Tenant guide to renting
There is a thriving rental market in Newcastle-under-Lyme and Stoke-on-Trent and Heywoods is at its centre.
Come to us for long- and short-term lets as well as student and hospital staff rentals. We make the whole process straightforward and we are upfront about the costs.
If you have specific requirements, our Homefinder service makes it easy for you to find the right property, whatever your circumstances - just sit back while we do the hard work. We know the local area well so can also offer you great advice on where to start your search. Click for more information.
Heywoods has your interests at heart
Heywoods is here to help you not just find a great property, but be happy in the home you choose, so we will be there to look after you. Heywoods acts as an agent for the landlord but this does not mean we act in their interests only so you can be assured that we always follow best practice.
Give yourself plenty of time
While renting is a much quicker process than buying, it’s a good idea to give yourself time to get sorted. Work backwards from when you need to move and start your property search around six to eight weeks before.
Before you start looking, what can you afford?
Take a look at your monthly income and make sure you can afford:
- Contents insurance
- Council tax
- Utilities bills
Future rent payments will be made monthly in advance and on the same day each month. Depending on the service your landlord has chosen, rent will either be paid to our client account by direct debit (we'll give you all the forms to complete) or directly to your landlord.
As well as paying the rent, you may also be required to make the following permitted payments:
- Permitted payments - Before the tenancy starts (payable to Heywoods ´the Agent´)
- Holding Deposit: One week’s rent. This is to reserve a property. Please Note: This will be withheld if any relevant person (including any guarantor(s)) withdraw from the tenancy, fail a Right-to-Rent check, provide materially significant false or misleading information, or fail to sign your tenancy agreement (and / or Deed of Guarantee)
- Security Deposit: Five weeks’ rent. This covers damages or defaults on the part of the tenant during the tenancy.
- Variation of Contract: £50 (inc. VAT) per agreed variation. To cover the costs associated with taking landlord’s instructions as well as the preparation and execution of new legal documents.
- Change of Sharer: £50 (inc. VAT) per replacement tenant or any reasonable costs incurred if higher. To cover the costs associated with taking landlord’s instructions, new tenant referencing and Right-to-Rent checks, deposit registration as well as the preparation and execution of new legal documents.
- Unpaid Rent: Interest at 3% above the Bank of England Base Rate from Rent Due Date until paid in order to pursue non-payment of rent.
- Lost Key(s) or other Security Device(s): Tenants are liable to the actual cost of replacing any lost key(s) or other security device(s).
- Early Termination: Should the you wish to leave your contract early, you/tenants shall be liable to the landlord’s costs in re-letting the property as well as all rent due under the tenancy until the start date of the replacement tenancy.
As well as fees and rent, you will need to provide:
- ID and proof of address
- Employer’s details (or accountant’s details if you’re self-employed)
- Salary details
- Your National Insurance number
- Current landlord or agents’ details
- Details of previous addresses
- Proof of your right to rent under the Immigration Act 2014 (this can usually be done using your ID).
Choosing a property
The local rental market is fast-moving so it’s a helpful to be prepared to move quickly and to have a clear idea of what you want and need in a property. Consider:
- Size of the property
- Storage space
- Parking space
- Whether you would like a garden
- Whether pets are allowed
- Transport links
- Local schools and amenities
- Length of the let
- The EPC rating of the property so that you have an idea of its energy costs.
With this checklist, your finances and paperwork in place, you are ready to look at properties. A Heywoods agent will accompany you on viewings and can answer any questions or pass them on to the landlord.
Heywoods' mobile app
Download Heywoods' mobile app to browse properties and arrange viewings from wherever you are. Once you have moved in the app has a handy Report a repair feature, so you can sort out any niggles wherever you are. Available from the App Store and Play Store.
Landlords are required to provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for all new tenancies. The rating is based on factors such as loft insulation, double glazing, boiler age and efficiency, and more. Ratings range from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient); lower ratings mean lower energy bills.
