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02920 099780

Your Tenancy

Here you will find a range of questions that you might ask once you have found the property that you like – if it’s not what you were looking for, click one of the menu options below.

If you have a question that is not answered, just get in touch and we will come straight back to you. And if we feel your question would be of interest to a wider audience, we’ll include it here.

Once you have found the property you like, you should contact Letability and the process will proceed as follows:

1.  If the property is still available, we will ask you to confirm the information that we already hold but we may also ask you further questions to pre-screen your suitability for the property and to ensure that the property is suitable for your needs. We’ll also ask you to confirm the rent that you are offering and the date you would like to start your tenancy.

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If your offer is below the asking price, that is fine, but we will need to refer it to the landlord for them to either accept or reject it. If it is accepted, we can proceed to the next step but if it is declined, you will need to withdraw or increase your offer.  

Please note that generally, we are pre-authorised by the landlord to accept offers that meet the rent requested. If your offer is lower than the rent requested, the property will remain on the market while the landlord considers your offer. If, during that time, a further offer is received that is higher than your offer, we are duty bound to put that offer to the landlord who may well choose the higher offer and yours will be declined.

Of course, you should not let this potential situation put you off from making what you believe to be a reasonable offer.  But you should be aware of what could happen while your offer is being considered.

2.  If your proposed occupation date is too far into the future, we may need to refer it to the landlord and your application may be rejected on those grounds – especially if the property has not been on the market for too long. 

It is often the case that we will offer a property where a tenant is still in occupation. In those circumstances, we will advise you of the absolute earliest date that we could commence your tenancy (usually three days following the end of the existing tenancy but it may be longer if maintenance work needs to be carried out at the property before your occupation). 

3.  If everything is in order, we will ask you to complete a Credit Reference questionnaire and ask you to pay a holding deposit equivalent to one weeks’ rent. This can be paid directly into our Client Bank Account, by debit or credit card, or by cash. We will now take the property off the market and reject any further offers.

You will be given two working days to complete these formalities but if you fail to do so for any reason, your application will be cancelled and the property will be offered to other interested parties or returned to the market.

Please note that if you fail to provide the completed questionnaire and/or pay the holding deposit within the time specified, we will not accept further applications from you in respect of this or any other property that Letability manages.

4.  As soon as we receive your completed questionnaire we will start the credit referencing process. 

As part of that process, you will be contacted directly (usually via email) by our Credit Reference Agency and asked to provide additional  information to help their assessment. This must be done online and should be provided without delay. 

If you fail to provide the information requested within a reasonable time, your application will be cancelled in line with point 3 above. 

If your application is approved, we will now move to the next step.

If your application is not approved but is capable of being approved if you provide a guarantor, we will ask for details of your guarantor and re-submit your application for approval. 

If your application is still not approved, we will refund your holding deposit within three working days and your application will be cancelled.

Please note:

a.  if you application is declined because you have provided false or misleading information in your Credit Reference questionnaire, your holding deposit will not be refunded (see Tenant Fees Schedule) to you but will be retained by Letability and the landlord as provided under the Law to help cover the costs that we have incurred in processing your application.  

b.  if your application is declined on these grounds, Letability will not accept future applications from you in respect of this or any other property managed by Letability.

c.  if you withdraw from the application process at any point and for whatever reason, your holding deposit will be retained as noted above.

d.  the landlord can pull out at any point and for any reason before signing the Tenancy Agreement. Naturally, this would only happen in exceptional circumstances and we would refund your holding deposit back to you within three working days. If the landlord pulled out for no good reason, we would refuse to manage properties belonging to that landlord in the future.

5.   When we get to this stage, we will prepare a Tenancy Agreement for you detailing all matters relating to the tenancy. (A sample Tenancy Agreement is available here.) This will be emailed to you and you will be required to sign and return it within the time that we specify (usually within 7 working days). If you fail to return the signed Agreement within the time specified, we may terminate the process and your holding deposit will be retained in line with point 3 above.

