Renting a home may sound like an easier option than entering a property chain and buying one from a seller, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to consider before you choose to do so. From deciding who you should rent from, to sorting out the tenancy agreement and landlord responsibilities, it can seem like an unending list. Don’t worry. This guide has got you covered.
Ways To Rent A Home
There are two main ways to rent a home in the UK: From a landlord or through a letting agent.
Letting From A Landlord
If you decide to rent from a landlord, it’s imperative you choose one that belongs to an accreditation scheme, to ensure that they and their property meet certain standards. Well-known schemes include those run by the National Landlords Association, the Residential Landlords Association and the Guild of Residential Landlords and you can check with your local authority which schemes are running in your area.
Renting From A Letting Agent
Similarly, ensure your letting agent belongs to a self-regulating trade body such as the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) or UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA).
Regardless of how you decide to rent, you should always check the following things when looking for a new home:
- How will your deposit be protected? Will it go into a government approved scheme such as the Deposit Protection Service, MyDeposits or the Tenancy Deposit Scheme and does the scheme simply hold the money or do they ensure it to?
- How long is the tenancy? There’s typically a fixed period of 6 or 12 months but longer fixed periods can be asked for.
- What are the house rules? For example, are children and pets allowed?
- Who is responsible for bills such as gas, electricity, water and council tax?
- How is your safety maintained? We recommend you read GOV.UK’s useful guide, ‘How to rent a safe home’ which covers landlord responsibilities, including the provision of smoke alarms and an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), as well as things to look for such as damp, mould and trip and fall hazards.
You should also ensure that you are happy with the fixtures and fittings as it’s unlikely you’ll be able to change them for free once you have moved in.
When You’ve Found A Place
After you’ve visited a few properties and found one you love, you should:
1) Check your tenancy agreement. A tenancy agreement is a contract between you and your landlord/letting agent and outlines everyone’s rights. It covers things such as:
- Payment Of Rent.
- The Deposit.
- Property Maintenance.
- Agent/Landlord Access.
For a model tenancy agreement, click here. If you have any queries or concerns about the agreement, feel free to discuss them with your landlord or letting agent to ensure you’re comfortable with the final document.
2) Create an inventory. Write down the conditions of all furnishings, fixtures and fittings, and as an extra precaution, take photographs. Therefore, if there are any disputes at end of your tenancy, you have proof of their states. This could save you being charged for repairs.
3) Take meter readings. This ensures you’re not charged for the previous tenant’s bills.
4) Keep a copy of your landlord’s or letting agent’s contact details to hand, as this is especially useful in emergencies.
Responsibilities When Renting A Home.
A Landlord Or Letting Agent Should Provide You With:
- The ‘How to rent: the checklist for renting in England’
- A gas safety certificate.
- Deposit-associated paperwork.
- An Energy Performance Certificate.
- A record of any and all electrical inspections. Appliances must be safe and checked every 5 years to ensure this.
- Proof that smoke alarms and any carbon monoxide alarms are in working order.
After You’ve Moved In, A Landlord Or Letting Agent Should:
- Maintain the home’s structure, and carry out any necessary repairs, including those related to water, electricity and gas.
- Look after any appliances, furniture and other items they have included in the agreement
- Where gas appliances are present, organise an annual gas safety check by an official Gas Safe engineer.
- If they haven’t already, insure the property against risks such as fires and floods.
A tenant also has certain responsibilities, including:
- Pay the rent on time.
- Pay the bills that you are responsible for, such as your council tax, electricity, water and internet.
- Taking out contents insurance to protect your belongings.
- Look after your property and if you want to carry out repairs or to redecorate, get permission from the landlord or letting agent if required.
- Regularly test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
Are you looking for a property to rent? Why not check out our listings here and call our friendly and knowledgeable lettings team on 0161 723 1155 for advice and more information.