Renting a property with us in Leeds; your questions answered.
HOW CAN I ARRANGE A VIEWING ON A PROPERTY IN LEEDS?
The easiest way is just to click here and send us an online viewing request so we can get you booked in and pick out a few properties that meet your criteria. You can also book in via e-mail or through social media. However, we always think the best way by far is still to pick up the phone so we can have a proper chat and make sure that we pick out properties that exactly match what you’re looking for. We’ll also give you a bit more information on the areas themselves (such as showing our student tenants the best spots for student accommodation in Hyde Park, Headingley, Woodhouse, and Burley, or guiding our professional renters through the back streets of Leeds).
The viewings themselves are accompanied, normally in one of our Sugarhouse vehicles, by one of our specialist lettings team who will be on hand to answer any property-specific questions as you look round.
Most of our properties now have 360-degree virtual tours, so we can even do interactive virtual viewings with you from the comfort of your own sofa before you hop onto a physical viewing with us.
HOW MANY PROPERTIES CAN I VIEW?
As many as you want! On a viewing we normally allocate a full hour’s slot and then select four or five properties for you to view based on your specific requirements. Most properties in the same area (such as Hyde Park, Headingley, Burley etc) are pretty close together, so we can normally pack quite a lot of properties into one viewing. We can also use virtual tours to help you refine your short-list before you go out.
It’s always beneficial to have a good think about price, area and the type of property before you book in with us and then we’ll make sure that all of the properties you view on the day are suitable.
WHAT ABOUT PROPERTY VIEWINGS IN LEEDS DURING THE COVID PANDEMIC?
Clearly the Covid pandemic has made all areas of life a little bit more scary and a little bit more challenging. Property viewings can still continue in Leeds, but we are making a few changes to ensure the safety of both our tenants and those wishing to view with us. These include trying to encourage virtual viewings before we physically visit a property, and when property viewings are carried out that everyone adheres to strict social distancing guidelines. Our full Covid policy for Sugarhouse, including the requirements for property viewings, can be found here.
IS THE PROPERTY FURNISHED? WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
The vast majority of our student and professional properties in Leeds are furnished. This means that all the basic items of furniture and appliances are provided for your use by the landlord. This includes bedroom furniture (beds and wardrobes, as well as desks and chairs for student rentals in Leeds), sofas, kitchen appliances (ovens, hobs, fridges, freezers and normally a washing machine or washer dryer) and a number of our properties also have coffee and dining tables, TV’s and extra occasional furniture. If you’re not sure, just ask!
WHAT HAPPENS IF I FIND A PROPERTY I LIKE?
If you find your perfect property in Leeds (and we hope you do!) then a member of our team will go through all the details with regards to rents, deposits and the legal requirements prior to you signing a tenancy agreement. We’ll also give you plenty of time to ask any questions you may have and will make sure that you’re 100% happy before you sign anything.
Our signing process is now fully digital and online, making it much easier (and more environmentally sympathetic); you can even do it on your smartphone.
DO I NEED TENANTS INSURANCE FOR MY RENTAL PROPERTY?
The landlord of your property will insure the building, but this will not cover your personal contents. If your student or professional accommodation with us has bills included (as many of our properties do), you will automatically benefit from a policy which will cover the contents within the building for all the named tenants.
For those properties that don’t include insurance on a tenant’s possessions, we can provide details of insurers that specialise in multi occupancy and student / professional shares; just ask in the office for details. This is relatively inexpensive and we strongly urge you to take out cover in the unlikely event that the worst should happen.
WILL I NEED TO PAY A DEPOSIT?
There will normally be a deposit to pay on your property. This varies depending on the landlord but full details will be given prior to signing your tenancy agreement. The deposit is fully refundable and held against damage or rent owed on the property. At the end of the tenancy, this will be returned to you provided that all of the conditions of the tenancy have been met.
WHAT ELSE WILL I NEED TO PAY?
You or your housemates will normally have to put down a holding deposit to secure your accommodation in Leeds, which is the equivalent of one weeks rent. This will be held against your tenancy application whilst we get the signing process and tenancy signed up. You have a period of 14 days to complete the tenancy agreement and associated documents. When everything is complete, this holding deposit is then converted to form part of your tenancy deposit, which is held until the end of your tenancy. You will need to pay the balance of the deposit, which is typically around £300 per person for a deposit for a student house in Leeds. For professional rentals in Leeds, the deposit amount is normally the equivalent of a month or five weeks rent. If the application is not completed within the 14 days, or if you provide false or misleading information, the holding deposit may be retained and forfeited by you.
IS MY TENANCY DEPOSIT PROTECTED?
Yes! Any deposit you pay will be protected by your Landlord (or by us if we’re also managing the property) as per the Tenancy Deposit Scheme. This means that within 30 days of paying your deposit you’ll receive information on where this money is being held and protected, and confirmation that this has been done. At the end of the tenancy, both the landlord and tenant need to agree on any deductions; if an agreement can’t be reached then the Tenancy Deposit Scheme can act to resolve any dispute.
WHAT ABOUT BILLS IN MY RENTAL PROPERTY?
