Reporting a Maintenance issue
If you have a maintenance issue, our Fixflo system is available 24/7 for tenants of properties managed by us. If you are the tenant of a non landlord-managed property please contact your Landlord directly.
If you currently have a maintenance issue, then click on the link above to report your problem. Use the Fixflo control to help you diagnose the problem, the prompts may help you resolve the issue without the need for an engineer.
What to do in the case of an Emergency and in order of priority:-
At any time: If you smell gas or are worried about gas safety, you should call the National Gas Emergency Service Freephone number on 0800 111 999 at any time day or night.
During office hours (Mon - Fri: 9am – 5:30pm, Sat 9am – 2pm): Contact your property manager or property management department. If you are unsure of your property manager call our head office team on: 01922 669996
Out of hours (Bank Holidays, weekends, weekdays: 5:30pm - 9am):
Follow the emergency arrangements made by your landlord/iLove homes. For example if your Landlord has provided 24/7 insured maintenance/emergency cover (for example: British Gas HomecareTM, Heatteam Cover for Potterton boilers, Homeserve or other insured product), then please contact the relevant service as per the details supplied. If your property is covered by British Gas Homecare™ please call 0800 294 9650 in the first instance or any other Emergency cover provider as previously advised.
Please note: Emergency services are free of charge (to the tenant) if it is a genuine emergency. Please refer to the definition of an emergency using the emergency definitions table below. If the emergency is due to any act of negligence or responsibility of the tenant then you will be liable to reimburse the cost of the call out and any works carried out.
Likewise, if you call out for emergency assistance from one of the designated tradesman (listed below) and it is not deemed to be an emergency, then you will be liable to pay the call out fee without reimbursement. The emergency call out tariff’s are listed below. The call out fee will need to be paid direct to the tradesman and will be reimbursed to you at a later date, if it is a genuine emergency.
Referencing Criteria (New Applicants)
All tenants have to pass our referencing criteria in some way or another. The minimum requirements are as follows:
- Employment period of no less than 6 months
- Earnings – 2.5 times the yearly rent (monthly rent X 12 X 2.5 (£750 monthly rent would equal £22,500)) this figure can be divided by the number of applicants.
- If you have a CCJ or adverse credit we need to know. It may still be possible to proceed with the tenancy but only if you tell us before we reference you.
- If you do not earn enough money then you will need a guarantor, a guarantor has to earn 3 times the yearly rent. (£750 monthly rent your guarantor will need to earn £27,000, you can use more than 1 guarantor if necessary)
- A guarantor can NOT have any adverse credit or CCJ’s.
All incomes can NOT include bonuses or overtime.
If you are self employed the same criteria for an employed person applies but you would need to provide to accountants details or self assessment details for 2 years.
You will need to bring with you:
- One weeks (equivalent) of rent for holding fee
- Driving license or passport
- Employment or Accountants details
- Current landlord’s details (if applicable)
- Name & Address of Guarantor (if applicable)
Length of tenancy
A normal tenancy is 6 months minimum, however longer tenancies may be granted upon application.
If you know that you will need a guarantor you must ensure that your guarantor completes a Guarantor Application and provides all of their supporting documents. Please also make sure your guarantor is aware that we will pursue them straightaway if you fail to pay your rent on time. Your Guarantor will be required to act as your Guarantor for the full duration of your legal tenancy/occupancy of the property. In agreeing to be your Guarantor, they assume legal responsibility for all aspects of the tenancy.
You are responsible for the insurance of your own contents and personal effects. This is something which we can help you with (see Obtaining References). You are also responsible for providing a TV Licence whether or not a TV is provided by the landlord. You are also required to make your own arrangements for the provision of a phone connection/line/broadband subject to the landlord’s agreement. Landlord approval must also be obtained to have Sky etc. set up at the property. You are responsible for regularly checking all smoke alarms and replacing batteries. Contacting Utility Companies, Local Council etc. about your Tenancy You must contact the utility companies with relevant meter readings (and the council), both after the move-in and move-out appointments to ensure your account is dealt with correctly. Please bear in mind that your responsibility for these services is for the duration of the tenancy which may not necessarily be exactly the same as the dates of occupation.
