Tenant's Terms of Business 

Within this section we have included all of the information we believe, as a tenant, you will need to know. If you prefer to have the information in hard copy please simply click here for our Tenants Terms of Business in PDF format. 

Applying for a property 

Firstly all applicants need to be over the age of 18. 
 
Since we tend to take care of all of the important details prior to the property being made available, we allocate around 15 minutes per property for viewings. Due to the competitive nature of lettings and to fulfil our commitment to our landlords, we are unfortunately unable to offer second viewings on rental properties. 
 
If you have viewed a property and you wish to proceed to let then we advise you to contact Strawberry immediately - properties tend to let very quickly and we wouldn’t want you to miss out! 
 
In order to have the property taken off the market you will need to pay an application fee (see details below). This will also then enable us to proceed with the relevant reference checks and to produce the full legal documents. You will receive an email from our referencing company -Rentshield Direct - within 24 hours of the application fee being paid. Your ‘holding fee’ will secure the property for a total of 48 hours to allow completion of all of the necessary documentation but if this time elapses without the information being completed as requested then the property will be remarketed. (It is essential that you advise us if you do not hear from our referencing company within 24 hours of you paying the holding fee). 
 
'Right to rent' requirements 
Under section 22 of the Immigration Act (2014) from February 1st 2016 landlords/ agents are required to carry out ‘Right to Rent’ checks on all prospective tenants. These checks relate to immigration status and the right of individuals to stay in the UK. As a fair and non-discriminating company of repute Strawberry will apply the screening process to every new tenant looking to rent one of our properties. In order to proceed with a rental application we need to see (in person) relevant ID – this may be a valid UK/ EEA passport, a National Identity card, a Home Office certificate or a photographic Immigration Status document (click here for a full guide to documentation). In conjunction with 2 recent pieces of ‘proof of address’ correspondence, valid documents will be required prior to any application being processed. Where granted residency is time-limited a further check will be carried out prior to expiry of current permission. In every case a record of the checks made, the outcome and any further checks required will be kept on file. 
 
Application forms 
Everyone over the age of 18 will be required to complete an application form. 
 
Two copies of ‘proof of residency’ must be provided by you and these can be utility bills, bank statements, mobile phone bills or TV licences, provided that they are dated within the last three months. If for any reason you are not to be found on the voters’ roll then you may in addition need to provide three years’ proof of address. 
 
It will speed up the application process if you ensure that all referees are advised in advance that they will be contacted by Strawberry or our referencing company. 
 
Similarly, to keep the process proceeding as smoothly as possible you should advise our office of any CCJ’s or bad credit history before filing an application form. 
 
Application fees 
One Applicant: £270.00 INCUDING VAT 
Two Applicants £354.00 INCLUDING VAT 
Price per additional Applicant: £60.00 INCLUDING VAT 
Guarantor £72.00 INCLUDING VAT 
Lodging of Deposit £30.00 INCLUDING VAT 
Right to Rent check £12.00 per new tenant INCLUDING VAT 
Express move service £120.00 INCLUDING VAT, move in within 5 working days, please call the office for more information 
 
The application fee is paid in full and is non-refundable. 
 
The only instance in which the application fee (minus the referencing element) is refundable is if the landlord withdraws the property. Refunds are not applicable if you simply change your mind, find an alternative property, fail to complete the application form in the 48 hour time limit or fail the referencing procedure. 
 
Express move service £100.00 plus vat 
You’ve made the decision that you need to move; for whatever reason you need to leave your current home and move into rented accommodation. We realise that the circumstances might be difficult, chances are you’re already out of other options or out of time. So how frustrating that you might then need to wait up to 2 weeks to move into a rented property even although it’s empty and ready to go….. 
At Strawberry we’ve seen this happen so many times and it gets very frustrating for us too. We want to help but quite often we’re held back by the administration, reference checks, inventory etc. and the time for each step means a lengthy wait overall. So we’ve done some homework, pulled some strings and made some changes and we are now very pleased to be able to offer our EXPRESS MOVE IN SERVICE where, with some help from our partners and our lovely landlords, we can get you in and settled WITHIN 5 WORKING DAYS. There are some stipulations, a little bit of small print if you will, but if it sounds like just the kind of service you are after then get in touch and we’ll talk you through it and help you make it happen – quickly!! 
 
