Tenants

Our tenant philosophy is simple. Our tenants are crucial to the smooth running of our business. Happy tenants make our working day a pleasant one and longer tenancies mean happy landlords and a happy letting agency. Our years of experience have taught us that communication and responsiveness is key. While it is important for us to be proactive in things like property health checks and market reviews, it is when our tenants need us that define whether we succeed or fail as a letting agent.

Here to help

We know how important moving into your new home means to you, it may seem a daunting process but don’t worry, we are here to help – It’s what we do!

Your questions answered

We have answered our most commonly asked questions to make it easier for you to get the correct information fast!

Helping you find that perfect home – It’s what we do!

The first thing we do is assign all of our tenants there very own Account Manager, This is someone our Tenants can go to with all enquires and they will do all they can to come back to the tenants with a response, tenants will have their direct email address and direct dial office number.

Tenants can come to see us at our Whitegate Drive Offices or contact us using phone, email, social media or web chat live on our website. When the office is closed in the evenings and weekends, we have an out of hours contact number to help deal with basic enquiries and contact our on-call Property Managers should the need arise.

We aim to respond to all non-urgent queries within one working day. It will usually be quicker than this and we have protocols in place to escalate urgent issues to ensure they are turned around pronto. Once an issue has been reported, we’ll make sure it gets to the right person in our team and they’ll get to work fast to ensure the issue is resolved to our tenant’s satisfaction and closed off quickly. That’s it. The secret of our success is our ability to mobilize and resolve things quickly – we didn’t say it was a very exciting secret, but it’s effective!

Tenancy Frequently Asked Questions

Here are our most common questions answered

What if I view a property and want to take it, but I’m not the only one interested?

First of all, don’t panic. If the property is not on our Full Management service, all offers for a rental property will be put to the landlord to make a decision on which offer to proceed with. If the property is on our Full Management Service we will only accept a maximum of 2 applications per property, whichever application comes back with the relevant information will be the one that is accepted. For an offer we need you to complete a tenant application form, these can be collected from the Winnie Tree office filled in online or ask the Winnie Tree representative on your viewing for a copy. Everyone over the age of 18 must fill out an application form.

What criteria do you screen prospective tenants against?

 When the property is not on our Full Management Service we recommend prospective tenancies for consideration to our landlords, if the property is on our Full Management Service we take all applications into consideration, we would look for applicants to be permanently employed or having the correct benefits to pay for the property and meet the affordability criteria of their gross monthly income (combined if more than one tenant). If this is not the case, then we or the landlord may still proceed but expect to provide a UK based guarantor or pay a larger deposit.

Do you charge Tenancy Fees?

Tenants Fees

Application Fee (1st Tenant) £‎ 65.00
Application Fee (Other tenants over 18) £‎ 30.00
Guarantor Application Fee £‎ 55.00
Extension of 6 Month Tenancy £‎ 25.00
Extension after the above period £‎ 25.00
Extension (Non-Managed) £‎ 40.00
In Office Hours | Call Out Fee £‎ 25.00
Out of Office Hours | Call Out Fee £‎ 45.00
Check Out Fee £‎ 45.00

Not all fees may be applicable to you, contact us for further details

Will I be referenced?

Yes, you will be referenced. We require to conduct a credit check and normally request an employer or confirmation of benefits and previous landlord reference (where one or both of these is not possible, if you were a home-owner or are self employed, we may request references from other parties). We use Let Alliance to conduct our credit checks.
 

What is the tenancy deposit scheme?

Since 2012, tenants’ deposits are no longer held by a letting agent or landlord but in a government approved third party scheme. Any deductions that might be made for cleaning, damages, excessive wear and tear or rent arrears need to be applied for from the scheme so that the tenant has the opportunity to argue their case if they disagree. For more information regarding the My|Deposit scheme click here
 

Will there be an inventory carried out?

 An inventory is an essential document which provides a written, photographic and video record of the property and its contents at the beginning of the tenancy. Our inventory contains details in full on all fixtures, fittings and contents of the property and it will be checked after the tenancy expires. We will walk you through the Inventory on your Check-in Day, once completed you will be asked to sign the Inventory. If you find anything you would like to change or alter on the Inventory you will have 7 days to make any comments and re-sign.

What type of Tenancy Agreement will I be signing?

 At Winnie Tree Properties all of our tenancies are Assured Shorthold Tenancy. Assured Shorthold Tenancy is the most common type of tenancy agreement in the private sector. All of our tenancy paperwork has been written and is regularly updated by a residential letting solicitors and is available to be viewed by prospective tenants prior to committing to a tenancy.

What information is included in a Short Assured Tenancy Agreement?

 What information is included in an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement? In its simplest form a tenancy agreement is a legal binding contract between the landlord(s) and tenant(s), outlining all of the contractual obligations of both parties. In general, a tenancy agreement should include the following;

  • state the length of time the property is being let for
  • state the amount of rent due and when it should be paid
  • tell you if the rent can be increased and how it will be calculated
  • say who is responsible for decoration and repairs to the inside and outside of the property
  • state if there are any conditions or restrictions to the use of the property

In addition to these rights, you also have responsibilities. If you don’t fulfil these, you may face eviction.

