Renting guide

Like buying your first car, renting a house is more complicated than meets the eye. So many questions, so many factors to take into account – size of rooms, number of bedrooms, quality of fixtures, who you’re going to live with… it can be a minefield even for the most experienced of contract-holders. To give you a helping hand, we’ve prepared a step-by-step guide so you can get a sense of what you should expect from the renting process!

Step 1

Narrowing your search

Before you even book your first viewing, consider the following:

- Where you want to live. We get a lot of people tell us they’d be “happy to live anywhere in Cardiff”, but in reality, only a few areas are going to be practical for that person’s personal circumstances. Most people need to be somewhere at a specific time – whether that be work, university or close to their child’s school – so consider the distance you’ll need to travel, how you’re getting there and at what time of the day. If you’re commuting during rush hour, then unless you’re happy to leave home early and/or arrive home late, you’re probably going to want to be somewhere relatively close by. If you’re travelling by public transport, consider the bus or train options available to you.

- How much you can afford to spend on your rent and bills. Unless stated otherwise, the asking prices on properties we advertise are ‘rent only’ figures, so you’ll need to factor in how much council tax, utilities (gas, electricity & water), internet and TV licence will be on top. Council tax is an easy one to find out (once you know the band, check it on Cardiff Council’s website), but gas and electricity will vary depending on the supplier and tariff you sign up to, and how much you use. We’d advise doing your own research on how much energy a household like yours typically uses in Kilowatt-hours (kWh), which you can then use when comparing available tariffs. Welsh Water supplies the whole of Cardiff, so you’ll definitely be with them for your water.

- Your suitability as a contract-holder (tenant). On behalf of the landlord of the property, we must carry out background checks on all contract-holders aged 18+. We’ve included more detail on this ‘vetting process’ below, but in order to avoid disappointment further down the line, it’s important you know now that we carry out a credit check and write out to current employers & current/former landlords for references. If anything adverse comes back, e.g. a County Court Judgement (CCJ) or a history of rent arrears, it’s unlikely that your application will be successful. Similarly, landlords want to see stability in employment (and thus affordability), so temporary or part-time contracts may not be acceptable to them. Don’t worry: we’ll always ask you these ‘qualification questions’ before viewing with you, as we wouldn’t want to waste your time showing you a property that you won’t be able to rent.

Choose A Solicitor

Step 2

Deciding to take the property

Once you’ve viewed the property, we’ve answered any questions you may have and you’ve decided that you’d like to take it, we ask you to pay a holding deposit and complete an online application form.

- Payment of the holding deposit takes the property off the market and reserves it for you. We ask that this is paid by card. This is never more than the equivalent of a week’s rent and will go towards your security deposit that you pay later. So let’s say the holding deposit is £150 and your security deposit is £900 in total, you’ll pay the remaining £750 later.

- The application form prompts you for your contact information, who we should contact if there’s an emergency, your current address and your points of contact for references (current employer and any current/former landlord).

This application process is usually a formality as we’ll have already taken information about you and your circumstances before booking the viewing, so you’d have been told if it didn’t look like you met the landlord’s requirements. You’ll need to upload two forms of ID at this time.

Once the holding deposit is paid and the application form is completed, we send you an Agreement in Principle via email, which has the headline terms of the contract you’ve agreed to enter into (rent per month, total security deposit, whether bills are included or not, start and end date, etc). We ask that you read it carefully and let us know if something doesn’t look right.

We also send you a pro-forma copy of the Written Statement of Occupation Contract (tenancy agreement) you’ll eventually be asked to sign, so you can give it a good read in advance.

Untitled Design (7)

Step 3

The vetting process

As mentioned above, we must carry out background checks on all contract-holders aged 18+. Here, we’re looking for an acceptable credit score and no history of County Court Judgements (CCJs). Landlords also require us to reach out to your current employer in order to confirm affordability, so we ask them how much you earn, how many hours you’re guaranteed, whether your contract is permanent or temporary, and how long you have been with the company. Finally, if you currently rent or have previously rented, landlords want us to confirm you’ve a history of paying your rent on time and keeping the property well, so we’ll reach out to your current/previous landlord. If you haven’t rented before, the new landlord may ask that you provide a financial guarantor for the duration of the tenancy.

Once everything has come back positively and you’ve asked any questions you may wish to put to us, we ask you to pay what’s left of your security deposit and – if we’re close to your move-in date – the first month’s rent. We’ll give you our bank details so you can send these via online transfer.

Zara Charlotte

Step 4

Signing on the dotted line

At the same time as asking for your security deposit payment, we’ll electronically send you the Written Statement of Occupation Contract to sign. You’ll have already read the pro-forma version of this when we send it to you previously.

Once all payments and all signatures are on the Written Statement, we’ll sign it off and you’ll automatically be e-mailed a copy.


Step 5

Collecting your keys

Where and when you collect your keys on your move-in day will depend on whether CPS Homes manages the property. We’ll have previously made you aware if CPS Homes is the manager, or if your landlord is going to take care of things themselves.

