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Are you searching for a new rental property? Perhaps you are a current tenant with us and you are looking for advice and support during your tenancy? Whatever the kind of support you need, we have developed a range of guides and resources to help you through the process.
At Harvey W James we have created this page just for you! A guide to what you can expect from the letting process as well as useful guides and links to our property partners.
To view the latest ‘How to Rent Guide’ provided by Ministry of Housing Communities & Local Government.
Registering your details to rent
Harvey W James is regulated by the ICO (Information Commissioners Office) giving you peace of mind that your data collected is safe in accordance with the new GDPR guidelines that come into effect on 25th May 2018.
To view the information that Harvey W James will require to start your property search!
Tenant Fees Act - Schedule of fees
The Tenant Fees Act 2019 came into force on 1 June 2019. From that date, it is illegal for landlords & letting agents to charge fees to tenants apart from a small number of exemptions that are referred to as ‘permitted payments’.
NB The ban on tenant fees applies only in relation to tenancy agreements and licences signed on or after the 1 June 2019.
The Tenant Fees Act prevents landlords and their agents from requiring tenants to make any payment as a condition of granting, renewing or continuing a tenancy apart from:
Utilities and council tax
Fees for changing a tenant or ending a tenancy early
Set up fees
Permitted occupier fees
Right to Rent fees
Contract negotiation fees
Saturday move-in fees
End of tenancy fees
Security Deposit (per tenancy)
Under £50,000 Per Year: Five weeks’ rent. This covers damages or defaults on the part of the tenant during the tenancy.
Over £50,000 Per Year: Six weeks’ rent. This covers damages or defaults on the part of the tenant during the tenancy.
Interest at 3% above the Bank of England Base Rate from Rent Due Date until paid in order to pursue non-payment of rent. Please Note: This will not be levied until the rent is more than 14 days in arrears
Lost Key(s) or Other Security Devices
Tenants are liable to the actual cost of replacing any lost key(s) or other security device(s). If the loss results in locks needing to be changed, the actual costs of a locksmith, new lock and replacement keys for the tenant, landlord any other persons requiring keys will be charged to the tenant. If extra costs are incurred there will be a charge of £15 per hour (Inc. VAT) for the time taken replacing lost key(s) or other security device(s).
Variation of Contract (Tenant’s Request)
£50 (Inc. VAT) per agreed variation. To cover the costs associated with taking landlord’s instructions as well as the preparation and execution of new legal documents.
Change of Sharer (Tenant’s Request)
£50 (Inc. VAT) per replacement tenant or any reasonable costs incurred if higher. To cover the costs associated with taking landlord’s instructions, new tenant referencing and Right-to-Rent checks, deposit registration as well as the preparation and execution of new legal documents.
Early Termination (Tenant’s Request)
Should the tenant wish to leave their contract early, they shall be liable to the landlord’s costs in re-letting the property as well as all rent due under the tenancy until the start date of the replacement tenancy. These costs will be no more than the maximum amount of rent outstanding on the tenancy.
Monday - Saturday 12pm - 4pm Only
Sundays & Bank Holidays – Closed
NB: Landlords and agents cannot cover costs by charging a higher rent for the first month, or any other month.
Harvey W James is powered by the Goodlord platform which facilitates the transferring of monies (initial payment, rent and deposit) from our tenants via our compliant and trusted partners.
Viewings from 13 May 2020 - Coronavirus (COVID-19) update
Letting agencies can reopen their offices, viewings are permitted, show homes can reopen, removal companies can resume their activities, and other essential parts of the sales and letting process can be restarted in England from 13 May 2020.
All buyers and renters will now be able to complete purchases and view properties in person, while estate/letting agents, conveyancers and removals firms can return to work while following social distancing guidelines, confirmed the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick.
The updated guidance on moving home notes that "the process of finding and moving into a new home will need to be different, given those involved in the process will have to adapt practices and procedures to ensure that the risk of spread of coronavirus is reduced as far as possible. This will include doing more of the process online, such as virtual initial viewings; vacating your current property whilst other people are shown around, and ensuring your property is thoroughly cleaned before someone else moves in."
Checks should be made on all parties to ensure that no one with any Coronavirus symptoms takes part in any in-person activity
There must be no open house viewings
agents should not drive clients to appointments
Keys should be cleaned before handing them over
Arrangements for viewings should only involve the number of participants that are essential
Agents can accompany physical viewings and seek to maintain a minimum of two metres distance from others wherever possible.
Where social distancing is not possible and the visit is within an enclosed space, they should consider wearing a face-covering in line with Government guidance.
The householder must remain outside or in another room during viewings and the householder is responsible for cleaning and sanitising surfaces, opening windows, and ensuring the maximum ventilation available
Found a property? What’s next?
