VALPAL

Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

Q. How do I pay my rent?  

A.

There are a number of ways you can make a payment to us: 

Online Banking: You can pay us through your online banking using the details provided when you sign your lease.  You MUST quote your address followed by your name as the payment reference. 

Over the Phone: To pay your rent over the phone, please call 0131 459 2222.

 

Q. Can I get a receipt for my rent payments made online or by standing order? 

A.

Receipts are only issued on manual payments such as card payments, unfortunately we cannot provide receipts for online payments or standing orders, but if you require confirmation of payment we can give you this.  Please call 0131 459 2222. 

  

Q. How do I claim reimbursement for an approved repair or replacement item?

A.

If you have been authorised to purchase an item for the property or you are authorised to arrange and pay for a repair yourself, you will need to provide us with a copy of the receipt, you must then email a copy of this with details of the refund and your bank details to tracy@ballantynes.uk.com If there are no arrears on your account the reimbursement will be paid after your next rental payment. 

 

Q. What happens if I am having trouble paying my rent?

A.

We are here to assist you and to discuss any financial issues you may be having so please contact us if you are struggling to pay your rent or if you think you will be late paying your rent.  Please call 0131 459 2222. 

 

Q. How much security deposit will I need to pay?

A.

We normally ask for a security deposit unless it is agreed with the landlord to hold a larger amount (to be negotiated at the offer stage). This security deposit will be held by Safe Deposits Scotland, our chosen deposit scheme provider, after you have moved in. Before this however, once we have your application and the landlord is happy for us to proceed with referencing you, we request a holding deposit from you (normally £200.00) in order for us to remove the property from the market and commence credit checking and referencing.

 

Q. I have seen a flat on your website, how do I arrange a viewing?

A.

Please call 0131 459 2222 to arrange a viewing.

 

Q. How do I reserve a property?

A.

To reserve a property, you will be asked for an upfront payment of £200, please note this forms part of your overall deposit and is not in addition to it.  You should be aware that the maximum length of time we can hold a property for you is 4 weeks from date of reservation other than in exceptional circumstances.  When the property has been reserved, it will be taken off the market and any further viewing appointments will be cancelled.

   

 

Maintenance frequently asked questions  

 

Q. What do I do if there is an emergency maintenance issue at my property? What is an Emergency?

A.

It is our view that an emergency situation is when the incident is dangerous, life-threatening or may result in personal injury or a public liability claim or serious deterioration of the property. If you have an emergency situation, for example, water coming through the ceiling, we will endeavour to help you immediately. Is the issue an emergency? The landlord will only pay for contractors to attend to the property out of office hours in the event of emergencies. We deem an emergency to be placing tenants in danger or serious deterioration of the property. We expect our tenants to use common sense as to what is deemed an emergency. 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 an 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 only deemed 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 remember to empty it regularly. Please then contact us during office hours. If you suffer a burst pipe or severe water leaking into the property you must firstly locate the stop cock 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. If water is coming from an upstairs property, alert the occupants above immediately and ask them to shut off the source of the leak. If they are not in, leave them a note to contact you and call your local Environmental Health Department (0131 529 3030 / 0131 200 2000) and ask for the water ingress team.

 

For all other emergencies not listed above, please use common sense before calling. We will only respond to real emergencies that cannot wait until the next working day. For EMERGENCY gas-related, boiler-related and plumber-related issues contact our main line on 0131 459 2222 and our out of hours team will get in contact with our emergency tradesmen to attend ASAP.

 

Q. What do I do if I have an out of hours emergency?

A.

Please call the emergency numbers are provided with your welcome pack.  Please email Edinburgh@ballantynes.uk.com  should you require these numbers again.

 

Q.  Am I allowed to keep a pet in the property?

A.

We need to contact the landlord for authorisation to have a pet, if they agree we will ask you to sign an addendum to your lease and also request a further £150 (per pet) top up for the deposit. To discuss this further, please call 0131 459 2222.

