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Tenants guide to renting

You’re looking for a new home to rent but you’re not sure where to start. Let us help.

You’re looking for a new home to rent but you’re not sure where to start. Let us help.

Here at James Douglas we’ve prepared a step-by-step guide to help you through the renting process.

Plan ahead

Before you book your first viewing, it’s a good idea to factor in the following:

Where you want to live, the size of the property, length of lease you’re looking for and a move in date. You should also think about how much rent (plus bills and Council Tax) you can afford. When you set up a new tenancy you will have a few significant outgoings at first, these include:

Agency fee, reservation fee and your first month’s rent.

Our guide and T&C’s to fee’s can be found here

Viewing a property and what happens on the day

If the property is tenanted, we are generally required to give tenants at least 24 hours notice prior an appointment. When booking your viewing we will ask for your full name and a contact number. On the day one of our negotiators can either meet you at the property or if you’re unfamiliar with the area you are welcome to come to our office and be taken the property in a James Douglas car.

Found your perfect property

Once you’re happy with the property, we require an agency fee (this is non-refundable). Once this has been paid, the property is taken off the market and not subject to further viewings.

Application forms and guarantor forms (if needed) will be sent to you, along with the Heads of Terms. This document outlines what has been agreed between yourself and the Landlord.

Reservation of the property

Within three working days of paying your agency fee you are required to pay the reservation fee, which secures the property up until your move in date (subject to reference checks and landlords agreement). This fee will then become your deposit for the property which is held by an external Deposit Protection Scheme for the duration of your tenancy.

Referencing process

Once the offer has been accepted and we have received your application forms and the relevant documentation, we carry out reference checks. If you are a student or not employed, if you have a poor credit history or if your income is less than three times the rent you may require a guarantor.

To ascertain if you need a guarantor do the following calculation:

Your total (gross) income must be greater than three times the rent

Completion & check-in

Your property manager will go through the contract signing with you, check you into your new home and explain any specific property information. We will also carry out an inventory check to record the condition of the property on arrival. For emergencies at night, such as flooding we offer a 24-hour emergency helpline.

Tenancy Renewal

Before your tenancy comes to an end, you are required to give one calendar months notice on the day your rent is due, otherwise your contract will continue on a monthly rolling basis. If you wish to stay and renew, then we contact the landlord and subject to their agreement, we will draw up a new Tenancy Agreement or for further 6 or 16 month period.


The ‘Check-out’ is when you leave your property at the end of your tenancy. Your property manager will visit your home and goes through the inventory to confirm that everything is in good working order. If there are no damages, dilapidations or cleaning, we will instruct the return of the deposit.