We aim to provide an efficient and courteous service matching suitable tenants to suitable properties, and we will be on hand whenever possible to answer any questions or concerns you may have, and to arrange viewings for any properties you are interested in.
Applying for a property
If, after viewing a property, you decide you would like to apply, you will need to fill in a Rentshield Tenant Application form. These can be found on our forms page, or you can request a copy from our office. Everyone aged 18 or over must be reference checked and named on the tenancy agreement. The forms will then need to be returned to us together with the deposit and tenancy fees. This is to show your commitment to the tenancy and the property will then be withdrawn from the market and all viewings stopped where possible. This money does not form a tenancy or an offer of a tenancy but shows the landlord your commitment.
We will then discuss your application with the landlord, and if the landlord is happy in principle we will send your forms to Rentshield who will carry out reference checks on all applicants including credit checks. Once these have been returned we will make contact with you and prepare an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement. Reference checks are charged at £40 plus VAT per applicant or guarantor.
All fees and deposits will be returned if the landlord decides to proceed with another applicant.
To show your commitment to a property we take a holding deposit, equivalent to one months rent. Once the tenancy commences this will be transferred into a damage deposit and will be held in an approved scheme with an alternative dispute resolution service.
Devon Lettings offer an insurance backed scheme as members of the National Federation of Property Professionals and if we are to continue holding the deposit as stakeholder, for instance in managed properties, then it will remain in our Client Account under the protection of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme. No interest is payable to either the landlord or the tenant, and the deposit will not be released until you have vacated the property, and an inspection carried out.
Before the tenancy commences you will be required to sign a standard Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement, normally for a period of six months. The agreement will detail the terms and conditions on which you are taking a tenancy, including specific conditions for the property such as not using chemical bleaches in private drainage etc. This is a legally binding document and you will be committing yourself to the initial term. At the end of this period it becomes a periodic tenancy and continues until either you give a months notice to the landlord or they give you two months notice. Tenancy Agreements are charged at £70 plus VAT per tenancy, but we do not charge renewal fees every six months.
The landlord will be responsible for insuring the building and their own contents. Your contents will not be covered by any policy the landlord may have. We therefore strongly recommend considering your own contents insurance policy.
Inventory and Schedule of Condition
We will normally carry out an inventory and schedule of conditions of a property backed up with digital photographs. This is to minimise the risk of any disputes at the end of the tenancy, and it is therefore vital that you check it very carefully and return a copy to us within 7 days of receiving it. The costs of an Inventory are shared between landlord and tenant and vary depending on the size of the property but tenants costs start at £20 plus VAT for a one bedroom property and go up £15 plus VAT for each additional bedroom. If the property is furnished there is an additional cost of £25 plus VAT.
Unless otherwise agreed you will be liable for all utility charges on your rented property including gas, electric and water. We will notify them of your occupation but it is in your best interests to ensure this has been recorded, particularly if you wish to pay monthly.
Rental payments are always in advance. The first month’s rent is due in cleared funds before we can release keys. If you intend on paying by cheque please ensure you leave enough time for this to clear into our account. Future rent payments are payable in advance either to us if we are managing the property, or to your Landlord.
All properties that are managed by Devon Lettings are liable to regular inspections. These are carried out to check the condition of the property and any gardens attached to it, to ensure the conditions of the tenancy agreement are being kept and to notify us of any problems or concerns you may have. We will always give you notice of these inspections so you can rearrange them or be present.
The unexpected unfortunately does happen and all tenants in managed properties will be given a telephone number to ring if you encounter any problems.