Looking after the property
We expect you to look after the property as if it were your own. Where applicable, this also includes the garden area. Responsibility for the property rests with the tenants during the tenancy. Any problems that may occur or repairs that are necessary MUST be reported via our website through our on-line repair reporting system – ‘Report a Repair’. We aim to resolve any repairs issues for you ASAP. To assist us we will pass your contact details to our contractor to allow them to make access arrangements with you. In the event of an emergency occurring, you should take all reasonable steps to prevent the problem escalating. If you are absent from the property at any time it must be fully secured. In the event that the property is burgled you must contact the Police and advise us immediately. Please ensure you obtain a crime reference number. You will be accountable for any damage through wilful neglect or misuse during the period of the tenancy.
You are responsible for insuring your personal possession and furniture, your landlord is responsible for insuring the property and his/her furniture.
Deposit Protection Scheme (DPS)
Your deposit by law is protected. Your landlord is responsible for ensuring that your deposit is registered with either one of the three schemes available. If we manage the property on behalf of the landlord we will register your deposit with the Deposit Protection Scheme and we welcome you to visit their website at www.depositprotection.com
When you find the right property what do you need to do?
Call into the office where a member of staff will be more than happy to help you with complete the necessary paperwork. You will require a minimum £200 holding fee which will secure the property whilst we carry out the referencing process. This is NON refundable but will be taken off the total amount of moving in monies required upon completion of satisfactory references.
Client Money Protection
The Property Ombudsman
The Tenant Fees Ban
From June 1 st 2019, landlords and agents will no longer be able to charge a number of fees in England for new tenancies signed on or after that date.
The tenant fees ban is wide ranging and will effectively bar most fees from being charged. Landlords and agents will only be able to charge for payments defined as permitted in the legislation.
What fees are banned?
Anything not permitted, that the tenant (or someone acting on their behalf like a guarantor or parent) is required to pay as a condition of the 'grant, continuance, assignment, termination or renewal' of an assured shorthold tenancy or licence agreement.
This includes payments to third parties, either for services throughout the tenancy or for specific performance of a job and loans from third parties.
In short this means that pretty much any fee that is in the tenancy agreement will be void unless it is exempt.
Examples of banned fees then would be:
- Charging for a guarantor form
- Credit checks
- Cleaning services
- Professional cleaning
- Having the property de-flead as a condition of allowing pets in the property
- Admin charges
- Requirements to have specific insurance providers
- Gardening services
What is exempted from the banned list?
Holding deposits, rent, deposits and charges for defaulting on the contract are all exempted from this ban.
However, all 4 are subject to additional restrictions as part of the legislation and landlords and agents will need to be mindful of these changes.
In addition, most required payments to third parties are prohibited, however a landlord can require the tenant to use a specific utility or communications provider. Agents are not allowed to require this however.
Finally, landlords may charge for changing tenants or allowing tenants to vacate the property early. This is subject to restrictions on costs however.
Restrictions on rent
There will be a ban on setting rent at a higher level for the first portion of the tenancy and then dropping it down afterwards. This is to prevent landlords or agents trying to offset the ban on fees by artificially increasing the rent for the initial period to make up the costs.
Of course, a higher rent than you would normally charge for the property, that is consistent throughout the tenancy will be fine. The government believes this is unlikely to happen though, as tenants will shop around for the lowest price.
Holding deposits will be limited to a maximum of 1 week's rent and subject to statutory legislation on the repayment of this should the tenancy not go ahead. Briefly, this is proposed to be:
- The landlord has 15 days to make a decision once a holding deposit is taken.
- If the tenancy does not go ahead then the money must be repaid in full within 7 days of the deadline being reached or the landlord backing out.
- Repayment does not need to be in full if the tenant backs out of the tenancy agreement themselves, fails right to rent checks, has provided false or misleading information, or where the landlord tries their best to get the information needed but the tenant fails to provide it within the 15 days.
- If the tenancy does go ahead, the holding deposit must be returned within 7 days of agreement, unless it is converted into part payment of the actual deposit or used towards the initial rent payment.
