Securing your new home means signing a contract i.e. the tenancy agreement.
Find out what is required to make an offer, agree terms of the tenancy and sign on the dotted line…
In The Tenancy section, we cover:
Reaching an Agreement
The tenancy application process, including making an offer, securing a property & reference checks
The Tenancy Agreement
Terms of a tenancy contract
Types of tenancy
Renting in Scotland
Some different rules & regulations apply
Reaching an Agreement
In the current rental climate, good properties can be snapped up within a few days of coming on to the market.
So, if you’ve found the place you want, it’s in the tenants’ interest to get the contract signed and money transferred ASAP – Once the contract is signed, the place is yours.
Get organised so you can act quickly – make an offer, complete any application forms, prepare documents for tenant references and sort your finances. But always carry out the necessary checks on the landlord/agent, property and contract. NEVER cut corners that could leave you vulnerable to scams or lead to problems later on.
Making an Offer
If you like a property you have seen, arrange a second viewing, ideally at a different time of day.
After at least 2 viewings, put forward an offer by email:
- Note what was in the property and ask for confirmation that it will be included e.g. furniture, curtains etc.
- Make any reasonable requests for repairs or replacements.
- Request that the property is professionally cleaned and any chimneys swept, before you move in.
Confirm any important matters in writing to your landlord/agent – before you sign the tenancy agreement.
Securing a Property
If your offer is accepted, this stage of the process is ‘let agreed’ (subject to contract). The landlord/agent prepares the contract and inventory and carries out tenant checks. If you want to reserve the property, you may be charged a refundable holding deposit. In Wales and Northern Ireland, letting agents will probably charge tenancy fees to cover their admin costs (though these have been banned in England and Scotland); all costs must be made clear to you upfront.
A landlord or agent may ask you to pay a refundable holding deposit to reserve the property while they complete the necessary administration and checks.(They can charge a maximum of one week’s rent).
But before you pay up, make sure this really means the property is taken off the market, and understand the circumstances when your deposit is or is not refundable. (Generally, it’s refundable if the landlord or agent withdraws, but if you provide false information or if you pull out, you will lose your money; so make sure all housemates want to proceed, before putting down a deposit!)
If everything goes ahead, your holding fee is normally deducted from the costs owed at the start of the tenancy (security deposit, advance rent payment etc.)
TIP: Try to have everything ready to sign up quickly and you might avoid paying a holding deposit.
The landlord/agent will want to establish that you can afford the rent and will be a reliable tenant. They will probably ask for character references, employment reference, proof of earnings, renting records and credit checks, as well as proof of identity (passport), recent address, and visa (if international).
If you are not employed on a permanent contract, it is likely that you will be asked to provide a rent guarantor, or make advance payments of rent.
If all checks are successful, the final stage is for the landlord and tenants to sign the tenancy agreement. At this point, you will normally pay rent in advance and a security deposit, and you will be required to agree a check-in inventory before you move in.
See The Tenancy Agreement.
BEFORE you sign a tenancy agreement, or pay a security deposit or any rent, make sure:
- You view the property (twice at least)
- You are certain that the landlord/letting agent is genuine
- You agree to the rent and other costs
- You understand and agree with all the terms and conditions of the contract
Renting in Scotland
There are some important differences for renting in Scotland, particularly relating to landlord registration and deposits.
Find out more:
Renting from a Private Landlord – Citizens Advice (Scotland)
Renting from a Private Landlord – Shelter (Scotland)