If you are planning to rent, our aim is to help you find a home that will suit your needs AND be within your budget. People often say "I can afford the rent" but forget that they are also going to be responsible for Council Tax, Utilities (gas, electricity, water), telephone and broadband costs as well as general living costs.
Once you see a suitable property you may not have much time before you have to commit money to it by way of deposits, etc. so it makes sense to do a little planning beforehand to reduce the likelihood of you being refused the property and forfeiting your money.

When you sign a tenancy agreement, which is usually for six months at least, it is a legally binding document which means that you cannot simply walk away if you don't like the house or cannot afford to live there. If you need help in working out your likely costs we will be happy to provide it.

you'll need to put down a non-returnable deposit of £100 to hold the property for seven days. This will stop viewings but once the time is up you may lose your £100 if you have not provided us with any information or been in contact with us. We will ask you to complete a simple form so that we can carry out a full credit check and get information to help us decide whether to accept you as a tenant or not. We will need proof of identity, in the form of a passport or driving licence, as well as proof of earnings, bank statements and a personal reference. If we have doubts about whether you can afford to rent we may need to ask for a guarantor (see over) who should be in a job and own their own property.

If you are accepted for the tenancy the holding deposit covers the cost of our administration and referencing so if you change your mind about the house you do not get it back. If you are not accepted for the tenancy because of credit checks or references the deposit will be kept to cover the costs of checking your application, though we may return up to £50 where, for example, we carry out a satisfactory check but the owner of the property is unhappy to let you have a tenancy. In this case we can also give a credit for £50 towards another property through us. If you give a holding deposit but the landlord refuses you before any checks are done you will get it all back.

If you have not yet found a property a credit check on its own costs £25.00 per person checked, which can come off the holding deposit when you find a house. We can also check your documents and hold them for you, giving you priority for a viewing if a suitable house comes along.

Sometimes a landlord will make a private arrangement with an applicant that has nothing to do with us, and may ask you to hand over money. You should be very careful to avoid a situation like this as once you have paid over a sum of money for the landlord we cannot guarantee you will get it back. If in doubt ask our staff as we always try to be fair. Not everyone is!

You will pay a modest charge for our services, in addition to the £100 you have already paid upfront to hold the property for you. This will cover the cost of the tenancy agreement and other setting up charges. This is usually £100 for up to £500 rent; £125 for up to £600 rent and £150 where the rent is over £600 per month. These charges are payable on the day you move in before keys are released, and form part of the tenancy agreement.

By this time we will need you to have signed the tenancy agreement and other documents. You will also have paid the first month's rent, as well as a security deposit, also known as a bond, which is likely to be the same amount as the rent. So, for example, where the rent is £500 per month, you will need the rent of £500 plus the bond of £500 plus the fee of £100, making £1100 in total. We pass the deposit over to the landlord, but make sure that they sign a form agreeing to place it in an official scheme to protect it. It then becomes their responsibility and you should receive a notice giving you a unique access number which you must keep.

You may be entitled to help from the Council in the form of a guarantee for six months for the same amount to give you time to save up. We can give you details of how to apply, but there will usually be a delay of several weeks before you are approved and we can not guarantee keeping the property for you even if you have paid a holding deposit.

We look at each applicant in a fair manner, whether they are DSS or not. In our opinion, if they will be able to pay the rent and household bills AND keep the property in good order it doesn't matter if they are DSS applicants or not. We have to add, however, that some landlords will not accept DSS applicants and as they own the property the final say is with them.


In a situation where, for example, we would like you to have the property but are not convinced you can afford it you may ask for a close relative or friend to become a guarantor but they should be able to afford it and have their own home. This does not entitle them to live at the property but they will have to sign the agreement and an extra form to say that they will pay the rent and cover any damage or other costs you may be responsible for. We will reference them in the same way we have referenced you and an extra charge of £25 will usually be payable. They should only become your guarantor if they are prepared to take on full responsibility for your obligations under the agreement, which is legally binding on them.

We can often accommodate them but you will have to sign an additional form that allows us to take cleaning and repair costs out of the bond. Some landlords ask for an increased deposit.

After the initial six months is over you need do nothing as the agreement then automatically carries on as a 'periodic short hold tenancy' where you only need to give a month's notice to leave. If you would prefer a new lease and the landlord agrees we can provide one for which a charge of £50 will be payable by you.

The landlords will arrange to have the property checked to make sure it is in the same condition as when you took it over, less reasonable wear and tear. If everything is okay and there is no outstanding rent or other charges, the bond should be released from the deposit scheme. You can not use it to pay the last month's rent and may forfeit it if you do, and still owe the rent.