Renting Tips

There are ways to make sure your next letting experience is more hospitable than horrible. Here are’s top tips for renting a home:

  1. Make sure you have the details ready of who is going to provide your references (e.g. employers, previous landlord or agent, bank account etc.) before you enter into any negotiations with a landlord.
  2. If you are paying a ‘reservation’ or ‘holding’ deposit whilst your application for a tenancy is processed, make sure you get a receipt for your money. This receipt should detail the circumstances under which you may, or may not, get your money back in the event of any problem being found with your application.
  3. Remember that you may need to pay a minimum of 1 month’s rent in advance and a damages deposit bond in addition to any other charges due to the agent. Make sure that you find out exactly what these amounts will be and arrange to have the amount available immediately in ‘cleared funds’ (banker’s draft, cash, building society issued cheque) ready for you to use.
  4. Before you arrange a date and time to sign the tenancy agreement make sure that you and your fellow tenants (if any) have all seen a copy and read it through it completely. Everyone should fully understand his or her obligations. Ask questions to clarify any aspect of the tenancy agreement that you are unclear about. All tenants must sign the tenancy agreement before they can move in.
  5. The agent will have certain obligations, varying from just letting the property to both letting and managing the property. Make sure you find out exactly what the agent’s responsibilities are in relation to your property. If they are only responsible for letting the building, find out who is responsible for managing and maintaining the property – get their contact details!
  6. The agent will want to make regular checks on the property. Arrange a mutually convenient time for these checks and make a note of it.
  7. Responsibility for the property rests with you, the tenant. You will be responsible for making sure the building is secure. You will also need to report any gas or electrical problems. If the property is leasehold, you may also be bound by any rules and regulations affecting all residents within the block contained in the head lease.
  8. Make sure you ask for copies of all relevant safety certification, i.e. gas and electric. Keep all of your documents (such as insurance policy, copy of tenancy agreement, safety certificates and inventory) together in a file. Keep this file in a safe place!
  9. After you have signed the tenancy agreement but before you move in, contact your service providers (gas, electric, telephone). You may be required to pay a deposit before they will connect you. It is also worth noting that British Telecom carry out a credit check on customers before activating a line. Once you have moved in, make sure that you take meter readings and inform the relevant utility companies. You should also take a reading and inform the relevant companies when you move out.

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