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7 Things You Must Know as a Renter

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7 Things You Must Know as a Renter

RENTING a home is far more straightforward than buying your own bricks and mortar - yet there are still plenty of practicalities to think about when you have found your perfect pla ...

RENTING a home is far more straightforward than buying your own bricks and mortar – yet there are still plenty of practicalities to think about when you have found your perfect place.

Here are the seven things you should know as a renter to make sure you get a fair deal:

Your point of contact

Dealing with an agent means the legalities are done properly. You might have seen a property through social networking websites such as Facebook where private landlords want to cut out costs of an agent. But be wary of anyone dealing direct. It’s better to pay for a letting agent and get the right service. It is common, however, for some landlords to manage the property which means they are your first port of call when something goes wrong. Ensure you have the relevant contact details from the outset.

Do your sums

Searching for a new home is exciting, but don’t forget about the administration costs. You will need to pay a letting agent for credit checks, references and signing the contract, known as a tenancy charge which shouldn’t be more than £500. Ensure you get a breakdown of what this covers. Ask about renewal fees too, and confirm all charges from the beginning so there are no surprises.

Read the small print

Your tenancy agreement is likely to be a lengthy document but it’s worth reading because it can list extra costs which are hidden away in seemingly standard paragraphs. Upon leaving the property, you might be expected to have carpets professionally cleaned, for example. Make sure you know what you’re signing and, if there’s something you’re not comfortable with, raise it with the agent who can help negotiate amendments if necessary.

Get repairs in writing

If you’re moving in on the condition that certain repairs are carried out, get a list of the work and a date by which it will be completed in writing and signed by the landlord.

Avoid bill shock

It is a good idea to find out how much your utility bills will cost before you commit – after all, this is the second biggest cost you are likely to incur after your rent. So pay attention to the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to get an idea of whether you will be shelling out more – particularly in the winter – than you expect. And don’t be afraid to ask the current renters about what they pay for energy, water and council tax.

Your responsibilities

Estate agents will need to confirm your identity, check your credit history and possibly your employment or immigration status. So make sure you have all documents ready to go if you want to secure somewhere quickly. When you move in, make sure you get contents insurance and consider getting accidental damage cover. If you or a housewarming party guest spills red wine all over the carpet, you don’t want to be stuck with a bill for replacing it. You must also notify the landlord or agent of any problems with the property at the earliest opportunity and keep a record of communication.

If things go wrong

All letting agents have to belong to a redress scheme which is another reason to go with a decent firm rather than direct with the landlord. The purpose of these schemes is to deal with complaints made about agents, which helps to keep standards high. If you are unfortunate enough to have a problem they can deal with the complaint and even award compensation. The Property Ombudsman can award up to £25,000.

Hey! I'm Holly Thomas, and I wanted to keep you up to date on the top tips for renters in London. Enjoy!

Comments ( 2 )

  1. Replynys
    My brother is british residing in kenya. He needed to apply for visa for his family who are not British. His immigration lawyers asked for three month tenancy agreement to show he can support his family in UK. I contacted Citywide lettings in Bradford who agreed for short tenancy as Long as we paid full three months in advance including deposit I paid them £1900 add another £150 for fee etc.. I went to Mr Ahmeds office on contract he had 12 months. I asked him why he wrote 12 when I only need a three month agreement as no one would be living in that property it was unfurnished. He said it was only so in future we changed our mind and decided to stay longer. Contract start date 10 January end (according to three months) should be 10 April. The landlord transferred the water and council tax bill on my brother immediately. I called ahmed mid-march to inform him that we wish to end tenancy agreement and he could either pay off he bills (£473) with the deposit (£475)for that period. He now says we have a 12 month tenancy agreement the agreement is titled "short term" when clearly i asked for a three month. I have emailed him again on 23.03.2017 his secretary replied they will refund after viewing property which we never used. It was for paper work purpose only but ahmed writes later that he will withold deposit as we should hav einformed earleir? Please advice
    • Simon Banks
      Hi Nys,This sounds like it needs to be escalated and you may need some legal advice. Please visit the Citizens Advice website as they should be able to help you retrive your despot.

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