What does ‘Joint and Several’ mean?

If there is more than one tenant named on the tenancy agreement, then those tenants are ‘joint and severally’ liable during the course of a tenancy agreement. This means that all of the tenants (and guarantors!) on the tenancy agreement are jointly responsible for all tenancy liabilities including rent or any breach of tenancy. For example, if one tenant is acting antisocially, all tenants are deemed to be acting antisocially. Similarly, if a tenant does not pay rent then all tenants (and guarantors) either individually or as a group can face debt recovery proceedings. If a tenant wishes to serve notice to end your tenancy you need to get the permission of the other joint tenants before doing so.

How long does a tenancy last?
The length of a tenancy depends on the preference of the landlord or tenant however an Assured Shorthold Tenancy must be for a minimum of six months and the majority of our tenancies are six months initially. Unless 2 months’ notice is served by either party, the tenancy will simply roll on a monthly basis after the original period.
How do I pay my monthly rent?
It is the tenant’s responsibility to set up a standing order to pay the monthly rent. You should set this up in plenty of time before your 2nd month’s rent is due (you will have had to pay your first month’s rent before moving in). You should set your standing order up to pay us or your Landlord a couple of days before your monthly rent due date in order that the rent clears in our or your Landlord’s accounts on, or before, the rent due date. Notification on where to pay your rent will be sent to you once moved in, If you set up your standing order on the rent due date, your rent could be late every month and you may receive penalty charges.
Is there anything else I need to do when I move into my new property?
Yes!
Monthly Rent –
Please set up the monthly payment so that it clears by the same date of the month that the tenancy agreement commences (you may need to set up your payment to come out of your account 2-3 days before your rent due to ensure it clears into ours or your Landlords account on time).
Contents Insurance –
You are responsible for the insurance of your own contents and accidental damage to the Landlord’s belongings. It is a requirement of your tenancy agreement that you MUST hold adequate contents insurance for the property. Proof of this will be requested once you have moved in.
Telephone/Broadband/Television –
You are responsible for payment of a TV license if you use a TV in the property.
Utility Suppliers –
You are responsible for informing suppliers ASAP with meter readings (see inventory for readings and suppliers) and your personal details.
Council Tax –
You are responsible for setting up and closing your council tax account. Blackpool council can be contacted at revenues@blackpool.gov.uk
Inventory –
We recommend you taking photographs of the condition of your property when you enter. You also have 7 days from move in date to report any amendments on the Inventory.
What do I do if I have a maintenance issue in my property?
As outlined in your tenancy agreement, it is your responsibility to notify the us or your Landlord of any maintenance issues and it is our responsibility to ensure the issue is dealt with within a ‘reasonable’ time. If you go ahead and organise a tradesman yourself, without having given us an opportunity to rectify the issue, you may be liable for the cost of the work (and maybe even a whole lot more if the tradesman you use does not do a good job or does not have the relevant insurances etc). When reporting maintenance issues, please complete the online maintenance form by clicking below, or email/call your Property Manager.

Alternatively, you can telephone the office on 01253 304309 or email the office at: hello@winnietree.com. We will respond with 1 working day.

Please ensure that the problem is actually something that is the Landlord’s responsibility to rectify. If your heating is not working check your thermostat, check that the boiler is pressurised and check that the pilot light has not gone out (if there are no boiler instructions in the property these will be available online if you search for the boiler make/model number). If a contractor is called out for a problem which is deemed to be down to you, then you will be responsible for paying the contractor’s invoice.

For urgent issues call our out of hours contact number: 07375 104 013.

What do I do if there is an emergency maintenance issue at my property?

What is an Emergency?

It is our view that an emergency situation is when the incident is dangerous, life-threatening or may result in personal injury or a public liability claim or serious deterioration of the property. If you have an emergency situation, for example, water coming through the ceiling, we will endeavour to help you immediately.

Is the issue an emergency?

The landlord will only pay for contractors to attend to the property out of office hours in the event of emergencies. We deem an emergency to be placing tenants in danger or serious deterioration of the property. We expect our tenants to use common sense as to what is deemed an emergency.

Please note: If an emergency contractor attends unnecessarily you may be held liable for the costs involved. Please take the following actions before calling our emergency line.

Gas

If you smell gas or suspect a leak of suspect fumes are escaping from an appliance, call the Gas Emergency Services immediately on 0800 111 999 (24 hours). Open windows and doors and if necessary vacate the property. Do not turn on an electrical appliances or switches. 

Electrical Fault

Check fuses have not blown, circuit breakers are in the ‘ON’ position and that there hasn’t been a general power cut in the area.

If you have a power cut, check to see if your neighbours are affected too.