- Properties managed by CPS Homes: All keys are available from our Woodville Road, Cathays branch from 12pm on the day your tenancy starts. Please be mindful that on busy move-in days, such 1st July, you may have to queue for your keys. If don’t need to collect your keys on one of these days, we’d recommend waiting until the following day to avoid the queuing.

- Properties managed by the landlord directly: Using the information you have been given, contact your landlord to confirm when and how you will receive the keys.

Untitled Design (6)

Step 6

Your inventory is vital

Moving into your new home is an exciting time and you’ll have plenty going on, but once you’ve got the keys, it’s important that you pay close attention to the inventory you'll be sent electronically. This will help avoid any disputes over damages and cleaning when you eventually move out. We appreciate that moving out won’t be at the forefront of your mind at the start of your tenancy, but it certainly will be when you’re looking to receive your deposit back at the end, so be sure to get it right from the get-go.

We can’t stress the importance of the inventory document enough. Essentially, it’s the only thing we can rely on to decide on any deductions from your deposit when we do your check-out inspection, so it needs to be spot on. In our experience, the lack of a solid inventory is the biggest contributing factor to an end-of-tenancy bond dispute. We don’t want you losing your money unfairly, but we need your input in ensuring we have the evidence to avoid this. In short, your inventory is certainly worth spending some time on!

What to do

Shortly after you collect your keys, you’ll be sent a copy of your property’s inventory (sometimes known as a ‘schedule of condition’). It’ll be a working document and fully editable by you via our inventory software. Embedding your own photos and adding your own comments is easy-peasy. Once confirmed, the inventory will stay on file, ready for the end of your tenancy.

Walk around each room and check each item against the inventory; taking photos or making notes as you go. Too many times we hear contract-holders say “I didn’t think that was substantial enough to photograph or note when I moved in” when discussing damage at their check-out inspection, so don’t hold back; there’s no such thing as being too picky when it comes to annotating your inventory.

Please don’t raise maintenance requests on your inventory as they are not reviewed by the maintenance team. If your issue is not an emergency, please report it to us via and we'll have it dealt with as soon as possible. You can easily log in to the portal with your email address and postcode, then select the relevant category as below. It's a good idea to bookmark this link, so you can easily access it if needed during your tenancy.

Please note that this information only applies to properties fully managed by CPS Homes.

Do Your

Step 7

CPS Homes’ duties as a managing agent

Most contract-holders are familiar with the term "landlord” and their responsibilities, but a lot of people don’t know what a "managing agent" can and can’t do, so here's a quick explainer to help your tenancy run smoothly. In brief:

- A managing agent's role is to make sure contract-holders and landlords stick to the terms of the signed Written Statement of Occupation Contract.

- The CPS Homes maintenance team will seek permission from your landlord to get repairs done and will request upgrades or improvements, but your landlord will make the final decisions on everything.

- Your deposit (if you paid one) is held by a government-approved deposit protection scheme throughout your tenancy.

- CPS Homes does not decide whether to claim from your deposit at the end of your tenancy. If your landlord decides there are valid reasons to claim after reading our check-out report, it is their prerogative to make a claim but contract-holders can raise a dispute if they disagree. An eventual decision will be made by an independent adjudicator, who is appointed by the deposit protection scheme.

Untitled Design (8)

Step 8

Your responsibilities during the tenancy

Though your landlord has a lot of responsibilities during your tenancy, such as ensuring there is adequate heating & hot water and drains & sanitary facilities are kept in working order, contract-holders also have an obligation to look after and carry out the little jobs around the property. It's called acting in a 'Contract-holder-Like Manner' and it forms part of your contract. It basically means treating the house as if it's your home. Read more on this topic.

To help you fulfil your responsibilities as a contract-holder, we’ve produced a few How To Guides – please take a look and bookmark the page.

Taking Care

Step 9

Moving Out

Times goes by in a flash and, before you know it, it’ll be time to move out.

Shortly after you return your keys, CPS Homes or your landlord will attend the property to complete a check-out inspection. During this inspection, the condition of the property now will be compared to how it was when you first moved in, with checks for repairs, cleaning and general damages all made. We want to avoid any charges to you, so please do your best to leave the property as best as you can. If there is anything beyond that of fair wear and tear to be claimed, we’ll share our detailed report findings with you and give you an opportunity to query anything you aren’t in agreement with.

Neither we nor your landlord are trained contractors, so if work needs to be done at your property, we must instruct someone to get that job done properly. The cost of employing them is not cheap: call-out charges, hourly rates and the cost for materials add up, so it’s always best to resolve issues yourself before leaving.

If we can’t resolve any potential deposit claim disputes between us, the government-approved deposit protection scheme that protects your deposit can appoint an independent adjudicator to consider evidence from both sides and decide how the deposit should be apportioned. It’s rare that it ever comes to that, though.

Empty Prop

To find out how we can help you, e-mail us via or give us a call on 02920 668585. Alternatively, if you fancy calling in for a face-to-face chat, we'd love to see you.