Renting FAQs

Who better than a letting agency like CPS Homes to answer all your questions about renting a property in Cardiff? Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, you may have questions, so here are some answers!

If you are a student and/or live in a shared accommodation, you may want to check the student FAQ.

Lettings

What's the difference between a 'managed' and a 'let-only' tenancy?

For a 'managed' student property, the landlord has instructed CPS Homes to deal with the management of the property during the tenancy, including rent collection, moving in and out, any maintenance issues, and other general enquiries. In short, you deal with us for everything and may not even meet your landlord.

A ‘let-only’ tenancy means that the landlord has asked us to find tenants, but will manage the property themselves. We source the tenants and arrange the signing of the tenancy agreement, then from that point onward, the landlord will manage everything. We’ll provide you with all the necessary contact details during the signing of your tenancy agreement.

What's an agency fee and why do I have to pay one?

An agency fee is what you pay to take a property off the market, before you sign the tenancy agreement. Once the agency fee is paid, there will be no more viewings on the property and it won’t be marketed to anyone else, meaning it’s provisionally 'yours'. The exact amount of the fee will vary depending on the amount of rent on the property. When you pay the fee, you’ll receive the paperwork that you need to bring with you to the signing of the tenancy agreement.

If I can no longer take the property, can I transfer my agency fee to a different one?

If you haven’t signed your tenancy agreement yet, and provided it’s been two weeks or less since you paid your agency fee, we’re happy to, in most cases, transfer it to another house marketed by CPS Homes. However, please note that we’re only able to transfer a fee once.

What's the difference between a 'fully managed', 'rent collection' and 'tenant-find only' property?

If your property is fully managed by CPS Homes, we're your first point of contact for everything during your tenancy. If you have any issues or problems whilst living there, just pick up the phone or send us an e-mail and we'll deal with things as quickly as possible. Likewise, you pay your rent to us each month and we pass it onto your landlord.

When it comes to moving in, keys are available for collection from one of our branches and, at the time of handing them out, we'll book an accompanied check-in inspection with you. We usually book it for a few days after move-in, allowing enough time for you to have lived there for a few days and come up with any questions/queries you may have. Then, when we meet you at the property for the check-in inspection, we'll do our best to address these. Your landlord has asked that we handle everything, so you may end up not having any direct contact with him/her, but rest assured that they'll be kept up-to-speed on everything. Ultimately, they own the property, so they have the final say on every matter.

If we're only collecting the rent on your property, it means we share management with your landlord. We operate a rent collection service on his/her behalf, meaning you pay your rent to us each month and we pass it on, but for everything else your landlord is your point of contact after you've signed the tenancy agreement with us. We'll provide his/her contact details to you during the signing appointment, allowing you to arrange the collection of keys directly when it comes to moving in.

Where we're only employed to find tenants for the property, your landlord manages your property directly, meaning he/she will be your point of contact once you've signed the tenancy agreement with us. Using the contact details we provide to you during the signing appointment, you can arrange the collection of keys

Legals

What am I actually signing for as part of a tenancy agreement?

Your tenancy agreement is not just a contract permitting you to live in a property if you pay your rent on time. It’s an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, which also sets out the responsibilities of the tenants regarding activities within the property and actions to be taken by the tenant in terms of maintenance works and paying bills. As one joint contract between all of the tenants and the landlord, it means that the behaviour of the other tenants is as much your responsibility as it is theirs. It’s an agreement that you’ll all live in a ‘tenant-like manner’, look after the property, pay your rent and bills on time, and make sure that your housemates do the same.

What are the legal responsibilities of a tenant? What is 'living in a tenant-like manner'?

Under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, tenants are responsible for carrying out minor maintenance to a property, such as

  • regulating condensation levels within the house, to prevent mould build-up;
  • changing lightbulbs;
  • unblocking toilets and drains;
  • heating the property during the winter to make sure the pipes don’t freeze;
  • topping up boiler pressure;
  • keeping the property clean and tidy, including recycling properly and throwing away all rubbish.

