Every day we receive lots of calls and emails from people looking to rent a property. One of the key things that we try to do is to match the right tenant to the right landlord and property, and as a result it means that we do have tenants that stay longer in the properties that they choose, which is great for them and the landlord too.
So when you are calling or emailing to enquire about a property, you'll find that we ask you a few questions before we go ahead and arrange a viewing. Some people have never rented before, so can be surprised by the questions, especially around income (we understand!) We've listed some of them below with a few notes to make it easier for you to be prepared and to help you understand the process that we go through to help you find your dream home!
- How many people is the property for? - Are you looking for a place just for you, or for you and your family. Let us know if you have children and how old they are. This is important as we will know the property well, and quite often whether it will fit your needs. The space needed for a 6 month old baby is quite different to what your 15 year old teenage son will need to be happy and comfortable in. We'll know if a room can fit a double bed, or bunk beds. You may have an inquisitive toddler, and the house you're looking at has an open plan living room and kitchen and no way of separating the two if you needed to leave them alone for a second… we want them to be safe! No two houses are the same, in size and shape! We'll have had feedback from previous tenants too, which always helps us answer questions and make reccomendations on if a property will work for you. If you'll be sharing with friends or family can affect whether a property falls under the HMO regulations for the area and whether a property is licenced for that kind of occupation.
- What is your combined household income? Every tenant that moves into a Belvoir property will go through a reference check, which involves a credit, previous landlord and employment/income check. To pass on the income check you need a household income of approximately 3 times the montly rent. So for example a household income from employment of £24,000 would be needed for a rent of £800 per month. If you get any benefits or pensions on top of your employment income, let us know as some such as housing benefit are not included in the amount needed to pass referencing. If you don't have enough income we can discuss this and can advise on a case by case basis as to what can happen next. We also don't want you be disapointed if you fall in love with a new home, but won't pass the referencing due to income, so we work this out with you before booking in a viewing. Not every property can accept a tenant with a guarantor, but we can advise if that is possible too. (If the income is more than 3 times the rent and you don't want to say, that's fine, just confirm it's more. If you then move forward with a tenancy then you can provide the details then)
- Do you have any CCJs or bad credit history? Please don't be embarrased and do tell us up front if you have had a problem in the past. A default on a payment a few years ago because you were in hospital does not have to mean the end of your rental plans! Every situation is different and sometimes unfortunately we do have to say no to a tenancy, but be upfront with your agent and you may be surprised that there are options. Not only does it mean we can advise you on the best option for your situation, but also can save you from losing money if you have paid an administration fee if something is found during the credit check that you didn't mention. It's also worth haveing a quick check of your credit history online to make sure you don't have any defaults that you don't know about because you've moved house or someone has used your details without you knowing.
- When do you need to move? If you're looking to move in 3 months time, and a property is available now it's unlikely a landlord will want to leave their house empty that long. If you need to move in a week, tell your agent, they will know if a property can be ready in time, as well as based on the other questions if the process can be completed in time.
- Do you have any pets? Be upfront if you have pets or plan to get one. Unfortunately it's not always possible in many properties especially in flats, where the landlord may not mind, but there will be a clause in their lease that says pets aren't allowed at all. You may also be renting a landlords family home whilst they work away, and they or someone they know may have an allergy to certain animals. They may have had a bad experience in the past and so to be fair to everyone they say no, or their next tenant may have an allergy to animals. So by all means ask the question and we will let you know. We will always have checked with the landlord when we begin working with them, if they are happy to accept pets, so you can rest assured if it's possible we'll tell you! Normally a pet deposit will be required.
- When can you view? Have some days and times in mind, and be aware that if there is someone living in the property that it may not be possible to go that afternoon. We always aim to give our tenants at least 24 hours notice that someone wants to view, and we always try and work with them to make sure that we visit when convienient. You'd want the same if it was you living there, wouldn't you? We will try and accomodate dates and times that work for you where we can, but bearing in mind our current tenants situation (kids in bed, just finished a 12 hour shift, or nightshift…) if the diary is already full, and our staff safety (Late night viewings are not possible) please understand if we need to look at other options with you.
So that's the basics of what and why we need to know, but if you have an unusual situation, or have any questions on any of these points let us know.