If you decide to rent a property with us, we will look after you throughout the entire process, from helping you to find a suitable property, to getting your deposit returned to you at the end of your tenancy in a timely fashion. The government-funded website Renting Scotland tells you everything you will need to know about the process of renting and the legalities involved. You can also read a concise version below.
What will happen before the tenancy begins?
The property will have been thoroughly inspected and any defects or maintenance issues will have been remedied. Your landlord will be registered with the local council and all safety certificates for the property will be in place. You will have received a draft copy of the lease agreement to check through: it should always contain the correct level of rent, any reasons why a landlord could deduct money from your deposit, the contact details for the landlord and should also specify the length of the tenancy. We will also have performed a reference check through MARAS, who will have verified your income, checked with your employers and previous landlords and made sure that you are on the electoral roll. We will also have seen your original passport (not a copy) with a visa if you need one, and a utility bill from your last address. You will also need to pay a holding deposit of £150 whilst the pre-tenancy checks take place and the landlord has received a satisfactory reference.
Once all that is in place, you will need to pay one month’s rent in advance and a deposit, which is usually equivalent to one month’s rent minus £150 (from the holding deposit), and you can do this by bank transfer or cheque. You can find our bank details here.
Your deposit will be registered and held by law by one of three government-approved schemes, which guarantees that your money will be kept safe and available to return to you promptly at the end of the tenancy if you have met the terms of your tenancy agreement. At Cathedral City Estates, we use Safe Deposits Scotland, whose details can be found here.
You will also need to set up a standing order with your bank for the rent payments to go out each month. We will let you know what the due date for this will be, as it isn’t always the date you move in!
You’ll also need to consider arranging contents insurance and sending change of address notices to your utility suppliers and Council Tax office etc. Once the tenancy begins you will be responsible for paying Council Tax and utility charges, and we will inform the Council that you have moved in and supply the utility providers with meter readings.
What happens when it’s time to move in?
We will meet you about a week before the moving-in date to talk through and sign the lease and the other relevant documents. If you live far away, this can be done by post. An inventory will have been prepared and the meter readings checked and photographed, and we will send you a copy of this so that you can have a good look through. If you find that anything is not as it should be, for example, there is a missing toaster or the key to the gas meter has disappeared, you will have seven days in which to contact us and we can rectify the situation and amend the inventory. If you don’t make any contact with us in this time period, then the inventory will be considered correct. We will give you your keys on the moving-in date at a mutually agreed time and will go through any operational procedures for items in the property, such as the heating controls or the alarm system.
Whilst we are always available at the end of a phone if there are any questions or problems that arise, we will also visit you after a few weeks to make sure you are settling in and that the property is being well-cared for. If you have any problems paying the rent, please get in touch with us. We will send you an arrears notice once payment is 5 days overdue and interest will be charged on late payments. If you are unlucky enough to find yourself in this position, contact Shelter Scotland for help and advice.
We will also arrange periodic inspections to ensure that the property is being loved and appropriately maintained. It is not the end of the world if you are not a particularly tidy tenant, but if you cause damage to the fittings and fabric of the property through your behaviour then it is our responsibility to inform the landlord and your responsibility to repair or replace the item(s) as necessary. Most landlords are reasonable about wear and tear and would not expect you to purchase a new sofa to replace a sagging, worn-out version! If you have any maintenance issues during your tenancy, we work with trusted local contractors, many of whom offer a 24-hour emergency call-out service, to make sure that everything is fixed as quickly as possible.
What happens at the end of the tenancy?
You will need to give notice if you want to end the tenancy, and the length of this notice will be stated in the lease. Similarly, if a landlord wishes to do this they must also follow a set legal process. If you have a joint tenancy with another party and only one of you wishes to end the tenancy, you will need to get the other tenant’s permission because this will end the tenancy for everyone. Have a look at what Renting Scotland advises here or contact us.
Once your notice has been accepted, the landlord will probably want to arrange viewings for new tenants which should be done with reasonable notice to you. You should also check your lease for any specifics for cleaning that have been requested: you may need to arrange a professional carpet or window clean, for example, and these will need to be booked in advance. As managing agents for your property, we must adhere to the Landlord’s requests and may deduct money from your deposit to replace items that have been damaged or have gone missing from the inventory.
You will need to return all sets of keys and we will give you a receipt for this. One of our team will come and do a check-out visit with you and will take and photograph meter readings, and perform an inspection of the property. We will provide information about what we will be inspecting and what we will be looking for. You will need to cancel any standing orders with your bank once the last payment has left your account.
Once everything has been sorted satisfactorily, we will contact the relevant deposit protection scheme to enable your deposit to be returned to you and will notify them if any deductions are to be made. They will then contact you directly in writing to check that you agree with this amount and once they have a reply from you, the deposit will be repaid within 5 working days. The return of deposits will take longer if the amount to be returned is disputed or if the tenant cannot be contacted.
If you have any questions about anything connected with this process, please do not hesitate to contact us.