Once you sign and return the agreement, you will be bound by its terms and the tenancy will proceed in line with the Agreement.

6.  As we approach your move-in day, we will write to you and request the following payments:

a.  The rent deposit (if applicable) will need to be received in cleared funds no later than close of business on the working day immediately before the day we have arranged for you to move in. The deposit is usually equivalent to 5 weeks rent but we will advise you of the actual amount in the Tenancy Agreement. 

If you have chosen a Deposit Replacement option (details are in the FAQ below), it is ultimately your responsibility to ensure that the insurance policy is in place in readiness for the move-in date. If it is not in place, we will not be able to hand over the keys.

b.  The holding deposit that you have paid will be deducted from the first months rent payable. The balance will need to be received in cleared funds no later than close of business on the working day immediately before the day we have arranged for you to move in.

Please note that, if we have not received the deposit and rent as noted in a. and b. above, we will not attend the property on the planned move-in date. In that case, you will need to arrange another appointment with us and we will do our best to make that appointment as close to the original planned move-in date as possible. Notwithstanding this, your tenancy will still commence on the date in the Tenancy Agreement and you will be responsible for rent and other matters from the date provided in that Agreement.

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This is a question that we would need to ask the landlord – some allow it while others don’t. 

Generally, each case is judged on its merits and as long as you can pass the affordability and credit checks, it should not be a problem.

Sometimes, due to personal or other circumstances, you may be aware that you are likely to fail the credit referencing process.

If that is the case, we will not be able to offer you a tenancy under standard terms but we may be able to offer you a tenancy where you pay all rent due for the term of the Tenancy at the beginning of the tenancy. Such arrangement would be subject to the prior approval of the landlord but generally, it should not be a problem.

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We will be able to accept payment direct into our nominated bank account or via a credit card or debit card (for which a surcharge will be applied) but we will not be able to accept payment, either in part or in full, in cash.

If you would like to discuss this option, please do so as early as possible in the process.

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In England, the amount of deposit is fixed in Law.  

Where the rent is below £50,000 per annum, the deposit is five weeks rent.

Where the rent is above £50,000 per annum, the deposit is six weeks rent.

Additional deposits for pets or smokers are no longer allowed.

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In Wales, there is currently no cap on the amount of deposit that can be requested but we do expect that to change at some point in the future.

Usually, the rent deposit is 5 weeks rent but there may be additional weeks added for pets or smokers but this is dependant on the preferences of the landlord. The exact amount of the deposit will be provided with all other relevant information in the property information sheet.  

If you are an existing tenant of Letability and you want to move into a new property managed by Letability, we may be able to delay taking some or all of your deposit for the new property until your deposit on the existing property has been repaid to you. 

Although this facility is free, it has certain terms and conditions attached, but it could prove a benefit to your cashflow at such an important time. 

If you are experiencing problems raising a deposit, Shelter offers help and guidance here.

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Letability protects all deposits with the The Dispute Service (TDS) – we do not pass them to the landlord – and we will start the protection process as soon as we receive your deposit. Until your deposit is transferred to the TDS, it is held in our segregated Client Money account.  

Under the Law, we have 30 days to protect your deposit and you will be notified and provided with the relevant documentation as soon as the process is complete.

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If you are having problems raising a deposit, you may be able to access a bond or guarantee scheme that will help you put a deposit together.  

There are now ‘deposit replacement’ schemes available which provide an alternative to the traditional method. See the FAQ’s here.

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Yes we do although it is up to the landlord whether or not they will accept it (although most say yes!)

At Letability, we use Reposit who, in our opinion, offer one of the best products available and they are fully regulated too. (ARLA have produced a useful Factsheet that contrasts and compares the different Deposit Replacement schemes that are available.)  

The idea behind the deposit replacement scheme is that, instead of you having to find the cash to pay the deposit, you buy an insurance policy from Reposit. This gives the landlord the security for the deposit you would have paid if you had gone down the traditional route.

