Tenant services Belfast and Magherafelt

We understand that moving into a new home can be a stressful experience for some.

At Lavery Mitchell we strive to make the letting experience as streamlined and seamless as possible for tenants.

Please see below a step-by-step guide outlining the letting process in its entirety.

Tenant Application Process

  • Step 1 Finding the right property
  • Step 2 Arrange a viewing
  • Step 3 Complete an online application form
  • Step 4 Offer of property with associated paperwork
  • Step 5 Collection of keys
  • Step 6 Routine Inspections
  • Step 7 Exiting the property

Tenant FAQs

I need to find a place to rent. What do I do first?

Before you start searching for your new home it's a good idea to write down a budget. What are your current outgoings and what money do you have left each month to spend on rent?

Take into account that, when you first move in, you will need to pay a security deposit as well as the first month's rent.

Will I need to provide a reference?

Yes, you will need to provide a reference.

The landlord needs to be sure that that their tenant won't have any problems paying the rent on a monthly basis and that the tenant will take good care of their property.

What does providing a reference involve?

Providing a reference is nothing to worry about. Tenants applying to rent need to give details of their employer and income, their previous address, and some bank account details.

These will be checked to ensure they are able to commit to monthly rental payments.

Will I need to show ID?

As part of the referencing process we need to be sure a tenant is who they say they are. We will require a proof of residency (such as a utility or council tax bill from the last 3 months) and proof of ID (such as a passport or driving licence).

What if there are problems with my reference?

In some circumstances, a tenant may not be approved immediately via referencing. Obvious examples are students without a regular income, or someone leaving their family home for the first time with no renting history. This is not uncommon, and there are still options for tenants in this position. They could pay the rent for the full term up front, or provide a guarantor.

What is a guarantor?

If a tenant is not fully approved by the referencing process, they can ask a guarantor to support them.

A guarantor (usually a parent or guardian) will agree to take joint responsibility for the rent for the property if the tenant fails to.

Guarantors are required to pay any rent arrears (if the tenant does not pay) and for any damages costing more than the deposit.

Who qualifies as a guarantor?

The normal requirement are that guarantors are employed and a UK resident, with sufficient earnings to cover the tenant's rental commitments.

How long is the lease?

All our leases are on standard 12 months terms. These terms can be extended for an additional period subject to the agreement of the Agent and Landlord.

Shorter leases can sometimes be agreed at the discretion of the landlord.

Am I required to pay a deposit?

Yes, a security deposit is required for all our rental properties. Deposit is equialent to one month's rent. A higher deposit may be required in certain other circumstances.

What will happen to my deposit?

Landlords and letting agents are required to register your deposit with an approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Your Move landlords register their deposits with a scheme such as My Deposits.

The deposit is then either held by the landlord, the agent or the deposit scheme itself. You should receive details of the scheme, explaining where the deposit is held.

What does a Tenancy Deposit Scheme do?

A Tenancy Deposit Scheme will protect the money for you and can offer assistance should there be a dispute about the deposit at the end of the tenancy.

When do I get my deposit back?

Your security deposit is held for the duration of your tenancy. Your deposit will be returned to you, normally within 10 days of exciting the property.

This is subject to the landlord / agent inspecting the property and there are satisfied that you have fulfilled all the agreed obligations in the tenancy agreement and there has been no damage to the property or the property contents.

What happens to me deposit if I have damaged the property?

If the property or its contents have been damaged, the landlord will be entitled to deduct the cost to repair / replace the damage from your deposit.

Am I required to take out insurance on the property?

The landlord will have buildings insurance on the property. The tenant will need to have their own contents insurance.

Who pays the rates for the property

The landlord will be responsible for the paying the rates on the property unless otherwise agreed by both the landlord and tenant.

What is a routine visit?

Your landlord or letting agent will regularly schedule visits to the property. They want to make sure that the property is being looked after and maintained in a good condition, and they'll be looking for any maintenance issues.

Can the Landlord / Agent arrive to inspect the property without any prior notice.

The landlord / agent will give 48 hours prior notice to the tenants before inspecting the property.

Who is responsible for repairs?

The landlord is responsible for maintaining the property in a good state of repair. They will either take care of this directly, or do so via Lavery Mitchell. You should check your 'Welcome letter' to find out what service level your landlord has.

If it is Tenant Find or Rent Collect, then you will need to talk to your landlord directly.

It it is Fully Managed then the agent will help. If you do damage to the property you are expected to cover the cost of putting this right.

Can I decorate or make changes to the property?

In most cases, a tenant can only decorate or make changes to the property with the express permission of the landlord. We recommend receiving this permission in writing.

What if I accidentally cause damage to the property?

Accidents happen. Tell whoever is responsible for the property maintenance (either the landlord or letting agent) as soon as possible. You will be expected to cover the cost of putting it right.

Don't try to ignore or hide damage because it could get worse, and it will only come out of your deposit at the end of the tenancy.

What if I want to end the tenancy?

If you are tied into a fixed term contract, you will be liable for the rent until the fixed term is finished.

If you are no longer in a fixed term contract (ie. a rolling contract) your tenancy agreement will define the notice you need to give. Protection of Deposits - TDS.

Tenancy Deposit Scheme

Lavery Mitchell are a Tenants Deposit Scheme (TDS) member.

On 1st April 2013 it became a legal responsibility for landlords or agents to ensure all deposits are protected by an approved deposit scheme. A landlord / agent can choose to insure a deposit through the 'Insurance Scheme' or pay the deposit into a 'Custodial Scheme. All deposits received must be protected within 28 days and information as to how the deposit is being protected must be provided to the tenant(s).

Once the deposit has been registered tenants will be issued with a Deposit ID and a Deposit Account Number (DAN) which they can also use to find details on how their deposit is protected.

In the event of a dispute or a disagreement at the end of the tenancy, the TDS can provide a free dispute management service and abirritation process to decide upon how the deposit should be awarded to the landlord and tenant(s) respectfully.

If you are a landlord and you have taken receipt of a deposit on a tenancy at any date after 1st April 2013 you must ensure that the deposit is protected within 28 days of receiving it.

You can choose to protect the deposit through the 'Insurance scheme' or the 'Custodial Scheme'. You must pass information on how the deposit is protected to your tenant(s).

For further information on the Tenants Deposit Scheme (TDS) and a guide on deposit regulations please visit the link below.

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