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Ask an Expert

Do you Have a property question for our investment expert?

  • Lucy Forde
    Lucy Forde
    Director of Property Care
  • Kate Mittell
    Kate Mittell
    Senior Property Manager
Intro

Intro

Whether this is the first time you're renting a property, or you simply haven't been through the process recently, we hope you'll find the information and tips within this guide useful.

If you're renting a property with Gatekeeper, you'll always know who to contact back at the office, so however big or small your question, just get in touch.
Searching for 'The One'

Searching for 'The One'

We recommend looking for properties around eight weeks before you want to move. Properties move fast, so you need to move quickly if you find a property you like.

To save time and reduce the number of viewings you need, consider the following points - and remember to pass this information on to your agent!
- Which area is right for you?
- What transport links do you need? Realistically, how much time are you prepared to spend commuting each day?
- Which facilities do you need nearby?
- How many bedrooms do you need? Do you need a separate study?
- What storage do you need for clothes, books and bikes? Do you need a garage?
- What's your monthly budget for bills?
- Do you need a short or long term let?
- Do you have any special requirements, such as pets?

We suggest prioritising these lists, to help you work out which factors are most important. Knowing in advance what you might be prepared to compromise on is difficult, but it will help you find 'The One' more quickly.

Remember that the age and condition of a property set the rent, so it's crucial to be clear about both your budget and expectations for that price.

To sign up to Gatekeeper property alerts and see new properties first, just click here.Click here.
Viewings

Viewings

At our tenant's request, we've made sure our viewings diary is never closed. You can view availability and book your own viewing slots online. If you're busy during office hours, it's no problem because our team is ready to show you properties in evenings and at weekends too.

There's no need to search for information or take screenshots when you book a viewing with Gatekeeper. We'll send you confirmation of your viewing and the property address by email and text message.

We know viewings can be overwhelming, and you can easily forget to ask important questions and look for the details that really matter. Here are our recommendations to make the most of your time at the property:
- Take a notepad and write down your thoughts as you walk around.
- Take lots of photographs to remind you about key features (but always ask first!).
- Ask the agent to tell you about the heating and look at the EPC to check energy efficiency.
- Walk around the outside of the property and note the condition of the roof, windows and guttering.
- Ask about broadband access, especially in village locations.
- If the property is near a road or parking is on the road, visit the property at different times of day to check you're happy with noise and parking availability.
Director Call

Director Call

Once you've found your ideal home, one of our Directors will call you personally to run through everything with you, including the fees and payment schedule. They'll check all the details to avoid any potential problems, ultimately saving you time and money.

This is your chance to ask any questions, such as which items are being left in the property and check whether the landlord would agree to special terms, such as pets.
Application

Application

We see no need to take up your time by requesting that you continually visit our office, so we've transformed the traditional application process with our online application service.

Simply log in and you'll find your fees, payment schedule, draft tenancy agreement and tenancy details waiting for you. This way, you can check the information at your convenience and (especially if this is the first time you've rented) you have the opportunity to have a friend or family member double check it too. Only when you're completely happy do you need to part with an administration fee.

The rest of the application will take less than five minutes to complete and you will have your tenancy agreement there and then. Just sign and post it back to us. It really is that straightforward!

By this time your dedicated Property Manager will have introduced themselves as your single point of contact for the whole tenancy. They'll run credit checks and let you know the results by the next working day at the latest, so you can be confident the property is secured for you (pending employment references).

This means no waiting, no stressing and a secure property for you, much quicker. While we complete the preparations behind the scenes, you are free to concentrate on packing!
Photographic Inventory (Managed Properties Only)

Photographic Inventory (Managed Properties Only)

Your Property Manager visits your new home personally before you move in to complete the final checks. Whilst there, they prepare your photo inventory, taking between 150 and 500 pictures (depending on property size) to ensure that we capture all the important details for your protection, as well as taking the gas and electricity meter readings for you.

We know that moving day can be a little fraught, so a few days beforehand we'll send you your online inventory. This allows you to check the condition in advance and make sure you're happy.

