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Renting a property is great if you don't want to be tied down to a mortgage but it can also be a little daunting to those of you that have never done it before.... but don't worry everything is usually straight forward and remember we are always here to help!

If you are considering renting a property from us in Leeds then we hope that with these notes it will make the whole process a little more clear for you and remember if you are unsure on any point our staff are here to help so please ask.

So you've viewed a property in Leeds or one of the surrounding areas we cover and decided you would like to rent it - what happens next?

To begin with, you will be required to pay a holding deposit - this is a nominal amount to indicate to us that you are interested in renting the property from us. At this point you are not committed to renting the property though it is important to remember that you may loose some or all of the deposit if you decide to back out.

You will then be expected to provide references from various sources such as a previous landlord and your work. Sometimes we may even require a character reference and/or a guarantor, a credit search will normally be performed against you. You will also need to provide us with some ID such as a passport or driving license. All the forms required for the above will be supplied to you by us.

After satisfactory references have been obtained, we will require you to sign the tenancy agreement - this is an Assured Short-hold Tenancy Agreement. This details all the terms of the tenancy itself, agreed between you and the landlord.

This is a legally binding document, the agreement should be read carefully before you sign on the dotted line. A shared tenancy agreement, involving two or more people, needs to be signed by each person. This means that you will be jointly liable for the property and paying for the rent due under the tenancy agreement.

At this point you will also pay a deposit - usually four to six weeks' rent, plus a month's rent in advance. You may also need to pay a fee towards the cost of drawing up the tenancy agreement, the inventory and taking up references. This will probably be offset against the holding deposit.

The agreement will contain the following:
Length of tenancy - usually six or 12 months.
The amount of rent to pay and the date it should be paid.
Whether the tenant is responsible for bills such as gas, water, electricity, telephone and council tax.

The agreement will also detail your responsibilities to the landlord. For example, should any of the landlords possessions be damaged or destroyed, the landlord should be informed immediately by phone or letter. Failing to inform the landlord may result in losing your deposit. Likewise, the agreement will detail the landlord's responsibilities to you , such as keeping the premises in good repair.

Before moving in, an inventory will also be drawn up detailing all the furniture, fittings and fixtures and their condition. Both you and landlord will need to sign it. This will then be checked when you leave the property at the end of the agreement. The value of any items missing or broken may be taken out of your deposit.

You should also seriously consider taking out an insurance policy to cover your own possessions in the property.

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