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In broad terms, you take out an insurance policy that is valid for the term of your Tenancy Agreement (usually a maximum of 12 months but it can be renewed). The cost of that policy is generally equivalent to one weeks’ rent. In return, the landlord can get up to eight weeks worth of rent paid to them if you default on your rent or if there are claims against you (for damages and the like) that you do not pay when you leave the property. Broadly speaking, the landlord is put in the same position as if a cash deposit had been taken from you in the first place.

If there is a claim by the landlord against the insurance policy, you will have the opportunity to argue your side in the same way as you would if your deposit had been protected in a traditional manner with The Dispute Service (TDS).

This all seems too good to be true. But is it?

Well, Yes and No!! 

There are pros and cons (but make sure you read the documentation provided before making a decision):

1. The Deposit Replacement product is like all insurance policies; it covers a particular risk. If a claim is not made against the policy (in that you have made good any arrears or damages), the premium you have paid for the policy is lost. Just like car or house insurance. 

2. With a traditional deposit, it will be returned to you (less any rent arrears and damages) at the end of the tenancy. All it would have cost you – compared to the Deposit Replacement product – is the loss of interest during the time you had the tenancy.

3. If the landlord makes a claim against the policy, Reposit reserves the right to chase you for the money that they have paid to the landlord together with their costs in doing so. Failure to pay may result in a negative entry in your credit file.  

4. The Deposit Replacement product will need to be renewed each year, unlike a traditional deposit which remains in place. So, over a period of years, you would have paid premiums in excess of the traditional deposit that you would have made.

 

PLEASE REMEMBER: 

Deposit Replacement protection is not a ‘get out of jail free’ card.  The premium you pay is used by the insurance company to make a guarantee to the landlord that he will get up to ‘x’ weeks worth of rent as cover if you default in your obligations. If you do not default, then that is the end of the matter. The money you paid for the insurance cover has now gone. 

But if you do default – despite the fact that you have paid for cover – you are still fully liable for any rent arrears or damages that you incur and the insurance company will be fully entitled to chase you for the money that they have paid to the landlord. If you do not pay them, it will be treated as a default and likely to affect your credit file. 

Deposit Replacement is expensive compared to the cash alternative but it can be a great option in the short term while you save up the cash for a traditional deposit or while you wait for a previous cash deposit to be returned.*

Another thing that you should be aware of is that the providers of Deposit Replacement products pay a substantial referral fee to letting agents for the business that they introduce. And that also applies to Reposit who pay a referral fee to Letability.  

But Letability is different! 

At Letability, we don’t keep those referral fees! No, we put them to one side and pay them to you at the end of your tenancy (provided that there are no claims on the policy obviously). Now isn’t that refreshing? Moreover, whenever we receive referrals fees or commissions as a result of you being our tenant, we will allocate them to you and pay them in the same way.

So, while Deposit Replacement may be considered expensive, if you choose Letability, the cost will be significantly less than other letting agents because you will get the referral fee back. 

And finally, you should be aware that a landlord or letting agent cannot force you to use a Deposit Replacement product. It is your choice – they can only offer it as an option.

Additional information on Deposit Replacement can be found in this useful guide for Tenants produced by Reposit

 *If you are an existing Letability tenant and you want to move into a new property managed by Letability, we may able to delay taking some or all of the deposit for the new property until your deposit on the first property has been repaid. Although this facility is free to you, certain terms and conditions must be met, but it could prove a huge benefit to your cashflow at such an important time.

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At Letability, all our homes are non smoking. You are welcome to smoke outside the property but if you smoke inside, you will be in breach of your Tenancy Agreement.

This is usually handled on a case by case basis so it is worth asking.

If the landlord accepts pets without question, it will be clearly noted in the details of the property and again in the Tenancy Agreement.