The vast majority of our student and house share properties in Leeds that are 3 bedrooms and above are now offered for rent with bills included (see individual property details for details), meaning that the price advertised normally includes utilities (including superfast broadband). Our student bills packages in Leeds are particularly popular, with most of our student accommodation in Leeds having all of the most important bills included. And even when the rent doesn’t automatically include bills (e.g. for 1 & 2 bed flats) then we can still provide bills inclusive options for you.
If you end up in a property where you need to organise bills yourself, then you will need to take meter readings for the gas and electric once you take occupation of the property and set up accounts to pay for these services with the current supplier (which you can then apply to change if you wish). You will also need to pay for water (sometimes on a meter but more often on a set monthly rate depending on the size of the property) and if you are a professional tenant in Leeds then you will need to pay Leeds City Council for Council Tax (the bands of pricing for this again depend on the property but you can check on this at https://cti.voa.gov.uk/cti/inits.asp.
Student tenants (if ALL tenants are full time students) will be exempt from council tax, but will need to obtain proof of student exemption from the Council.
If you don’t have a student bills package or professional bills package with us, all of our managed tenants will receive full details of how to set up their bills in the Welcome Pack given to them at the time of move in. We would, especially for student house bills, always recommend picking bills included properties if you want a fully hassle free experience.
WHAT TYPE OF TENANCY AGREEMENT WILL I SIGN?
The vast majority of our professional and student tenancy agreements are Joint Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreements. This means that there is a fixed period for the tenancy during which time the landlord cannot increase the rent on the property. Where the agreement is joint with other tenants (which is likely if you are a group of student renters or professional sharers), it is important to remember that any debt on the property caused by damage or unpaid rent will be shared by all parties as the property is being rented with joint and several liability.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR REPAIRS IN MY RENTAL PROPERTY? WHAT ABOUT THE GARDEN?
Unless specified in the tenancy agreement, your landlord will normally be responsible for the repairs on your rental property. Your landlord has a legal responsibility to adhere to, in terms of the nature and type of repairs that they are obliged to carry out, and they will also be responsible for repairing / replacing any items that are provided with the property. Your tenancy agreement may state that you are responsible for the upkeep of the garden, but the majority of our landlords undertake this on behalf of their tenants.
For our managed properties, we have a fast response maintenance team and emergency out of hours number so that our tenants have the peace of mind of genuine 24 hour emergency cover. It is still your responsibility as tenants to ensure that the property is kept clean and tidy and that any repairs or damage are brought to your landlord’s attention.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MANAGED OR A LET-ONLY PROPERTY?
With our managed properties in Leeds, it is likely that all dealings will be with Sugarhouse directly as your letting agent and managing agent. As well as the signing process, all repairs, rent payments and any issues throughout your tenancy should be directed to us (either through our office in Leeds or online).
We do however also act on behalf of other private landlords in Leeds who prefer to manage their property themselves. In this instance we deal with the signing process and the landlord themself will then deal with any issues that arise throughout the tenancy, including the collection of rent and the organisation of repairs.
CAN I HAVE PETS IN MY RENTAL PROPERTY?
Whilst many of our landlords may prefer not to have pets in their properties (for allergen reasons and also due to restrictions on pets in a number of building leases), we can offer a number of pet friendly properties. We suggest you contact our office directly and we can offer advice on which properties we have that may be suitable.
WILL I NEED TO PROVIDE REFERENCES OR GUARANTORS TO RENT A PROPERTY?
All of our student tenants in Leeds will be required to provide a guarantor, normally a parent or guardian, who will be required to sign a Guarantor Form to guarantee the payment of any rent or dilapidations owed by the tenant. For professional tenants in Leeds who have been in employment with the same company for more than twelve months, we will require employment and current landlord references, as well as the undertaking of a credit check. Some landlords may also still insist on guarantors in certain circumstances.
HOW AND WHEN WILL I PAY RENT?
All rent paid to Sugarhouse directly (i.e. for all of the properties that we manage ourselves) will be paid by standing order. Payments will be made monthly or quarterly on fixed dates as specified in your tenancy agreement. For our student tenants in Leeds, payments are normally quarterly but if these payment dates do not correspond exactly with the payment of your student loans we are normally able, with prior arrangement, to delay these due dates without penalty. This must be done prior to the due date.
For our let-only (non-managed) properties, where rent is paid directly to your private landlord in Leeds rather than to Sugarhouse, most landlords will also request payment by standing order although a number will also request payment by direct debit. Full details will be given prior to the date of the first payment being due.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I MOVE INTO MY RENTAL PROPERTY?
Keys for your new home in Leeds are normally available after 1pm on your tenancy start date. You will need to ensure all documents have been completed and all rent paid before keys will be released. Prior to move-in, you will be given a Welcome Pack which will hopefully answer most of the questions you may have and make the process of moving into your new home as stress free as possible. Information on setting up utility bills and emergency contact details will also be provided. We have also created a number of self-help videos to help answer some of the additional questions you might have.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I MOVE OUT / GETTING MY DEPOSIT BACK?
At the end of your tenancy, your property will be inspected to make sure it is clean and free from damage. All of our managed student and professional properties in Leeds will be sent a checklist prior to moving out; make sure you follow this to avoid any deductions from your deposit. Once you’ve vacated you will need to provide confirmation that all of your utility bills and council tax have been paid (or provide council tax exemption proof if you are a student). Once this is received then your deposit return will be processed in line with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme timescales and a breakdown will be sent out to you.