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Deadlines for pre-tenancy money - and why they exist

As we approach the move dates for our student properties, we're often asked about why we set such strict deadlines for funds to reach us and why they're so far before the first day of the tenancy. The simple answer is that logistically, knowing everything is in place (or isn't in place) makes the moving process smoother.

When we agree to a tenancy, for instance, let's use a six bedroom student house, when the holding fee is paid at the inception we also get you to sign a “pre-tenancy agreement”. On this document which you must sign to say have read and understood it, it clearly sets out what monies are due and when we expect to see it. So, it will let you know that the damage deposit is due a month before you move in, and the first month's rent is due two weeks before you move in. WHY? I hear you cry, does the money need to be paid so far in advance? That can't be fair!!! Ok, here’s why:

When you have to administer the money in for over 200 student houses in a little over two months, that’s a lot to keep track of. Throw in the fact that some tenants will have this money paid for them by other people, who may or may not use the correct reference, or have a different surname, then you can see it can quickly become a tough task. Having the buffer of a couple of weeks gives us the chance to investigate missing payments, or payments we cannot allocate.

In my quite considerable experience of facilitating this “student season” time of year, I get a lot of tenants complaining that it’s too far in advance for them to pay this money. That’s a fine concept, but in a group of six tenants, during the summer, you will not always be around. You may be on holiday, or your guarantor may be on holiday, the money might need to be sent from a foreign bank account, or a business account, it may be sent in error to the wrong place, or with the wrong reference, or even the wrong amount. We have come across every conceivable reason why the money is not showing in my account by the agreed day, and when this happens, I simply cannot hand over keys to the house.

The whole house has been rented on a jointly and severally liable tenancy agreement, not as individual rooms, and as such, if five of the six tenants have paid over, but tenant six has paid on the day the tenancy starts, and it has not shown in my account that day, as is usually the case, then no one is getting keys. It may sound a tad harsh, but all the information is given out on numerous occasions leading up to the tenancy, and so you need to pay attention to these money and date thresholds.

We have seen a very disappointed group in our office, complaining that keys were not handed over for precisely this reason. We had three of four payments, but the last tenant, despite being warned for weeks beforehand, decided to transfer his money the evening of the Friday, late in the day, and then complained when on the Saturday, a weekend, his money did not show on my business banking. With the important thing to note in this situation that by the time the move date is upon us, the funds are already two weeks late into our account and have been chased by office staff. 

We do not like having to do this, as our intention is to get everyone moved in on time. But it’s a very necessary piece of protocol that is in place to make sure our tenancies are ready to go by the time the move date comes around.

If you have any questions regarding this article, then please feel free to call the office on 01273 672999 - or email - lettings@baagency.co.uk.

Dan

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