Frequently Asked Questions for Tenants
What administration fees are payable?
Before the tenancy starts (payable to Lester Smith Limited ‘the Agent’)
We require payment of the holding deposit whilst references are taken up this is accepted only as confirmation of your intent to rent the property it does not constitute a contract with either the landlord or ourselves.
The landlord can withdraw at any time and in which the event the holding will be refunded. You are free to withdraw until the signing of the Tenancy Agreement, but if you do so or all of you do not sign the Tenancy Agreement by the Deadline for Agreement date the holding deposit is NOT refundable. Failing to provide any reasonable information requested by Lester Smith, the Landlord or the referencing company (or giving false information) will be treated as the tenant withdrawing their application for the tenancy.
It is agreed that upon signing the Tenancy Agreement the holding deposit will be retained by us as part payment of the first month’s rent.
Holding Deposit - are calculated as follows based on the size of the property:-
Studio Flat: £250
1 Bedroom: £300
2 Bedrooms: £350
3 Bedrooms: £400
4 Bedrooms: £450
In the event that the above amount exceeds one week's rent the holding deposit will be reduced to one week's rent.
Deposit: 1 month’s rent
During the tenancy (payable to the Agent or Landlord)
Payment of £50 if you want to change the tenancy agreement (and the landlord agrees to the change)
Payment of interest for the late payment of rent at a rate of 3% above the Bank of England Base Rate
Payment of the reasonably incurred costs for replacing any loss keys/security devices
Payment of any unpaid rent or other reasonable costs associated with your early termination of the tenancy
During the tenancy (payable to the provider) if permitted and applicable
Utilities – gas, electricity, water
Communications – telephone and broadband including any installation/connection costs
Installation of cable/satellite
Subscription to cable/satellite supplier
Other permitted payments
Any other permitted payments, not included above, under the relevant legislation including contractual damages.
How do I pay my rent?
Rent should be paid monthly by standing order on the due date as stated on your tenancy agreement. The rent should be paid to Lester Smith if we are managing the property or directly to the landlord if they are self-managing. A standing order is an instruction that you give to your bank to make the payment each month. It can usually be set up online, using telephone banking or at your local branch. Please ensure you put a reference of the first line of your property address so that we can correctly allocate the money. Payments are made each month until you instruct your bank to cancel or alter the payment. Please note that Lester Smith Ltd does not ‘take’ money from your account – you instruct your bank to pay us an amount each month and it is only you who can cancel or alter this payment. Lester Smith Ltd cannot amend or cancel a standing order on your behalf.
What is an inventory?
At the start of your tenancy an Inventory and Check-In report is prepared by an independent inventory clerk, detailing the condition of the property and furnishings. You will be provided with a copy of this and given an opportunity to check it and add any comments. At the end of the tenancy an inventory clerk will check the condition of the property and contents against the Inventory. The property should be returned in good condition and cleaned to a professional standard.
Are we responsible for any bills?
Unless otherwise stated the tenants are responsible for all charges in relation to the Council Tax, gas, electricity, water, sewerage, television, telephone and internet sevices at the property.
Gas and/or electricity, and the water supply will be connected when you move in to your property but the account will need to be changed into your names. Whilst we will notify the relevant utility suppliers and local authority of the tenancy, it is your responsibility to ensure all accounts for these are set up correctly at the start of the tenancy and closed down at the end of the tenancy.
Gas Supply Enquiries: 0870 608 1524
Electricity Supply Enquiries: 0845 601 5467
Lambeth Council: 0345 302 2312
Wandsworth Council: 0208 871 6000
Thames Water: 0845 920 0800
B.T. 0800 00 150
Do we need contents insurance?
Your landlord is responsible for taking out a building insurance policy for the property which covers risks to the building but not your personal possessions. We therefore strongly recommend you take out contents insurance in order to protect your own belongings, accidental damage to landlord’s belongings and cover for lost keys and/or lock replacements.
Who deals with any repairs or maintenance?
Where we have been appointed by the landlord to manage the property we we deal with repairs and maintenance during the tenancy. Where the landlord self-manages the property they will deal with any repairs and maintenance. You will be notified who is managing the property before the start of the tenancy.
For more information on repairs and maintenance please refer the other pages on this site:
Renewals and Changes to your Tenancy
Can we end the tenancy early?
The majority of tenancy agreements will have a clause giving the tenant or the landlord the option to end the tenancy (without penalty) before the end of the fixed term, usually after 6 months of the start of the tenancy. If all tenants wish to move out of the property early then this option can be used subject to the correct notice being served. If you are unsure of your rights to terminate the tenancy early please discuss this with us prior to making any other commitments.
Someone wants to move out, can we do a changeover?
Where the property is let to more than one person it is done so on a single tenancy – this does not give individuals the automatic right to vacate the property or do “changeovers” during the course of the tenancy. However, it is common that landlords will permit an Assignment (changeover) of the tenancy subject to a suitable replacement tenant being found by the household and everyone signing a Deed of Assignment. As soon as you know that someone wishes to move out of the property please contact Lester Smith ltd to discuss your options. Please note there is an administration fee for dealing with assignments to cover the additional administrative work involved.
What is a Deed of Assignment?
A Deed of Assignment is a legal document which changes the parties of the existing Tenancy Agreement. Simply put it replaces person X with person Y. The terms of the existing Tenancy Agreement are still in place (rent, break clauses, expiry etc), except the occupiers. What happens to the deposit when Assigning the Tenancy? The deposit will remain in place and the relevant deposit protection provider will be notified of the assignment. The tenancy will continue to be based on the original inventory and check-in report. Therefore, it is up to the incoming tenant to pay a share towards the deposit to the household who should agree amongst themselves the amount refunded to the outgoing tenant, taking into account any anticipated deductions for damages, outstanding utility bills and contribution towards any final cleaning costs etc. If you are unable to reach agreement amongst yourselves you can request an interim Inventory Check to help you form an opinion but you would be liable for the cost of this.
How can we renew or terminate our tenancy?
We will generally contact you and your landlord two months before the end of the fixed term of your tenancy agreement to discuss the options for renewing the tenancy for another term and a review of the rent. If you are renewing the tenancy we shall issue a new Tenancy Agreement which will need to be signed by yourselves and the landlord at least one month prior to the end of your existing tenancy. If you do not wish to renew your tenancy please inform us no later than one month prior to the end of the tenancy so that we can confirm the check out arrangements. It is probable that access to the property will be required (by appointment) to carry out accompanied viewings with other prospective tenants during the final 2 months of your tenancy.
Client Money Protection
Lester Smith is a member of the Property Redress Scheme - an independent estate agents redress scheme approved by the Office of Fair Trading. The Property Address Scheme will investigate complaints that have not been resolved through our internal complaints procedure. The complaints handling procedure will be provided upon request.