landlord and tenant law

Renting a property: a checklist for tenants

Are you renting, or about to rent a property?

Itís becoming increasingly difficult to get onto the property ladder and more people are renting their homes for longer.

As a tenantł you should make sure you are treated fairly by your landlord.

Our helpful checklist is for anyone thinking about renting a new property to refer to before they sign the tenancy agreement. Getting things straight at the beginning can help to prevent disputes with your landlord in the future.

1. Check the agreement

There are several types of tenancy agreement.

In England and Wales you donít legally have to have it in writing. However, if you want to avoid complications and disagreements in the long run it is a good idea to insist on a written agreement from the outset.

Once you have a copy of the tenancy agreement, donít rush to sign it. You might assume everything is fair and that you will be okay. Check it over carefully. Or ask a solicitor to go through it with you.

2. Safeguard your deposit

Your landlord legally has to hold your deposit in one of the Governmentís approved tenancy deposit schemes. Your landlord should give you written details about how your deposit is protected within 30 days of receiving it.

Make sure youíre clear about how to get your deposit back when you move out of the property and in what circumstances the landlord can keep some or all of it.

For instance, if there is a list of furniture, fixtures and fittings which your landlord has left in the property then you will probably have to make sure they are all still there and in the same condition as when you first moved in.

Other instances when your landlord could keep some or all of your deposit are if you havenít settled all your bills or have failed to pay some of the rent.

3. Know your rent details

You need to ensure you are clear about how much rent you have to pay and when. Check what happens if you donít pay on time and whether you will have to pay interest.

Itís also a good idea to find out how often your landlord can increase your rent.

4. Review any restrictions

Some landlords place restrictions on things such as smoking inside the property, hanging out washing and keeping pets.

Itís important to know what these are before you sign up to live in the property Ė you donít want to suddenly find out you canít keep your beloved pet dog or cat!

5. Understand your responsibilities

Your landlord legally has to make sure certain repairs and maintenance tasks are carried out, but there might be some jobs they want you to be responsible for.

For example, it might be written into your tenancy agreement that you have to ensure the upkeep of the garden.

Knowing your responsibilities will help you avoid misunderstandings with your landlord.

6. Ask for help

There is a lot to consider when signing up to rent a property and it can be difficult to know whether terms in a tenancy agreement are fair and lawful.

A solicitor will be able to go through a tenancy agreement and advise you on the clauses and any potential pitfalls.

If you would like more information or help contact our solicitors at Wallace Robinson & Morgan on 0121 705 7571 or email enquiries@wallacerobinson.co.uk.

Further reading:

Tenancy Agreements (Landlord and Tenant Law)

Tenancy Deposit Protection Schemes - advice for Landlords (Landlord and Tenant Law)

This article is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute technical, financial, legal advice or any other type of professional advice and is no substitute for specific advice based on your individual circumstances. We do not accept responsibility or liability for any actions taken based on the information in this article. For more information, please click here.