This is kinda ridiculous, but In my 32 years on planet Earth I’ve moved home a grand total of 22 times. Granted, many of these were before I was old enough to even sign a tenancy agreement, but a good few were in my adulthood. As a result I know a thing or two about renting.
In a lot of ways, renting sucks: High rent costs, agency fees, rude estate agents and those frustrating “No pets/children/DSS/smokers allowed” notices on property listing sites that make flat hunting a nightmare for some. On the other hand renting has plenty of positives: Freedom to move home being a huge one. Sometimes you’ll get lovely estate agents who bend over backwards to ensure your home life is comfortable, and you can – in theory – save more money.
If you’re planning on renting soon, have a quick read through my tenant dos and don’ts below and check out this handy info-graphic from Homelet.
- Get cover: While your landlord should make sure they have building insurance, it’s your responsibility to get insure your personal items.
- Ask around: Oh, do I wish I’d asked the locals about my last rented property. I’d of saved myself a world of hurt. If the agency you are planning to rent with has a lot of local properties on their books, ask around for opinions. Ask local shop owners or get chatting to people in community centres. We found out some horror stories about our last property; including one story where our agent moved two people in to the same property. That’s AFTER paying fees, bond and moving their furniture: What a mess!
- Ask Shelter: Again, by the time I did this when it was too late. When cracks did eventually start to show I contacted Shelter who told me my agency was on their “watch list”. I’m not sure their watch list is an official thing, but it can’t hurt to email or call them to get idea about the agency.
- Film everything: It’s a good idea to make a video log of the state of the property before you move your furniture in, and just afterwards too. Be honest; if you’ve marked when bringing the sofa in, note it down. Do the same upon leaving the property.
- Don’t get emotional: When having difficulties with your landlord or agent, staying level headed can be hard but you need to be sensible now more than ever. Get advice from your local council, Shelter or citizens advice. As the saying goes: Knowledge is Power!
- Don’t disrespect the property: Leave the home the way you found it, or in even better condition. No dodgy decorating or rubbish for the landlord to clean up. This will ensure you get your bond back and will make life easier for the next tenant.
- Don’t put it off: Communication is important. If you spot damp in the bathroom of a crack in a ceiling, make sure you report it to your landlord asap and make a log of this.
- Respect your tenants rights: Arriving unannounced or planning maintenance without notice will only make your tenant resent you over time. This is a business relationship after all. No matter how well you know the person, always respect their rights.
- Get cover: Things go wrong in life and when they do you want someone with the know how to make things better again. Having landlord insurance can save a lot of time and worry in the long run. Someone like Homelet can help with costs when bad circumstances should arise: Non-paying tenants; water damage and cover for your liability are all situations you should be prepared for. Happy landlords make happy tenants and vice versa.
- Keep in touch: Having bi-annual inspections is a great way to make sure your property is being looked after and it gives you a chance to ask questions and clear up any issues.
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