As a tenant you will need a security deposit (usually equivalent to the first month’s rent), a month’s rent in advance and will need to pay for referencing fees.
Our tenant charges are clear and transparent and are available on request, from this website and are on permanent display within our offices,
Once you have viewed a property and wish to take the property, please inform us as soon as you can. We will then commence our referencing and verification procedures.
- The referencing and verification process covers many aspects and checks to confirm to a landlord that you will be a good tenants.
- We instruct and pay a third party referencing company to verify all this information and thoroughly check a tenant’s suitability for payments.
- Amongst the referencing procedures are checking your credit status, current and previous employer, current or past landlords, income checks with recent bank statements proof of addresses as well as electoral roll and taking into account any other information to help assess the affordability of your tenancy application.
- If inaccurate information is supplied or information withheld which results in an adverse report being received from our referencing agents, the application will be rejected.
- Once the referencing process starts we cannot refund any fees if a tenant and or guarantor fails the referencing and an alternative guarantor cannot be provided.
- If you have poor credit, CCJ’s, IVA’s or are an undischarged bankrupt.
- The majority of prospective tenants that fail our referencing and verification process fail for the following reasons:
- County Court Judgements (CCJ’s) registered against them. Historic and/or settled CCJ’s do not necessarily present a problem
- Recent adverse credit indicators such as recent missed or late payments and arrears
- Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVA’s) that are up to date should not present a problem.
- Insufficient income
If a tenant fails our referencing and verification process, to continue with the tenancy a suitable Guarantor will be needed. Guarantors are subject to the same rigorous referencing and verification process.
Tenant Security Deposit
The Security Deposit will be held by Harris Shields Collection Limited and registered with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS). If a dispute arises between the landlord and tenant with regard to the apportionment of any deductions from the deposit, e.g. for costs or compensation for damage, or for breaches of, or failure to comply with the tenant’s obligations and mutual agreement cannot be reached the amount in dispute will not be paid over to either party and the matter shall be referred to the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) for arbitration. The security deposit will usually be equal to the first month’s rent.
First Month’s Rent & Security Deposit
The first month’s rent and security deposit must be paid prior to the start of the tenancy. The tenancy cannot start until Harris Shields Collection is in receipt of cleared funds. Payment may be made by debit card, cash, personal cheque, bank or building society cheque, electronic banking, or bankers draft.
Rent is due monthly in advance and must reach our account on or before the rent due date. We do not accept payment by cash in respect of new tenancy agreements and all payments of rent must be made by Standing Order. Harris Shields Collection will prepare a Standing Order Mandate which must be signed on the same date (or before) as the tenancy agreement is signed. It is the tenant’s responsibility to ensure that rent is received by us on or before the due date.
We are often asked if pets are allowed. The acceptance of pets is solely at the discretion of the Landlord and Harris Shields Collection has no jurisdiction over whether pets are allowed or not.
Out of Hours Emergencies
Harris Shields Collection defines an emergency as something that would immediately endanger life or would cause substantial damage to the property if not dealt with promptly and is of an unforeseen nature. During normal office opening hours tenants should report any emergencies to the office without delay.
In the first instance Harris Shields Collection Preferred Contractors should be contacted. Only in the event that the preferred contractors cannot be contacted should other contractors be called.View Emergency Contact Details
Examples of issues that may be an emergency are:
- Severe leaks
- Gas Leak. If there is a smell of gas the gas emergency service must be called on 0800 111 999
- Blockage of your only toilet. If the tenant has caused the blockage, the tenant will be liable for the full cost of the repair.
- Broken doors or windows following a break-in. A suitable person should be contacted to board up the broken door or window. The tenant MUST report the break-in to The Police and a crime number must be obtained. Without a crime number the tenant will be liable for the cost of any repair.
Costs incurred by tenants for non-emergency expenditure and/or minor matters will be fully chargeable to the tenant.
Tenants Frequently Asked Questions
The following are a selection of frequently asked questions from our tenants that we wanted to put into one central document so hopefully, it proves useful.
- You should leave all items in the original places and rooms as described in the inventory.
- All kitchen equipment should be left in a clean and in a usable condition.
- Please leave the property in the same clean and tidy condition as originally handed over. Any damage or scuffs should be repaired.
Properties not Managed by Harris Shields Collection - you will need to contact your landlord directly.
You will be asked for a previous landlord, bank, employee and/or character references, produce proof of address and either your passport, national ID card or driving licence.
