the accompanied checkout appointment at the end of your Tenancy. The nominated Head Tenant should be at this checkout appointment and be available to negotiate and receive the return of the Deposit for distribution to the group. We recommend that all Tenants are present at the check-in and check-out if possible.
Student tenants receive their inventories and schedules online via Dropbox.
When and how do I pay the Rent?
The Rent is payable in equal payments (12 equal monthly payments for a 12 month tenancy term). Payments are made monthly by Standing Order and at the signing appointment we will expect you to complete a standing order mandate.
If the property is with our Let Only service then a full month’s rent will be payable fourteen days before you move in. The remaining monthly rental payments will then be payable directly to the Landlord. If any rent payment is received late, then Late Payment charges are due as stated in the Tenancy Agreement.
What about Council Tax?
You are responsible for paying council tax while your Tenancy is running on the Property.
Student Tenants are able to obtain exemption certificates by providing a student status letter from their university. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure they forward the exemption letter to the council and thereafter an exemption certificate from the council tax office will be sent to your property. Please do not throw your exemption certificate away! Your Landlord will need either proof that you have paid your council tax or copies of the exemption certificate during or at the end of the Tenancy. If Tenants do not inform the council that they are exempt from paying council tax then Tenants will be liable for any fees that the council charges.
What about Utilities?
In most cases utilities are the responsibility of Tenants. The exception is for a few select properties where utility payments are including in the monthly payment. While we will do everything within our power to assist with information relating to utility supply, we cannot guarantee who the current suppliers are. We can give you the contact numbers for the agencies who can confirm who is currently supplying the property. At the start of your Tenancy, we will take opening meter readings with you and supply you with telephone numbers to arrange for the gas, electric and water supplies to be transferred into your name.
If you require internet access at the property you should check with British Telecom (BT) whether there is already a phone line installed at the Property. BT will not accept instructions from Prolet to have your phone line reconnected and it is your responsibility to directly make the necessary arrangements with BT or any other supplier you may choose. BT will charge for reconnection, and the time taken seems to range between one and thirty days! Our recommendation is that you contact BT about a week before you move in to make the necessary arrangements. However, please bear in mind that neither you nor any representative has a right to access at the property before your Tenancy commences. The alternative to BT is to arrange for an installation of Virgin Media, though where this installation has not previously been made at the Property, you will have to contact Prolet, who will to obtain agreement from the Landlord that the installation may take place.
How do I contact the Landlord?
In the case where the Landlord has instructed us to manage the Property on their behalf, all correspondence to the Landlord should be directed through us.
The name and correspondence address of your Landlord will be shown on your Tenancy Agreement. Furthermore, we are obliged, within 28 days of your written request, to give you, in writing, the name and address of the Landlord. Unless the Landlord instructs us, we are not obliged to provide you with contact phone numbers or email addresses of the Landlord.
The majority of our correspondence is through email and you should check your inbox regularly to ensure you are up to date. We will email you to advise you of any approaching inspections, maintenance visits and viewings.
Our email addresses are:
Do I need to get Insurance on the Property?
The Landlord will have Buildings Insurance to cover the property, but we advise our Tenants to ensure that any personal effects brought into the Property are covered by Contents Insurance and furthermore that the insurance offers third party cover for accidental damage to any items left at the Property by the Landlord. You are responsible for ensuring that the Property is secure at all times.
Can I get a Parking Permit?
We advise you to look on www.norwich.gov.uk to check if you are entitled to a parking permit. There are planning restrictions on some premises which do not allow any permits to be issued.
Will Prolet visit the Property while I am living there?
Yes we will, if we are managing the Property. We normally carry out our initial property visit within 4-6 weeks of your moving in and notify you by email or post approximately one week in advance of the visit.
The purpose of the visit is to confirm that both parties are fulfilling their contractual responsibilities in relation to the Property. As far as the Tenant is concerned, we will also draw your attention to anything we consider may give cause to the Landlord proposing deductions from the Deposit at the determination of the Agreement, and we will propose strategies to reduce the risk of such proposals.
What happens if I want to leave the Property before the Tenancy ends?
Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreements are for a fixed term and Tenants are unable to give notice to vacate the Property. Therefore should one or all of you leave before the end of the Agreement, you will remain liable for rent until the end.
Of course, we recognise that circumstances beyond your control might occur and should you need to vary the contract before the end of the Term we may be able to facilitate this, subject to securing the agreement of the Landlord. There will be additional administrative charges for achieving this which will vary depending on the legal construct under which such a variation is achieved. If you require further information on this please ask a member of Prolet staff. In all instances we will advise you to seek independent legal advice.
What about Repairs and Maintenance?
We operate a 24/7 online maintenance system which allows repairs for non-emergencies to be dealt with more quickly. To access the system go to Report a Repair. Once you are registered and you wish to report a repair, a guided process helps us to get the information we need to instigate maintenance if required or for tenants to solve issues themselves quickly and efficiently.
If maintenance is required you can upload photos of your problem that may help our contractors to bring the right tools and equipment to fix your problem.
Emergencies must continue to be reported to us by telephone.
With regard to maintenance, our role is to process maintenance requests from Tenants and forward them to the Landlord. As many of our Landlords have their own teams for maintenance, we may not instruct contractors to carry out maintenance for all of the properties that we manage, although we will arrange for the Landlords to organise the work. If there are delays in undertaking urgent maintenance we will pursue Landlords to ensure the necessary work is completed as swiftly as possible, however, Prolet cannot be held responsible for any such delays.
Where there is a Health or Safety issue, or a breach of the Agreement, Prolet will intervene if the owner is slow to respond. Most repairs and faults are fair wear and tear and will be settled on behalf of your Landlord, however you should be aware that in the event of the repairer advising us that the fault is clearly a result of misuse – for example, a blocked drain caused by putting food, fat or grease down the kitchen sink; or that no fault exists – we reserve the right to hold the Tenants responsible for the call-out.
At the check-in appointment we will confirm to the Tenants the procedure for reporting maintenance, including out of hours emergency calls.
What happens at the end of the Tenancy?
At the final inspection, you will receive a report that details any work we feel you need to undertake at the Property to minimise the risk of the Landlord proposing any deductions from your deposit.
On the last day of the Tenancy the inventory clerk will meet you at the Property for a prearranged and accompanied check-out appointment. This will be the time when we expect you to hand over vacant possession of the Property.
At the appointment, the inventory clerk will attend the Property and will be able to ascertain any dilapidations which are classed as fair wear and tear (and chargeable to the Landlord) and damage above fair wear and tear (chargeable to Tenants). They will also confirm whether additional gardening, cleaning or carpet/upholstery cleaning is required.
It is vital that Tenants or their representative are in attendance at the check-out appointment in order to take final meter readings, hand over keys and corroborate the comments of the inventory clerk.
We expect properties to be returned to us cleaned to a professional standard and leaving no trace of the outgoing occupants. If additional cleaning is required this will be carried out by a professional cleaner at the end of your Tenancy the day after you move out. The outgoing Tenant will bear the cost of any cleaning required.
A forwarding address must be provided to us or the Landlord by the last day of the Tenancy in case of any outstanding bills from any service suppliers or the local authority.
How and when is my Deposit returned?
We will account to the nominated Head Tenant, within 10 working days of the check-out, any proposed deductions to the Deposit.
Once we have received your approval we will arrange payment of the agreed amount to you as long as all terms and conditions have been met as stated in the Tenancy Agreement and as per the prescribed information. In addition you should be aware that we automatically arrange for properties to be cleaned to a professional standard at the end of each Tenancy, and that you will be charged the cost of cleaning, based on the time spent. Your Property will have been cleaned before you move in and experience has shown us that this is the only way that we can maintain a consistent standard between Tenancies.
However, if, when your Property is checked after you have vacated, it is found to be cleaned to a professional standard and does not need cleaning, the cleaners will be cancelled. Professional cleaning charges in Norwich are approximately £125 for a light clean; £200 for a standard clean and £300 for a deep clean. In addition it is imperative that ALL keys to the Property are returned at the check-out appointment. If all keys are not returned the outgoing Tenants will be charged for new keys.