Deposit 
The deposit payable is one and a half months rental, example if the rental is £500.00 per month the deposit will be £750.00, if you have any pets which the landlord has agreed there will be a further £250.00 to pay, example rent £500.00, with a pet, deposit will be £1000.00. 
 
Referencing requirements 
 
Employed applicants: An employment reference will be gained from the employer provided on the application form. If no response is received from the employer then you may be required to provide either 2 monthly or 3 weekly payslips. 
 
Overseas applicants: A copy of your passport and work permit is required. If you have been in the UK for more than 6 months then proof of residency and a contract of employment or letter from your HR department are also necessary. 
 
Joint applicants: Only married couples can be counted as a joint application. Two application forms will be required and both parties’ employers contacted. (Maiden names will also be requested). 
 
Self employed applicants: Profit and loss statements for 3 years’ accounting periods will be required and if this is not possible for any reason then a guarantor will be sought. 
 
Retired applicants/additional income: 2 monthly pay advices or 3 months bank statements will be required as well as proof of pension or proof of investment. 
 
Students: Must have a guarantor 
 
Housing benefit recipients: Must also have a guarantor. 
 
Guarantors must be UK residents, have good credit history (i.e. have no CCJs or history of bankruptcy) and have a sufficient monthly income. They will be referenced in the same way as a tenant so must be able to provide either 2 monthly or 3 weekly pay slips where no response is received from their employer. 
 

Upon Application 

Provided that satisfactory references are obtained we will then agree a let date and general terms. The let date will be the day you come along to the office to sign, pay and collect keys. Any changes to terms requested by you will require full agreement from the landlord and it must therefore be understood that there is the potential that he/she will decide that the property should instead be re-advertised. Any changes which are agreed will incur an administration charge of £50.00+VAT, whether before or during the Tenancy. 
 
The balance of monies due is to be paid the day the let commences. This comprises the rental, deposit and the fee for lodging the deposit which is £25.00+VAT per tenancy. All monies must be cleared funds, paid by debit card. If you would like the facility to pay by credit card then unfortunately we have to pass on an additional charge of 3% plus VAT. Should you prefer to pay by cash then we must have this in our bank account the day before the tenancy starts (our bank details will be emailed to you with your tenancy agreement). Please be advised that WE CANNOT TAKE CASH AT THE OFFICE. 

Insurance 

You will need to be fully aware that you will be liable for any damage caused to the landlord’s building and contents. The relevant clause in the formal Tenancy agreement is as follows:- 
 
As a condition of entering into this Tenancy Agreement the Tenant shall: 
•Obtain and maintain a policy of Insurance to provide a minimum of £2,500 of cover for accidental damage to the landlord’s contents, furniture, fixtures and fittings at the property, as described in schedule A. 
 
•Upon request, provide the Agent with a copy of the Insurance Certificate 
The tenant should note that the Landlord’s Insurance Policy will not cover the Tenant's personal possessions. 
 
The Tenant should consider their need for insurance to cover their own personal possessions. 
 
The Landlord is not providing any insurance cover for the Tenant’s personal possessions. 
 
Strawberry lettings are pleased to work in partnership with, and be an introducer for, Rentshield Direct who provide products to both landlords and tenants, including tenants liability policies. To find out more details about Rentshield then please contact us or visit their website via the link at the bottom of this page. Unless otherwise stated we will give your details to them at application stage to ensure that you have the correct products. 

The day the tenancy starts 

A meeting will be arranged with you to come to the office. The Tenancy Agreement, Inventory and any other relevant paperwork must be signed by all tenants and all copies of the relevant certificates will be given to you. 
 
We will ensure that the property is compliant with all the latest regulations and is in a clean and tidy condition. The garden (where relevant) will also be handed over to you in a neat and tidy condition. 
 
It is your responsibility as tenants to read the meters and advise utility companies that you have moved in. All meters will be read before you move in and detailed on the inventory if we are managing the property. You will be contacted by Tenant Shop who will assist you in the transfer of the utilities. Strawberry cannot be held responsible for utility accounts and it is the tenant's responsibility to ensure that all accounts are correctly set up and paid in full. 
 
The water will be with Severn Trent Water and whilst we will have advised them of your tenancy you will still be responsible for ensuring that the details they have for you are correct. 
 