To give you time to settle in, you'll have up to seven days to come back to us with any amendments to the inventory.
Deposit, Insurance and Utilities

Deposit, Insurance and Utilities

Deposit - You can be safe in the knowledge that your deposit is protected in a secured, insured Client account and registered with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS). We'll send you a TDS certificate of registration by email and for added reassurance we're regulated by The Property Ombudsman and are proud members of the National Federation Of Property Professionals.

Insurance - Your landlord insures the property with buildings insurance. Your own insurance policy will form a compulsory part of your tenancy and will cover your contents in the event of fire, flood or theft. Your policy also covers the landlords fixtures and fittings for accidental damage, adding additional protection for your deposit.

We know that insurance isn't exciting, but it's easily forgotten at such a busy time. Making insurance a standard part of your tenancy gives you one less thing to think about and you know you're protected from Day One.

Utilities - If you move into a fully managed property, you'll be pleased to know that we'll have arranged the meter readings for you and contacted the relevant suppliers on your behalf. Another thing to cross off your list. Please note that it can take up to 12 weeks to receive correspondence from these suppliers.
Moving Day

Moving Day

Moving house is said to be the third most stressful life event. To combat this, we send you all the essential information the day before you move by email and text message. This includes key collection details, alarm codes and car park access codes.

We don't want to get under your feet. As you've already signed the tenancy agreement and everything's in place, all that's left to do is collect your keys. We ask that you do this by 3pm to enable us to help you with anything that might crop up. Once the dust has settled we'll be in touch to make sure everything is going well.
Breakdowns, Emergencies & Routine Maintenance

Breakdowns, Emergencies & Routine Maintenance

There's never a convenient time for appliances to break or toilets, taps and showers to stop working, however when we look after the maintenance of a property, we promise to get issues fixed quickly and conveniently, putting you first.

Your Property Manager is experienced with maintenance issues and they know your property and its history. They'll take time to troubleshoot the problem with you, advising you how you might fix this straightaway. On average, we can fix just under 50% of issues over the phone.

When work is required, we instruct our local contractors immediately - often while you're on the phone. They'll be sent your details and will be in touch within 24 hours. If you miss their call, we'll have also sent you their details, so you can arrange a convenient time directly. Our unique Fast Fix system means that the contractors have a pre-authorised budget and in 90% of situations they can fix the issue in just one visit to the property.

If you're unable to be home for the contractor's visit, we can usually arrange for them to pick up a key from us (on your authorisation) to enable them to fix the issue while you're out. as well so you can arrange a convenient time directly.
- Just incase you can't be in, in most cases we can release the key on your authorisation, for the contractor to attend and fix the issue while you're out.

We pride ourselves on using the best contractors for our tenants and landlords, so we'll send you a short online survey to complete after their visit, to check they were polite, tidy, etc.
Property Inspections

Property Inspections

Property inspections are a routine part of renting and are a great opportunity for our Property Managers to catch up with you to make sure you're happy. They'll also check the property's condition and any maintenance work that's been carried out. Afterwards, they'll contact the landlord to reassure them that their property is being looked after.

If you're unable to be home for these, your Property Manager can take a key and pop in to take a quick look around. Do let them know in advance if there's anything you'd like them to check.
Tenancy Renewals

Tenancy Renewals

Around twelve weeks before the end of your tenancy we'll email you with your renewal document to check and print at your convenience.

Signing up to a six or twelve month contract isn't a decision to be made lightly, which is why we give you two weeks to return the document. This allows you to take some thinking time before the two months' legal notice period is due.
Moving Out

Moving Out

When you decide to move on, we'll share our hints and tips with you over the course of the eight week countdown to the end of your tenancy via email and calls. Following these will help to ensure that you have a successful deposit return.

On the day you move out, there's no need to visit the office. Simply lock the door for the last time and post all sets of keys back through the letterbox. Your Property Manager will pick these up at the Check Out inspection, when they'll use your original photographic inventory as a benchmark to note any differences, minus fair wear and tear. You'll be safe in the knowledge that they'll use their experience to ensure that they check this properly, to handle your deposit fairly. They'll then take final meter readings and update the utility providers.