Generally speaking, all bills relating to the property – except repairs, maintenance, service charges and Landlord Insurance – will be your responsibility. Sometimes, certain items such as water rates or internet charges will be included as part of the rent but these will be clearly shown in the property brochure and in your Tenancy Agreement.

In summary, you are generally responsible for Local Authority rates, electricity, gas and oil (where used), telephone and internet, TV licence and satellite TV.

This will depend on the property, so please take a look at the property brochure for specific information.

Generally, at a minimum, unfurnished properties will include carpets and curtains and a selection of white goods in the kitchen – fridge freezer, cooker and washing machine.

The property may be partly furnished or fully furnished in which case; you should check to see what’s included.

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When you move into your property, you will be provided with a full digital inventory of what is included in the property as well as its condition. The inventory will cover each room and its contents. It is your responsibility to check the inventory to ensure that every item is present and that the condition stated is correct. 

You will have seven days following the date you receive the inventory to check it over and notify Letability of any discrepancies. If there is anything that you do not agree with or are not happy with, you should send us an email itemising those concerns. When you are satisfied with everything, you should sign the inventory where indicated and return it to Letability. If we do not hear from you within seven days, it will be taken that you are happy with the inventory as provided. 

At the end of your tenancy, the inventory that you signed will be used to assess whether the property (less reasonable wear and tear) has been left in the same condition as when you took up occupation. Where there are differences, you may have to pay charges which will be deducted from your deposit before it is returned to you.

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Every property that Letability manages will have a least one smoke alarm on each floor and at least one carbon monoxide alarm.

These alarms will be tested in your presence on the day that you move in. After that, during your tenancy, it is your responsibility to regularly test the alarms and replace batteries as and when required. If one of the alarms stops working, you should get in touch with Letability and a replacement alarm will be provided at no cost to you.

Before a property is offered to a tenant, it will have been checked to ensure that it is safe.

Further information on what to expect and what you can do to ensure that the property is safe is provided in the Government publication ‘How to Rent a Safe Home which is available as an England version and as a Wales version.

If you ever have any concerns about safety matters within your property, phone Letability on 02920 099780

Before a property is offered to a tenant, we carry out checks to ensure that it is fit for human habitation as required under the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation Act) 2018. Further information on that Act can be found here.

Broadly speaking, this means that the property needs to be fit for human habitation when the tenancy starts, during the term of the tenancy and when it finishes. If it is not, you have certain enhanced remedies as a result of the legislation.

At Letability, we are committed to this legislation so if you ever have any concerns regarding fitness for human habitation, you should get in touch with us immediately

Before we enter into a Management Agreement with the landlord, we ensure that we have had sight of the agreement letter from the property lender (if there is one) or a copy of the deeds.

Unfortunately, no.

The holding deposit is specific to each property. If you wish to choose a new property and your request is accepted, you will have to provide a new holding deposit.

Except in exceptional circumstances, the holding deposit that you paid on the first property will be forfeited.

Not all HMO’s (Houses in Multiple Occupation) are required to be licenced – it depends upon the Local Authority requirements in that area. As part of our work, Letability ensures that the landlord has followed the correct procedure and where necessary, you will be provided with all the information required under the Law.

Absolutely!

At Letability, we use a Tenancy Agreement approved and recommended by ARLA Propertymark. A sample copy of that Agreement is available here together with the additional amendments to the agreement for Welsh tenancies here.

On occasions, we will make slight additions to the Agreement (in the area at the bottom of the Agreement) to cover things such as pets and other restrictions, but the body will remain as it is.

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When you decide to take a tenancy, you will get an opportunity to review the proposed Agreement before signing. Make sure you read it carefully and that you understand your rights and responsibilities before you sign it.

We use the ARLA Agreement because we consider it to be fair to both the landlord and the tenant, but if you have any concerns about the agreement, please seek appropriate advice before you sign.

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As part of our procedures, we ensure that our landlords hold insurance cover appropriate to the use of the property. 

