Guide to Renting Student Property in Oxford
Finders Keepers Guide to Renting
To see our Tenant Fees Schedule please click here. To read about the rental process, see below. We strongly recommend that all guarantors read this guide before a holding deposit is paid for any property.
|1. Look for a home||
Properties are available to preview online and viewing appointments can be booked at our Virtual Launch. Use our video tours to shortlist a maximum of three properties (per group) before calling up. Appointments must be booked over the phone (do not come to the office) and will always be accompanied by a Finders Keepers representative. Viewing times are Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 4.00pm and we need to give current tenants at least 24 hours' notice of viewings.
|2. Pay holding deposit to reserve your home.||
A property will only be reserved once the holding deposit has been paid (this is per property, not per person) and we have received the whole group's application forms completed and signed in full. The holding deposit is 1 weeks' rent, calculated as one month's rent x 12 / 52. We strongly advise you to read a copy of our draft Tenancy Agreement before paying your holding deposit.
Paying the holding deposit reserves the property for you and takes it off the market. It does not constitute the granting of a tenancy or a promise to enter into a tenancy. If the tenancy proceeds the holding deposit will be put towards your first rental payment. It will be retained by Finders Keepers if you:
This payment will be refunded to you within 7 days if the landlord decides not to offer you a tenancy for any reason other than those listed 1-4 above. If a tenancy has not been entered into by the 'Deadline for Agreement' the holding deposit will be returned to you unless one of the exceptions at 1-4 above applies, or we agree an extension with you in writing. The deadline for agreement is 15 days beginning from the day when you paid the deposit to us. Where we return the holding deposit, you agree that we may return the holding deposit to you, any other person who paid the holding deposit to us, or any other individual who you applied to rent a property with as joint tenants. In completing an Application to Rent you agree to the holding deposit being held on this basis.
Please note that we only accept UK debit cards or bank transfers, we do not accept cash.
Before moving into a property, reference checks are carried out by a third party referencing company for all prospective tenants and guarantors. Each case is treated on an individual basis, and in all cases references are subject to landlord approval. The general referencing process includes:
If you are a salaried student then we require proof of this. We will then require the rent to be paid in line with how you receive your stipend e.g. if you are paid quarterly then your rent will be paid quarterly.
|4. Right to Rent check.||
As per the Immigration Act 2014 Section 22 it is now the landlord or agents' responsibility to check that all tenants and occupiers have the "Right to Rent".
At Finders Keepers we have a two stage process to ensure that we comply with the law and avoid new tenancies falling through which causes upset for tenant and/or landlord
Unfortunately, if you do not have the 'Right to Rent' we will not be able to accept your application and your holding deposit will be retained.
|5. Sign tenancy agreement and pay 1st month's rent and deposit.||
All named tenants and their guarantors are jointly and severally liable for upholding the terms of the tenancy. Each guarantor's details will be provided to the other guarantors of the tenancy.
Once the references are received, a digital tenancy agreement (the legal contract between the tenant and landlord) will be sent firstly to the guarantors and then to the tenants once all guarantors have signed. Once all parties have signed the tenancy agreement a fully signed copy will be emailed to all parties. The tenancy agreement must be signed one month from the date of the application for the property or the property will be relisted.
The average length of a tenancy is 12 months. If you want a longer or shorter tenancy or have special requirements, we will liaise between you and the landlord to reach an agreement.
Most people pay the 1st month's rent and security deposit together. If the tenancy starts mid month (e.g. from the 15th onwards), the first rent due on the invoice will include the following month's rent as well because any direct debit can take one month to set up. The invoice is due one month before the start of the tenancy, payable by UK debit card.
The security deposit is a sum of money held by us, the letting agent, on behalf of the landlord as security against the property being left damaged or rent not being paid. The security deposit is five weeks' rent (or six weeks for tenancies where the annual rent is £50,000 or higher).
Thereafter, rent is collected by direct debit from a UK bank account (direct debit automatically transfers funds from one bank account to another).
|6. Check-In, Inventory and 'Your Home' pack||
At Finders Keepers, your Property Manager 'checks you in' to your new home, explaining all the appliances and helping you settle into your home.
'Property Management' involves rent collection, regular maintenance visits, the repair of a property, its furnishings and appliances, and looking after those living in the home.
The inventory is an agreed statement of everything which is in your property and what condition everything is in. Each tenant needs to check that the inventory is accurate, sign one copy of it and return it to us.
UK tenancy agreements work on the premise that properties need to be left by tenants in the condition in which they were found, less wear and tear. Hence the inventory is vital, as it is a record of your home's condition on arrival.
When you move in, we will send you our Finders Keepers 'Your Home' pack which has answers to common questions as well as information about your property's appliances and utilities. If you have any further questions or issues arise, your Finders Keepers Property Manager's details are in the front of the folder.
For emergencies at night, such as flooding, call our 24-hour Emergency Helpline (details of what defines an emergency are found in the Your Home folder).
|7. Enjoy your home||The most important part of the process.|
|8. Offer to renew||
During your tenancy we will contact you to ask your plans and if you want to renew your tenancy. If you want to stay, then we contact the landlord and discuss their objectives. Subject to their agreement, we draw up a new Tenancy Agreement.
The 'Check-Out' is when you leave your property. Your Property Manager visits your home and goes through the inventory to confirm that everything is in good order. We always recommend that you are present at the Check-Out.
To help make the process as easy as possible, we can organise professional cleaners if needed - 40% of tenants now use this service.
|10. Deposit Refund||
If there are no deductions from the deposit for damages, dilapidations or cleaning, we endeavour to return the deposit within a week of the final day of the tenancy.