Tenancy Offers and Applications

Published on 2015-07-16

A tenancy is subject to the landlord’s consent, references and a contract. The words ‘subject to contract’ must be used orally and in writing and care must be taken not to inadvertently create a binding oral (spoken) agreement with the applicant. Until that contract is executed, the landlord or applicant can withdraw without penalty.

Receiving Offers

An agent has a duty of care to get the best price for the property. If there are two applicants wanting a property, it should be made clear that it is not the first applicant to pay the fee or complete the application that will be put forward to the landlord. Both applicants should be presented to the landlord.

Under Consumer Protection Regulation (CPR), both agent and landlord have an obligation to give applicants all the information they are likely to need to make an informed decision.

Qualification of Offers

When an applicant makes an offer, their information must be verified to check it meets the landlord’s requirements.

Checking Applicants’ Details

In addition to ascertaining how keen the applicant is on the property, there are a number of items that should be checked in relation to an applicant, for example:

  • Tenancy start date
  • Number of proposed tenants
  • Length of tenancy
  • Amount of rent they are offering
  • Employment status (e.g. permanent, contracted).

Charges

Applicants should be made aware of the amount and purpose of any charges. They should be given a receipt for monies received and an explanation of when a refund can be made. Application charges cover drawing up the tenancy agreement, negotiating specific terms with the tenant and check-in at the start of the tenancy.

Referencing charges cover the costs of obtaining references or engaging a credit reference agency and administration charges relate to the costs in processing the application.

Giving Details to Landlords

The landlord should be provided with as full a picture as possible in relation to the applicant. They may benefit from meeting or having a telephone conversation with an applicant.

An agent must always present a factual and non-judgemental case for an applicant so the landlord can make an informed decision as to whether to accept them. A landlord’s decision should be confirmed by the agent in writing as soon as possible.

Negotiation Between Applicants and Landlords

If an applicant wants to take a property on different terms from those being offered, the agent acts as a facilitator to attain mutual agreement from the landlord and applicant.

Throughout negotiations the agent must not make any false claims about the property and must be clear about what has been agreed, and how and when it is to be implemented.

Processing Applications

Completed tenancy forms should be checked to ensure they are fully completed. Any additional information should be requested and provided speedily otherwise this may cause a delay. It is best practice to obtain identity information from an applicant which may include their national insurance number, date of birth, marital status and bank account details. Personal information must be held in accordance with the Data Protection act 1998.

References

The applicant form usually includes a statement to the effect that the applicant gives consent to references being obtained and the sharing of this information with the landlord.

Categories: Residential Lettings Best Practice