However, please note that you will still need to arrange your own contents and public liability insurance and with this in mind, Letability has teamed up with Urban Jungle who offer ‘easy in – easy out’ contents insurance designed specially for renters. 

Click here for further information.

This is a voluntary scheme and not all Landlords have taken part. 

Should you require further information on this we can provide it on a property by property basis upon request. 

However, as Letability directly manages all the properties that it offers, you can be certain that we comply with current laws wherever necessary. 

When you move into your property, you will be provided with a full digital inventory of what is included in the property as well as its condition. The inventory will cover each room and its contents. It is your responsibility to check the inventory to ensure that every item is present and that the condition stated is correct.

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You will have seven days following the date you receive the inventory to check it over and notify Letability of any discrepancies. If there is anything that you do not agree with or are not happy with, you should send us an email itemising those concerns. When you are satisfied with everything, you should sign the inventory where indicated and return it to Letability. If we do not hear from you within seven days, it will be taken that you are happy with the inventory as provided. 

At the end of your tenancy, the inventory that you signed will be used to assess whether the property (less reasonable wear and tear) has been left in the same condition as when you took up occupation. Where there are differences, you may have to pay charges which will be deducted from your deposit before it is returned to you.

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Moving in to a new home can be both exciting and stressful. At Letability, we have put together a ‘Welcome Home’ Pack to make your first few days in your new home just that little bit easier.

Your pack will contain:

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1.  The location of all utility meters together with the latest reading which we will check with you. 

2.  Details of the current energy suppliers. You are free to change these if you wish provided you let us know who the new suppliers are.  We will speak to you about the service offered by Tenant Shop which could save you money.  What’s more, any commissions that we receive as a result of you using Tenant Shop will be paid to you.

3.  The location of the stop cock, fire and carbon monoxide alarms together with other information that you will find useful. Alarms will be tested at this stage to show you that they are working but it is your responsibility to replace the batteries as and when required. If any of the alarms break, please let us know and they will be replaced free of charge.

4.  Manufacturer instruction manuals for each of the appliances in you new home.

5.  Information about Letability. Who to contact for maintenance issues and also emergency issues out of hours.

6.  A copy of the How To Rent guide (click here for the Welsh version and here for the English version).

7.  If there is gas installed in your new home, we will supply a valid Gas Safety Certificate and renew that Certificate within 28 days of the due date provided you have given access to the property as required under the terms of your Tenancy Agreement.

8.  If you have chosen to provide a deposit (as opposed to using a tenancy deposit alternative), we will protect that deposit with TDS and give you the paperwork relating to that deposit within 30 days of receipt of the deposit. (Please note that in certain circumstances where you were a Letability Tenant in your last property, we may be able to delay taking some or all of your deposit on taking up the tenancy until the deposit relating to the last property is returned. In such circumstances, separate rules apply which you will be advised of as required.)

9.  A copy of the current Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). This will affect your energy bills and must have an EPC rating of at least ‘E’ (unless a valid exemption applies).

10.  If any Electrical Inspection has been carried out you will be provided with a copy of the report. Please note that it is not a legal requirement to carry our such inspections – only a recommendation – so this information may not be available. 

11.  A standing order form so that you can set up your monthly rent payment. You can do this online if you prefer – just use the bank details and reference included in the form.

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The Tenancy Agreement that you sign when you become a tenant sets out what Letability can and cannot do and ensures that you are protected under the Law for the duration of the tenancy. It also states what you are responsible for to ensure that the tenancy proceeds harmoniously.

Most of your responsibilities are shown here (but please refer to your Tenancy Agreement for specific conditions that might apply to your tenancy):

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1. You should pay your rent on the due date as stated in your Tenancy Agreement whether or not we ask for it. If your rent is more than 14 days overdue, you may be charged a default fee. Furthermore, if you live in Wales, you will be charged £6 for every letter, email or telephone call that we make requesting payment. 

Please be aware that persistent failure to pay rent on time may result in the landlord not wishing to renew the tenancy at the end of the fixed term. Furthermore, Letability is unlikely to recommend such tenants to alternative landlords.