The rental market moves much faster than the sales market so if you see the perfect property, you may have to act quickly to secure it. We recommend always being prepared with the relevant documents such as a form of identification and confirmation of your address. You will be required to complete an application to rent outlining any conditions you may have as part of your initial offer and confirming some basic details. Once this has been completed, we will be able to approach the landlord on your behalf. Should your offer be accepted, we require preliminary monies of one weeks rent as security to confirm your commitment to renting the property. This will be taken into account and deducted from the remainder of the money you'll pay in cleared funds before you move in.
Applicants to complete an offer form via Docusign (DocuSign is a secure way to send digital information).
Once your offer has been received, it will then be forwarded to the landlord for their consideration.
No payment is required to make an offer to the Landlord
Landlord accepts your submitted offer
Offer of acceptance form via Docusign is sent for all applicant/s to sign and confirm interest to proceed to the application & referencing stage.
On acceptance, tenant/s will receive an email from Goodlord referencing agency inviting you to sign up.
You will be asked to make an initial payment of one-week.
The one-week holding deposit reserves the property and keeps the property off the market.
When you have paid your one-week holding deposit you will be asked to fill in a reference form.
Important Notice: From taking the one-week holding deposit, the tenancy agreement must be entered into (signed by both parties and dated) before the Deadline for Agreement. Current legislation stipulates the necessary paperwork should be completed within 15 days. If applicant/s fail to meet this deadline, Harvey W James is free to place the property back on to the market to receive new offers
Initial Holding Payment
Before your application can be fully considered, you will need to pay to us a holding deposit equivalent to one weeks’ rent (capped at no more than £400) for the property you are interested in.
Once we have your holding deposit, current legislation stipulates that the necessary paperwork should be completed within 15 days.
If at any time during that period you decide not to proceed with the tenancy, then your holding deposit will be retained by Harvey W James. By the same token, if during that period you unreasonably delay in responding to any reasonable request made by Harvey W James or by the associated referencing agency, and if it turns out that you have provided us with false or misleading information as part of your tenancy application or if you fail any of the checks which the Landlord is required to undertake under the Immigration Act 2014, then again your holding deposit will not be returned. It will be retained by Harvey W James and your Landlord.
However, if the Landlord decides not to offer you a tenancy for reasons unconnected with the above then your deposit will be refunded within 7 days. Should you be offered, and you accept a tenancy with our Landlord, then your holding deposit will be credited to the first months’ rent due under that tenancy.
Where, for whatever reason, your holding deposit is neither refunded nor credited against any rental liability, you will be provided with written reasons for your holding deposit not being repaid within 7 days.
You will not be asked to pay any fees or charges in connection with your application for a tenancy. However, if your application is successful under our standard assured shorthold tenancy agreement, you will be required to pay certain fees for any breach of that tenancy agreement in line with the Tenant Fees Act 2019. In consideration of us processing your tenant application, you agree to pay those fees to us on request.
NB. It is important that you know your legal rights and accordingly you should feel free to seek independent legal advice before signing this or indeed any other document which we might put before you.
If the landlord decides not to proceed with the proposed tenancy, then the holding payment shall be refunded in full within 7 days.
Where, for whatever reason, your holding deposit is neither refunded nor credited against any rental liability, you will be provided with written reasons for your holding deposit not being repaid within 7 days.
Letting as seen
Letting a property as seen, simply means that you accept the property in the cosmetic and decorative state as the day you viewed the property with the agent unless you have otherwise agreed, for example, for a room to be painted.
This does not release the Landlord from carrying out repairs which fall under landlord’s statutory repairing duties. For example, repairs to the roof, plumbing problems, and any repair work required for gas appliances. However, redecoration of the property, change of flooring or carpets, new furniture etc does not fall into this category. To view Harvey W James Repair Guide & Landlords Repair Obligations please click here
Therefore, please ensure any conditions agreed between you and the Landlord are confirmed in writing and stated in your tenancy agreement. Any proposals discussed verbally will not be accepted.
*Please note Harvey W James do not test any apparatus, fixtures, fittings, services or investigate any pest control issues. Interested parties must undertake their own investigation into the working order of these items.
As we are acting on behalf of Landlords that have placed their trust in us, it is incumbent upon us to ensure that we only offer properties to suitable tenants who can demonstrate affordability and stability. We have a professional duty to check your identity and eligibility to rent a property in the UK.
Prior to the tenancy being offered, credit, employer, previous landlord and bank references may be obtained in respect of all tenants by professional referencing agencies acting on our behalf. Any offer of a Tenancy is strictly subject to satisfactory references being passed. In certain circumstances, a guarantor may be required who is of sufficient means to guarantee the payment of rent.
