Oscar Knight Estate Agents The Letting Process
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The Letting Process and Fees

Once you have found a property you like, what you can expect is as follows:

Property Reservation

We ask for a property reservation payment of £500 before we put forward any offer to the landlord as confirmation of your intent to proceed with the proposed tenancy. This will ensure that no other applicant of Oscar Knight Estate Agents will be shown the property (although bear in mind that landlords sometimes instruct other agents, over whom we of course have no control).

 

  • Should the landlord decide not to proceed with the tenancy, the property reservation payment will be refunded IN FULL unless the landlord’s decision is as a result of you failing the referencing procedure or by you attempting to alter the initial terms of the proposed contract.

  • Should you fail reference checks the property reservation payment will be refunded less a referencing charge of £99.00 inclusive of vat per tenant applicant and per guarantor applicant.

  • Should you change your mind for any reason and decide not to proceed with the tenancy, the property reservation payment is non-refundable in any part.

Information Needed Before a Tenancy

We will then ask you for various items of information and references, which can take up to two weeks to complete.

From all applicants we ask for:

 

    • a reference (status enquiry) from your bank or an ‘Equifax’ credit search
    • 6 months bank statements so we can check your income and that rent has been paid fully and on time
    • reference from a previous landlord (or if you have not rented previously recently, we will usually ask you for a guarantor or higher deposit)
    • passport or UK driving licence
    • copy of visa where applicable

 

If you are working, we will ask for:

 

    • a reference from your employer

 

If you are in new employment, we may also ask for:

 

    • a guarantor or previous employment references

 

If you are self-employed we will:

 

    • ask to see your most recent business accounts or request an accountant’s reference
    • we may request a guarantor where there is no accounts history

 

If you are a student we will need:

 

    • a letter from your college or uni to confirm you are a student there
    • a guarantor who guarantees the rent will be paid

 

Again this is only a general guide. Occasionally we vary these stipulations – either at our discretion, or at the request of the landlord – to ensure that a proper, but fair, check is made to verify the suitability of applicants for our landlords’ properties.

Security Deposit

A security deposit equal to 6 weeks’ rent (8 weeks if you are a student) MINUS the £500 property reservation payment.

This is due 7 days prior to move-in, or 3 days if the move-in is within in a week of the initial offer.

Admin Fee

We also typically charge a one off tenancy administration fee of £350 inclusive of vat on a ‘per property’ basis at tenancy start not ‘per tenant’ as some agents charge. This fee covers the cost of drawing up a legally binding contract for the tenancy aswell as the costs associated with referencing each applicant inclusive of checking credit status, current employer, current or past landlords, conducting Right to Rent checks, and taking into account any other information to help assess the affordability of a tenancy application. It also covers the cost of conducting a check-in at tenancy start.

Moving In Day

Presuming all the checks have been made satisfactorily, we’ll ask you to come to the office a week before the tenancy starts, (or three days if you see it less than a week before move-in) to give us the balance of move-in monies by card payment and sign the tenancy agreement. This is to ensure that the banks have enough time to clear funds before move-in.

The Inventory

Once this is complete, you meet the inventory clerk at the property who will conduct the
Check-In in your presence. You will need to look over and sign a summary sheet, to say that you agree with its findings, so that any discrepancy over their condition at the end of the tenancy can be settled easily. You’ll then get a full report within 72 hours of move-in, and you’ll have a further seven days after receipt to make any additions or amendments, before signing to show your agreement.

Paying your Rent

The first month’s rent: we ask that you pay the first month’s rent prior to the start of the tenancy, by debit card, credit card* or bank transfer (we don’t take cheques or cash). This must have cleared before we can let you have access to the property.

Subsequent months’ rent should be paid by standing order or direct debit either to your landlord or to us, and you will be given details of which to do at the start of the tenancy.

Standing Order dates must be set up a minimum of three days before the rent due date stated in the tenancy agreement. This will allow time for the monies to be first transferred into the Oscar Knight Client account and then into the landlords’ account.

