10 top tips for a happy tenancy
It's no secret that the cost of living in London is extortionate, and particularly difficult to get onto the property ladder. With the recent figures being released that the UK population is at its highest number ever, the capital is experiencing more than ever as an increasing demand of people wanting to rent and buy properties, but the truth is black and white - a lot of us simply can't afford it. A lot of people see renting as a waste of money, but most people do not have a choice. There can be many positive aspects to renting, but it also has its fair share of downfalls. So if you're looking to become a tenant in London then follow these top tips to ensure that you end up a happy one.
READ THE SMALL PRINT
Every contract agreement is different so make sure you understand exactly what type of tenancy agreement you are signing up for and what will be expected from you. Find out exactly what you're responsible for - including bills, pet allowances, and the amount of notice that will be required when you leave.
TENANCY DEPOSIT PROTECTION
Genuine letting agents such as Leo Newman, based in the heart of London, and private landlords in England must use a tenancy deposit protection scheme approved by the government. Finding the right letting agent can be difficult in London so it is important to make sure you understand the details of TDP so you stay in the know regarding your rights.
BEWARE OF HIDDEN FEES
Before you sign any rental agreements, make sure you're aware of any potential fees so you can query any costs you're unhappy with. Unscrupulous landlords have a tendency for hidden fees, for an example carrying out unnecessary credit checks.
ADDITIONAL PROBLEMS TO AVOID:
If you are a student then getting guarantors help is common, particularly from parents or older siblings. However, if you've signed a joint agreement with other housemates and they fail to pay the rent, the guarantor will be held responsible. Limiting the liability of the guarantor is a possible option with some contracts but needs to be determined in the early stages.
For those who have never rented before, it can be easy to forget bills that aren't included in your letting agreement. Remember to include other utility bills such as electricity, groceries, and you're TV license, so that you can really get an accurate account of your living costs.
Living with other people can be difficult to adjust to. Creating a 'housemate's agreement' at the beginning of your tenancy will ensure that everyone pulls their weight equally.
MAKE AN INVENTORY CHECKLIST
Tenancy is rife with horror stories about property damage so it's wise to write an accurate inventory list of everything in the property and the condition it's in. Taking photographs is also helpful, especially if the property is furnished or part furnished. This way you can prove you're not responsible for any damage caused in the future.
Keep every records of any correspondence between you and your landlord, including receipts and copies of your bills.
INSURANCE AND SECURITY
If you're planning to rent with lots of people your landlord will need a license for a house of multiple occupation. HMO landlords have additional legal responsibilities and should be registered with the council. Additionally, make sure that your possessions are insured either on your own policy.
When you leave your tenancy you're original deposit should be refunded within ten days provided you and the landlord agree. Generally, no charges should arise for general wear over a period of time but it's always wise to give everything a thorough clean before the final inspection to avoid unnecessary cleaning fees.