In theory it can be a few days (as long is everything is in place and there are no delays or complications), this is of course dependent on our workload as well as the speed of referencing. If a tenant provides us with every piece of paperwork needed and any queries are dealt with straight away, urgent tenancies can be completed quickly. You will need to speak to us about this straight after viewing a property.
You as the tenant are responsible for setting up accounts with the utility companies directly when you move into your property, and also when you leave, taking care to provide meter readings at the beginning and end of the tenancy.
You will be asked to set up a monthly standing order with your bank. The rent should leave a tenant’s account seven days before it is due (this takes into account bank times, weekends and bank holidays).
Rent is paid by a standing order mandate and will leave your account at least seven days prior to the rental due date (three bank days plus four days for weekends and bank holidays) in order to be in Harris Shields Collection account on the due date (The due date is typically, although not always, the date on which you moved in).
A tenant can only decorate or make any changes if the landlord has given permission in writing, the tenant would need to write or email Harris Shields Collection.
Any problems with rental payments, that may result in late payment, should be notified to Harris Shields Collection immediately. Arrears letters will be issued if rent remains outstanding beyond 5 days after it was due. Please keep Harris Shields Collection informed if there are any problems. The rent should leave a tenant’s account seven days before it is due (this takes into account bank times, weekends and bank holidays).
Notice would need to be served in accordance with your particular lease agreement by recorded delivery or hand delivered to Harris Shields Collection. You have to provide a forwarding address. The notice needs to be a minimum of one month (one full tenancy period) and the leaving date would be at the end of a fixed term or the day before a rent day if on a “periodic tenancy” (month to month). Once a tenant gives a landlord notice to quit, either under a break clause or during a periodic tenancy, the notice is binding, even if it is defective, and cannot be withdrawn or rescinded, unless the landlord agrees to that. For new tenancies after 1 October 2015 fixed term or periodic can be ended on any day as long as two full months’ notice is given by the landlord or one by the tenant and subject to the minimum term (e.g. a six-month tenancy).
Yes, you are responsible for insuring your own possessions, the cover should also include cover for the landlord’s contents, buildings, furniture, fixtures and fittings. Please check this.
This maybe for a gas check, repairs or an inspection. They need to give at least 24 hours’ notice with your permission. (unless it’s an emergency i.e. flood/fire etc.). If Harris Shields Collection or your landlord try and contact you, do not ignore the requests.
Yes, it’s a good idea to, especially if something goes wrong when you are away. If you’re planning on going away for longer than 14 days, you should tell your agent or landlord. If you don’t and anything happens whilst you’re away, it may invalidate their insurance policy.
The primary liability is for rent until the end of the contract or its break clause point.
If the landlord agrees to re-market the property and once a new tenant is found, then your liability would be rent calculated on a pro-rata basis for the unexpired term of the contract with the extra costs the landlord has incurred.
You should contact your bank directly to cancel your standing order once the last payment has left your account. If the standing order is not cancelled Harris Shields Collection reserve the right to charge an admin fee to return any overpayment received.
Unless specific instructions are given by Harris Shields Collection or your landlord keys should be taken to Harris Shields Collection. Please ensure all sets are returned, a receipt is obtained and that this happens on or before the last day of your tenancy. Please note that you will be liable for rent on a daily basis until the keys are returned.
As an outgoing tenant, typically your costs will be associated with professional cleaning and the findings of the inventory check out. Any discrepancies between the condition of the property between check in and check out may result in deductions from your deposit.
Tenants that depend on council help with rent payments have to follow council instructions as far as rent payments and occupation of the property. If a tenant has notice to leave or needs council assistance, the council will advise the tenant not to leave. The trouble with this is – it leaves the landlord with high legal costs and would a landlord want to take this risk? Many landlords have mortgage commitments that need paying and with recent legislation on higher taxes earn slimmer profit margins.
Your deposit will be registered with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
In line with legislation introduced in April 2007 all deposits being paid by a tenant for an Assured Shorthold Tenancy must be registered with a recognised deposit protection scheme within 14 days. Where appropriate, Harris Shields Collection will register the deposit on your behalf.
Once the checkout has been concluded and Harris Shields Collection has received instructions regarding the deposit from the landlord, the money will be returned to your account, less any agreed deductions.
You should inform Harris Shields Collection 60 days prior to the end of your tenancy to allow enough time to arrange all the related administration.
Please contact or email Harris Shields Collection for bank details.