In certain circumstances, e.g. when a tenant is employed but still within their probationary period, we will ask them to provide a guarantor who can pay the rent if they are unable to do so. This guarantor will also be identified and referenced and will sign a separate guarantor agreement.
Please note that when we proceed, we will be doing so without any responsibility for the accuracy of these references or the information contained in them, unless it is due to our negligence or breach of contract. Harvey W James will not be warranting the tenant/s as suitable.
The following information will be collected by the referencing agency:
Identification & Right to Rent Checks
Current and previous address
National Insurance and employment status
Future employment and any other income
Bank statements and pay slips
Any offer supporting documentation
Credit check - We check for bad credit, IVA’s, Bankruptcy orders and CCJ’s. If you have any adverse credit it is important that you declare this and make us aware of it.
Current landlord reference - We will contact the landlord or agent who you are renting from at the moment and obtain a reference from them.
Verification of Earnings - We need to verify that you can meet the rental obligations and to do this we will need to verify your current income. As a guide, you will need to earn at least 30 times the monthly rent per year, split between all named tenants.
Verification of affordability
Employed - We will take a reference from your current employers. It is important to give the name of your line manager or indicate that we need to contact the HR or Payroll department if this is the case. We can provide a letter of authority for you if necessary
Self-Employment - We will need to obtain a reference from your accountant or have sight of Your last 2 year’s accounts as well as your last two to three years’ worth of SA302’s / SA100’s / CIS Vouchers. We may also request bank statements to support your application.
Unemployed or Student - Unemployed applicants and students always require a guarantor. We do recommend that you provide to your letting agent copies of any student loan paperwork which you have received.
Independent Means - If your income is in the form of independent means, then we will require your last 6 month’s bank statements and may take a reference from your accountant if you have one. Independent means can include savings, pensions and investments. Please submit to your agent or to us copies of documentation which you feel supports your application. This could include but are not limited to documents such as savings statements, premium bonds certificates, investment statements, bank statements and accountant details.
Retired - We will require either your annual pension statement or a bank statements showing your pension income being paid to you. Please submit a copy of your most recent pension statement with your application.
Additional Income - If you have any additional income please make this clear when you apply. These could include things such as tax credits (please provide a copy of this year’s tax credits statement to your agent), savings (please provide 6 months bank statements) or an additional job (please provide details of who we may contact for a reference or provide copies of 3 months’ payslips)
We use a third-party external referencing provider called Goodlord.co to ensure that the checks are unbiased and to ensure the accuracy of the information we are collecting. If you have any questions regarding your references, please contact Goodlord.co by calling 0203 198 2060 or click here for online support
At Harvey W James we use a third-party external referencing provider to ensure that the checks are unbiased and to ensure the accuracy of the information we are collecting.
The referencing process criteria will vary dependent on your employment status. As standard, all referencing checks will include a credit reference check and a reference from your previous landlord or letting agent.
The income to rent calculation is worked out by multiplying the monthly rent for the property by 30. For example, if the monthly rent is £1,000, then the combined annual income of the referenced tenants would need to be at least £30,000 per annum in confirmed income.
If you do not meet the above criteria you will be required to either supply a guarantor or make a payment in advance for the full term of the tenancy. Where a guarantor is required, they will be required to pass the same referencing criteria but will be expected to demonstrate a higher income to rent ration. The income to rent ratio for guarantors is calculated by multiplying the monthly rent by 36.
All guarantors are subject to the approval of the landlord.
To view the full Goodlord referencing criteria please contact Harvey W James for more information
Once your references have been collected and verified they will be forwarded to your landlord for confirmation.
To view full video guidance visit goodlord tenant support portal
Proof of Identity
You must supply us with One form of Photo Identification (Passport or Driving License Only). If you are a foreign
national, we require proof of residency, e.g. a residence permit or visa. As well asphoto ID, we also require a proof of
address, i.e. a utility bill or council tax bill in your name at the given address. A UK driving license does provide both
photo ID and proof of address, provided the addressshown and that given by you are the same. From Companies, we
require a Proof of Identity of the Director or Authorised Signatory, as well as proof of directorship or proof of authority to
Right to Rent
Upon signing this document, you are consenting to the collection, verification and retention of any of your sensitive
information in accordance with Right to Rent legislation (Immigration Act 2014 and Data Protection Act 1998) and for
this verification to be carried out by our selected third party.
Depending on the individual circumstances, both landlord and tenant are sometimes reluctant to commit to a fixed term tenancy unless it includes a provision that allows the tenancy to be terminated before the expiry of the original fixed term. This type of provision is called a break clause or an option to determine. Either party may only end a fixed term tenancy before the conclusion of the term if there is a break clause in the tenancy agreement.