The tenancy agreement
Once you have found a property you like and agreed the finances, a tenancy agreement will be drawn up. This is a legally binding document that sets out the terms of the tenancy and ensures the rights and obligations of both the tenant and the landlord are adhered to. All relevant parties will be asked to sign this document.
On your moving in day, you’ll be given an extensive inventory including photos of the property. It is agreed by both parties and details the property’s condition and lists its contents on the day you move in. The inventory helps us assess any degradation or damages at the end of the tenancy and minimises the risk of any disputes.
We recommend that you thoroughly check the inventory before you sign. You have seven days to make any necessary amendments and then agree the contents of the inventory.
On moving in day, you can collect your keys from Heywoods. Don’t forget to inform your utilities providers and the local council of your move.
After you move in
Some landlords use Heywoods just to find a tenant for their property. Others ask the agent to fully manage the property for them.
If your landlord has chosen Heywoods to manage the property, you will have a dedicated Heywoods contact you can get in touch with if you need help. You can report a repair here or from your mobile or tablet using the Heywoods app.
If the landlord manages the property, you will direct any questions to them.
The landlords' and tenants' responsibilities
The landlord is usually responsible for:
- insuring the property against fire, flood etc
- repair and maintenance of drainage and plumbing, hot water and heating systems and the electrics
- repair of any appliances included with the property
- service charges for flats, including electricity in the communal areas
- cleaning, repairs and maintenance to the building structure.
As a tenant, you are usually responsible for:
- all utility bills (electricity, gas and water)
- council tax
- bills for telephone, broadband and Sky or cable TV if you want these (if these are not already installed you’ll need the landlord’s permission)
- insuring your contents and possessions in the property
- repair of your own appliances
- keeping the property in good, clean condition
- reporting any defects to us or the landlord.
At the end of the tenancy
Your Heywoods contact will look after you when you leave the property and, if you are moving locally, whether renting or choosing to buy, we can help you on your onward journey.
When your leaving date comes around, your Heywoods contact will look at the inventory made at the start of the tenancy and compare it to the current condition of the property and any contents.
Your deposit will be returned within ten days of the tenancy expiring provided there are no dilapidations or discrepancies. Your landlord may choose to withhold some of your deposit if there are any dilapidations to the property or any fixtures/fittings, to cover the cost of repair or replacement.
In most cases, you’ll agree between you the amount to be withheld and we’ll assist when necessary. You’ll then receive the agreed amount of your deposit.
If you can’t reach an agreement with your landlord, we’ll let you know what to do next and the Deposit Protection Service (DPS) will act as an independent arbiter.
There is much demand for student rentals in Newcastle-under-Lyme and the surrounding areas with Staffordshire University, Keele University and Royal Stoke University Hospital nearby. Heywoods is a great place to look for your ideal rental and you can trust us to look after you once you have moved in.
Why rent through Heywoods?
- At Heywoods, we have an experienced team of local property management experts. We keep up to date with the local market, changing demands and updated legislation. With us, you know you are in safe hands.
- We list our fees upfront, so there will be no surprises along the way.
- Heywoods' Homefinder Service can help you find the perfect property for specific locations or requirements.
- We are registered with the government's Deposit Protection Service so you know that your deposit is safe.
- Our Report a repair service, available here and on the Heywoods mobile app means that you can easily sort out niggly problems with just the click of a button.
A quick guide to student rentals
- Unless you are a mature student with a credit rating, your parents or guardians will need to act a guarantors on your tenancy agreement. This means they are liable if you do not pay your rent.
- Most student tenancy agreements last for 10-12 months and start in August or September.
- Student accommodation tends to be fully furnished.
- There are specific requirements the landlord must fulfil when renting to a group of unrelated tenants (multiple occupation) and a Local Authority licence is needed. This provides extra protection to you as a tenant.
- You may need an individual TV licence depending on the terms of your tenancy agreement.
- It is a good idea to check that the property has a Gas Safety Certificate; Heywoods will provide you with a copy.
The following websites give great advice on renting: