As of October 2014, it was estimated that more than a third of households throughout England and Wales rent their home. While there are a lot of benefits that come with renting, there are also things you need to be wary of. Here you’ll discover the top 10 tips for tenants renting a property.
1. Avoid excessive fees
At one time, when you rented a property, you simply had to worry about paying a deposit along with a month’s rent. These days however, all kinds of extra fees are often added on. The most common include administration and credit check fees. However, some letting agents even go as far as charging you for the inventory, handing over the keys and any postage and phone call costs.
Try to opt for an agency that belongs to a scheme or body such as the National Approved Lettings Scheme or the Association of Residential Lettings Agents. Above all else, make sure that you know exactly what fees the agent will be charging before you sign an agreement.
2. Ensure your deposit is protected
Whether you rent privately or via an agent, by law they are required to put your deposit into a tenancy deposit protection scheme approved by the government. They need to do this within 30 days, as well as let you know which scheme it is being held in.
3. Compare energy providers
Unless your energy bills are included in the rent, you don’t have to stick with the utility provider that the previous tenant used. There are a lot of competitive deals out there that could save you hundreds of pounds a year. You have a right to choose which energy supplier you want to use.
4. Understand landlord visitation rights
Occasionally your landlord might want to come around to check the condition of the property or to organise repairs. However, they have to follow certain rules and one of these is that they need to give you at least 24 hours’ notice. There are some exceptions with this so you will need to check your tenancy agreement to see whether any notice period has been specified.
5. Ask permission before changing anything
When you rent, you aren’t even allowed to hang pictures up with nails without getting permission from the landlord. Anything that you want to change around the property will need to be run past the landlord beforehand.
6. Always keep records
It helps to keep records of the condition of the property throughout the tenancy. Starting when you move in, take photos of how each room looked when you moved in. Add the date and time onto them for proof of when they were taken. Also be sure to keep hold of any receipts of any items you have had to replace yourself. If you keep records of everything you’ve spent on the property and what the condition was like before you moved in, it will help with any disputes when it comes to getting your deposit back.
7. Invest in contents insurance
Contents insurance can come in really useful if your home is broken into and your possessions are damaged or stolen. The landlord isn’t responsible for contents insurance, though they should pay for buildings insurance.
8. Check the inventory
The inventory is especially important when you’re renting a furnished property. You need to be sure everything that is marked in the inventory is there so you don’t end up paying for a missing item when you move out.
9. Give the tenancy agreement a thorough examination
As tempting as it is, you should never skip the small print of a tenancy agreement. It highlights exactly what your responsibilities are as a tenant. Which bills will you need to pay? How much notice does the landlord need to give you? These are just two of the important things you need to know before you move in.
10. Clean the home daily
Keeping the home clean is one of the main things you can do to protect your deposit. If you decide to leave, be sure to carry out a deep clean the day you move out. http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/mortgages/rent-a-property