When a break clause is included in the tenancy agreement, it is therefore common that both parties are required to give two months written notice to the other party to terminate the fixed term. This has the advantage of a more equitable notice arrangement; both parties are bound to give the same length of notice. However, in a monthly periodic tenancy, only one month’s notice is required.
If a tenancy agreement does not contain a break clause, both parties will need to agree to surrender the tenancy in order to terminate. If the landlord does not agree to the surrender, the tenant will be contractually obliged to pay rent for the entire length of the fixed term.
Tenancy Agreement (Assured Shorthold Tenancy)
A tenancy agreement is an agreement between you and the landlord and can be set for a period of 6 months to seven years. The most common being set between 12-24 months.
Once your references have been confirmed by the landlord, the tenancy agreement will be sent to you via the online platform powered by Goodlord. At this stage, you will be able to read and digitally sign the agreement or if unsure, you will be able to send the document to your solicitor to read first.
To view our draft Tenancy Agreement - please contact Harvey W James for an up-to-date draft copy.
Settling the outstanding balance of monies
Typically, the balance of monies due will consist of one month’s rent in advance and five weeks damage deposit. This will need to be received in cleared funds before the start of the tenancy.
If the property is managed by Harvey W James your five-week damage deposit will be registered with DPS custodial in accordance with legislation passed on 6th April 2007, for which you will receive a certificate of registration.
Each deposit scheme requires the landlord or landlord’s agents to give to the tenants and anyone who has contributed to the deposit, the following documents:
Copy of the deposit protection certificate/receipt
The deposit protection scheme leaflet for tenants
The tenancy deposit scheme with which the Landlord or Landlords agent have protected your deposit with will provide you with your tenancy deposit certificate/receipt.
Under legal requirements, the landlord or Landlords agent must give a copy of the deposit protection certificate to the tenants and any third parties that have contributed to the deposit, within 30 days.
The DPS is currently the only scheme who sends a receipt confirming deposit protection directly to the tenant via post or email.
If the property is not managed by Harvey W James you will receive this confirmation from your landlord.
To read the DPS custodial prescribed information
Inventory and Check-In
If the property that you are moving in to is managed by Harvey W James then the Inventory Check-In will be carried out by Urban Fox Inventories who are regulated by AIIC (Association of Independent Inventory Clerks)
At the start of a tenancy, Landlord or Harvey W James will arrange to meet the new tenant/s at the property.
Keys will be delivered to the property from midday.
Harvey W James has allocated a maximum of 30 minutes to complete the tenant check-in process
Please note that the check-in process can take up to 30 minutes.
Check-In hours: Monday - Saturday 12pm - 4pm
You will receive a detailed inventory report within 48 hours for which you will have up to 5 working days to make any amendments before the document is legally binding.
The inventory is to protect both you and the landlord against any dispute that may arise at the end of a tenancy.
During your tenancy, if the property is managed by Harvey W James a quarterly inspection will take place by Urban Fox inventories to confirm the condition the property is being kept and to see if any maintenance is necessary.
This inspection will be arranged in advance and you can be present or not.
If a professional Inventory and check-in condition report has been prepared at the commencement of a tenancy the Landlord is responsible for the cost. At the end of the tenancy if a professional checkout condition report has been prepared the Landlord is responsible for the cost. Please ask if you have any questions regarding this process.
The inventory clerk will visit your home and go through the original Inventory Check-in to confirm that everything is in good order. We always recommend that you are present at the Check-Out
The landlord is responsible for insuring the main structure of the building and any of their contents, fixtures, and fittings. This insurance will not cover your belongings and you are therefore advised to take out separate insurance cover in this respect.
Utilities and Council Tax
You will be responsible for water, council tax, gas, electricity, broadband, the line rental of the telephone and TV licence on the property unless otherwise stated.
Please notify the relevant Local Authority of the commencement of your tenancy so that they may invoice you directly for Council Tax.
We cannot make any arrangements to connect a telephone and suggest you contact the telephone provider at least three working days prior to occupation.
A television licence and any cable, digital or satellite television arrangements will be your sole responsibility. However, if a cable, digital or satellite service has not previously been installed then you must seek written permission prior to installation from your Landlord or Landlords Agent.
Managed VS. Non-Managed
In cases where Harvey W James are the managing agent, you will have no direct contact with the landlord. Any requests with regards to rent payments, general maintenance and serving notice will be presented to Harvey W James who will liaise directly with your landlord.
For Non-managed property, you will be supplied with the landlord’s contact details upon moving into your new home.
The above is meant as a guide and this process may vary depending on your situation and whether you will be entering a Managed or Non-Managed property.
The Directors at Harvey W James are available to take your call. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have.
To view the our Repair Guide for managed properties only. If in doubt please refer to your Tenancy Agreement.