Tenants are also responsible for reporting other maintenance issues in a timely manner, so that the landlord can deal with any issues before they get worse.

What are the legal responsibilities of a landlord?

A landlord is responsible for ensuring that the structure of the house is sound and that it’s fit to live in. This includes making sure the property has:

  • heating;
  • hot water;
  • lights;
  • sanitation and sewerage;
  • no safety hazards;
  • regular (typically annual) checks for gas, fire and electrical safety;
  • an HMO licence, if it is a licensable property.

What’s an inventory, and why do I need one?

An inventory is a record of the contents of a property and the condition it’s in. It should be accurate to the beginning of your tenancy, so that the letting agent and landlord can track any wear and tear on the property and are aware of any ongoing maintenance issues. It’s important to ensure that the inventory is up-to-date at the beginning of the tenancy and to annotate it with any errors or omissions that there may be, if only to make sure you’re not blamed for something you didn’t cause come the end of the tenancy.

Can I add things to my inventory?

Within the first week of you moving in, you’ll be able to amend the inventory to accurately reflect the condition of the property when you moved in. The inventory will be used to judge ‘fair wear and tear’ and the end of your tenancy, so it’s important to ensure it’s as accurate as possible. After the first week of your tenancy, however, the inventory becomes a binding document, which we will scan and link to our system for reference. After that time it won’t be possible to amend it, but we can take notes of changes to the property throughout your tenancy.

Money

What happens if I miss a rent payment?

Ultimately, it’s your responsibility to ensure that rent payments are made on time, but if you happen to miss a payment, our Accounts Department will be informed that you’re in arrears. If you fail to pay within the stated period of time, late rent charges will apply to your account. Your guarantor may be called upon to honour the terms of the guarantor agreement and pay your rent for you.

Who pays for the bills?

Unless otherwise agreed, the tenants are responsible for setting up the utilities for the property and are liable for all bills, including the TV licence. Full-time students don’t have to pay council tax, but your letting agent and the council will need to see a copy of your exemption certificate - issued by your university at the beginning of each term - so they don’t pursue you for payment.

How much will my bills be?

The price of your bills will depend on your energy provider and the size of your property, so it won’t be the same for all of our tenants. It will also depend on whether your water supply is metered or not. As a ball-park figure, we usually advise students to budget for £15 per person per utility per month. That’s £15 for gas, £15 for electricity and £15 for water - each.

How much is council tax?

Full-time students won’t have to pay any council tax - you should get a 'council tax exemption certificate' from your university to confirm this. The council will need to see a copy of this so they know not to bill you.

What is a tenancy deposit, and why do I need to pay one?

A tenancy deposit is a down payment on a property that functions as a security deposit. It is returned in full at the end of the tenancy if the property has been left in a good condition. In other words, tenants commit to taking care of the property and accept that the landlord will be able to claim money from their bonds if they leave the property in a poor state of repair. However, it is worth noting that landlords and letting agents are not simply able to take money from a tenancy deposit – deposits are protected with government-regulated deposit protection services, which means that nobody can spend your money without your say-so.

How much will my tenancy deposit be?

Most deposits are a little bit more than one month’s rent – it can vary depending on the individual landlord. Your letting agent will confirm how much you will have to pay.

Who keeps the tenancy deposit money? What is ‘deposit protection’?

By law, all deposits in the UK must be registered with a tenancy deposit protection scheme within 30 days of it being paid. Landlords have a choice of registering it with three Government-approved schemes: the Deposit Protection Service (DPS), MyDeposits, or The Dispute Service (TDS).

Deposit protection was set up in 2007 to protect tenants’ rights, and means that no money can be deducted from your bond without your input. A landlord or letting agent must “claim” money, and they must be able to prove that the works they carried out were caused by the tenants, or they will not win the money if it goes to dispute.

How can I pay my deposit money?

Deposits must be paid for in “cleared funds” if you’re paying during the signing of your tenancy agreement, so you cannot pay by cheque. Cash, debit card or credit card are fine, though credit cards are subject to a 2% charge.

