If you’re gearing up to move into a rental property, whether it’ll be your first time as a tenant or you’ve rented before, there are a whole range of issues you’ll need to consider. To help ensure your experiences in your new place are positive, here are three tips to bear in mind:
- Know your rights and responsibilities
You might have put a lot of effort into choosing the right home in the right location, but you could still encounter problems in your new property if you don’t make an effort to get to grips with your rights and responsibilities as a tenant. These rules should be spelled out in your tenancy agreement, so make sure you read this document carefully. As tenant referencing and insurance specialist HomeLet highlights on its website, your rights as a tenant include living in a property that’s safe and in a good state of repair, being protected from unfair eviction and unfair rent, and knowing the identity of your landlord. They also include the right to have your deposit placed in a government-approved tenancy deposit protection scheme. To make sure this happens, ask your landlord or letting agent which protection scheme they are using. The authorised schemes are My Deposits, the Deposit Protection Service and the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
Make sure you’re up to speed when it comes to your responsibilities too. For example, as well as taking care of the property and paying your rent and bills on time, you’re obliged to permit your landlord access to carry out inspections providing they give you at least 24 hours’ notice. If you don’t know your responsibilities, you could unwittingly get yourself into a range of difficulties, from losing part or all of your deposit to facing eviction.
- Take a meter reading and check your inventory
In the excitement and stress of moving into your new place, it’s easy to get distracted from some important tasks, but two that can’t wait is taking a meter reading and checking your inventory. These jobs should be done as soon as you enter your new place. By taking gas and electricity readings immediately and passing the information onto your suppliers, you can ensure you’re not charged for energy that previous tenants used.
If you’re not given an inventory, ask for one from your landlord or letting agent and, if they still don’t provide one, write it yourself and get it signed by an independent witness. Fill the document in carefully and if you notice damage or wear and tear, note this down and if possible take pictures as evidence. As soon as you’ve filled your inventory in, send a copy of it to your landlord or letting agent. This might all seem like an unnecessary hassle when you’re moving into your new home, but it could save you problems in the future when you’re trying to get your deposit back.
- Get suitable insurance
It’s a good idea to make sure you have suitable contents insurance in place. Even though this will add a little to your household costs, it can play a crucial role in protecting your finances if your possessions are damaged or stolen. Bear in mind that no matter how careful you are with your belongings, it’s impossible to rule out the risk of damage or theft.
If your tenancy agreement states that you’re responsible for any damage you cause to your landlord’s furniture, fixtures, and fittings, it’s also worth taking out tenancy liability cover. You should be able to get this as an add-on to your contents insurance policy.
From digging down into the finer details of your rental contract to taking care with your home cover, these steps do take some time and thought, but they’ll help ensure your tenancy runs smoothly.