Making the correct rental property search considerations is absolutely key. As a tenant, there are a few crucial items for you to consider before moving in. We believe it is worth putting in the time and effort to research these areas early on, as well as familiarising yourself with tenant rights. In doing so, you might just save yourself a lot of confusion and stress further down the line should issues arise. As well as the information below, we recommend that you have a look at this useful government advice.
County Homesearch’s Rental Property Search Considerations:
Is the rental property managed by the landlord or a letting agent?
Right at the start of a rental property search, you need to establish whether or not the prospective property is being managed by the landlord themselves, or an external agent. Landlords who are lacking in either time, experience or knowledge will often hire a letting agent to manage the property on their behalf. Letting agents generally offer a range of services from simple monthly rent collection to full management responsibilities. Under the latter, the agent would be your main contact for any queries, including concerns over maintenance. It would then be their responsibility to provide a solution, not the landlord. Often involved right from the start, letting agents will commonly provide the necessary tenancy agreements and inventories as well as perform various checks.
Is there a complete inventory of the property?
Before moving into a rental property, it is considered industry best practice for the tenant to be given a complete inventory of the contents of the property. It should include electrical appliances (preferably including test dates), carpets, curtain, other furnishings and any landlord-owned furniture. Be sure to check that it also notes the condition of all the items, especially if you notice that something is damaged or marked in any way. We would recommend taking the extra precaution of photographing any pre-existing damage, if the landlord has not already done so. Without a complete and accurate inventory, you increase the risk of a disagreement with the landlord and could jeopardise your chances of getting back the tenancy deposit at the end of the lease. The agreed upon inventory should be signed and dated by both the tenant and the landlord.
How restrictive is the tenancy agreement?
As a tenant you have a legal right to a written statement of the terms of your tenancy agreement. There are two main types: fixed-term and periodic. To help narrow down your options, it is worth deciding which type is best suited to your circumstances at the start of the rental property search. The following information should all be stated within the agreement:
- Names of everyone involved
- The property address
- The amount of rent and how and when it is to be paid
- Circumstances in which the rent would be reviewed and how it would be done
- The deposit amount, how that money would be protected and under which circumstances it can be withheld
- Start and end dates of the tenancy
- Obligations of the tenant and the landlord
- Identifying who is responsible for paying which bills
However, tenancy agreements can also include a wide variety of other restrictions. For example, some landlords do not allow tenants to keep pets within the property. Other restrictions could include sub-letting, lodgers and responsibility for repairs. If you are disabled you have the right to ask the landlord to make reasonable changes to any restrictions. For example, allowing an assistance dog to live in the property.
County Homesearch has years of experience helping people with their rental property search, including tenancy agreement negotiations. If you need assistance with your Rental Property Search Considerations, contact us on 0333 939 8300 to discuss how we can help you.