Who will decide if there are to be deductions from my deposit? Why might there be a deduction, and what do I do if I don’t agree?

Deductions to your deposit will only be claimed for remedial maintenance or cleaning work that should have been carried out by the tenants during the tenancy, or can directly be attributed to the tenants. Fair wear and tear is always accepted and allowed for.

What happens when my deposit goes into dispute?

When your deposit goes into dispute, the amount that is not being disputed will be returned to the tenants. An independent adjudicator appointed by the deposit scheme will then make a decision on who is to receive the disputed amount, based on evidence provided by both landlord/agent and tenant(s). Evidence could include the schedule of condition (inventory) at the commencement of the tenancy, as well as photographic evidence pre- and/or post-tenancy.

When will my deposit be returned?

You’ll receive your deposit back after the end of your tenancy, but we’re only able to refund it once we’ve received proof that you’ve paid your council tax and utility bills up to the end of your tenancy. Proof of these can be provided by way of £0.00-valued bills. If you’re a full-time student and therefore exempt from paying council tax, we’ll require your student exemption certificate, which is available from your university.

Maintenance

What property maintenance are tenants responsible for?

Tenants are responsible for the minor maintenance of a house that they are renting, treating it as if it were a home that they owned. Tenants’ responsibilities are set down in law as the ‘tenant-like manner’, and include:

  • regulating condensation levels within the house, to prevent mould build-up;
  • changing lightbulbs;
  • unblocking toilets and drains;
  • heating the property during the winter, to make sure the pipes don’t freeze;
  • topping up boiler pressure;
  • keeping the property clean and tidy, including recycling properly and throwing away all rubbish.

Tenants are also responsible for reporting other maintenance issues in a timely manner, so that the landlord can deal with any issues before they get worse.

What do I do if I have a maintenance issue?

If you live in a property managed by CPS Homes, please report your issue via cpshomes.fixflo.com. As your landlord is the ultimate decision maker and the person who authorises any expenditure on the property, we may require their authorisation before arranging for a contractor to attend and assess the issue. If you report the problem between 9am and 4pm on working days, we guarantee to pursue your landlord for their authorisation and feedback within 90 minutes. If the problem is reported outside of office hours, we will look into it on the next working day.

If you live in a let-only property, you'll need to make contact with your landlord directly.

Rent Smart Wales

I already have a HMO (House of Multiple Occupation) licence for my rented property. Do I need to register and obtain a licence via Rent Smart Wales as well?

HMO licensing and Rent Smart Wales are two entirely different pieces of legislation, so holding a HMO licence does not alter the requirements put on landlords by Rent Smart Wales.

Rent Smart Wales operates on a per landlord basis, whereas HMO licensing operates on a per property basis.

I’m going to register myself as a landlord online, but I own many different properties in Wales. Can I upload them in bulk, rather than input them individually?

Yes, you can. There will be functionality available for landlords to upload multiple properties in one go.

I have buy-to-let properties inside and outside of Wales. Do I need to declare them all when registering?

No, only the properties in Wales need to be listed.

I use a managing agent who handles everything on my behalf. Can they register me as a landlord?

No, unfortunately not. Only the landlord can complete the registration because they have to verify that the information being registered is true and accurate.

What will the fees paid by landlords and agents be used for?

Rent Smart Wales states that the fees are not collected to make a profit. Instead, they will be put towards the running costs of the scheme, which includes ensuring landlords who try to ignore their legal obligations are pursued and punished accordingly. The scheme will also investigate complaints made by tenants.

I jointly own a rental property with someone else, and we manage it between us. Do we both need to register and obtain a licence?

Yes. One of you can register as the "lead" landlord and list both persons' details on the registration, but bear in mind that you will need a landlord licence each as you both do property management activities.

I own some properties individually and some jointly. Who needs to register, and who needs to obtain a licence?

You will need to complete one registration for the properties you own solely, and a separate registration for the ones owned jointly (either owner can complete this). Only the individuals who complete letting or management activity will need to apply for a licence.

Contact us

Contact us