We regret that we cannot accept cheques for rent payments at the Oscar Knight office. Rent can only be accepted in the name of the tenants named on the tenancy agreement.

*Credit card payments attract 2.5% surcharge.

Click here to set up direct payments.

Landlord's and Tenant's Responsibilities

Again this varies slightly on some properties, but generally speaking...

The landlord is usually responsible for:

 

    • insuring the property against flood, fire and so on
    • repairs and maintenance to the hot water and heating system, electricity and pipes
    • repair of any appliances that were included with the property
    • if it’s a flat, any service charges for maintenance to the structure of the building (roof, exterior walls, windows etc), cleaning and electricity in the communal areas.

 

The tenant is usually responsible for:

 

    • all bills for electricity and gas (if present), water, and council tax.
    • bills for telephone, broadband or cable TV if you want these (although you may require the landlord’s permission to install them if not already installed)
    • insuring your own possessions in the property
    • repair of any appliances that you have provided
    • keeping the property clean and in good condition
    • informing the landlord or us about any defects.

Repairs and Maintenance

The landlord is usually responsible for:

 

  • the hot water, heating system, pipes, electricity
  • the structure of the building, ie walls, roof
  • any appliances that were included with the property

If the problem is with one of these items, then either report it to Oscar Knight or your landlord – depending on which of our services your landlord has opted for, which you will have been told at the beginning of the tenancy.

If your landlord has opted for our Property Management Service then you can report all maintenance and repair issues via our online reporting tool using your mobile phone, tablet or a computer by going to:

myknight.co.uk

Follow the onscreen instructions.
*Photos and videos of faults can also be uploaded directly from your handset using this service


If the problem is with something else, it will normally be up to you to sort it out, although if it is causing damage or sufferance to the property you should again report it to us or your landlord.

The Deposit

All deposits must be registered with one of the Tenancy Deposit Schemes licensed by the government, which

 

  • provides an independent means of resolving any dispute that may arise between tenant and landlord
  • means that landlords cannot unfairly hold on to tenants’ deposits
  • gives all parties confidence that deposits are protected by a licensed organisation, which safeguards tenancy deposits against rogue landlords, tenants, and agents.

At the start of the tenancy, you will have been told with which Tenancy Deposit Scheme has been used for your deposit, together with details of the processes involved. If we have registered the deposit on your landlord’s behalf, we will have done so with MyDeposits, although in rare cases you landlord will have chosen another Scheme.

At the end of the tenancy
Should there be any breakages or damage to the property or the fittings/furniture provided by the landlord, both parties have an independent means of agreeing how the cost should be apportioned.

When you come to leave the property, an inventory clerk will come to do the ‘check out’, comparing the condition of the property and any contents to the inventory made at the start of the tenancy.

If there are no dilapidations, your deposit will be returned within 10 days of the tenancy expiring.

If the inventory identifies that dilapidations have occurred during your tenancy, your landlord may choose to withhold some of your deposit to cover the costs. In most cases, the amount to be withheld will be agreed between the tenant and the landlord, assisted by Oscar Knight where necessary, and the balance will be returned to you.

Deposit disputes
In the rare likelihood that you, the tenant, wish to dispute a proposed withholding, you have 20 working days to tell us, and we as the agent have 10 working days to resolve it.

If it is not resolved in this time, the disputed amount is transferred to the Tenancy Deposit Scheme with whom your deposit was registered (MyDeposits if we have registered it on your landlord’s behalf), at which point they have control over it.

My Deposits will copy the details of the dispute to the other parties, giving them 10 working days to send in their side of the story. MyDeposits will aim to issue adjudication within 28 days of receiving all the necessary paperwork, and the disputed amount will be paid out in accordance with the adjudication within a further 10 working days.