Similarly, the local council will also be advised when you have moved in but as before you must check that they have your correct details. 
 
If you are unsure of who the gas and electric suppliers are (we do not always have this information) then the guide below should assist:- 
 
Gas: The meter helpline 08706081524 will give you the supplier and meter point reference number. 
 
Electric: You need to contact the local electricity distribution centre, found on yell.com. Ask for the companies’ meter point admin services (MPAS) 0800 096 9000. 
 
Any failure by you to advise the gas and electric suppliers could result in unnecessary administration costs should we have to deal with this on your behalf. 
 
The keys will be provided and you will be given contact details of who will be managing the property. 

Once in the property 

If you receive any mail that is addressed ‘to the occupier’, please open this and advise us if there is anything we may need to know. If you receive anything else, please write ‘RTS’ on it and re-post. 
 
Depending on the terms and conditions of the Tenancy Agreement, you will usually be responsible for the following:- 
•Topping up of the oil-fired central heating at the property. It is your responsibility to ensure this does not go below one quarter full. If it does and the heating subsequently fails you will be liable for the cost of repair. 
•General upkeep of the garden. This must be maintained in a neat and tidy condition, with the grass mowed, weeds removed and bushes and beds kept tidy. Established trees and shrubs must not be uprooted. 
•General cleanliness of the property. This means regular hoovering and dusting and cleaning of appliances and windows, both inside and out. 
•Removal of pests such as fleas, ants, wasps etc. 
•Maintenance of access to the property. If you share a common entrance to your property, this must be kept clear and clean at all times. You (or others) may need this as an escape route in an emergency. 
•Changing of light bulbs and fuses. This is usually expected during a tenant’s occupation of the property. 
•Maintenance of all drains and gutters. These should be kept free flowing and any blockages which occur during the tenancy will usually be your responsibility unless other reasons are found. 
 
Your landlord wants you to enjoy living at their property but, whilst it will be your home, you MUST obtain written permission to make any alterations to the property such as redecoration, hanging mirrors, pictures etc. Failure to gain such permission may result in you losing part (or even all) of your deposit at the end of the tenancy. 
 
If, during the tenancy, you lose your keys, we will most probably be able to provide a management set (provided you have not changed the locks). Any new or additional keys provided will be charged to you and similarly if a lock change is required this will be at your cost (including the provision of new keys to all key holders). If your property has a communal entrance, you may be liable to ensure all other occupants within that block are also provided with new keys. 
 
If there is a break-in whilst you are living at the property you must make the police aware and then provide the agent or landlord with the crime reference number. Failure to do this may prevent damage that is covered by the landlord’s insurance policy being paid and you could therefore be liable for costs. 
 
75 days before the end of the tenancy your will be sent an email asking if you will be staying at the property when your tenancy expires, you have two options if you want to stay. 
 
The tenancy can go into a rolling periodic tenancy where all terms and conditions of the original tenancy remain the same, you will be able to give one months’ notice on or before a rent due date and the landlord is required to give you two. The cost for this is £25.00 plus vat. 
 
Alternatively, you can request to re-new your tenancy for a further fixed term. This would require permission from the landlord and a new tenancy agreement to be raised. The cost associated with this is £75.00 + VAT. 

Maintenance 

It is your responsibility to inform the managing agent or landlord of any maintenance problems you experience. Contractors will then be instructed to deal with the issues promptly. Failure to report these issues could lead to further detriment to the property and subsequent costs to you at the end of the tenancy. You must NOT instruct contractors yourself as invoices will not be paid without prior consent. On your move-in day, you will be given full details of who is managing the property and, in cases where that is Strawberry, you will be given a list of emergency contractors. On occasion, a repair matter may be delayed due to obtaining quotes and/or insurance claims. Where this is the case and the process becomes lengthy we will ensure that you are kept fully up to date with the progress at all times. 
 
If a contractor attends to a problem you have reported and the fault is due to lack of care or misuse by you or other tenants at the property, you will be charged for the cost of putting this right as well as the contractors’ call out bill. 

Rental Payments 

If we are collecting the rental and it is late, a charge of £25.00 plus VAT per arrears’ letter required will be made to you. In cases where there is a guarantor involved this charge will also be applied to the letters we send to them. 

