With over a third of households in England and Wales being rented, it’s important that those of us renting properties are clued up on the ins and outs of renting so our experience is a happy one. Renting a property can be daunting, there’s a lot to think about and do but there are a few things that are helpful to know and will start you off on the right track. I have listed a few of my top tips when renting and ensuring you find yourself a good landlord.
Will you rent privately or go through an estate agents?
One of the first choices you will have to make is whether you want to rent privately or through an agency. There are pros and cons to both, so it’s important to do a bit of research before making a decision.
Renting through an agency means you will have a wider variety of properties, your agency will be in the know when it comes to rental laws and you have a port of call if your landlord isn’t helping in a situation for any reason.
One negative when renting through an agency is their fees. Thankfully, the government is trying to abolish these fees and hopefully in the next year or two agencies will no longer be able to charge them. For now, it’s worth asking if there are any fees involved before moving forward with an agency to avoid any unexpected charges.
Going directly through a landlord means you won’t have any agency fees, you can build a good relationship with your landlord directly and you may have more leeway when it comes to decorating etc. Negative points can include if you and your landlord have a disagreement and it can’t be resolved and some landlords won’t know or may not abide by laws as an agency who is closely regulated will.
When you live in a rented property you are responsible for your own contents insurance. Ensure you get content insurance quickly when you move in so your items are covered should anything happen. Your landlord should have a special type of landlord insurance from a reputable insurance company such as www.homelet.co.uk to cover the house but you will still require cover for your items inside the house.
Most landlords and agencies require a months rent and a months deposit in advance. Your deposit is then held until you leave the property and as long as there’s no damage it will be returned to you. A tenant’s deposit must be kept in a special approved deposit scheme. Landlords cannot simply put it in a bank account or keep your cash in an envelope. This is a legal requirement and your landlord must give you full details of the scheme it is in, how to get it back and what to do if there is a dispute about the amount the landlord gives back at the end of the tenancy.
Make sure your tenancy is clear and you understand your obligations as a tenant. If you are worried about your financial responsibilities when renting and what it could cost you if you damage the property, contents, fixtures or fittings then have a look at taking out insurance from a rental specialist such as homelet.co.uk.
Check the inventory.
A good landlord should have an inventory of everything in the property and state if there are any defects. If you spot immediately that something is missing or damaged such a small hole in the carpet you can get it amended it. If not you could end up having it deducted from your deposit when you move out.
Ensure your appliances are checked regularly.
Faulty equipment and alarms can be fatal. Annual inspections are needed for any gas or electric equipment and have to be carried out by a registered engineer. Fire and carbon monoxide alarms also need to be in full working order at all times. All these should be recorded when they took place and have the appropriate paperwork and certificates.
Professional organisation member
Check if your landlord is a member of a recognised professional body such as the National Landlords Association (NLA). This will be an indicator of whether they know of their responsibilities as a landlord and will be able to keep up to date with current legislation and regulations.
Have you had a good/bad landlord? What’s your experience of renting?
This is a collaborative post.