Why should I rent through an ALMA Agent?
An ALMA agent will offer a professional approach to helping you find a suitable property to rent and will be your dedicated point of contact once you have moved in. All properties will have a current Gas Safety Certificate and may also have an Electrical Safety Certificate, furniture will be checked for compliance with the Fire Safety Regulations and reasonable requests for repairs will be attended to. It is for these reasons that organisations such as Cardiff University and Cardiff Housing Help Centre are recommending ALMA.
What should I expect to pay?
You will normally be asked to pay one month's rent in advance, together with a bond of a similar or slightly higher value. Most agents will also charge an initial fee in the region of one week's rent (plus VAT). This is your contribution to the costs involved in setting up the tenancy, procuring references and drawing up the tenancy agreement. All letting agents must clearly display their fees online and in the office, so it is clear what fees are payable.
What happens to my bond?
During the tenancy the bond, also known as the deposit, will normally be held by the Agent. Member firms are required to operate a separate "client" bank account for this purpose. All ALMA members must also hold Professional Indemnity Insurance. Your bond deposit will be registered with a third party scheme, which is either, The Tenancy Deposit Scheme, My Deposits or The Deposit Protection Service and you will be provided with a certificate of the bond's registration within 30 days of paying the money.
How do I get my bond back?
Providing there is no damage to the property, there are no items missing and the property is found to be properly cleaned, your bond will be returned. However, you must ensure all bills have been paid and provide a valid forwarding address. It is not permissible to "use" the bond as the final month's rent. If there is a portion of the bond that is being disputed, you are entitled to receive the undisputed amount back within 10 working days upon request or unless stated otherwise in your tenancy agreement.