2.  Pay any other bills that you are responsible for on time. This includes items such as council tax, utilities and telephone costs.  

Don’t forget, you are welcome to change the suppliers of these items at any time. If you do so but do not use our nominated supplier, you must inform us of the new suppliers full details and relevant account numbers as soon as possible.

3.  You must look after the property.

As a Letability Tenant, we expect you to take care of minor items such as blocked sinks, failed bulbs and spent batteries. If there is a maintenance issue, it is your responsibility to contact us as soon as practicable so that we can arrange the repair.

If you want to make any alterations to the property – such as installing a satellite dish or painting the walls a different colour – you need to first seek Letability’s approval and if permission is granted, it will be in writing and you will usually have to agree to reinstate everything at the end of the tenancy. Please refer to the Tenancy Agreement for full information on this matter.

4.  It is also worth saying that you should probably consider arranging contents insurance to cover your belongings in the property.  The landlord will have insurance for the property and the landlord’s contents but you will need to provide insurance for your own personal belongings. 

With this in mind, Letability has teamed up with Urban Jungle who offer ‘easy in – easy out’ contents insurance designed specially for renters. Click here for further information.

5.  Be considerate to your neighbours. 

6.  You must not take in a lodger or sub-let the property without seeking the permission of Letability. 

In addition, when you move in, make sure you:

a.  Understand how to work all the appliances – especially the central heating. Instructions will be included in your ‘Welcome Home’ pack.

b.  Regularly test the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. You are responsible for replacing batteries if they are no longer working.

c.  Don’t forget to register to vote.

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The Tenancy Agreement that you sign requires that you pay your rent in advance every month whether it is requested by us or not.

The best way to ensure that it is paid is to set up a standing order instruction at your bank (your ‘Welcome Home’ pack contains a form for you to complete and hand in to your bank or you can set it up online).

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If the rent is not received on time, we will contact you to understand what the problem is. Depending on the law, we may charge you each and every time we have to contact you in this respect.

You should also be aware that if you fail to pay your rent when it is due and without good reason, it could well result in your current landlord refusing to renew the lease when it expires. In such circumstances, Letability may well refuse to offer you a tenancy on any other property that it manages.

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At Letability, we try to offer payment methods that are convenient to you.

The easiest method is for you to pay us by transferring the money requested directly into our bank account. Full details of how to do this will be provided to you as and when required.

We can also accept Debit Card and Credit Card payments (Mastercard and Visa only). Please be aware that:

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a. if you are paying the Holding Deposit using a personal debit or credit card, there will be no surcharges to pay (because it is against the law to do so).

b. if you are paying the Rent Deposit using a personal debit or credit card, there will be no surcharges to pay.

c. if you are paying the First Months’ Rent using a personal debit or credit card, we will charge you the fees that we are charged ourselves. You will be advised of the exact amount at the time you make your payment but it is likely to be in the region of 2.5% of the amount you are paying.  

We do this because payments under your Tenancy Agreement fall outside the regulations prohibiting surcharges (See clause 8.1 in this Government document).

d. if you are using a corporate credit or debit card to make any type of payment to us, we are entitled to charge you the fees that we are liable to pay (in the region of 2.5% of the transaction value but we will advise you at the time of processing).

We can also accept cash – in full or in part – but we can only accept it at our offices or bank premises by prior arrangement. At any other time – due to security risks – we are not able to accept cash from you.

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Yes you can.

However, your Tenancy Agreement falls outside the regulation prohibiting surcharges (See clause 8.1 in this Government document) so we will make an additional charge equivalent to the amount that we are charged ourselves. You will be advised of the exact amount at the time you make your payment but it is likely to be in the region of 2.5% of the transaction value.

Of course you can – provided that it is done to an acceptable standard and before the day that you move out. You will not be given access to the property after the last day of your tenancy.

Still have questions?  Why not take a look at our other FAQs?