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A Guide For First Time Renters - Part 2

Welcome back to our guide for first-time renters! Here in part 2, we’ll discuss the tenant application process, what your responsibilities as a tenant would be, what your landlord’s responsibilities would be, the ending and extending of your tenancy and a few handy tips for avoiding potential problems.

Tenant Application Process

When it comes to the tenancy application process, there are vital steps you should take in order to ensure everything is done correctly. We can help you through this process from start to finish, and ensure that there are no delays when it comes to your moving date.

● Always read your tenancy agreement extremely carefully so that you fully understand your rights and responsibilities. If you do happen to have any concerns before signing, be sure to reach out to us before you do so.

● Agree to an inventory/check-in report with your landlord. Also, as an extra measure, make sure that you take photos of everything. This will then make things easier if there happens to be a dispute about the deposit at the end of your tenancy. Once you are happy with the inventory, sign it and be sure to keep a copy.

● Remember to take meter readings as soon as you move in. This will ensure that you don’t end up paying for a previous tenant’s bills.

● And finally, make sure that you not only have the correct contact details for your landlord or agent but that you also keep them handy. These are usually given to you but should also be on your lease.

Documents Your Landlord or Agent Must Provide:

When your tenancy process begins, there are a number of documents you should expect to receive from your Landlord or Agent by law. If you happen to choose to work with us, we will provide you with everything you need prior to signing in order to give you ample time to read through it.

We’ve also provided you with a checklist below, which you can use to make sure you receive a copy of everything you need:

  • A gas safety certificate. Your landlord must provide you with one each year of your tenancy if there is a gas installation in the property you’re renting.

  • An Energy Performance Certificate. This will show you how energy efficient the property is which could affect your energy bills and your landlord must provide you with one.

  • An updated record of any electrical inspections or EICR. All appliances within your rental property must be safe and checked every 5 years. Also, any portable appliances provided for you within the property should be PAT tested every year.

  • A Legionella Risk Assessment should be carried out prior to taking possession of the property.

  • Deposit paperwork. If you have given a deposit, your landlord must protect it in a government-approved scheme. Always be sure to get the official information from the scheme, and always be sure that you understand how you will get your money back at the end of your tenancy. It is vital that you keep this information safe.

Tenant Responsibilities

Pay your rent As a tenant, your number 1 responsibility is paying your rent in full, and on time. If you don’t, you will be putting yourself in breach of your tenancy agreement and you’d be at risk of losing your home.

Look after the property Take care of the property proudly. Remember, at the end of the day, it’s someone livelihood that you’re renting. Keep it clean, and don’t damage any of the furniture or appliances. It’s also important that you don’t attempt any repairs or decorating yourself without first contacting and getting permission and guidance from your landlord or agent.

If you do happen to notice any issues within the property, be sure to contact your Landlord or Agent in order to arrange a repair. By not reporting minor issues that eventually turn into major problems, could cause you to lose your deposit.

Regularly test smoke alarms Make sure you get familiar with how the boiler and all other major appliances within the property work. Figure out the location of the stop cock, any meters and your fuse box. Don’t wait until there’s an emergency to find them. You can always ask your landlord or agent if you need to.

And last but by no means least, remember to always be considerate to your neighbours. Any anti-social behaviour could result in you being evicted.

Your Landlord’s Responsibilities

Your Landlord/Agent also has responsibilities to you as a paying and trusted tenant. They must:

● Give a minimum of 24 hours notice requesting permission for any visits for repairs or maintenance.

● Insure the property in order to cover any damage from flood or fire.

● Arrange annual gas safety checks by a Gas Safe engineer (if there are gas appliances within the property).

● Maintain the structure and exterior of the property.

● Fit carbon monoxide alarms in rooms that use solid fuels (for example, coal or wood).

● Install smoke alarms on every floor, a smoke alarm in the main living area and heat detector in the kitchen. These should all be linked, either mains linked or radio linked so that if one alarm goes off, they all do.

● Deal with any problems relating to water, electricity and gas supply.

● Maintain any appliances and furniture they may have supplied for you.

● Get an official licence for the property, if it is a property that is licensable. This would apply to properties where you get a room in a shared house, which is known as HMOs.

● Carry out repairs where possible and within a reasonable time scale, if something isn’t working, report it to your landlord or agent as soon as you can.

Ending Your Tenancy

If it so happens that you or your landlord wants to end the tenancy, there are things that must be done at the end of the tenancy by both parties:

Giving Notice Landlords are legally required to give you appropriate notice if they should want you to leave. Your tenancy will (or should) say what notice you must provide your landlord with if you do wish to leave the property. Under a Private Rented Tenancy, you must give a minimum of 28 days notice.

Outstanding Bills Do not leave any bills unpaid. This will likely have a negative impact on both your references and credit rating.

Clean Up Be sure to remove all of your possessions, take appropriate meter readings, clean the property fully, return all keys provided to you and give a forwarding address. Your landlord IS entitled to dispose of any possessions left within the property, usually after 14 days.

Return of Your Deposit It would be helpful for you to be present whenever the property is inspected in order to check whether any of your deposit should be deducted in order to cover any damage or cleaning costs.

Outstanding Rent And lastly, but also most importantly, make sure that all your rent payments are up to date. Do not hold back any rent just because you think it will be taken out of your original deposit. Your deposit should never be considered as a rent payment.

Moving Out Of Your Property

One of the main reasons deposit money is usually withheld whenever a tenant moves out of their property is due to cleaning costs and unpaid rent.

So, before moving out, absolutely make sure you have paid any rent that you might owe. It’s also good to keep in mind that if you happen to be paying via a cheque, it will take a few days for your payment to clear, so make sure to pay in plenty of time in order to ensure that all money has cleared by the time moving day rolls around, and no rent is owed.

Give your property a final thorough clean before leaving, so that it is in optimum ‘move in’ condition for the next tenant. It’s the polite thing to do! And of course, if you’re in a property that is furnished or partly furnished, be sure you inspect the furniture and check for any potential damage.

If you have caused any accidental damage then get it repaired professionally as soon as possible.

Tips For Avoiding Potential Problems:

● Check the entire property against the original condition report you received when you moved in.

● Compare the property as it is when you’re leaving it to as it was when you moved in and do your best to ensure it looks the same, excepting fair wear and tear.

● Take photos when you leave.

Last but not least, don’t forget to give your current energy suppliers suitable notice that you are planning to move out. By doing so, they will be able to organise your final bill. It would also be a great idea to take meter readings on your final day on the property to put in your own personal records.

And don’t forget to inform any other suppliers (such as Phone, Internet or TV), that you are moving out too. You should also consider having all your post redirected as well as leaving a forwarding address with either your landlord or your agent.

If you still have any questions or concerns after reading our guide, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us directly!

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