Harris Shields Collection are members of Propertymark - National Association of Estate Agents, Propertymark – Association of Residential Lettings Agents and the Property Ombudsman scheme, we are audited annually on our letting money handling and abide by all rules. We have all the relevant insurances including Professional Indemnity and Client Money Protection.
It is your landlord’s legal responsibility to ensure that the property is fit for human habitation at the time it is let. During the tenancy it is a tenant’s responsibility to instruct a professional to remove bees, ants, wasps, mice, rats, fleas, bats or squirrels.
Yes, if there is an adequate gap prior to moving in we or our appointed representative will notify the local council, water supplier(s) and energy provider(s) in line with your tenancy start date and secondly supply notifications to the local council, water supplier(s) and energy providers(s) from the date that you vacate the property. Our appointed representative will only use your information for the purpose of council, and utility registration, closing of council and utility accounts and Energy/Media comparisons upon your arrival.
Many are common sense but here are a few… Pay the rent on time. Keep the property in excellent order throughout the tenancy. Turn the water off at the mains if you plan on going away during cold weather. Take good care of the property and maintain all internal and external decoration and appliances (including the garden as per the tenancy agreement and furniture if the property comes furnished). Change any faulty light bulbs. Communicate effectively with your letting agent (or landlord) and report any repairs that are needed. Regularly test and replace batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Clean the windows. Keep the garden neat and tidy (check your tenancy agreement). Make sure the property is well ventilated and heated adequately during winter months to prevent damp. Follow the instructions for heating systems.
Most major items are the landlord’s responsibility so if you are a fully managed tenant please contact Harris Shields Collection for a repair, please note if the fault is caused by yourself or an item you are liable for – you as the tenant will be liable to pay any repair bills. If a Harris Shields Collection member of staff must visit and it is an item the tenant is responsible for, the tenant may be liable to a charge of £30 incl. vat. It is a tenant’s responsibility to keep windows clean, change bulbs, clear gutters, unblock toilets, chimney sweeping, replace lost keys, deal with condensation, replace smoke alarm batteries, rodent problems, maintaining the garden to name a few. Other repair responsibilities for a tenant are:
Baths – Waste pipe blockages. Residents must demonstrate that they have made all reasonable efforts to unblock waste pipes. This would include the use of a plunger or domestically available drain cleaning products
Chains and plugs – On basins, baths and sinks
Decoration internal – Making good to decoration after repairs are done is the responsibility of the tenant
Domestic appliances – If they belong to you
Door furniture – External (Including bells, knockers, letter boxes, door number and door handles)
Door furniture – Including door handles, locks and latches
Drains – Tenants must demonstrate that they have made all reasonable efforts to unblock waste pipes. This would include the use of a plunger or domestically available drain cleaning products
Access door locks – Except communal locks All locks, including multipoint locking systems, must be repaired by the tenant, if necessary by appointing a private locksmith.
Fixtures and fittings – Such as coat hooks, curtains and curtain rails
Garden maintenance – tenants are responsible for keeping gardens neat and tidy
Hand basins– Waste pipe blockages
Infestation– By pigeons, rats, insects, etc. Contact your local council
Keys – If you ask us to change a lock or lose your keys, we will charge you
Laminate flooring – Except when the damage is caused by other repairs we have carried out (you must obtain our written permission before fitting laminate flooring)
Light bulbs – these are a tenant’s responsibility
Re-lighting pilot light on gas boiler – Includes re-setting any heating controls or programmers
Tap washers – Fitting and replacement
TV aerials and sockets – Unless communal
Washing lines – Unless communal
Waste blockages – Including basin, bath and kitchen sink. You will be recharged if the blockage is considered to be caused through neglect by the tenant, a member of the family or another person on the premises.
Some of these can be easily solved before you ask us for a plumber. If you smell gas call National Grid on 0800 111 999 switch off all cooking, heating, open windows and doors and do not switch on any electrical appliances or light switches.
Some of these can be easily solved before you ask us for an electrician.
Firstly, check it is on manual not on automatic timer.
After the initial inspection then approximately every six months of your tenancy we book an inspection with you. We book this in advance at a time that is convenient with you. It is a quick visit to reassure the landlord all is OK and also to make sure there aren’t any issues you have. We are not comparing the property against the inventory as it’s just a quick visit to make sure all is well. We may need to book a return visit if there is an issue. Please note if there are any issues at all between inspections please contact us.
Condensation is a problem affecting many homes. Properties should be adequately ventilated with windows and doors opened. This is especially important in bathrooms and kitchens.