Full details of the Terms and Conditions and of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules can be found on the website of mydeposits at this address: http://www.mydeposits.co.uk/tenants/how-it-works

If you have any more questions about renting a property with Oscar Knight, please contact us.

Schedule of Fees payable by Tenants

There are various fees and charges associated with renting a property that you should be aware of when considering making an offer on a property available through us; some are mandatory and some are possible additional fees. They are as follows:

Property Reservation

We ask for a property reservation payment of £500 before we put forward any offer to the landlord as confirmation of your intent to proceed with the proposed tenancy. This will ensure that no other applicant of Oscar Knight Agents will be shown the property (although bear in mind that landlords sometimes instruct other agents, over whom we of course have no control). Should the Landlord decide not to proceed with the tenancy, the payment will be refunded IN FULL unless the Landlords decision is as a result of you failing the referencing procedure (see reference charges below) or by you attempting to alter the initial terms of the proposed contract. The property reservation payment is non-refundable in any part for any other reason. Payment of this sum does not constitute the granting of a tenancy


Security Deposit

A security deposit equivalent to 6 weeks' rent (8 weeks if you are a student) must be paid in cleared funds when you sign the tenancy agreement and is held by the landlord or Oscar Knight Estate Agents as Stakeholder for the duration of the tenancy in accordance with the terms of the tenancy agreement.


Admin Fees

Oscar Knight will typically charge a one off tenancy administration fee of £350 inclusive of vat on a per property basis at tenancy start. This fee covers the cost of drawing up a legally binding contract for the tenancy aswell as the costs associated with referencing each applicant inclusive of checking credit status, current employer, current or past landlords, and taking into account any other information to help assess the affordability of a tenancy application. It also covers the cost of conducting a check-in at tenancy start.


References

You are responsible for any administration charges levied by your own bank in relation to obtaining a reference

Should you fail reference checks the £500 property reservation payment shall be refunded less a referencing charge of £99.00 inclusive of vat per tenant applicant and or guarantor.

A reference may be requested by a tenant at any time. The cost for this service is £24 inclusive of VAT per reference and is payable upon request.


Renewals

You will be contacted approximately 90 days in advance of the tenancy end date to ascertain if you wish to extend your tenancy or to confirm the date you will be vacating the property. If the tenancy is renewed, no fee is payable by the tenant to cover our administration for this.


Change of occupancy

In the event that one or more tenant(s) wishes to be replaced during the tenancy, consent will need to be obtained by the landlord first. It is usual practice that the landlord will require a suitable replacement tenant to be found prior to allowing the tenant(s) to be released from the obligations of the tenancy. The replacement tenant will need to provide suitable references and take over the tenancy from a relevant date i.e. the rent due date. The exiting tenant will need to 'surrender' the tenancy and upon receipt of written landlord consent Oscar Knight will draw up a new tenancy agreement for signature by the new tenant along with all the remaining parties. The deposit and check-in for the original tenancy will apply to the new tenancy. An administration fee of £120 inclusive of VAT will be charged for this.


Change of identity

Upon receipt of written landlord consent Oscar Knight will draw up a new tenancy agreement for signature by all parties. An administration fee of £84 inclusive of VAT will be charged for this.


Arrears

An administration fee of £54 inclusive of VAT will be charged for each letter sent by Oscar Knight regarding late or non-payment of rent for administration charges.

Should any fees or charges remain outstanding at the end of the tenancy, Oscar Knight will deduct the total amount due from the security deposit.


Debit/Credit Card Payments

All payments made to Oscar Knight by Credit card will attract a 2.5% surcharge inclusive of VAT.

All payments made to Oscar Knight by Foreign Debit cards will attract a 5% surcharge inclusive of VAT.

There is no charge for payments made to Oscar Knight via UK debit card


Stamp Duty Land Tax

This tax is payable on tenancies where the rent exceeds £125,000. Please contact HMRC for further information.


Amendments

Oscar Knight reserves the right to change the schedule of fees and these terms of business upon providing reasonable notice in writing.