Renting with Fidra
We understand that we are dealing with people’s homes, we want our tenants to feel ‘at home’, listened to, and appreciated. We know that our industry has a really poor reputation, and to be honest, we agree; we have been tenants and landlords and have personally experienced the levels of customer service that quite frankly, aren’t good enough.
Clear and responsive communication is so vital. We aren’t perfect but we really do care about BOTH our tenants and our landlords and by talking genuinely and with transparency to all our customers we build great long term relationships that are built on trust.
To view our selection of available properties to rent in East Lothian, please go to our ‘Property Search’ page. It is wise to start looking about a month before you wish to move, as the nicer properties are viewed and reserved quickly. Once you have decided on a property, you will need to register your interest by enquiring directly via the property advert. Viewings will be arranged, if possible, at times to suit you, including evenings, and will usually be accompanied by a member of staff, who can give advice and answer any questions you may have. We don’t do group viewings but one individual viewing may be scheduled alongside another.
Don’t worry, as long as you meet the criteria all offers for the property will be put to the landlord to make a decision. For an offer, we need details on who will be living in the property and your employment details. If you are in a competitive situation for a flat then it can also help to offer slightly more for the monthly rent. This can help make your application stand out for a landlord, all other things being equal.
We recommend prospective tenancies for consideration to our landlords where the applicants can provide three years’ worth of address history and employment details. We would look for applicants to be permanently employed and meet the affordability criteria of their gross monthly income (combined if more than one tenant) meets at least 2.5 times the monthly rent. If this is not the case then the landlord may still proceed but expect to provide a UK based guarantor or pay a larger deposit of up to twice the monthly rent. We require to conduct a credit check and normally request an employer and previous landlord reference (where one or both of these is not possible if you were a homeowner or are self-employed, we may request references from other parties).
A deposit of one month’s rental + £100 will normally be asked for (occasionally we will ask for a deposit equal to 2 month’s rent but this will be agreed at the application stage). From 2012, tenants’ deposits are no longer held by a letting agent or landlord but in a government-approved third party scheme. Any deductions that might be made for cleaning, damages, excessive wear, and tear or rent arrears need to be applied for from the scheme so that the tenant has the opportunity to argue their case if they disagree. We use Safe Deposits Scotland. The most important document with regards to deposits is the inventory which provides a written and photographic record of the property and it’s contents at the beginning of the tenancy (the landlord pays for this). Our inventory contains details in full on all fixtures, fittings, and contents of the property and it will be checked after the tenancy expires. You will have 7 days to check, make any comments, and sign the inventory after you move into the property.
Since 1st December 2017 a new Private Residential Tenancy (PRT) was introduced in Scotland to replace the Short Assured Tenancy agreement (and associated AT5) that was most commonly used in residential lettings. In its simplest form, a tenancy agreement is a legal binding contract between the landlord(s) and tenant(s), outlining all of the contractual obligations of both parties. The fab Shelter Scotland has a really good page which explains it all Information on the Private Residential Tenancy
This is really important to ask when you are going into a tenancy with someone else. If there is more than one tenant named on the tenancy agreement then those tenants are ‘joint and severally’ liable during the course of a tenancy agreement. This means that all of the tenants (and guarantors!) on the tenancy agreement are jointly responsible for all tenancy liabilities including rent or any breach of tenancy. For example, if one tenant is acting antisocially, all tenants are deemed to be acting antisocially. Similarly, if a tenant does not pay rent then all tenants (and guarantors) either individually or as a group can face debt recovery proceedings. If a tenant wishes to serve notice to end your tenancy you need to have agreement from any joint tenants before doing so.
Yes! Monthly Rent – Please set up the monthly payment so that it clears by the same date of the month that the tenancy agreement commences (you may need to set up your payment to come out of your account 2-3 days before your rent due to ensure it clears into our account on time). Contents Insurance – You are responsible for the insurance of your own contents and accidental damage to the landlord’s belongings. It is a requirement of your tenancy agreement that you MUST hold adequate contents insurance for the property. Telephone/Broadband/Television – You are responsible for payment of a TV license if you use a TV in the property. Utility Suppliers – You are responsible for informing suppliers ASAP with meter readings (see inventory for readings and suppliers) and your personal details. Council Tax – You are responsible for setting up and closing your council tax account. Inventory – We recommend you taking photographs of the condition of your property when you enter. You should return the inventory, including notes of any defects, to us within 7 days.
- Maintenance Issue: If you have a maintenance issue at your property simply go to our report a maintenance page.
- What is an emergency? We deem an emergency to be placing tenants in danger or serious deterioration of the property. If you have, for example, water coming through the ceiling, we will endeavour to help you immediately.
- Is the issue an emergency? We expect our tenants to use common sense as to what is an emergency (for example if you were responsible for your own repairs you wouldn’t get an ‘out of hours’ plumber to fix a slow leak under the kitchen sink).
- Please note: If an emergency contractor attends unnecessarily you may be held liable for the costs involved. Please take the following actions before calling our emergency line.
- Gas: If you smell gas or suspect a leak of suspect fumes are escaping from an appliance, call the Gas Emergency Services immediately on 0800 111 999 (24 hours). Open windows and doors and if necessary vacate the property. Do not turn on electrical appliances or switches.
- Electrical Fault: Check fuses have not blown, circuit breakers are in the ‘ON’ position and that there hasn’t been a general power cut in the area. If you have a power cut, check to see if your neighbours are affected too. If your neighbours’ supply is still on – check your trip switch (if you have one). If it has tripped, switch off all your appliances then reset it. If your neighbours also have no power – call your local Electricity Network Operator’s 24 Hour Emergency Helpline. Scottish Power Energy Networks – 0800 092 9290 (landline) or 0330 1010 222 (mobile).
- Heating & Hot Water: The loss of heating and hot water is an emergency if the weather is extremely cold or you have a young baby in the property. If you think your boiler isn’t working properly, first check to see if the pilot light is on and, if you have a combination-boiler, check that the pressure is set between 1 and 2. The instruction manual will tell you how to re-light the pilot light and re-set the pressure if you suspect this is the problem. If you don’t have a manual to hand you can find these online by searching for the boiler make and model number.
- Leaks: For small leaks which can be caught in a container, please ensure that you put a bucket or similar container below the leak and please report it here.
- Burst pipes or severe water leaking into the property: Please locate the stop cock (specified on your inventory) and turn off the water. Mop up all surface water as quickly as possible to prevent damage. Call the emergency number and we will then arrange a plumber to attend as soon as possible.
- Water is coming from an upstairs property: Please alert the occupants above immediately and ask them to shut off the source of the leak. If they are not in please leave them a note to contact you and call your local Environmental Health Department Environmental Protection (can be contacted on 01620 827365/827213).