There are over 11 million renters across the UK, with this number expected to rise in years to come. It is believed that over 5.8 million households by 2021 will be in private rentals (that is the equivalent of nearly one in four households) making the renting sector bigger than ever before in the country.
Furthermore, both smaller rented accommodation as well as larger blocks, which may have a dedicated block management company, will need to comply with a range of requirements and obligations that you, as the tenant should be aware of.
But if you are a tenant, or are considering renting a property in the future, what are the questions or things you should be thinking of? We take a look at the main things to take into consideration
What Electrical Appliances Are Included When Renting?
Whether you rent a property unfurnished or furnished, you should always make sure beforehand that you know exactly what electrical appliances (if any) are included in the price that you are paying, as well as the current condition that they are in (if they are in bad condition, you should consider negotiating with the landlord about price as well as potential replacements.)
Some details pertaining to the appliances may be found in the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of the property which the landlord or agent should usually be able to provide.
This is an important question to ask as you will need to factor in the costs for any of the following when you decide to move in, as well as how you will get them, such as:
- Washing machine
Research Guide Prices for the Area
It is vital that you do your homework and thoroughly research what is considered to be a reasonable price for a property in the location you are looking at. You don’t want to be paying over the odds, and it can give you a good indication of exactly what you can expect from a property for the amount you have to spend.
Check That the Deposit is Protected
If you have an assured short-hold tenancy scheme that started either on or after April 6th 2007, it is a legal requirement in England and Wales that your rent be deposited by the landlord or managing agent into a tenancy deposit scheme. There is a limited time frame in which a landlord must make sure that this is done (a maximum of 30 days of receiving the deposit.)
As the landlord of your property, it is their responsibility to ensure that the house you are renting has buildings insurance. However, it is your responsibility when it comes to getting contents insurance, which you should make sure that have taken out as soon as you have moved into your new home.
Consider Extra Costs
Don’t be fooled into thinking the only costs you will need to factor in when budgeting for a new property to rent is just the deposit. This is especially the case if you have found the house through a letting agency, where you will need to factor in the cost of covering reference and credit checks on you by the agency in order to ensure that you are a suitable tenant.
Typically, when it comes to renting, there are some commonly required upfront costs you will need to budget for:
- Deposit (usually the equivalent of 6 weeks rent)
- First months’ rent
- Administration fees
- Referencing fees
Read the Tenancy Contract
Reading the contract of the renting agreement is incredibly important. You will usually be asked to sign an assured shorthold tenancy agreement (AST) before you move into your new home. This is the perfect opportunity to double check everything written in the contract, as well as seek legal advice about anything that you are concerned about in it prior to signing.
You should also make sure that if any agreements have been made at the time of making an offer on the property between you and the landlord, that these have then been written into the contract. Furthermore, the AST should also include with it an inventory detailing the condition of the property as well as any appliances or furniture that is in it.
You should thoroughly check that the inventory is also up to date, and that nothing has been missed, (such as nails in the wall or evident stains in the carpet) and contact your landlord or estate agent immediately. This is because if these haven’t been identified in the inventory prior to moving in, you could end up losing some of your deposit when you move out, even if you weren’t responsible for the damages.
Read the Meters
When you have just moved into a rented property, it is advisable that you read the gas and electricity meters as soon as possible so that you will be then able to update suppliers (as well as ask about payment options, as certain methods of paying can be cheaper, such as by paying by debit card.) Not doing this could mean that you end up becoming liable to pay for any usage before you moved into the house.