Deposits will be limited to 5 weeks rent as a maximum amount for tenancies where the annual rent is below £50,000. This has gone up from the originally proposed limit of one month.
Deposits for tenancies where the annual rent is £50,000 or more are limited to the equivalent of 6 weeks rent.
Landlords should bear in mind that deposits are considered to be taken at the start of every new tenancy. As such, if they renew the tenancy on or after June 1 st 2019 then they should make sure that their deposit is not more than 5 weeks rent (6 where the annual rent is £50,000 or more). If it is, then any amount above the limit should be returned. For statutory periodic tenancies, if the deposit is created on or after June 1 st 2020 then they should return any amount above the limit within 28 days of the start of the statutory periodic tenancy.
Breaches of the tenancy agreement (damages)
Where the tenant has breached their tenancy agreement and caused damage as a result, then landlords may still seek compensation via deductions from the deposit or court action. They should also be able to leave clauses in their contract stating that the landlord may seek their costs for damages.
What they will not be able to do is insert a clause in the tenancy which sets a fixed fee for the damages incurred (a default fee) unless it is specifically permitted.
The government's guidance goes further than this however, wrongly stating that landlords may not have clauses in their contract stating that that legal costs will be payable in the event of a breach.
Breaches of the tenancy agreement (default payments)
Landlords are allowed to charge for two types of default payments - loss of keys and late payment of rent. Both are subject to restrictions.
For the loss of keys, landlords are allowed to charge the reasonable cost that they can evidence in writing. Anything landlords cannot evidence in writing with receipts will likely be considered a prohibited payment.
For late payment of rent, landlords and agents may only charge 3% above the Bank of England base rate in interest on the late payment of rent from the date the payment is missed. At the time of writing this would be 3.75% interest. They may not charge for sending reminder letters.
How to calculate interest on the rent
The calculation is (rent amount in arrears) x 0.0375 / 365 x (the amount of days since the arrears began).
A tenant misses a rent payment of £500 on 1 st January and a further payment on 1 st February, on February 28 th the tenancy ends and the landlord intends to charge for payment.
£500 for the rent amount for the first 31 days £500 x 0.0375 = £18.75 £18.75/365 = 5p per day 5p x 31 = £1.55 for the first 31 days of arrears at that total.
£1000 = rent amount in arrears for the last 27 days
£1,000 x 0.0375 = £37.50 annual interest £37.50 / 365 = 10p per day
27 days have passed since the tenant went into arrears so 10p x 27 = £2.70. £2.70 + £1.55 = £4.25 in arrears can be charged for the late rent.
Changes to the tenancy
While most costs related to assignment or surrender of a tenancy are prohibited, landlords and agents are still allowed to charge certain small sums to tenants if the tenant requests a change in tenant or an early surrender.
Where the tenants have requested a change in the tenancy (such as swapping tenants), the landlord may charge a fee of £50 for the change or the costs incurred. They must be able to evidence in writing any costs incurred if they do go above £50 and the draft guidance makes it clear that £50 is considered the norm for landlords and agents.
Where the tenants have requested early surrender of the tenancy, the landlord or agent may charge fees equivalent to the loss incurred. As charges such as referencing, tenancy drafting, etc are prohibited landlords will not be able to show a loss has been incurred for the provision of these services. Instead, landlords and agents will be able to charge the equivalent of the rent lost due to the unforeseen void period. As the void period may not be clear at the point of charging many landlords and agents will likely start to regularly refuse tenants looking to surrender early as a result.
Third party payments
A number of third party payments can be required as part of the tenancy agreement. Most can be used by landlords and agents, but some are exclusive to landlords.
Landlords and agents
- A contractual clause insisting on the tenants paying the television licence is an acceptable payment
- A clause insisting on the tenant paying the council tax is an acceptable payment
- A clause requiring the tenants to pay for the landlord's costs from a specific service provider for utilities is a permitted payment.
- A clause requiring tenants to pay the landlord's cost for a specific communication service (phones, broadband, cable/Sky TV) is permitted for landlords.
If the landlord seeks to charge more than the billed costs for these services then any excess will be considered a prohibited payment.