10 Tips for First Time Renters

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Published: 25/04/2016   Last Updated: 08/02/2018  
Tags: News

If you re renting for the first time, it is likely that you’ll be excited but here are ten tips to bear in mind.
Always read over the terms and conditions
It can be too easy to assume that everything is okay in a contract and then find yourself in trouble later. Before you sign a tenancy agreement, take the time to read over the terms and conditions to ensure that you are comfortable with everything associated with the tenancy.

Ensure your deposit is protected
This is something that the landlord should do and they should provide you with details of how the deposit is protected within 30 days of starting your tenancy. Feel free to ask about the chosen scheme and if the landlord doesn’t provide you with all details within 30 days, press the matter. The scheme not only keeps your money safe, it provides a dispute resolution service in the case of any disagreements over a deposit.

Ask for an independent inventory check
One of the most important documents you will have as a tenant is the document listing the items, and their condition, when you move into a property. You should receive a copy and agree on its findings. In the long term, an independent inventory check is often best for the tenant and landlord.

Is there a need for a guarantor?
You could say that the important step is to ensure that you know all of the terms and conditions of your agreement but it is often worth knowing, in advance, if your landlord is looking for a guarantor. If you have someone willing to act as a guarantor, this can be of benefit to you as it will save you money, but make sure that you are aware of whether this is a requirement or not.

Don’t forget about bills
It is one thing calculating that you have enough money to pay for the rent but what about all of the other bills you need to pay? Electricity, internet, TV licence and other utility bills are part of parcel of having a flat, so you need to sort out these aspects and make sure that you have enough income to pay for everything you need and use in the property.

Think about insurance
Your belongings will not be covered by the landlords insurance so look to take out your own home insurance policy to care for your belongings. Some landlords will insist on the tenant holding insurance so make sure you are aware of their requirements on insurance.

Have you considered safety?
Landlords should take care of all safety requirements in the home, they are legally obliged to carry out various tests, but knowing your own rights, what safety aspects you have at home and how to deal with certain dangers or problems will make your home safer.

Think about other tenants
If you are a first time tenant, it is likely that you will be sharing with other people, and this means you need to know your rights and responsibilities with other people. If a utility bill comes in to a property that is a joint tenancy, there is joint liability, and everyone will be responsible for the bill. If one person is named on a utility bill, that person is ultimately responsible for the bill. In an ideal setting, everyone would provide money to pay for this bill, but it is important to have agreements in writing and if you are the named customer, be aware that the utility provider considers you responsible.

Maintain records
Keep correspondence, agreements and everything that you have in writing. You never know when you may need it.
Leave on good terms

There will be terms and conditions in your agreement, if you can, leave by these terms. You’ll also find that leaving in a good manner, and leaving the home in good condition, will save money and ensure you don’t have to deal with a negative reference in the future.