References

Most landlords in Newcastle including social landlords will carry out a reference check before offering you a tenancy. Landlords usually request references from:

  • Previous landlords if you have them;
  • Employers if you have a job;
  • College or university if you’re a student;
  • Personal contacts.

Some landlords may also ask for a bank reference and they may pass the charge for this on to you.

Some organisations may also check carry out a criminal record check. If you have any convictions for drugs, anti-social behaviour, damage to a property or offences against a person the landlord can take these into account before deciding whether to offer you a tenancy.

Guarantors

If you can’t provide references or a deposit some landlords will accept a guarantor.

A guarantor is another person who the landlord can claim against if you don’t conduct pay your rent or if you damage the property.

A guarantor is usually the parent or a close relative of the tenant.  They will be expected to sign a deed of guarantee and they should be sure to understand the implications of being a guarantor before doing so.  

In most cases the landlord will expected the guarantor to provide evidence that they are in a position to be a guarantor, that might be to provide pay slips, proof of home ownership or carry out a credit check.

Mother, father and three children

Right to rent checks

The laws says that all landlords must check that a tenant has the right to rent a property in England.  If you are applying to live in a property your landlord will ask you who intends to live with you and will need to check that every adult who intends to live at the property has a right to rent a property in England.

Your landlord will need to see a passport or visa or other original acceptable documents before they offering a tenancy.  they will need to take a copy of these documents and will keep these copies for the duration of the tenancy.

Deposits

Most private landlords will require a deposit before you move into the property. A deposit is money that is held as a security to make sure the tenant pays their rent and doesn’t damage the property.

Deposits are usually about the same amount as on month’s rent and you will need to pay it at the start of your tenancy. Deposits can cover:

  • Non-payment of rent
  • Damaged items
  • Cleaning the property
  • Stolen or missing items

Your Tenancy Agreement should state:

  • The amount of deposit paid
  • Where your deposit has been protected
  • When and why money can be deducted from the deposit
  • When you will get your deposit back

 

Help with a deposit

If you can’t afford to pay a deposit you may be able to get help, many Local authorities have a Deposit scheme or can direct you to suitable charities that may be able to assist you.

The Private Rented Service Newcastle has a Rent Deposit Guarantee Scheme and if you want to live in Newcastle and need help with a Deposit please contact at privaterentedservice@newcastle.gov.uk or on 0191 2771438 or for more information

What is deposit protection?

The law says your landlord must protect your deposit in a government authorised Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme.

There are three agencies that your landlord can use and two ways to protect the deposit. They must protect your deposit within 30 days of receiving it and tell you:

  • Information about the purpose of the deposit
  • Where the money is being held
  • How the deposit is being protected
  • Contact details of the agency protecting the deposit
  • How to apply for your money back at the end of the tenancy
  • What to do if there is a dispute about the deposit at the end of the tenancy

When will I get my deposit back?

At the end of the tenancy your landlord should return the deposit within 10 days. They can ask for deductions for any unpaid rent or damages.

If the landlord wants to make deductions and you disagree the deposit protection scheme will provide a free Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service to help you reach an agreement.

You will be able to explain to the ADR why you think the deposit should be returned to you. You should give also the ADR copies of any supporting evidence such as rent statements or an inventory. Once the ADR have considered the evidence they will make a decision and advise you and your landlord.

What if my landlord hasn’t protected my deposit?

If your landlord doesn’t tell you how your deposit has been protected you should ask them for this information. If they fail to provide it or refuse to protect the deposit you can apply to the County Court.

If you are thinking about applying to the County Court you should consider taking legal advice. You must advise your landlord in writing that you are applying to the Court.

If the Court finds that your landlord hasn’t protected your deposit they can order them to repay you or protect it within 14 days. The Court could also order your landlord to pay you up to three times the amount of the deposit.

Once your landlord has protected your deposit and the tenancy has ended you can use the ADR service if you don’t agree with their decision to keep part or their deposit.

My tenancy has ended and deposit wasn’t protected

If your landlord has not protected your deposit and your tenancy has ended you can apply to the County Court for your deposit to be returned. You will need to provide supporting evidence such as:

  • Your Tenancy Agreement
  • Rent schedule and confirmation of rent paid
  • Evidence of the deposit you paid
  • Evidence that the deposit was not protected
  • An inventory and any photos
  • Letters between you and your landlord.

Before going applying to the County Court you should write to your landlord to advise them that you intend to take court action if the deposit is not returned.

Before applying you should be sure that you want to take court action. Remember your landlord could use this as a chance to make a counter claim against you if they believe that rent arrears or damage was more than the amount of the deposit.