 

Q. Who are my utility suppliers?

A.

If the utility providers are not listed on your inventory please contact MPAS on 0845 270 9101 or https://www.ukpower.co.uk/mpas to find out the electricity supplier and Transco on 0870 608 1524 for the gas supplier. Please remember it is your responsibility to contact your local authority to set up your Council tax.

 

Q. Will there be an inventory carried out?

A.

An inventory is an essential document which provides a written and photographic record of the property and its contents at the beginning of the tenancy. 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.

 

Q. What type of Tenancy Agreement will I be signing?

A.

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. In general, a tenancy agreement should include the following; 

  • state the start date of the tenancy agreement 
  • state the amount of rent due and when it should be paid 
  • tell you if the rent can be increased and how it will be calculated 
  • say who is responsible for decoration and repairs to the inside and outside of the property 
  • state if there are any conditions or restrictions to the use of the property 

The Scottish Government has produced a model PRT for landlords and agents to use. Some highlights include: 

  • It contains two types of clauses for repossession – mandatory and discretionary. 
  • Only one date is needed on the lease – the start date. The legislation does not allow the parties to agree a duration for the lease or an end date. 
  • The tenancy can be terminated at any point after the start date by the landlord or tenant (see below for more information on notices). 
  • In addition to the lease, there is a prescribed information document which must be provided to tenants on or before the start of the tenancy.  This replaces the previous Tenant Information Pack. 
  • The first rent increase can be carried out on the anniversary of the lease and thereafter it cannot be increased more frequently than once a year (3 months’ notice of a rent increase are required) 
  • A First tier tribunal has been set up to assist with decisions and appeals relating to rented properties

 

Q. What does 'Joint and Several' mean?

A.

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 Edinburgh before doing so.

 

Q. What is the tenancy deposit scheme?

A.

Since 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.

 

Q. My utility provider would like to install a Smart Meter, is this ok?

A.

If you get a smart meter fitted and the supplier who fits the meter is not on the national grid, further down the line you cannot change supplier, meaning you are stuck with the same supplier and are not able to pick and choose the best tariffs between suppliers. 

The company's suppling the smart meters wont initially tell you this as they have targets to get smart meters into properties. 

If the smart meter loses its functionality (ie cannot support another energy supplier) and reverts to being a traditional meter, there is normally a cost to change the meters back. 

This is why as agents we advise against getting the meters changed. 

Hopefully further down the line all these meters will be connected to the national grid which will mean the meter will allow like traditional ones to jump between suppliers with the best tariffs. 

It is with this information we advise our tenants/landlords NOT TO change the meters.

 

Q. What does it mean, “In a Tenant like Manner”?

A.

The term 'tenant-like manner' relates to the court case of Warren v Keen in 1953 and is still applicable to this day. Lord Denning stated that: 

The tenant must take proper care of the premises. He must, if he is going away for the winter, turn off the water and empty the boiler; he must clean the chimneys when necessary and also the windows; he must mend the electric light when it fuses; he must unstop the sink when it is blocked by his waste. In short, he must do the little jobs around the place which a reasonable tenant would do. In addition, he must not, of course, damage the house wilfully or negligently... but apart from such things, if the house falls into disrepair through fair wear and tear or lapse of time or for any reason not caused by him, the tenant is not liable to repair it. 

This means that, under case law, the tenant is expected to look after the property and carry out small jobs around the property themselves which the landlord is not responsible for. 

The difficulty, therefore, is "what constitutes a small job?" It typically means things we just need to accept as everyday life with a few examples being: 

  • Changing light-bulbs 
  • Changing batteries in smoke detectors 
  • Re-pressuring a combi-boiler having been given instructions on how to do so 
  • Bleeding Radiators 
  • Unblocking toilets and sinks 
  • Keep grass cut and sweeping up fallen leaves 
  • Taking care of pests such as ants and wasps during seasonal changes 
  • Wiping away excess moisture from windows due to condensation 

As tenants, a good question to ask yourself would be, "if I owned the house, would I Google a contractor to resolve my issue?" If the answer is no, it would likely fall under 'behaving in a tenant like manner". 

