Tenants: Why you should rent through our Let's Rent scheme

Let's Rent: Questions and answers for tenants

Who is eligible for the Let’s Rent scheme?

In order to be considered for the Let’s Rent scheme you need to be homeless or in danger of being homeless. Once you have contacted us, we'll create a personalised housing plan for you which will include a referral to Let’s Rent so we can assist you with securing a rental in the private sector. You must be able to pay your monthly rent and not deemed intentionally homeless. Find out more about being homeless.

Our policy is to always look to find suitable private sector accommodation for any applicant in the first instance where this accommodation is available.

How does the Let’s Rent scheme help?

We provide financial (in the form of an interest free loan) and practical support if you're looking for a privately rented property. The practical support involves assistance with your potential tenancy, benefit claims, budgeting, and much more. Once a property is found and approved (and if you're eligible) we'll lend you the funds to cover the tenancy deposit and the first months’ rent, so you're able to secure a long term, and stable home in your area of choice.

What should I do when referred to Let’s Rent?

Once you've been referred to our Let’s Rent scheme, you should immediately start looking for a suitable property on property websites. You can also look at properties advertised in local publications by landlords directly. We'll also search for properties on your behalf whilst progressing your application by completing an affordability assessment (up to date bank statements and proof of income needed) and checking you are receiving all the right benefits.

How does Let’s Rent work with letting agents?

We work with and build relationships with letting agents in Central Bedfordshire to source properties for our tenants. We can direct you to local agents we know and trust, who consider applicants sent by us or applicants in receipt of support from us. In certain instances, we can pay the holding deposit on your behalf, so you don't lose the house. Whilst the agent performs its checks, we will verify the property is safe and meets all legal standards.

Does Let’s Rent work directly with landlords?

If you find a property advertised direct by the landlord, we can still help you. The landlord will have to complete a fit and proper landlord form and ensure, much like a letting agent, that the property is safe and holds all necessary safety certificates. We can guide your chosen landlord through this process.

Why do I need to be referenced?

Referencing confirms your past behavior in other rented properties, so there is confidence that a trustworthy tenant has been selected. We fully reference and credit check every tenant before putting them forward to rent a property. You should have good tenancy history. Affordability is also assessed, so we make sure the rent is within your budget.

What is a tenancy agreement?

A tenancy agreement is a contract between you and your landlord. This is a legally binding document that sets out the requirements and obligations of both parties. Any negotiated and agreed upon terms must be included in the agreement prior to signing; for example, the agreed duration of the tenancy. We've created fair and balanced agreement that clearly states any responsibilities or each party during tenancy.

Will the property be furnished or unfurnished?

The majority of rental properties through us are offered as unfurnished. This means properties will contain appliances only and you will need to provide your own furniture, kitchen utensils etc. However, if you are looking for furnished property please contact us as we can usually help.

Who pays for gas, electricity etc?

All utilities such as gas, electricity, water, telephone and Council Tax are your responsibility. When you move into the property you will expected to take readings and inform the utilities. You will also be subject to regular inspections of the property.

How do I know if the property is up to standard?

Landlords and letting agents are required to meet energy and safety standards. You should receive a copy of the latest gas safety record and an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating. If you are unsure if the property meets these standards and have not seen the certificates please do not sign a tenancy agreement and email letsrent@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk immediately.

Why do I have to pay a deposit?

The landlord trusts you to keep the property in a good condition and in good order. The deposit is held to ensure that any damages (over and above fair wear and tear) can be corrected at the end of the tenancy. Let’s Rent applicants are normally loaned this money and expected to pay it back.

How do I pay my rent?

When you sign your tenancy agreement, you are obliged to pay monthly rent, even if you receive benefits. Often, you will be asked you to complete a standing order form or Direct Debit mandate, authorising your bank to pay your rent on the appropriate date. This is by far the simplest way of paying your rent regularly.

Any problems with rental payments should be conveyed to us as soon as possible. Arrears letters will be issued if rent remains outstanding beyond seven days after it was due. Failure to pay could result in you being taken to court and served with notice to vacate the property. This could mean you are found intentionally homeless.

How do I pay back the interest free loan?

The interest free loan covering the rent and deposit should be repaid by the applicant on a monthly basis by direct debit. Repayment amounts are dependent on affordability, and you will be advised of the monthly figure prior to the start of your tenancy.

Who is responsible for repairs and how are they reported?

If you live in a property managed by us, you should report issues directly to us. You can do this by contacting your accommodation services officer. We work with a team of reliable and skilled contractors and we will endeavour to have someone attend to your problem as soon as possible.

Please be aware that should you intentionally, or through your negligence, cause any issue or breakdown, you could be liable for the cost of the contractor to repair the problem. For example, if a sink has been blocked due to misuse and waste being disposed of incorrectly, then this is tenant negligence.

Call 0300 300 8600 for emergency issues. If you call outside office hours, at weekends and during national holidays, your call will be diverted to our out of hours service. This service is for emergency or health and safety repairs only.

Can I decorate or make changes to the property?

Always ask first! Never make any changes to the property without prior written consent from the landlord. Please be mindful that if the landlord agrees they may request you return the property to its previous state before you vacate.

When can my landlord or a council officer enter the property?

As a matter of routine and as part of our service, managed properties are inspected every three months. Longer intervals may be allowed, depending on how the tenancy has been conducted and landlord preferences. All properties are inspected before the end of the agreement, to go through the condition of the property with you; identifying any areas which need attention. After you've left, we assess the condition prior to authorising return of the deposit. Generally, the landlord or managing agent can inspect the property, provided they give reasonable notice to you.

What happens at the end of the tenancy?

Once the check-out has been conducted, and the property has been cleaned to a satisfactory standard we, or your landlord, will request the release of the deposit. The money will be returned to you, less any agreed deductions. This typically takes 10 and 28 working days.