Finders Keepers Guide to Renting
To see our Tenant Fees Schedule please click here. To read about our 10-point rental process, see below.
1. Look for a home
By web, phone or in person. Our expert letting staff will help match you with the right homes and can then drive you to see them.
2. Pay holding deposit to reserve your home
When you find the home you want, discuss your application with our letting team so the tenancy can be agreed with the landlord, fill out our online application form and pay your holding deposit. We strongly advise you to read a copy of our draft Tenancy Agreement - which will state your likely obligations under the final agreement - before paying your holding deposit.
Paying the holding deposit reserves the property for you and takes it off the market. It does not constitute the granting of a tenancy or a promise to enter into a tenancy. The holding deposit is per property, not per person, and is 1 weeks' rent (calculated as one month's rent x 12 / 52). If the tenancy proceeds the holding deposit will be put towards your first rental payment. It will be retained by Finders Keepers if you:
Decide not to proceed with the tenancy
Fail the Right to Rent checks
Fail to take all reasonable steps to enter into the tenancy (and we and the landlord have taken all reasonable steps to enter into a tenancy agreement with you)
Provide false or misleading information regarding your ability to meet the referencing criteria
This payment will be refunded to you within 7 days if the landlord decides not to offer you a tenancy for any reason other than those listed 1-4 above. If a tenancy has not been entered into by the 'Deadline for Agreement' the holding deposit will be returned to you unless one of the exceptions at 1-4 above applies, or we agree an extension with you in writing. The deadline for agreement is 15 days beginning from the day when you paid the deposit to us. Where we return the holding deposit, you agree that we may return the holding deposit to you, any other person who paid the holding deposit to us, or any other individual who you applied to rent a property with as joint tenants. In completing an Application to Rent you agree to the holding deposit being held on this basis.
Please note that we only accept UK debit cards or bank transfers, we do not accept cash.
Before moving into a property, reference checks are carried out by a third party referencing company for all prospective tenants. Each case is treated on an individual basis, and in all cases references are subject to landlord approval.
The general referencing process includes 3 reference checks:
Landlord (if you are currently renting)
Credit check (if you are living in the UK) any CCJs, IVAs, bankruptcy or rent arrears must be disclosed in writing before paying a holding deposit
Income - you will need to show a basic income of at least 30 times the monthly rent. For example if the monthly rent is £1100 you need to earn £33000 to pass. You will need to provide contact details at the company you work for of someone who can confirm your salary.
You will also be required to provide proof of address for a minimum of three years.
Self employed: If you are self employed for less than 1 year, you will need a UK-based guarantor or will be required to pay for the tenancy in advance. For more than 1 year you'll need either an accountant to confirm your income or complete an SA302 (self assessment) form.
Student: You will need to provide proof of funding for the rental amount or details of a scholarship.
Savings: We can take savings into account, however you must have an amount that is equal to 36 times the monthly rent that has been in your account for at least 6 months.
If you are unable to prove income then we may ask for advance payment of rent or a UK-based guarantor. Your guarantor will need to prove an income of 42 times the monthly rent.
As part of the referencing process Finders Keepers reserves the right to carry out Anti-Money Laundering checks in line with the Money Laundering Regulations 2017. We may use a third party to complete these checks.
4. Right to Rent check
As per the Immigration Act 2014 Section 22 it is now the landlord or agents' responsibility to check that all tenants and occupiers have the "Right to Rent".
This means that you must be a British Citizen or European Economic Area (EEA) citizen or a Swiss National or have the Right to Rent in the UK e.g. a valid visa / residency permit etc. and some of these are limited to a period of time.
At Finders Keepers we have a two stage process to ensure that we comply with the law and avoid new tenancies falling through which causes upset for tenant and/or landlord
1. When you apply for a property we ask that you a) show the passport of each adult occupier to our letting staff, b) upload a scan of the photo page in your passport and the visa / residency permit if relevant via our Apply Online form
2. We then have to re-check each adult occupier's passport when you pick up keys - each person must be present in person at our office
Unfortunately, if you do not have the 'Right to Rent' we will not be able to accept your application and your holding deposit will be retained.
5. Sign tenancy agreement and pay 1st month's rent and deposit
Once the references are received, you digitally sign the Tenancy Agreement, the legal contract between tenant and landlord. An email will be sent to you and you open the Agreement PDF, read it and adopt a digital signature to sign it.
The average length of a tenancy is 12 months. If you want a longer or shorter tenancy or have special requirements, we will liaise between you and the landlord to reach an agreement.
Most people pay the 1st month's rent and security deposit together. If the tenancy starts mid month (e.g. from the 15th onwards), the first rent due on the invoice will include the following month's rent as well because any direct debit can take one month to set up. The invoice is due 10 working days in advance of the move-in date, payable by UK debit card.
The security deposit is a sum of money held by us, the letting agent, on behalf of the landlord as security against the property being left damaged or rent not being paid. The security deposit is five weeks' rent (or six weeks for tenancies where the annual rent is £50,000 or higher).
Thereafter, rent is collected by direct debit from a UK bank account (direct debit automatically transfers funds from one bank account to another).
6. Check-In, Inventory and 'Your Home' pack
At Finders Keepers, your Property Manager 'checks you in' to your new home, explaining all the appliances and helping you settle into your home.
'Property Management' involves rent collection, regular maintenance visits, the repair of a property, its furnishings and appliances, and looking after those living in the home.
The inventory is an agreed statement of everything which is in your property and what condition everything is in. Each tenant needs to check that the inventory is accurate, sign one copy of it and return it to us.
UK tenancy agreements work on the premise that properties need to be left by tenants in the condition in which they were found, less wear and tear. Hence the inventory is vital, as it is a record of your home's condition on arrival.
When you move in, we will send you our Finders Keepers 'Your Home' pack which has answers to common questions as well as information about your property's appliances and utilities. If you have any further questions or issues arise, your Finders Keepers Property Manager's details are in the front of the folder.
For emergencies at night, such as flooding, call our 24-hour Emergency Helpline (details of what defines an emergency are found in the Your Home folder).
7. Enjoy your home
The most important part of the process.
8. Offer to renew
Three months before your tenancy is due to finish, we will contact you to ask your plans and if you want to renew your tenancy. If you want to stay, then we contact the landlord and discuss their objectives. Subject to their agreement, we draw up a new Tenancy Agreement.
The 'Check-Out' is when you leave your property. Your Property Manager visits your home and goes through the inventory to confirm that everything is in good order. We always recommend that you are present at the Check-Out.
To help make the process as easy as possible, we can organise professional cleaners if needed - 40% of tenants now use this service.
10. Deposit Refund
If there are no deductions from the deposit for damages, dilapidations or cleaning, we endeavour to return the deposit within a week of the final day of the tenancy.