 

Q. What do I do if there is a leak into the neighbours' property from my property?

A.

Find the stop cock and turn off the water, this could be located under the kitchen sink, in a cupboard or around the entrance door (in the property or stairwell side). The location could also be listed on your inventory. Then please report your issue.

  

Q. My sink/bath/shower is blocked?

A.

Use drain un-blocker or a plunger, if it’s a serious blockage that won’t clear then please log the issues with our team. 

For out of hours requests, please call the emergency number in your welcome pack.

 

Q. One of my radiators is cold

A.

Please bleed the radiator using a radiator key.  If there is not one in the property, you can buy one from your local hardware shop.  Put the key in the valve at top of radiator, turn anti clockwise until you hear a hissing noise and when the water comes out, quickly close the value turning the key clockwise.  Make sure you have a bowl or towel to catch any water drips. If the problem persists please log the issues with our team. 

 

Q. My oven is not working?

A.

Please check if this is switched on at the wall and make sure there is power available elsewhere in the property. If there is power getting to the oven but it will not heat up please make sure the clock is set on the appliance. If the problem still persists then please log the issue with our team.

 

Q. What do I do about condensation in my property?

A.

CONDENSATION IS NOT DAMP! Condensation is created when a property is not ventilated well enough and becomes evident when there is a difference in temperature between inside and outside. It is a tenant’s responsibility to make sure condensation and mould do not build up in a property. Make sure you open your windows and doors to ventilate your property and don’t turn off the extractor fan in internal bath/shower-rooms. If you are concerned that mould in your property may be related to damp, please let us know ASAP and we’ll organise a damp specialist to survey the property to give us their professional opinion.

 

Q. What do I do if there is a break in at my property?

A.

If there is a break-in at the property, please report it to the police as soon as possible along with informing your insurance company. Please let us know the details as soon as you can as the landlord may require a crime reference number should there be damage to the property.

 

Q. There’s an undefined beeping noise in my property, what do I do?

A.

Check smoke detector and/or CO detector – if you can safely reach the device then please change the backup battery. If you can’t reach it safely then please log the issue.

  

Q. I’ve seen a mouse, help!

A.

Make sure all foodstuff is put away and any rubbish is disposed of. Please try putting traps and pellets down, or use a sonic repellent. If you have tried these methods and the problem still persists then please log the issue with our team

  

Q. My washing machine has stopped working

A.

Please check the filter on the washing machine normally found on the front of the appliance at the base of the unit. Make sure this is cleared and if the problem still persists please report the issue to our team.

  

Q. I need an instruction manual for my appliance?

A.

Please try visiting these web sites for a copy of the manual, if this does not work then you can google the manufacturer name and model number. 

http://www.instruction-manuals.co.uk/cattable.htm 

http://www.espares.co.uk/usermanuals

 

 

Frequently asked questions – moving out of your tenancy 

 

Q. I want to move out of my property. What should I do?

A.

