Part 2: What value do you actually get for your money in using Keystones for Lettings?

Landlords, Lettings

Part 2 – Holding deposit to move in

On the viewing:

This stage in my opinion is the most vital!

At Keystones, the amount of training we go through to get this phase correct is imperative, on a letting viewing you may have 15 different applicants viewing the property, and there are quite a few different ways that we will be professionally judging our viewers to spot a bad tenant even before referencing, such as:


How prospective tenants conduct themselves on a viewing and converse with the landlord or agent is important to us. You can usually tell if a tenant is arrogant or aggressive on a viewing if they have an attitude issue or if they are polite or rude. Plenty of ‘red flags’ can be interpreted here, of course, most tenants will usually be nice to the agent or landlord on a viewing because they want to rent the house, but we are trained to spot warning signs in the way the tenant behaviours before they take a property.


We try to look for signs of cleanliness if they look dishevelled or appear clean and tidy. This is quite important because it usually transpires into how the property will look. A tenant’s appearance is usually a direct representation of how a property may appear once you rent the property to them.


Being late with the viewing could transpire into being late with the rent. Again, we are trained on this precaution. There are always traffic and things that can crop up before a viewing, but as an agency, we believe it is respectful to be notified should you be late for a viewing (everyone knows if they are going to be late for a viewing). Therefore, we will look quite deeply into this as being a direct representation of the tenant. Therefore, when it comes down to our landlords rent being late, the same analogy can be applied. If someone is running late, then a quick text message or phone call goes a long way toward telling us as an agency what type of person we are dealing with. When someone doesn’t have the courtesy to let us know, it tells us that they don’t care. Therefore, what type of tenant are we putting into the property for our landlord? This question beckons.

Some may call the above judgements harsh, however, we put them in place to make us different and to also make sure we do not make mistakes. If you look at how many properties we manage, against how many rent protection claims we have made, you will see that these professional judgements have served us well in the past.

On the viewing, also gives us the time to have a conversation with the prospective tenants, and get an idea of their story to see if it matches what they initially gave us on the telephone prior. Bear in mind that these stories could and do change, so we are on the lookout for this too. We just want our tenants to be truthful.

Timescale: 1hr-1.30hrs + Petrol

Holding Deposit and Offer Stage:

Once the viewings are over, we will choose who we think is best suited to the property (usually from the conversation with the landlord prior, we have a good indication) and receive a one-week holding deposit, along with documentation from the prospective tenants such as Bank Statements, Payslips or most recent tax return, their ID and any visas needed. We will then look through the documentation to make sure there are no fake payslips or illegitimate bank statements and that a tenant looks good.

There is a huge amount you can find out about a tenant from a bank statement. You can gather whether they pay their current rent, bills, car insurance, and receive wages and you can also tell if they have too many credit cards, payday loans or a gambling issue (as we have seen a few times before). These of course don’t necessarily discount a tenant but are definitely red flags! This can take a good 30 mins to go through if you are doing this properly, as every agency should be!

This can be quite labour-intensive and is exactly what you are paying for with a good letting agency.

This happens before we proceed to reference!

We would then pick 1 or 2 of our favourites, put an offer in writing to the landlord and discuss with the landlord which tenants we would like to move forward with. We would then proceed to take the holding deposit and take the property off the market for our tenants.

Timescale: 30mins – 1.5 hours (depending on how many applications you may have)

Referencing Stage:

This is the stage where we reference each tenant over the age of 18 years old and put them through the process of checking if they have CCJs, Defaults, Bankruptcy, and general bad credit. The referencing company conducts a previous landlord check and employment check.

They also conduct the Right to Rent checks, a lot of landlords do not realise that they can be fined heavily if they house someone illegally in the country.

The tenants would need to earn a multiple of 30x the monthly rent as a household to be passed for the affordability checks to measure up for the Rent Guarantee Insurance.

E.g., if the rent is £2,000 PCM, then the tenants need to be showing they earn £60,000+ per year otherwise they would need a guarantor.

Once checks are back in, and more importantly, a landlord can obtain Rent Guarantee Insurance with Legal Cover, we then start to draw the tenancy up.

Cost and Timeframe:

Cost: £30-£50 per Couple on the reference and Right to Rent Checks depending on Company
Labour: 1-2 hours


At Keystones, we love our systems and processes, there is a lot of detail with a tenancy move-in, and most landlords do not realise the organisation that it entails, especially if Electrical Certificates still need to be done.

A tip of mine is to check your fuse box prior, send it to an Electrician or your agent and ask if this is still compliant with the regulations for renting a property out, they should be able to tell from a photo and give you a direct quote for a new fuse box with an EICR. This should keep your costs down rather than getting the EICR done and then potentially being stuck between a rock and a hard place with the fees afterwards. Most EICRs fail and the electrician must make another visit to do remedials, usually, the fuse box is the most expensive part and most time-consuming provided the electrician is doing the checks properly.

The Gas Safety (Annual), Electrical (usually 5 years) and EPC (10 Years) are the 3 main certificates that you will need to be a complaint for an Assured Shorthold Tenancy in the UK. Another certificate you may need is a landlord license depending on your borough that you have the buy to let in.

Again, we make sure you are compliant. If you have the certificates already, it makes the job easier for us, if they need to be done, then it is more time-consuming liaising with contractors, landlords and maybe even current tenants.

Tenancy signing:

From here, we would need to get the tenants to sign ALL documents to make sure it is recorded. This is the proof you need should there be a hiccup and you need to go to court to evict a tenant.

We use an online signatory service which tracks a tenants IP address and signature upon signing the agreement, including location and is legal in a court of UK law.

We upload all documents, the AST, Guarantor Agreement (if needed), Certificates, Deposit Registration Ts & Cs, deposit signing form, how to rent booklet, damp and mould booklet and anything else relevant to the tenancy such as a landlord license or PAT test for the tenants to sign.

We then request 1 month’s rent upfront and 5 weeks deposit (which is the maximum that we can legally take) and start the move-in.

Cost: See Part One of the Blog for software system costs and labour costs
Labour: 30-40 mins

Keys and after moving in:

Keys are handed over here and if requested by our landlords, we will register the deposit on the landlord’s behalf within 30 days of receipt.

The inventory is conducted or should be conducted, this needs to be organised with the third-party inventory clerk. The purpose of an inventory is not for your furniture but for the house itself. If a tenant cracks a load of tiles in the bathroom and you do not have any evidence that it was not cracked a year before, then how can you claim for it?

We always recommend an inventory, again check with your agent as sometimes a Rent Guarantee Insurance also demands one too if you read the policy wording. The inventory is given to the tenants to sign upon move in too, they have 7 days to sign and return it otherwise we deem it as signed.

If we are managing the property, we will then deal with the utilities, taking the previous tenants name off, giving the landlord details over for any voids and letting them know about the new tenant so that the process is smooth and well maintained with minimal issues.

If you want a quote for our services, please get in touch.

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    13 Clockhouse Lane, Collier Row, Romford, Essex, RM5 3PH, United Kingdom
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