  • If your neighbours’ supply is still on – check your trip switch (if you have one). If it has tripped, switch off all your appliances then reset it
  • If your neighbours also have no power – call your local Electricity Network Operator’s 24 Hour Emergency Helpline. Electricity North West 0900 195 4141

Heating & Hot Water

The loss of heating and hot water is only deemed an emergency if the weather is extremely cold or you have a young baby in the property. If you think your boiler isn’t working properly, first check to see if the pilot light is on and, if you have a combination-boiler, check that the pressure is set between 1 and 2. The instruction manual will tell you how to re-light the pilot light and re-set the pressure if you suspect this is the problem. If you don’t have a manual to hand you can find these online by searching for the boiler make and model number.

Leaks

For small leaks which can be caught in a container, please ensure that you put a bucket or similar container below the leak and remember to empty it regularly. Please then contact us during office hours. If you suffer a burst pipe or severe water leaking into the property you must firstly locate the stop cock and turn off the water. Mop up all surface water as quickly as possible to prevent damage.

Call the emergency number and we will then arrange a plumber to attend as soon as possible. If water is coming from an upstairs property, alert the occupants above immediately and ask them to shut off the source of the leak. If they are not in, leave them a note to contact you and call your local Environmental Health Department (01253 477477) and ask for the water ingress team.

For all other emergencies not listed above, please use common sense before calling. We will only respond to real emergencies that cannot wait until the next working day.

For EMERGENCY gas-related, boiler-related and plumber-related issues contact our out of hours contact number07375 104 013

What do I do about condensation in my property?

CONDENSATION IS NOT DAMP! Condensation is created when a property is not ventilated well enough and becomes evident when there is a difference in temperature between inside and outside. It is a tenant’s responsibility to make sure condensation and mould do not build up in a property. Make sure you open your windows and doors to ventilate your property and don’t turn off the extractor fan in internal bath/shower-rooms. If you are concerned that mould in your property may be related to damp, please let us or your Landlord know ASAP and we’ll organise a damp specialist to survey the property to give us their professional opinion.

Who is responsible for external maintenance at my property?

External maintenance and upkeep is normally the responsibility of the landlord. Similarly, if your property is within a factored development, the landlord may or may not cover the cost of communal costs such as stair cleaning / lift servicing / gardening. If your property has its own garden you are responsible for the upkeep of this.

I want to move out of my property. What should I do?

Assuming your tenancy is within two months of the end of its initial period or the initial period has expired then you need to provide us with one months written notice to leave by emailing your property manager (if you don’t have your property manager contact details, please email hello@winnietree.com). If you are not within two months of ending your lease or you need to leave at shorter notice then still email us at the same email address. We will work with your landlord where possible to bring your lease to an end early and replace you with a new tenancy. The landlord cannot make you move out, nor can you legally walk away from your tenancy obligations without the necessary notice, however in some situations we can negotiate with both parties to end the tenancy early, on a mutually agreed date, in writing.

How is notice served?

A landlord can give notice in writing at least 2 months before the end of the initial fixed term, or at any time afterwards, that they want possession of the property.  There are specific grounds by which a landlord can seek possession of the property during the course of the tenancy – For further information on this, please contact us in the office – it can be a minefield if it’s not done correctly!

Can I use my deposit as the last months rent?

No way! The deposit is held against the property to cover damage and settle any outstanding amounts at the end of the tenancy. We are not able to touch the deposit until after the tenancy so if you don’t pay your last month’s rent the landlord will be out of pocket and will not be happy….and you will be in breach of your contract.

Is there anything else I need to do in the run up to moving out or on the move out day?

Yes!

  • Ensure you leave the property in a clean and tidy condition that is suitable for Winnie Tree to re-let. If cleaning is required, the costs will be deducted from your deposit.
  • The utilities should be paid in full up to your vacating date. It is your responsibility to contact the local Council to update their Council Tax Records.
  • Check the inventory – Please ensure that no items have gone missing or have been damaged during the term of your tenancy. If there is anything missing or damaged which is listed in the inventory this will need to be replaced.  No personal belongings/unwanted items are to be left in the property.
  • On the date that you vacate the property please return all keys to the office or on the Check-out. If this is outside office hours please put them in an envelope and drop them through our office letterbox or arrange drop off with your property manager.
  • Please also arrange with the post office for your mail to be redirected.
  • Your deposit cannot be used to pay your last month’s rent. Please arrange for your standing order to be cancelled by your bank following the payment of your last monthly rent due.
What happens after I move out?

When your tenancy is over and you have vacated the property, we will carry out a ‘check out’ inspection where we assess the condition of the property at the end of your tenancy compared to the start of the tenancy, by using the inventory – you are invited to attend. If any cleaning or work is required at the property, then you will be notified and the necessary work ordered. Once the invoices come back from our contractors then we can notify My|Deposits our deposit scheme provider of the final balance (if any) to be billed against the deposit held. This process can take a couple of weeks but we do it as quickly as we can.