Tenant Guide

We’ve put together a step-by-step guide below, in hopes of giving understanding to renters on the stages of renting and finding your home. If you’re still unsure after reading, don’t hesitate to contact us!

Step One – Establishing your requirements

Before you start viewing properties, it’ll be important to set out your requirements and establish exactly what you’re looking for in your rental property. Deciding the area you wish to live in is an important factor. Remember – the larger your search area, the better the chance of finding your ideal home!
You should consider things important to you; such as if the property is nearby to good transport links and has easy access to shops and other conveniences. Make sure estate agents are aware of your needs and ideal home features. You should take in to consideration the following:
  • What can you afford? You should set aside your maximum budget before you begin your initial property search. Budget carefully and factor in other expenses you’ll most likely incur, such as the cost of council tax and utilities – these can include but aren’t limited to; electricity, gas and water rates. You can usually find out the amount of council tax you’ll have to pay from your local authority’s website.
  • Minimum bedroom requirements. How many bedrooms will you require in your rental property?
  • How long are you looking to rent for? Most tenancies will usually be for a fixed term of twelve months – if you’re looking to stay for a period shorter than this, you may want to let any agent acting on your behalf aware of this.
  • Do you need to be within locality to transport links and amenities?
  • Do you need to be near to local schools?
  • Do you require parking?
Do you have any pets? Unfortunately, not all landlords are pet friendly. When registering with local agents, you should make them aware that you have a pet or intent to have one during the term of your tenancy.

Step Two – Starting your property search

Registering with Hawkes will allow for us to efficiently keep you updated on properties that match your search criteria. Anytime a property matching what you’re looking for becomes available, we’ll have the details emailed to you right away before it’s live on the market. You can opt to stop receiving updates at any time simply by clicking the ‘unsubscribe’ button in the email.
To see what properties we currently have available search here, or call us on 020 7241 6563.
You should also register with local letting agents and inform them of your requirements mentioned above.

Step Three – Viewings and making an offer

London’s property market is dynamic and moves extremely fast. You should try to be as flexible as possible when allowing time for viewing properties. Many properties are made available and let the same day – if you’re not available for viewings, you might miss out on your ideal property!
Once you’ve decided on a property you’ve seen and are ready to proceed, you should inform the negotiator as soon as possible – they’ll then let you know the next steps!
When making an offer, be sure to inform your negotiator of your ideal move-in dates and any requests for furniture and/or decorations in the property. Hawkes have a simple to read holding deposit form whereby your landlord’s approval of any supply/removal of furniture or home improvements will be clearly stated.

Step Four – Securing your property

Once your offer is accepted you’ll be required to pay a holding deposit (typically equivalent to two weeks’ rent) to show intent and secure the property on your behalf. Holding deposits paid to Hawkes will ensure the property is taken off the market for a period of five days. During this period we will conduct reference checks on behalf of the landlord.
It’ll be useful to have specific details; such as your previous addresses, current landlord’s contact details and employer’s details – likewise, you should let your employer and all relevant referees know to expect correspondence from your estate agent’s referencing company. Details on the information that our referencing specialists may require can be found on our holding deposit form.

Step Five – Signing your tenancy agreement

Upon receiving satisfactory references, your negotiator should be in contact to arrange a suitable day and time to drop by our office and have your Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement signed. It is likely that you’ll have to pay the remainder of your move-in costs before your agreement is signed.
When renting property it is common to be charged administration fees. At Hawkes, we venture to keep tenant fees at a minimum for an overall smoother lettings process for our tenants. A full list of tenant charges and fees can be found here.
Before signing your tenancy agreement it is imperative that you thoroughly read through the terms and clauses mentioned within. You should make sure that it contains any specially agreed terms and nothing that you are not prepared to agree to.
At the least, your tenancy agreement should outline:
  • Full name(s) of the landlord and all tenants due to reside at the property
  • Full address of the property to be let
  • How much rent you have to pay and when it can be paid
  • The address of the landlord or agency if the property is managed
  • The amount of deposit and how it is to be protected
  • The start and end date of the tenancy

Step Six – Moving in

Once you’ve moved in to your new home, you should find out who is managing your property and have their contact details saved. You’ll need them in order to know who to contact in the event something goes wrong in the property.
It’s important you review your tenancy agreement before making any internal or external alterations to the property. No matter how small your intended alteration, it’s best you have your landlord or agent’s approval in writing to go ahead. Your tenancy agreement should usually state whether you’d need your landlord’s consent, prior to any adjustments to the property’s fixtures or fittings.