Guide to renting in Oxford

Our objective is to make the process of renting a property clear and simple. We wish to offer a transparent service to our tenants, with our fees advertised at the outset. Our knowledge of the lettings market and our properties is freely available, allowing you to make the right decisions. This page of our website provides a step-by-step guide to renting property in Oxford, Witney or anywhere else in the UK!

Step One: Register your interest

To register your interest in letting a property, please contact the relevant lettings office/s.  You can do so by telephone, email or by calling in during the working day.  You do not need to have a specific property in mind – we are happy to help you find it. Our contact details are on the bottom of this page, or you can see the full office and team information using the link provided.

Step Two: Property search

Our website allows you to search effectively for property that may suit your requirements, but we also have a lettings negotiator in each branch who can offer advice and more information. The negotiator may also know about new properties coming available that are not yet on the website, so a telephone call or visit to an office may also be worthwhile.

Each negotiator is familiar with the properties being offered. Using their knowledge could save you time and effort during the search process, which is especially valuable if you are looking to move within a limited timescale.

Step Three: Reserving a property

Once you have decided which property you would like to rent, you need to contact the negotiator to make an offer.

At this stage, you(and any other tenants applying) will be required to complete our on-line application form to officially make your offer. The negotiator will then liaise with yourself and the landlord and should the offer be accepted, a request for application fees will be made. Following this, the referencing process will begin.  (It is also very helpful if you can contact your referees in advance and ask them to respond quickly to the reference requests.) You also need to provide proof of identity, such as a photo driving licence or passport, and residency documents such as Visas if applicable.

All applications are made “subject to contract” and an application to rent a property does not guarantee the tenancy. Should you decide not to continue with your application at any time, the application fee cannot be refunded.

Step Four: The tenancy agreement

On receipt of the completed application form, proof of identity and relevant fees, your chosen property will be held “under offer” and no further viewings will be carried out, unless otherwise agreed.

Whilst waiting on the completion of your references, the Lettings Coordinator will prepare the tenancy agreement and other supporting documents. These will be sent to you for signature and return within a reasonable specified timescale.

It is essential that you speak to the Lettings Coordinator promptly if you are unable to meet the deadlines set, otherwise the property will be returned to the market and viewings will begin again.

Please read your tenancy agreement thoroughly before signing and returning it to us as soon as possible. It is essential that you understand the tenancy agreement before signing. Please contact the Lettings Coordinator in the first instance if you have any questions. However, if you remain unsure of any of the terms and conditions contained in the tenancy agreement, we recommend that you seek independent legal advice.

Once we are in receipt of the signed tenancy agreement, it will be signed on behalf of the landlord and dated. At this point the tenancy agreement is deemed to be “executed” and both parties are legally obliged to proceed.

Step Five: First account invoice

The Lettings Coordinator will contact you to confirm the amount you need to pay before you move in. This amount will include the rent up to the end of the first calendar month of your tenancy and the deposit (equivalent to two months rent). Rental amounts and due dates will vary per property – please review your tenancy agreement for the specific details.

You first payment must be paid in cleared funds within the timescale specified by the negotiator and, in any event, prior to commencement of the tenancy. Payment must be made by bank transfer, by debit card (subject to bank charges) or by bankers draft. We cannot accept cash or personal cheques.

We will also request a copy of your tenants insurance policy prior to the start of the tenancy. You can find out more about tenants insurance here.

For ongoing rent payments, your tenancy agreement will details your payment schedule.

Step Six: Check in

If your property is managed by scottfraser, the Property Management Centre will contact you to arrange a ‘meet and greet’ to collect keys ready for your tenancy start date.

On arrival at the property you will find a Welcome Folder containing contact numbers, manuals for appliances, and other useful information.

You will also be supplied with a full inventory and schedule of condition, prepared by an independent inventory clerk. This will show meter readings for the property. Please check the inventory carefully, as it will be an important part of the check-out and deposit return at the end of your tenancy. You can make comments as appropriate. You must then sign and return it to us within 48 hours of your arrival at the property. If you do not do so, the inventory is deemed to be accurate.

A significant number of properties let by scottfraser are also managed by us. However, in some instances, the landlord will chose to manage the property directly. Either way, you will be provided with contact numbers should any problems or maintenance issues arise whilst you are living in the property. If the property is managed by scottfraser, you will also be given a genuine 24 hour contact number in case of any emergencies that occur outside office hours.

Step Seven: Routine visits

If the property is managed by scottfraser, we are obliged to visit regularly on behalf of the landlord to comment on the condition and identify any maintenance issues. We write to tenants beforehand to advise when each routine visit is due. The property manager is able to use our office set of keys for access if you cannot be present.

Step Eight: Offer to renew

In the last three months of your tenancy, the Lettings Coordinator will contact you to ask if you will either be leaving the property, or wish to continue. If you wish to remain at the property, this is likely to be for a further fixed term and is subject to agreement from the landlord. The Lettings Coordinator will speak to both parties to agree dates and rental level, and the necessary renewal agreement documents will be sent to you for signature and return. If you do not respond to our enquiries or return any documents within the specified timescales, legal notice will automatically be issued to bring the tenancy to an end on the expiry date shown on your tenancy.

Step Nine: Pre-check-out visit

Once it is confirmed that your tenancy is definitely going to come to an end (and assuming that the property is managed by scottfraser) we will offer you the opportunity of having a pre-check-out visit approximately two weeks prior to the expiry date.

This visit allows us to explain the inventory check-out process and highlight any areas within the property that may need attention, giving you time to address them before the official check-out.

Step Ten: Inventory check-out

The check-out is carried out by independent inventory clerks. The original inventory and schedule of condition, signed by you at the start of your tenancy, is used to assess the property and to prepare a detailed report. You can decide whether or not you wish to be present at this check-out. The property must be handed back in the same condition as it was at the start of the tenancy, allowing for reasonable wear and tear.

Step Eleven: Returning your deposit

Assuming the property is left in a clean and tidy condition in keeping with the original inventory, your deposit will be returned to you within 10 days of the check-out, with written confirmation of the amount. If the check-out report shows that the property requires attention, you will be informed accordingly. All parties will then be advised of any costs incurred and agreement obtained by both parties before the balance of the deposit is returned to you. By law, all tenant deposits must be held and administered by government-recognised schemes to protect them during a tenancy and also provide the means of free adjudication in the event of a dispute between parties.

It is important to note that your deposit is protected and if you do not agree with proposed deductions you are able to challenge the landlord’s decision by referring the matter to an independent adjudicator. More information may be found on the Deposit Protection page on our website.