Sorry to see you are thinking of leaving us! The flexibility of renting is great for exploring new opportunities so we hope your next home works out for you. In order to serve your notice, it’s important to know what lease type you are on. If you moved in prior to 1st December 2017 it’s a Short Assured Tenancy (SAT) after that date its most likely to be a Private Rented Tenancy Agreement (PRT). What’s the difference you ask! Plenty I say. But the important bit is that they have different notice periods for you to serve. So, the first step to serving notice is check what lease agreement you are on.  A summary is provided below on how to serve notice using either tenancy agreement: Serving notice on Short Assured Tenancies (SAT) If you want to leave you must provide 1 months' notice from your ish date (the date in which your tenancy started) in writing, notice only can be issued after your initial fixed period ends by either party (refer to your lease for this information) Notice should be provided by all tenants. Tenants can submit notice via email (to your property manager or Edinburgh@Ballantynes.uk.com), and this must be done by all parties noted on the lease. Serving notice on Private Rented tenancy (PRT) If you want to leave, you must give 28 days’ (plus two days grace) notice in writing. Notice can be issued by either party at any point after the start date. Notice should be signed by all tenants. Tenants can submit notice via email (to Edinburgh@Ballantynes.uk.com), so “signed” by all tenants would follow the same rules as the lease in that a typed signature would be ok, but you should also copy in your co-tenants so it is clear you are all in agreement with the notice being served. The landlord must serve notice on ALL tenants and can only end the tenancy if one of 18 grounds for possession apply. Some of the grounds are labelled “mandatory” and some are “discretionary” – if the ground is mandatory, this means the landlord will be granted possession of the property by the First-Tier Tribunal.  Some of the mandatory grounds include; if the landlord wishes to sell the property, if it is to be sold by the mortgage lender, if the landlord wishes to refurbish the property or if the landlord wishes to live there themselves. Discretionary grounds include if the tenant has breached the tenancy agreement or if the tenant is acting anti-socially. The amount of notice you receive from your landlord will depend on how long the tenancy has been running for, and/or the ground under which the notice is being served. For further information on Private Residential Tenancies, the Scottish Government have produced an “Information for Tenants” guide:  

https://beta.gov.scot/publications/private-residential-tenancies-tenants-guide/ 

 

Q. Can I use my deposit as the last month's rent?

A.

No, the deposit is held against the property to cover damage (dilapidations) and settle any outstanding amounts at the end of the tenancy. We are not able to touch the deposit until after the tenancy so if you don’t pay your last month’s rent the landlord will be out of pocket and will not be happy and you will be in breach of your contract.

 

Q. Is there anything else I need to do in the run up to moving out or on the move out day?

A.

Yes! 

  1. Ensure you leave the property in a clean and tidy condition that is suitable for Ballantynes to re-let. If cleaning is required the costs will be deducted from your deposit. 
  2. The utilities should be paid in full up to your vacating date. It is your responsibility to contact the local Council to update their Council Tax Records. 
  3. Check the inventory – Please ensure that no items have gone missing or have been damaged during the term of your tenancy. If there is anything missing or damaged which is listed in the inventory this will need to be replaced.  No personal belongings/unwanted items are to be left in the property. 
  4. On the date that you vacate the property, one of our Property Managers will either meet you to carryout the Check Out and collect keys, alternatively, take meter reading, lock up and post keys through the property letterbox.  
  5. Please also arrange with the post office for your mail to be redirected. 
  6. Your deposit cannot be used to pay your last month’s rent. Please arrange for your standing order to be cancelled by your bank following the payment of your last monthly rent due.

  

Q. What happens after I move out?

A.

When your tenancy is over and you have vacated the property, we will carry out a check out inspection where we assess the condition of the property at the end of your tenancy compared to the start of the tenancy, by using the inventory – you are welcome to attend. If any cleaning or work is required at the property then you will be notified and the necessary work ordered. Once the invoices come back from our contractors then we can notify the Tenancy Deposit Scheme provider of the final balance (if any) to be billed against the deposit held. This process can take a couple of weeks but we do it as quickly as we can.

 

Q. How long does it take to get my deposit refunded and what if I want to dispute it?

A.

Once the process has begun, each party has 30 working days to respond.  If both parties agree to the amount, the scheme will refund within 5 working days of that decision.  If there is a dispute, the undisputed amount is refunded within the 5 working days and the disputed amount goes through the adjudication process, this can take a further 14 working days and then we need to wait for the adjudicator’s decision.  The entire dispute process can take up to around 8 weeks, to reach conclusion.

 

 
 
 
 
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