Property visits 

Where Strawberry are fully managing the property it is part of our duty to the landlord to carry out a property visit the first check will take place after two months and thereafter every four months. Where this is the case you will be contacted and advised when access is required. 

Safety certificates 

Some safety certificates need to be renewed on an annual basis and access to the property may be required to do this. If this is the case we will contact you and arrange convenient access and, upon completion, will provide you with copies of all the relevant documentation for your records. Please always try to respond to access requests from our contractors as swiftly as possible as ultimately it is for your own safety. 
 
If you install any additional gas items (with prior consent) these will not be included within the yearly landlord gas safety check and we therefore recommend that you have these checked independently for your own peace of mind and for the protection of the property. 

Who may occupy the property? 

Anyone over the age of 18 living within the property must be on the tenancy agreement at the start of the let. If for any reason a tenant wishes to leave and have someone else replace them we must be made aware of this. The new tenant must be referenced and a new contract raised (a new application fee will be applicable). Any deposit monies due to the outgoing tenant must be refunded by the incoming tenant. All of the above is of course subject to approval from the landlord in the first instance. 

Tenants – be aware of your responsibilities with regard to Legionnaires Disease 

Legionnaires’ disease is a subject which has a tendency to grab headlines but at Strawberry we like to keep things in perspective. The risk of actually contracting the disease is very low but a recent change in legislation means that we must all be a little more aware of the risks that it could potentially pose and must take some precautions to minimise that risk as much as possible. 
 
As you would expect from an agent with a great reputation such as ours, we have thoroughly done our homework, studied the requirements at length upon our clients’ behalf and attended training sessions run by recognised experts in the field. We are therefore in a good position to offer guidance, advice and assistance whenever you need that little bit extra reassurance. 
 
As a starting point your Landlord will have already have been informed of the need to have carried out a Legionella Risk Assessment and this document should be available for you to view. This will show details of the condition and operation of the cold water storage tank (where relevant), hot water system and the individual outlets, including all taps and showers. 
 
As well as having undergone a comprehensive inspection these systems would have been temperature tested to ensure that they are operating within acceptable, low risk conditions. Anything found to be of concern (i.e. anything which would present a higher risk of contamination) will have been removed or rectified already but this still leaves a few minor tasks which must be addressed. 
 
As the resident within the property no-one will know how the water services are being used as well as you do and therefore you are best placed to keep an eye on things and to carry out some additional maintenance should it be required. By this we mean the following:- 
 
Ensure that the hot water is always delivered hot – i.e. above 50˚C after 1 minute of running 
Ensure that the cold water always comes out cold - i.e. below 20˚C after 1 minute of running 
If a water system or part of a system is not being used on a regular basis – at least weekly – it should be flushed through for at least 2 minutes. 
Where flushing is required, care should be taken to avoid inhaling the aerosol which is created, especially in the case of showers or spray heads. 
Any showers should be descaled and disinfected every 6 months to avoid the risk of bacteria building up and being transferred to the water as it comes through the spray head 
 
As you are a tenant is an existing Strawberry property the checks will be taking place within the next few months, you will be emailed when we need access, if we are managing the property we do have keys to gain access. This check will take about an hour and we will need access into the loft. 
 
Finally please just remember that we are always on hand to help you so if there is anything which is causing you concern or which you’d just like to know a little more about call us or drop in to see us at the office. 

At the end of the Tenancy 

You must advise Strawberry of your intention to leave at least one month before the end of the tenancy. Where the tenancy is in a periodic then a full months’ notice must be served on or before a rent due date. 
 
Our check out will take place once you have fully vacated the property and keys have been delivered to the office. We do not carry out the check outs visit to the property with either tenants or landlords present to maintain our impartiality in recording our findings. 
 
Once the check out has been completed, you will receive a copy of our full report. If there are any dilapidations, cleaning or gardening issues these will be highlighted and the deposit return will be strictly in accordance with the DPS process (information upon which you will have received at the start of the tenancy). 
 
If the findings of the check out result in any additional works having to be organised then there will be a charge of £75.00+VAT for this by Strawberry, deducted from your deposit. 
 
You must also note that NO RENTAL can be taken from the deposit. Your rental account must be up to date, independent of your deposit. 

Reference service 

If a reference is required by you at the end of the tenancy to allow you to let a further property then we can provide this service at a cost of £50.00+VAT per property.